What’s a peak performance trader? He or she is someone who is totally committed to being the best, to doing whatever it takes to be the best, that feels totally responsible for whatever happens to them, and thus can learn from mistakes. These people typically have a business plan for trading, because they treat trading as a business. And that business plan gives them the confidence to do what they need to do to make large returns from the market and learn from whatever mistakes are made.

This new section is all about how to be a Peak Performance Trader. It’s not about some hot new investment. Instead, my tips will be on how to get yourself in the best possible condition mentally to perform at a peak level. We’ll be doing one new tip each week. You may have heard some of them in one form or another before, but you can never apply them enough. As a result, these tips should become second nature to you.

Think about the last loss you had in your trading. What caused it? Who was responsible for it? If your response was anything other than yourself (i.e., such as the market, my broker, bad advice, etc), then you are not taking responsibility for your results. And the next result is that you will repeat mistakes over and over again. On the other hand, if you are willing to accept total responsibility for your investment results, you being to understand all of the mistakes that you’ve made and be able to correct them. The market will become your Financial University. Moreover, you will realize that you are the most important factor in your trading or investment success. If you have done that, you are way ahead of the crowd.

I once had a call from a gentleman in England who had been working with my home study course. He said, “I’ve been working through the course for over six months. It’s helped me realize a lot about myself, but there is one thing it hasn’t done. It hasn’t given me a positive expectancy system.” The ironic thing about that statement is that I had not attempted to give a methodology, it’s about how to become a peak performance trader/investor.

There are several reasons for that particular focus: 1) If you want to be good, you must design something that fits you. That is only possible if you design the methodology. 2) Psychology is far more important than methodology. In fact, psychology is part of methodology. For example, when we attempt to help people develop a reasonable method that works, they resist it strongly because they have so many biases that keep them focused on the wrong aspect of trading—areas that have nothing to do with success. And it is very difficult to show them the correct direction.

As a result, the best thing you can do for yourself to increase your income from the market is to determine how you are blocking yourself. This should be done at two levels. Whenever you develop a trading business plan a great deal of that plan should have to do with introspection. Take a look at all of your beliefs. Are they useful beliefs or do they hinder you in some way? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What about you can’t you see clearly because you are part of it? You should look at doing this sort of assessment at least once each quarter.

The second self-appraisal you need to make is at the beginning of the day—and perhaps even hourly throughout the day. What’s going on in your life? Are you ready to face the markets? How are you feeling? Is there some sort of self-sabotage surfacing in you? For example, are you starting to get too confident? Are you starting to get too greedy? Do you in any way want to override your system? The best traders and investors are constantly doing this sort of self-assessment. If you want to make more money in the market, then perhaps you should start doing the same.