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Success Story Podcast

Denise Shull – Founder of The Rethink Group | How to Use Psychology for Trading, Investing & Risk

By October 29, 2022January 18th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Denise K. Shull is an internationally recognized leader in the market, investing, and trading psychology. Her expertise in neuroeconomics, the mental game of trading, and markets themselves make her an extremely popular speaker and educator at Wall Street conferences.

She has coached hundreds of portfolio managers on the psychological game of trading and educated thousands more in what neuroscience is revealing about how we truly process risk decisions. Her clients span four continents and over 10 countries.

Ms. Shull has an MA from The University of Chicago in neuro psychoanalysis, she formerly ran trading desks in proprietary trading shops and she is the author of MARKET MIND GAMES which has been reviewed as “the rosetta stone of trading psychology”. She has appeared in the media numerous times. In particular, her appearances on CNBC’s Squawk Box in both the USA and Asia received rave reviews. She has also been profiled by the FT and WSJ.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 02:34 — Denise Shull’s origin story
  • 04:14 — What asset does Denise highlight when working with traders that contributes greatly to their success?
  • 11:40 — How to make the best decision while dealing with biases?
  • 22:06 — Understanding valid and invalid emotions
  • 28:32 — Are most top-performing individuals in the world experts in neuroeconomics?
  • 35:24 — How does Denise help people she works with get better and tap into themselves?
  • 42:46 — How does Denise’s work impact the business performances of the people she works with?
  • 50:44 — Denise Shull’s advice on risk
  • 51:27 — Where can people connect with Denise Shull?
  • 52:19 — What does success mean to Denise Shull?

Show Links

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On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.


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Machine Generated Transcript


emotions, people, feeling, called, prediction, understand, HubSpot, performance, intuition, fear, predicting, started, client, decision, based, work, analysis, trading, rethink, thinking


Denise Shull, Scott D Clary



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Scott D Clary  00:21

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. This success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has other great podcasts like marketing made simple hosted by Dr. Jay J. Peterson. Marketing made simple brings you practical tips to make your marketing easy, and more importantly, make it work. Now if any of these topics sound interesting to you, you’re going to love his show, how to write and deliver captivating speeches, how to market yourself into a new job, how design can help and potentially hurt your revenue and how to create a social media ad strategy that works. If these topics hit home and they’re things that you want to learn about. Go listen to marketing made simple wherever you get your podcasts. Today, my guest is Denise Schull. She is the founder and CEO of rethink. She leverages her background in neuroscience and modern psychoanalysis to solve the mental mysteries of successful investing, trading, competing and leading teams. She is known for her uncanny effectiveness in resolving mental blocks and decision conundrums often called the real life, Wendy Rhoades from billions. She has an MA in neuro psychoanalysis from the University of Chicago and she authored the best selling book market mind games. She is a celebrated performance coach. She specializes in working with hedge funds, pro athletes, and other high octane professionals at the top of their respective fields. She recently coached a snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis to a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year. She has been featured in outlets including CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo Finance, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Markets and more. She has keynoted for UBS, Credit Suisse, MIT Sloan Fellows, the US Ski and Snowboard Association, and Harvard Business School as the founder of rethink group, which is a team of risk performance and strategy advisors. She focuses on the positive contribution of feelings and emotions in high pressure situations and how to make optimal decisions. So we spoke about all things decision making, improving your performance, Mind Game, overcoming biases, real versus personal feelings, radicalizing your approach to human achievement, the true psychology of risk in any situation, the secret to better performance, and why you should address your fears, frustrations and disappointments.


