I made a mistake the other day. I told someone from SMBU that everything he touches gets better. I demotivated him with my words.
I have written in a past blog post, Do Not Say Practice, about the power of language to motivate traders. This idea was discovered from the work of Dan Coyle on his blog The Talent Code. We said that new traders practicing should be told they are training or rehearsing as opposed to working hard. I can be caught writing, “Keep working on your game!” This may be wrong. Better for me to say Keep rehearsing your trading game. Introducing the idea of work or practice demotivates students.
Expanding on the power of language when teaching new traders, we should teach the new trader to say he is not good at trading YET.
You are not a great trader YET.
You cannot hold my winners YET.
You do not size up in my best trades YET.
You are not a consistently profitable YET.
Dan writes is a recent blog post
Kids love to announce that they’re not good at something. They usually do it just after they try something new and challenging, and they say it with finality, as if issuing a verdict.
I’m not good at math!” or, “I’m not good at volleyball.”
At that moment, our normal parental/teacher/coach instinct is to fix the situation. To boost the kid up by saying something persuasive like, “Oh yes you are!” Which never works, because it puts the kid in the position of actively defending their ineptitude. It’s a lose-lose.
So here’s another idea: ignore the instinct to fix things. Don’t try to persuade. Instead, simply add the word “yet.”
Why would this work?
The answer has to do with the way our brains are wired to respond to self-narratives. That’s where our friend Dr. Carol Dweck and her work on mindset come in. Through a series of remarkable experiments, she’s shown how small changes in language — even a few words — can affect performance.
Her core insight is that the way we frame questions of talent matter hugely. If we put the focus on “natural ability,” kids tend to be less engaged and put forth less effort (after all, if it’s just a genetic lottery, then why should I try?). When we put the focus on effort, however, kids tend to try harder and are more engaged.
Keep rehearsing your trading game!