Your Subconscious Mind… Brilliant… Yet at times so very unhelpful!

Ever had a day when everything is going to plan, it’s a beautiful day. You’re walking to the bus stop or the train station at a comfortable pace, because on this wonderful morning… You have plenty of time… then Boom that feeling, the feeling in the back of your mind that you may have forgotten something or misplaced something. That overriding feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s not the end of the world as such. But it feels really important… “Did I leave the baby in front of a train? No, don’t have a baby. “Have I left the front door open? Would the world end if I left the front door open?”

It would for me my wife would kill me…

But in general, probably not so why the feeling in the pit of your stomach that is getting increasingly bigger. So, you run home as fast as you. 

All the time thinking of all the different scenarios that could have caused that feeling. “Did I leave the open fire roaring away?” Don’t have a fire. “Leave the keys in the dog?” I don’t have a dog. What is wrong with my subconscious? How can it possibly come up with all these random thoughts, that in absolutely no way can be true?

The Mind

It is my belief that there are three levels of the mind, and it doesn’t matter if you think differently. Because it is my belief and I find it very useful. For now, just go along with me. You may find it useful later. The conscious mind, the subconscious (or non-conscious mind, for ease I shall refer to it as the subconscious) and the Universal Mind (or whatever you may wish to call it, sixth sense, God, Buddha, Mother Earth and there are plenty more). 

It has been given many names, but let’s stick with Universal Mind, it has a nice ring to it. The Universal Mind is our connection to the world and each other. And contrary to popular belief, science has now proved there is an energy that connects us all and is constant. Which opens the door to many woohoo theories and options? But lets leave that for another day. Our conscious mind is our reason and will. Our pilot to the plane as it were. We make our decisions here and our ego also resides in our conscious mind, but our…

Subconscious mind

Is our topic of discussion today, probably because I find it amazing and annoying at the same time. It is over three quarters of our brain mass and it controls over 90% of our perception and behaviour. Put simply it’s the power house of super computers to date. It remembers everything, it just never came with an instruction manual, so the information is very defragmented and is sometimes impossible to find.

And yet it is still magnificent. Some memories I have not only come to me as a very clear picture as if they were yesterday they also come with sounds and smells and on the odd occasion I’ve had tastes too. No virtual technology I know of is that good… yet!

So why am I telling you this? Well imagine if you could harness this power for your trading, would it not be of major benefit to you? Don’t you think it would help in all areas of your life? You may not believe everything that I say or do. That’s completely fine. All I ask of you is to be open minded and ask yourself the same questions every time you hit resistance to what I’m saying…


Would his belief be of use to me?

If I had this belief would it be useful to me?

Would that belief lead me toward or away from my goal?

I say this to you because your subconscious mind does not know real from imagined, it does not know truth from lie. Which is why you find that some people will actually start to believe their lies.

If you keep telling yourself or any one else for that matter, the same thing over and over your subconscious helps to prove you right. It starts to look for things to back up your statements, it starts working behind the scenes to make you right. The question should never be do you think it’s true or fact, because what is true and fact for you may not be for someone else. Example

“I only make money in trends” That’s true for me, it’s a act for me. But that wouldn’t be of use to a fundamental trader or a counter trend trader. True and fact always will depend on your perspective, your beliefs, your filters.

So, the only question you need ever ask “Is that information useful to me” And that is the power of the subconscious mind, you get to choose your beliefs. Therefore wouldn’t it make sense to only choose the ones that benefit you?…


Beware of Language Patterns

This means that you must be aware of what you are saying to yourself or to other people. How does this work? What are you going on about Callum?

Quite simply for years when people asked me “What do you do?” I would tell them, “I’m an Electrician trying to be a Trader.” “But you were” I hear you shout… Not quite, let me break that sentence down for you so that it’s easier to understand. It will also help you understand why our Brilliant Subconscious mind can also be rather annoying. This sentence has three separate parts:

1) I am an Electrician.

2) Trying.

3) To be a trader.



When you define yourself by what you do for a job, especially when using such a specific title. You are doing yourself damage in more ways than you can imagine. You are limiting your view of the world. Because I said that I was an electrician my subconscious would scan the world around me only looking for things, opportunities or people that would align with that view of myself.

I had electricians as friends and we had a set way of doing things and talking. This may sound great to some, but others will be aware of how much this narrows and limits your life experience. And meeting new and dynamic people becomes nearly impossible.

It also confuses the subconscious, if you are an electrician does that mean you are no longer a father? Husband? Brother? It brings all sorts of internal conflicts into place. It’s not who you are, it’s something that you do for money. That quick comment that we don’t think we are taking very seriously suddenly becomes a limiting belief.