Denise Shull  02:56

The rethink group, and the kind of performance consulting we do right now. Started really, I’m going to put two moments together. While I was sitting in a class in New York City, a class in something called Modern psychoanalysis. And a person in the class admitted to being formally paranoid schizophrenic and in that of Bellevue, and say, oh, yeah, the instructor cured me. And I was like, what? But then I was like, well, if she could do that, like you can help these crazy traders I work with. So was that. And then that same instructor asked to publish my master’s thesis in her small little academic journal of modern psychoanalysis. When I was like, It’s old, you can’t do that. Like, she’s like, Well, how about you update? And I’m like, that’s a lot of work. But I’m like, Okay, we’ll be cool. It’d be published in that area. You know, academic journals help do it. And Antonio Damasio had written a book called de cartes error. And what he was referring to is Descartes, the philosopher said, I think, therefore I am. And Damasio and his colleagues was like, you know, that’s actually wrong. It’s, I feel, therefore I am. And so they were showing that you cannot make any decision without emotion. And I was like, well, well, well, that changes everything about trading and investing psychology. So between those two things, I just started talking about it to people and the next thing I knew, someone asked me to write an article and then someone asked me to give a talk and then it took on a life of its own.


Scott D Clary  04:36

Now, a question is, is the understand I think that there is a understanding that psychology in the human condition definitely affects trading. So that’s not unknown. I’m assuming for more experienced traders, but what is what is the thing that you’re highlighting when you work with traders that perhaps is a huge detriment or is huge asset to their, to their success, what is the what is the, the the mental or the the neuro thing or item that maybe isn’t explored enough that you really have brought out and, and brought to the forefront of trading through everything through your work through your research through your papers through your writing. Yeah, that that helps traders and helps all performance?


Denise Shull  05:26

Again, I’m gonna there’s two parts to the answer. The first is everyone, but the vast majority of people think, you know, take the emotion out. Number one, and if they can tolerate any emotion, it’s take the negative emotion out, always be positive, they’re both wrong. So like, literally, I say, thing I want people to do is change their opinion of their feelings and emotions. Number one, to how imperative they are. IE, like people think they make decisions based on some analysis, it doesn’t matter what realm it is, right? Like, it doesn’t matter where, what restaurant you want to go to, or you know, what you want to put 20% of your portfolio and you think you make a decision based on some analysis, you don’t you make the decision on how you feel about the analysis, your confidence in the outcome that you’re predicting. So in that outcome, believe it or not, subconsciously, you understand is a feeling it’s called anticipatory effect. So I basically like ask people to change their opinion, change their thoughts about their feelings, and emotions. And when they do they find there’s like a whole different world in which they can accomplish more of what they want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter what realm, it takes a specific sort of form, in trading and investing because of the complexity of the mental game in trading and investing and there’s no other game like it. But that underlying principle is the same like treat, I really say senses, feelings, and emotions, because those are just degrees of intensity of like information your body’s doing, you treat them differently, like and you open up this whole new world. That’s the cornerstone of everything.


Scott D Clary  07:18

So what So what we’re trying to do for just general human performance, is we’re trying to remove, and I’m just trying to simplify and understand it. And if I if I butcher this, please like, correct me. So if we’re, so we’re trying to remove the emotions, tides, so the so we are now we, we analyze something, and then based on that analysis, then that’s we have an emotional attachment to what we feel is the analysis that we’ve done on that thing. And that’s what that’s what screws us all up. Because we actually, we actually aren’t just analyzing an outcome, and then acting on the true logic or the data behind that analysis, it’s really our confidence in our own ability to analyze, which is inherently flawed, I’m assuming.


