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Emotional trading is so common, and most of us go through it early on in our journey. Some, end up swallowed by the ocean of lost traders. Disillusioned and convinced that the market is rigged (it kind of is).
This doesn’t have to be the way. If we can learn early on some simple techniques to bring awareness to our emotions, we can go on the path of mastery and make them work for us.
“Well Cian, I don’t have emotions. Why would I want to master them?”
I hear this over and over again. Guys, you have emotions. You’re not robots. You may have been programmed to think you are, or maybe attempting to emulate an idea you have of a Zen Master from the Vulcans portrayed on Star Trek…but many will tell you that there is a surface-level misunderstanding in popular culture about emotional mastery.
Where the misunderstanding lies…
The misunderstanding lies in only looking at the surface-level phenomenon. On the surface, a Zen Master and a Vulcan may appear very similar. However, when people perceive a Vulcan (regardless of the intent that Gene Rodenberry really had) they see a highly intelligent, highly logical, emotionless being. Men of our culture and generation have taken this along with supposed “stoicism” to mean that HAVING emotions is bad. So without any training, they attempt to dominate their emotions and shut them down, viewing the public expression of emotion as undesirable.
A Zen Master, at the depth, is VERY different from the portrayal of the Vulcan. He has first admitted that he has emotions. This is very important since you cannot work with something you don’t think you have. Your mind is an expert at hiding things from you, in which you do not believe. If you’ve expertly pushed your emotions down so far that you cannot feel them, they become a pressure cooker, and you end up exploding on a cycle when the pressure gets too hot. Instead of expressing them in little bits, they become big explosions.
Admitting to having Emotions leads to Mastering your Emotions
Once a Zen practitioner has admitted that they have emotions, they begin to experience them in a broader expression. They become more nuanced, and they pick up more names. Initially starting with Anger, Shame, Disconnection, broadening towards pride, jealousy, greed, happiness, joy, pleasure, and more.
Finally, fully experiencing the breadth of emotions, through meditation we can begin to look at how our behaviour is affected by them. We can start to see how these emotions arise and fall away…and how we ARE NOT these emotions, but we appear to be subject to them. Once we can see how they interact with us, we can begin to work with them. For a Zen practitioner this would be done on the cushion, however for the rest of us, there’s another way to gain benefit from the structure of meditation.
When I talk about the structure of mediation, it’s very simple. The basic form of meditation is to focus on the breath. Inevitably at some point, even a very strong practitioner will lose focus. The point of meditation early on is not to use strength to maintain focus – that’s too tight. The point is to notice when we lose focus. And the really interesting part there, is that the moment you notice that you’ve “fallen asleep” / lost focus – is the MOST important part of meditation.
Keeping my Focus during Meditations
This is the part of meditation where most people get frustrated with themselves, “ahhhh WHY can’t I keep my focus?”. Let me tell you guys, this is the exact wrong thing to do. The reason? That’s because there’s a subconscious program running that directs your attention based on your energy levels, and what you think is important.
It probably thought that those distracting thoughts were important to you. Many of us spend so much of our day lost in thought, its no wonder that our minds seem so busy when we try to slow down. The real trick here during meditation is to be grateful when we “wake up and realize that we’ve been lost in thought – asleep”/
Gratitude is the signal to the subconscious that we WANT TO WAKE UP and be aware of our thoughts more often. It trains with positive reinforcement our subconscious to get better at waking us up when we are lost. Guess what getting frustrated does? You got it. Negative reinforcement. It basically tells our subconscious that we don’t want to wake up, leave us asleep.
That’s the basic structure of meditation. How can we apply this to our emotions and finances? We have to create a structure in our finances that supports us in waking up. Now I can’t design a structure that will work for you and your life, it’s highly specific, but I can give you some examples that have worked for past clients of mine.
This one guy Troy – I worked with him a few years ago. He was off travelling a lot, doing business, and had quite a lot of cash flow. But the cash was sporadic and came and went a lot. Working together we’d notice that emotions were governing when he would spend and when he would save. For example, when he was flush, feeling good, and had lots of clients he’d spend and wonder where the money went. When clients dried up, or he had a low point, he’d tighten up a lot, but would then also suffer for it because his lifestyle was wildly swinging, further affecting his emotions.
Structures in Place
We had to put a structure in place that would prevent the emotions from making decisions for him, and allow him the opportunity to wake up when they were trying to; hence: Mastering your Emotions. One of the tools we used was an agreement-based savings account. The practice here is that he would have to sit down with his partner and agree on a percentage of their income (even the sporadic stuff) or a regular monthly contribution that would go into the savings account. The key here is that it’s set ahead of time, and agreed to. The number itself doesn’t matter.
Once that is in place, they had to come up with a set of rules that governed when they were allowed to take money out of this account. Some example rules are: If there are no clients paying for x weeks; If there’s an investment opportunity that we both agree on; if there’s a big purchase like a house or a car; etc. Again, the specific rules are not very important, unless you are somehow making them broad enough that you can just pull money out whenever you FEEL like it…. 😉
Writing the Rules Down
The key here is that you both come up with, agree on, and write DOWN all the rules. Then make an agreement that the rules can be modified by the two of you sitting down and writing out new ones.
Why is this like meditation? Because when the two of them make this agreement, it’s like a little ceremony. It’s important. You’re making a promise to a loved one, which is also important. All of these important factors create the necessity for you to wake up from the sleep of your emotions at the critical moment. “OH, wait I can’t spend that money, because I agreed to .blah blah…and need to discuss this”. At your weakest point, the structure you put in place helps you wake up, and take your power back.
Another example, just so you can see how diverse the specific implementations are, is one I personally used to build my crypto portfolio. Of course, this method works for any portfolio. And it’s very simple. Every week or month you put some amount of money into your portfolio. Usually the same amount. You have a pre-selected set of assets (crypto, stocks, whatever) – that you made some decisions on. And you buy those every time, keeping the same ratios.
Over time, this dollar-cost averaging strategy helps you let go of looking at the market going up or down – you stop caring about the market because you’re ALWAYS buying… So why would it matter if it’s up or down? That only matters if you plan to sell. Over a lifetime this strategy will win for you. And help you get out of the emotional rollercoaster of getting excited when the market is hot – buying more – the system established you simply pay attention to when you start to make decisions OUTSIDE of that system.
Oh – why am I tempted to buy an NFT now? I guess it seems like there’s a lot of excitement going on about it. Perhaps I’d better wait and see… Just stick with the strategy.
You see – that could have been an emotional purchase – but the purchase stood outside of the system and since you’ve been practicing it very diligently for many weeks, your subconscious woke you up before you made a purchase that would have been outside of the system.
Is all about Mastering your Emotions
In summary, emotional mastery is about recognizing that we have emotions. Realizing that we are subject to them. Learning a method, putting a structure in place to help us wake up when they are driving the bus. Then, profit.
How are emotions running your life? What would be different for you if they were not? Whats the biggest challenge you have today that this might help you with?
If you loved this, just imagine how much value you’ll get from my Integrated Leader MasterClass. We dive deep into the emotions of modern day business, and I give you a step by step system to make you the master.
Hit up my website to see all the ways of launching high-performing individuals just like you into the stratosphere.
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Cian Kenshin – The Executive Alchemist