I love to snow ski, and every January I hit the slopes in Aspen, Colorado, with my friends from our local ski club. I’m an intermediate-level skier, and if the slope ahead of me is fairly empty, I love to point my skis downhill and pick up speed.
Admittedly, my love of speed occasionally causes me to trip up and execute a not-so-graceful face plant. When my friends ask what happened, I give the same excuse many skiers use: “A snow snake got me.”
A “snow snake” is an imaginary snake that resides beneath the snow. This invisible snake “bites” our skis, causing us to get off-balance and fall.
By now, you may be thinking, “Okay, Toni, I’m an investor. Why are you talking about “snow snakes”?
For a very good reason.
Nearly each and every of us carry around our own mental “snow snakes” in our minds. Like the obscure serpents that lie beneath the snow, just waiting to trip up skiers and cause them to fall . . . our mental “snow snakes” lie in wait in our subconscious minds, just beneath our consciousness. They are formed of our beliefs and perceptions about ourselves and our abilities.
Now, our positive belief systems help us to initiate the thoughts, feelings and actions that lead us toward our goals and dreams.
Our negative beliefs, however, trip us up. Much like a snow snake attacking an unsuspecting skier, they lie silent, perhaps for hours or days at a time. But then suddenly, they strike out—causing restrictive thoughts and behavior that cause us to “trip and fall” on our journey toward success.
The following are limiting personal belief systems . . .
- Scarcity thinking. Did you grow up with your parents, or authority figures, telling you that “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “There’s always too much month left at the end of the money”? Or perhaps you heard over and over, “No you can’t have that. We can’t afford it.”
- Negative personal belief systems. Do you ever think, “I’m not good enough . . . not intelligent enough . . . not mentally strong enough . . . to do that”? Before you walk into a room of people, do you feel your stomach tightening, as you muse, “Everyone this room is smarter than I am”?
- Deservability belief systems. Did anyone ever tell you that you didn’t deserve to be happy, or prosperous? “I don’t deserve ___” (fill in the blank) is a thought pattern that—like a snow snake—can creep into your emotions and behaviors and sabotage your success.
I showed these belief systems to my friend, Diane, who is a neuroscientist.
“Your ‘snow snake’ metaphor is a good one,” she said with a smile. “It’s true that our negative belief systems lurk beneath our conscious minds. Most of the time, we don’t even realize they are there.
They are usually established during childhood, when someone tells us repeatedly that we are poor and will never have enough money, or that we are not as bright as the other kids, or that we don’t deserve to be strong, rich or successful.
If we attach strong emotions to these statements, we unknowingly etch them into our minds. Then they became personal belief systems that affect all parts of our lives and cause negative outcomes.
“Very true,” I agreed. “And after all, most negative belief systems that we carry into adulthood are false. So, how can we banish them?”
“You have to train your brain—or perhaps a better way to say it is—you have to retrain your brain,” she replied. “That’s because all of the negative belief systems you mentioned are fears. And fear is a core emotion that can drive our actions and produce negative results.”
She continued, “One way to get rid of fearful beliefs is to replace your negative beliefs with positive ones, and you can do that with positive self-talk. For example, you might say to yourself, “I have the ability to be prosperous. I am just as smart as everyone else in the room. I deserve to have the very best life has to offer.”
“That makes sense,” I said. “As you know, my focus is the stock market. It looks like we could have a wild and wooly October.
So traders and investors can modify that self-talk to focus on our performance during volatile times. Such as, “The market may get rocky this month, but I can handle it. I have a plan for risk management for each position I own. I am protecting my capital, remaining calm, and executing my trades with confidence.”
“Exactly,” Diane said. “And remember, in order to be effective, you must believe your positive self-talk. Sometimes that‘s easier said than done. But with commitment and practice, you can definitely change your belief systems with positive self-talk. And transforming your belief systems from negative to positive will change your life— for the better.
So, don’t let “snow snakes” grab your skis and cause you to fall. Don’t allow negative belief systems like scarcity, “I’m not smart enough,” or “I don’t deserve it,” to stand in the way of your success—in the stock market, or in your life.
Diane and I have many more techniques that will help you train your brain for a more successful life . . .
For now, though, please adopt a positive mindset, fueled by positive self-talk. You do have the ability to become prosperous, you are intelligent, you deserve the very best life has to offer. This is all true. Believe it. Your future self will thank you.
Until next time, keep green on your screen,
Toni Turner is the President of TrendStar Group, LLC, is an accomplished technical analyst as well as a popular educator and sought-after speaker in the financial arena.
She is also the author of best-selling books: A Beginner’s Guide to Short-Term Trading, Short-Term Trading in the New Stock Market and Invest to Win: Earn and Keep Profits Bull and Bear Markets With the GainsMaster Approach, co-authored with Gordon Scott, CMT.