Denise Shull  08:09

Well, it boils down to that. So let’s the human brain is trying to keep the human beings safe. That’s like its only job. And it does that by constantly predicting how something’s going to turn out what’s going to actually happen, but more specifically, how that’s going to feel to you. So you need to do this analysis, whatever it is, and that the data gives you some conclusion. Well, you have a feeling about like, if that conclusion plays out, how safe will I be, but essentially, like, how, what, how happy will I be how well it worked out, you know, will I feel good. So if it’s the restaurant tonight, and you have a taste for steak, and like, you’re okay, that’s the best steak place, we go there, you know, I’m gonna get a meal that makes me feel good, I’m gonna be satisfied, and I’m gonna be happy we did it. If it’s an investment, it’s like is that the price that investment going to change in a way that I’m going to make money, so therefore, I’ll feel good or bad, but also be safer, because I would make more money. So, but people don’t know this. They don’t know that they are always predicting how something’s gonna make them feel in the future, like people who are listening to this are right now predicting whether they should continue to listen to me because either I’m crazy or super interesting. And like, are they gonna feel like they wasted their time? Or are they gonna learn something like, but if you’ve listened to yourself, you can you can hear that? Well, that’s the cornerstone of what makes you do something or not do something. So like a common, you know, theme, let’s say in human performance is like, Why did I do that again? Like, I don’t understand. I said, I wasn’t gonna do that again. Like, or why didn’t I do you know, why did I do that? Or why didn’t they do that? You I don’t care exercise, you know, finish the proposal, whatever, pick the thing. Well, you did or didn’t, because underneath your consciousness was some prediction of a feeling about how it was going to turn out. Like, it’s working this way, like this is the sunrises in the east of human behavior. But next to no one knows. What happens is when you know it like then you really understand the problem. And your chances of navigating a challenge, you know, the challenge of human life, whether it’s business or anything, is understanding it better. Like if you want to do a thing better, you have to understand the factors. So, I mean, the reason, the reason I rethink I’ve gotten the reputation for being effective is literally this. And it’s not that I’m such a genius, I just happened to be interested in it. And I also happen to have been raised in a way that it was maybe easier for me to not accept the status quo. It was a little bit easier for me to block the system, so to speak. So I could read the research. And I could put two and two together, and I could talk about it. And what ended up happening is literally when I first started talking about it, which is way back, like 2004, or five, the reason it took on a life of its own is because people would come to me and say, Oh my God, that makes so much sense to me. Like, so it’s


Scott D Clary  11:31

like, it’s like eye opening, really, it’s very eye opening when you think about it.


Denise Shull  11:36

And so then the feedback, you know, propelled me to do more, right, or it got me more invitation to speak or more invitations to coach or to right. So like, again, it wasn’t, I mean, it wasn’t that I was like such a genius, I was sort of in the right place at the right time interested in the right thing and had the courage to talk about it, and then got the feedback. And then that made it take on a life of its own.


Scott D Clary  12:02

But a lot of people probably were so awed by the work that you’re doing. Because most people don’t even know where to begin looking like it’s almost the decision making process is sort of taken for granted. I think that in our day to day, we don’t try and we don’t try and delve into why we make the decisions that we make. It’s a scary concept. Because when you unpack that, then all of a sudden, if you if you unpack the first bit of it, and you understand that maybe while your decision making process is flawed, then that leads to the question, well, then how do I make a good decision? And that’s the question I have for you. So what do you recommend people after you if after you sort of show them the light, so to speak, and they start to understand that every decision that they make? has all these biases attached to that decision? Then then how do they go through life?


