Anger in Trading is one letter short of Danger in Trading.
You walk into his office. He is screaming and shouting on the phone. He slams the phone down. Veins are throbbing in his temples and his throat. He bangs his fist on the desk. He angrily closes his laptop, opens it again, looks at the screen and slams it shut again. He uses a few swear words and finally gives you his attention.
Who is he? He is your financial planner, your financial adviser. If you do not have one, imagine he is the trader at your Superannuation Fund’s trading desk. If you have investments with Hedge Funds or Mutual Funds, he decides how your money is allocated between different shares, sectors, commodities and interest bearing instruments. He is your insurance broker, your mortgage broker, your banker.
Maybe you manage your own Superannuation Fund. Maybe you are an active investor and an active trader, in which case, this angry person may be you!
Regardless of who we are referring to, do you think an angry person would make the best decisions for your financial growth? Or would you rather have someone who responds more calmly when the markets, the banks, the world leaders, or the world in general throws them a curved ball?
Let’s do a short test to find out how often you get angry. Do you get angry when:
- Someone cuts you off in traffic?
- You ring your phone company (bank, health fund, service organisation, technical support) and are on hold for forty nine minutes?
- A friend rings you and wants to chat when you need to focus on the market and your analysis?
- Your order to buy or sell is not executed?
- Your order is executed incorrectly?
- The Reserve Bank (or Federal Reserve) makes an announcement and the market reacts wildly?
- There is a trading halt for the stock you want to sell?
- The system that promised great returns and raised your hopes is losing money year after year?
- Your Superannuation Fund (or other Retirement Fund) is ranked one of the worst performers?
- You switch two digits around when you place your order?
- Your Expert Adviser or Robot Trading System stops working without any rhyme or reason?
- Your Expert Adviser or Robot Trading System goes out of control without any rhyme or reason?
- Someone cuts in front of you at the supermarket checkout queue?
- Two people are chatting in the supermarket aisle and blocking your way with their trolleys?
- They give you a dirty look when you make a comment?
- You get a bad fill on your order and your broker cannot explain why and says there is nothing they can do?
- You get a bad fill on your order and your broker does not respond to your messages, phone calls, or emails?
- Your brokers goes bankrupt?
- Your computer is hacked?
- Your computer crashes?
- Your house is robbed?
- Your car is stolen?
- You lose your wallet, or your keys, or your phone, or all three?
- You have a power fail and the mobile phone towers have stopped working as well?
- You ring a helpline and start talking to someone who speaks English but doesn’t really speak English?
- You ring a helpline and they are unable to help you or solve your problem. Then, as they are about to complete the call they ask “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
- You miss taking a trade and it makes truckloads of money?
How many boxes did you tick? If you are thinking some of these situations have nothing to do with trading, you are right. They don’t. Remember though: how you do one thing is how you do everything. If you are impatient in one area of your life, you are impatient in most areas of your life. If you are angry in one area of your life, you are angry in most areas of your life.
Do you sometimes (or often) find your anger reactions to these situations as a way out of proportion? Could you learn tools that will help you without your anger? Would you?
First things first. Removing anger from your life is not our aim. Our aim is to help you release the anger, dissipate it so you can return to a calm mental state before taking actions that impact your finances and your life.
Anger is often frowned upon by the society. One of the reasons is because anger can lead to violence. Road rage, an angry parent smacking a child, shooting rampages of innocent people are just some examples of anger turning into violence. If anger always led to violence, removing it from our lives would be appropriate. But anger does not have to lead to violence. Anger is a sense of powerlessness. It is a response you have when something, some control, or some power is taken away from you. And getting angry can restore the situation in your favour. So, is anger OK then?
Let us first lay some foundations. We already mentioned the first one. Anger does not necessarily lead to violence. There are two types of Anger: Present Anger and Past Anger. Rage is different than anger. Throwing a tantrum is also different from anger.
Anger is a natural response to reclaim our power (our belongings, our safety, our control, our status, our job, our money). When we are little, we learn that adults around us, including our parents, do not like it when we show our anger. We learn to keep quiet, bottle it inside. We become “adult pleasers”. As we grow up, “adult pleasing” turns into “people pleasing”. Some even act like doormats allowing others to walk all over us.
