Last year I was on a flight from the USA back to Australia, and after waking up from a nap my back felt a little “strange”. It wasn’t painful though, so I assumed it would fix itself.

But, over the next few weeks and months it gradually got worse. MUCH worse.

Some days I could barely stand up and walk. And every night I dreaded going to bed, knowing I wouldn’t get much sleep and it would be shockingly painful trying to get up in the morning.

I had an MRI scan and discovered a bulging disc in my lower back was pinching on a nerve.

I tried different treatments to fix it, but nothing provided me with consistent relief, and after a few months of pain I was getting frustrated and desperate.

My chiropractor recommended I consider a cortisone (steroid) injection in my back, so I booked it in without barely thinking, but leading up to the appointment date I did some more research and what I uncovered scared me…

I was looking at the effectiveness of the treatment and the potential side effects and found myself in a forum for chronic back pain. The forum was full of people complaining about how much worse they were after having the injection. Quite a few people even said they wished they’d never tried it and were strongly recommending others against it.

This shocked me a little, so I decided to postpone my appointment to see if it would resolve itself with a bit more time. And whenever the appointment date came close by, I postponed it a few more weeks.

Eventually, I’d had enough.

I’d been suffering for 3-4 months and it was time to take a chance, so I went ahead with the treatment.

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I had the injection last week, and this week I’m feeling pretty good. It can take a little while to feel the full effect of the medicine, so it’s still early days, but I’m happy that I finally tried it. However, thinking back on the experience, I have some regrets that taught me some valuable lessons:

  • Lesson 1 – Inaction can have a cost too. This is probably easier to admit with hindsight, but I keep asking myself if it was really worth delaying something that could potentially fix my problem. In this case, delaying my treatment by at least a month meant 1 more month of suffering and pain, and I probably would have progressed further without that period of inactivity.I see similar behaviours with some traders too. They’re delaying, they’re hesitating and they’re not progressing. They’re stuck in an inactive state of ‘wait and see’, and it’s costing them dearly. Sometimes without them even realising it.If we’re delaying or not taking action on something, it could be a great opportunity to ask ourselves: ‘is this inaction actually costing me more than taking action?’.
  • Lesson 2 – Focus on the process, not the outcome. Sometimes we take actions that work out nicely, and sometimes they don’t. But we often never really know how it’ll turn out until we try.By focussing too much on the outcome (“it won’t work for me”), I lost sight of the process of trying different treatments to see what worked (or didn’t).Lots of highly successful people have admitted that a key part of their success was focussing on the process first and over time the results started happening.This can apply nicely to trading too, focus on the process first, and let the outcome sort itself out.
  • Lesson 3 – Be careful who you listen to and the impact that has on your thoughts and actions. Words can have such a powerful effect. Reading the negative forum posts led me to start believing that the treatment probably wouldn’t work, and it delayed my progress.A lot of trading forums are similar – they’re full of negative comments from traders who haven’t ‘made it’. It didn’t work out for them, so they want to drag down everyone else as well.We need to be mindful of those comments we choose to accept and those we should ignore.Don’t let people tell you it can’t be done!

Happy trading!



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