Denise Shull  12:54

Yeah. So the question, to learn to ask yourself, and to answer accurately, those two separate tasks, but is what am I feeling? And why am I feeling it? And you want the answers to be the truth? Now, that’s easier said than done. A lot of my coaching, it’s like helping people get the accurate answer, because what they think they’re feeling or why they think they’re feeling this generally not what it is. This will, by the way, circumvent the cognitive biases. So a thing in the behavioral finance, cognitive bias, you know, confirmation bias, recency bias. Literature is where you add your human brains bias, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you know, and you’re stuck with that. It’s not true. It’s based on the wrong model of the brain. It’s basically it’s called behavioral finance or cognitive behavioral, because it’s like thinking and do it, you know, thinking and behaving. Good. I like the juices in the feeling. The cardio better, well doesn’t get that. So like confirmation bias, when you see the thing you want to see. Well, everyone talks about how difficult it is to circumvent that or to avert it. Well, all you have to do is like realize, like, what’s that feeling? And what that feeling is usually, like, if you this happens all the time with hedge fund managers. I mean, I had a relatively new client yesterday talking about like, he went to his investment committee, and he stated, like his viewpoint, and he’s in commodities, you know, and so this is my viewpoint of how commodities are going to play. And then he said, you know, if he starts to look like he’s wrong, you know, he doesn’t really want to go back to the Investment Committee and say, you know, I’m second part, nevermind, I was wrong. Because why? Because it’s embarrassing. You know, he’s afraid they’ll react negatively caught so people behave in what looks like confirmation bias, ie they only see the day data that supports whatever their viewpoint are Yes. Not because they’re just programmed to do that, because at the moments that they’re seeing conflicting data, they’re predicting this future motion, you know, that’s unsafe, right? They’re going to be embarrassed, their boss is going to be mad at them. And they’re basically trying to avoid that scenario. Well, the truth is, if you face that scenario earlier in your process, whatever, the chances that you end up with the embarrassment go down. Because like, when you you stated, some, you know, prediction to your firm, whatever it is, I don’t care, sales, investment, I don’t care, whatever it is. And you start to get information that’s not working out the way you thought, well, the sooner you get that, and the sooner you change course, and address, you know, the better the odds of a better outcome, right. But if you delay, because you don’t really realize you’re predicting the future, embarrassment, the outcome is probably worse. But like, people have no cognitive ability to override that underlying prediction of embarrassment. Except to use their thinking to address Wait a minute, I’m really worried, you know, I don’t want to add to be wrong, because I’m gonna say it sounded like an idiot, it’s going to be embarrassing, and they’ll even lose my job because people have tendency to catastrophize. But the truth is the earlier and a scenario that you can face, you know, alternative data that shows your prediction may not be turning up, like chances are you can course correct earlier. But it requires knowing that you’re feeling like you’re predicting this feature problem that’s going to give you it gives you the space to navigate. That you don’t have if you’re just like torturing the data to prove that your original prediction is correct. Like you’re crossing your fingers and hoping and experiencing all this anxiety, I don’t know.


Scott D Clary  17:11

Well, when you sit when you when you lay it out, it actually makes a lot of sense. But yeah, I guess so the issue that we’re sort of uncovering is a little bit of like you mentioned, like, we have biases, but after a certain point, there’s ego involved. Like, you just don’t want to be embarrassed. So when you speak to people that operate at this level, the things that are fears, are they valid fears, in my opinion, they wouldn’t be valid fears, like if I make a sales prediction, and it’s totally off. At any point, when I bring that up with my board, they’re probably gonna have some level of there’s going to be some thought like as to whether or not I’m competent. That’s it.


Denise Shull  17:57

You walk through the scenario, it’s like completely logical, right? Like, so this is the thing, like an emotion, particularly like fear has a totally bad rap, right? Like, you’re not supposed to be able to feel fear or give into fear, or whatever. And it’s not true. Like, if it weren’t for fear, there’s a lot of accomplishments we all have, that we wouldn’t have accomplished. Like, who wouldn’t really graduate from college, if it weren’t for fear. You do all this other stuff, you know, but you’re afraid of the outcome of only partying and not getting the actual degree, like so you do the work. You really do the work just because you want to do the work, right? Like you do the work because you’re afraid of what will happen, like in their pure form, fear, frustration, disappointment, have information for us. So we’ve got two problems. We’ve been told not to recognize any of them. And we’ve certainly been told not to focus on the so called negative ones. When they’re in their pure form, they’re actually trying to help us they’re trying to keep us safe, trying to help us get where we want, like frustration is something’s going on. Take the extreme form of frustration. Well, the extreme form would be like rage, but let’s take an interim anger. Why do people get angry? Because they feel as if something’s wrong. So it sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s their own personal expectation. And that’s like the next layer of this, what part is real and what part is your own personality, but you can come back to that, like at its core, like if you’re angry about something, your psyche is telling you that something isn’t the way you think it should be. And maybe you should try to research yourself and find out what that is, as opposed to saying I shouldn’t be angry. Because what the research actually shows is you suppress those emotions, particularly the negative ones. That voice in your psyche gets louder. so they become more disruptive, not less disruptive.