The best response to anger is to recognise it and release it. The sooner the release, the better. Sometimes you cannot release it as quickly as you like. For example, as the police officer writes you a fine for exceeding the speed limit by ten kilometres, it is best to delay any anger release till you get home! If on the other hand your anger is not released, it bottles up and eventually turns into rage. We fear rage. Others’ rage and our own. We fear we will be hurt, or someone will be hurt or some irreversible damage will be done.
When what triggered your anger just happened, or happened in the last few hours, what you feel is Present Anger. Here is a release technique to deal with Present Anger:
- Think about it, write it down, be clear what you want the other person to do, and then
- Practice what you want to say to the other person out loud, alone or with someone not involved in the situation
- When ready, contact the other person you are angry at and set a time to talk
- Express your anger, to this person, in the format:
when you did … I felt angry
when you said … I felt angry
This format is very important. When you are referring to the other person you only refer to what they did or what they said, not their motive.
Bad example: You were disrespectful by being late to our meeting. You made me angry.
Good example: When you were late to our meeting, I felt angry.
Bad example: You humiliated me by calling me a failure. You made me mad.
Good example: When you said I was a failure, I felt angry.
Bad example: You have been ignoring me for three days. You make me furious.
Good example: When you did not return my calls for three days, I felt angry.
When you express your feelings and your anger to another, you may not get the response you want. The important thing is to express your anger as close to the actual moment as you can. You are releasing the pressure. You are informing the other person how their actions and words affected you. You are not expecting them to do something, do anything or to apologise. If they do something or apologise, that is an added bonus, but not a requirement.
Here are some additional tools to help you in confronting another:
- Stay in the now. Confront about what happened recently, not something that happened twenty-five years ago.
- Avoid score keeping, saving things up to later dump them on the other.
- When referring to another, express actions, words used, not motive.
- Be honest and accurate, stay away from generalizing, exaggerating, distorting.
- Stay away from blame and judgement.
- Avoid accuracy of details (you were fifteen minutes late; no, I was eleven minutes late).
- Hang in there unless there is threat, danger or abuse. Otherwise leave.
When what triggered your anger has happened in the past, more than a few days ago, what you feel is Past Anger. Going directly to those who hurt you in the past is not useful. Here is a Release Technique to deal with Past Anger:
- Close your eyes and see your inner child (a younger version of you.
- Bring in your adult self and take your inner child’s hand.
- Let the person you are angry with appear.
- Tell him/her what you are angry about.
- Take a deep breath.
- Pick up your inner child and leave.
Anger that is shamed by “you shouldn’t” messages intensifies and turns into rage. Rage is anger that is shame bound. As years go by, the RAGE intensifies. When it comes out, it is primitive and unfocussed. Rage contains elements of terror, that is why we scream when we rage. There are feelings of overwhelm and being out of control. Everyone present, including yourself, need protection while doing rage work. This is why it is important to consult a trained counsellor when you are dealing with rage, yours or someone else’s.
One final word about Releasing Anger. It is important to plan and think about how you will release your anger before you start, so that neither you nor anyone else will be hurt. There are many techniques for release. Here is a simple one. Get a newspaper and page by page scrunch it up to as small a size as you can manage. Move on to the next page and repeat.
I am sure you know of people who respond to situations we all face, calmly and wisely rather than angrily. They have mastered the techniques of not letting things get to them. They know how to appropriately dissipate the energy build up so that they can make decisions that enhance their finances, their connections, their status, their wisdom, their wellbeing. You can be one of those people.
Sinan Koray is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author and trading coach who is reshaping trading psychology and transforming the lives of tens of thousands around the world. As a professional trader and trading coach, he is considered a leading expert on emotional control and mind mastery. He actively trades Foreign Exchange, Equity Index Futures and Metals since 2003. Sinan has addressed audiences in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Middle East, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and USA. He is the founder of TradingStressFree.com.