Trying … This word really needs to be deleted from the English Dictionary. It is quite possibly the stupidest word there is. Someone please explain to me how you try? Seriously how do you try to do something…anything? If you have a pen next to you, try and pick it up … What happened? Did you pick it up? Well that’s not trying that’s doing. If you didn’t pick it up well you couldn’t have been trying either, because unless you super glued the pen to the table, or you have no hands, feet or mouth. There is no way you couldn’t pick up the pen if you wanted to. There is no try. You either do it, or you don’t. Don’t lie to yourself or anyone else for that matter. As a coach, I don’t hear try. What I hear is “I’m not doing that.”


To be a trader … What does that even mean? My conscious mind can’t make head nor tale of that sentence. No wonder it confuses the hell out of my subconscious. So, what do we do when something confuses us? We turn around, we walk away. Well that’s exactly what your subconscious does as well. My subconscious took one look at my statement “To be a trader”, thought me nuts and moved along. My most powerful tool in my tool box to help me to Trade like an Elite Trader just upped and left the building.


New Language

I’m not saying that by just changing what you are saying you will become an Elite Trader. Nor do I believe that any of you would be that foolish, you are after all reading this Blog, which of course makes you highly intelligent people. What I am saying is every little helps, this is a tiny part in the process to become not only an Elite Trader but an Elite Person. You must understand that what you say influences your outcomes in life. And just by tweaking what you say can make a big difference over time. Reverting to the start. Is this not a useful belief?

Now when asked “What do you do?” I have several different answers that will depend on the situation and the company I am in at the time. If I am out with friends meeting new people my answer would be “Football and Sex, strange combination I know. I try not to do them at the same time.”

If I am at a seminar or work function, “I help Traders find their success, not only in Trading but in their lives.” Why do I do this. For a start it’s less boring than saying I’m a Trading Psychology coach …sssssss… Sorry just put myself to sleep. Either one of those remarks is a conversation starter not a conversation killer.



“What do you do?”
“I’m an accountant”………………………They’ve gone, left the building, halfway down the street. What about if they had said this instead.


“I help people keep more of their hard-earned cash.”

“Wow are you a bank robber? That sounds so cool how do you do that?” It opens a door to a conversation with a new person, possibly to new opportunities. Most importantly it does not limit you. It expands you, now when you go to sleep your subconscious is thinking of more ways you can help people keep their money.

“I’m in the process of becoming an Elite Trader” That should be your default setting for that question. And when your finished “I earn money while laying on the beach getting a massage”. Who doesn’t want to do that.

Continued Language

Be mindful of how you say anything. Remember you’re not trying you are doing. I don’t feel so good today. Well you won’t now, not unless you forget you said that. There are so many ways in which we trip ourselves up each day without really realizing what we have done.

“I can’t do that I’ve never done that before” you have just told your subconscious you can’t do that particular thing, which could be trading, back testing, journaling, working on yourself, using new software, new tools. Can you start to see how you may have affected yourself before.

The Mind

Your subconscious wants to prove you right, so it will keep showing you things to align with that view. If you have made some mistakes, it will keep reminding of those mistakes making you think they are more important than they actually are. It will remind you of the time it has taken, the things you have missed in that time. It will not be helping you, although it thinks it is.

Now if you say “Wow, I get to learn something new today” Do you see how that will help you? You have now told your subconscious that you ARE going to learn something new today. So now the subconscious is hell bent on proving you right. It will pull out all the stops to make you right. You won’t see the mistakes, you see the points that clicked where you made a shift and really learnt something. It will remind you of all the important things you will be able to do once you have learnt this thing this new skill. It will be on your side …

Story continued

You’ve rushed home the front door is still locked, you open it up. No fire, everything looks fine.
“Is that you off love?” your wife shouts from upstairs “Have a great day”
“Thanks Babe you too” and it’s gone, that feeling in the pit of your stomach has gone. Was the world ending … No. Did you leave the door open for all the criminals to casually walk in and help themselves … No. You forgot to say goodbye to your wife.

The subconscious has no understanding of importance, it just knows it wants to tell you something. If you don’t listen it will try harder (stronger feeling in your gut) to get your attention. The process of being Mindful, Trading from mindfulness, being an Elite Trader is learning to understand and act upon the messages we receive from our subconscious. This takes practice and in all honesty help …

If you are struggling to learn to trade consistently by yourself, then I would suggest taking a look at our Trading Room. Here you will gain access to two coaches, Andres – Director of Trading and myself Director of Trading Psychology. Where else can you learn and be coached by a Trading coach and a Trading Psychology Coach, while making pips?


To Your Consistently Profitable Trading



P.S. What did you think of this Lesson? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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Callum McLean

Co-Founder and Trading Psychologist at Special FX Academy
Trading Psychology Coach and Certified NLP Coach. It is my belief that trading is 99% Psychological. And it is by understanding and improving your psychology, that you can be a successful trader. Success is a formula that everyone can and should learn.
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