Scott D Clary  20:04

And research actually shows us if you suppress it. That Yes. Well,


Denise Shull  20:08

I mean, there’s you know, I mean, the truth is, you know, in psychology research, you can probably find research to show whatever you want. Yes. But there’s a good body of research.



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Denise Shull  20:38

that shows that understanding your negative emotions, acknowledging them, leads to better outcomes, particularly if it matters to you. Like there was when I first heard of this research, it was probably 2008. And I met this woman who at that time was a like a postdoc, PhD, and she had done this research project to show that reframing, you know, situations was a net positive. And to her credit, her research showed that wasn’t true that if you reframed in other words, you took a positive viewpoint of something on something that didn’t matter that much to you, it worked. But if you did it on something that actually really mattered to you, your anxiety levels went up. That didn’t work. Why? Because your psyches, like your psyche really is trying to keep you safe. And that kind of includes more than safe, like includes thrive. So if you had some unpleasant feeling, it’s like like, you know, all of a sudden you like feel this horrible pain in your leg and you look down and you know, you’ve got a gash in your chin, for whatever reason, you know, like, what’s the point, the point of the physical pain is like so that you do something? Why is it any different with emotional pain?


Scott D Clary  22:10

And you made now this is an interesting, you’re making interesting points. Because originally, we almost when we first started speaking about all the all these emotions that we feel your first point was almost Well, we have to know when to not listen to these emotions, because they’re clouding our analysis. And we’re making incorrect assumptions based on emotional feedback and maybe, maybe historical insight and feedback. But obviously, emotions do have a place where they keep us safe, and they allow us to thrive. So how do we how do we understand which emotions are valid and which emotions will steer us in the right direction? And maybe this is what you were alluding to before, like the real emotions versus motions tied to your personality or to your past experiences? So how do we how do we understand when to include those in our decision making process versus when to exclude them? So we make smarter, less emotionally charged or driven decisions?


Denise Shull  23:09

First of all,


Scott D Clary  23:11

just laughs


Denise Shull  23:12

I laugh because I don’t I actually think you might have misheard me. And I think it might be an example of like, it’s hard to hear something that’s so different. Yeah, I personally


Scott D Clary  23:23

believe I probably did. I totally screwed something.


Denise Shull  23:30

But in all my work is based on the fact that emotions are the absolute best asset.


Scott D Clary  23:38

Okay, okay,


Denise Shull  23:39

every realm at every moment, but more than that, you actually can’t avoid them. So like, give it up. Like, I’m not speaking to you specifically. But like, I honestly think the analogy is his round earth letter. Like, it looks like emotions really get in your way. It just like it looks like the Earth is flat. But it’s a misunderstanding of how it’s really working.


Scott D Clary  24:06

It’s the lack of awareness of that emotions are impacting you is what is actually the detriment.


Denise Shull  24:15

here’s the here’s a fact that no one ever thinks about, you know, it’s always like control your emotions. So you don’t do this thing that turns out to be distracted, right? You don’t just scream at your boss or you know, smack your kid or whatever, like, control your emotions. Well, you don’t have to control your money. You can build whatever you want. And whatever you do, it’s only when you do so the actual piece of advice is, you know, control or maybe slightly make up as a choose your actions. Now, how do you choose your best action by understanding what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it? Now that’s a layered thing, where we all have expectations is how something will turn out. Because this is really just not what you’re feeling about now. It’s what you’re feeling about the future. Like competence is what competence is a prediction that something’s going to work out whatever it is, my snowboarder client won a gold medal, this finally this year or the best doesn’t matter what it was competence me, I’m going to choose the right steak place because I’m confident that they’ll deliver me a good meal and I won’t, you know. So I talk about things. Sometimes I talk about the future. And sometimes I make it sound like it’s here and now but it’s always about the future. But it doesn’t matter that like, Oops, I just put my headset went out of my ear. There’s a personal these emotions are layered. So there’s the obvious, like fear of missing out that people feel in all sorts of realms. Well, Fear Of Missing Out is really fear of future regret, if you like you say, Okay, what happens if I miss well? Well, I won’t have gotten something well, how will I feel if I won’t have gotten it? Well, I might regret that I didn’t do the thing that would have gotten me that. And so people try to avoid future regret, because they really regrets really, like really an unpleasant feeling like wishing you would have done something differently. Really not fun. So understanding that, when you’re dying to go to a party or dying to stay in a losing trade, like in think it’s fear of missing out, but it’s really fear of future regret, if you’re going to feel bad in the future, when you understand that you actually feel more empowered, with a wider range of choices. Now, having said and you can do that for anything, where there’s kind of a very common thread of feelings, that basically all human beings feel pretty much all circumstances, whether they know it or not, then underneath that is a personal, you know, what we would call kind of ego driven prediction. So some people will be afraid of being rejected, some people will be afraid of being wrong, you know, that is based on their own personal experience. Now, when you have some thing that really tweets you, right, and you get this really strong emotion, and everything, I’ll say, control the emotion, I say, No, analyze the emotion before you act, choose your actions. And the best way to do that is to understand what you’re feeling accurately, and why you’re really feeling and why might be, you know, I’m worried that my sales prediction is going to be off. Now, for someone that might be you know, they were always criticize in school, whatever, for whatever, you know, and so they can know that the here now part is how is my board going to react in sales prediction. But also, like, I’m personally more worried about that. So I have a client in London hedge fund manager. And he was criticized for everything he did grew up in United States on a farm and like you met him when he gets grandpa that criticized him for that, would that be stacked right or whatever. And so this morning, I was just talking to him right before you. It was like, okay, you know, he’s worried he has a thesis about the market, he’s well positioned. He’s not as large position as he should be right now. And I’m like, it’s the wood. You know, it’s the, you must stack the wood. I said, but it’s actually not the wood. Like, you’re really good at this. And you can trust yourself right now. And, you know, Grandpa is not going to be criticizing you about the wood payment stacks, because you’re right, it’s not the word. So there’s a common layer. And then there’s a personal layer. And when I say what am I feeling and why your own why it’s gonna be different than mine. But if you know that some portion of that is your own past. It can dilute the intensity of it in the moment, and your ability to see your wider range of choices is larger. I’m not making any sense.


Scott D Clary  29:08

You’re making a ton of sense. And I’m curious when people operate at such a high level. How common is how, like when you look at the top hedge fund managers in the world, and that would probably be the best example because the there’s a ton of risk associated with that, but also in venture capital and private equity and day trading and all these different individuals that there’s they try they try and remove emotion from situations is, well actually I would ask you, the top performing individuals in the world do they have the best mastery of this of what you teach in terms of understanding your emotions thinking through actions? Is that what separates them?


Denise Shull  29:58

Yes and no I mean, first of all, you have to say, okay, you know, Denise’s clients have called her to work with her. And the usual reason in the hedge fund world is to follow their intuition more, which is sort of ironic given the bagel finances, you shouldn’t use your intuition. But I mean, honestly, client after client after client, who manages you know, something, you know, ranging and billions of dollars will say, I really want to, like listen to my intuition. Well, why? Because intuition is unconscious pattern recognition, and it’s unconscious pattern recognition based on your education, your experience, and if you have expertise, you have intuition, or instinct. But it’s turned out to be right, like, do it according to the math, do it according to the probability. Don’t get me started, because it’s actually subjective probability, it’s not really even worth you can’t even know it in the market. But


Scott D Clary  30:55

explain, explain that, though. Explain why I’m actually curious, because that’s actually an interesting point. Because I’m sure that somebody who actually operates in that world, this, this particular situation will resonate with them if they’ve never worked with you before. So intuition is trained out of these individuals that operate in will use a billion dollar hedge fund, and they look at data analysis forecasting. Why is that an issue?


Denise Shull  31:21

At the end of the day, there’s only one thing you want to do in financial markets, and everybody’s trying to get it. And that is predict what other people are going to pay for something in the future. whatever timeframe your future is, that’s called theory of mind, by the way, you have a theory of their mind. And there’s brain research that shows that the people who are relying most on their theory of mind skills make better price predictions. And oh, by the way, in that study, they are not doing math at all. So first of all, the markets are social game, and it’s really about other market participants. Future perception. That’s a human question. It’s not a math question of probabilities are just claims, like, what are the probabilities based on in the past, the price action behaved like this in response to these factors, so we would expect in the future or the other human beings playing in the market will behave similarly. Now, it’s not No, it’s not dice. It’s not blackjack. It’s not poker, it’s like poker in that in you win in poker by predicting how the people are betting. But in the markets, it’s kind of like, oh, yeah, and the value of the cards changes to like, and you’d have to sort of notice when the value of cards would change. So people who learn to play the game of markets, you know, little by little dates start to sense how the waves move if you want to use a surfing analogy. And that becomes not something they really think about, but something they sense. Well, that sense is intuition. It’s unconscious pattern recognition, based on what they learned about the market, and then their experience with how the prices. And I mean, you know, all of these people, you know, most of them have graduate degrees, most of them have been in the market for 20 3040 years. So they have a lot of interaction with how the prices move under a given set of circumstances, they have a lot of assumptions about what will make the price move. But we’re back to we don’t make decisions on data, we make decisions on how we feel about the data that create a certain analysis and a certain prediction. In markets, that’s called subjective probability. Like you have a probability, but it really is subjective, right? It’s your it’s the result of your own analysis. Navigating that is navigating the feelings your body’s giving you. Like this happens all the time. I mean, most of my I, like literally talk to people for 55 minutes, once or twice a week. And I have people that I’ve talked to for years and years, and like, they call me up, and they have a particular position. And they think they should do this or that with it. And I just asked questions, and I listened for the feeling they’re giving me and I’ll realize they actually their intuition is telling them the exact opposite of what they’re telling me verbally. Like they’re saying, Maybe I should get out of this when the truth is they really think they should get bigger. So I’m just trying to lead them through that. What are you feeling and why but it’s a little hard because nobody’s been. Nobody’s been changed in the opposite their entire lives. It can be done though, by the way. You’re actually if you endeavor to do it by changing your opinion about your feelings and emotions, changing your strategy and tactics for them. You’re actually like going more with the flow of human perception and judgment. So there’s an aspect where it actually just gets easier like cuz you’re not fighting yourself you’re not fighting the like the your psyche is trying to give you information through your feelings and emotions and you’re trying to fight it like that makes me You’re right, but you didn’t even that much or


Scott D Clary  35:22

I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. Now, they don’t call it the sales destination. It’s a sales journey. And on that journey, you want the best tools and support to keep you and your customers connected every step of the way. HubSpot is an all in one CRM platform that is impossible to outgrow and ridiculously easy to use, meaning you never have to worry about a slowing you down. That’s because HubSpot is purpose built for real salespeople, with real customers and real problems to solve. With customizable hubs and tools that you can add and subtract as you grow, and an interface it’s just as easy to use if you’re a team of one or 1000 HubSpot is built for you and your customers to grow together. Wherever the journey takes you. Learn how HubSpot can help your business grow So okay, so then the follow up for somebody who’s listening and, and everything you’re saying resonates. And they’re just wondering, okay, I know that I need to better listen to my intuition, my feeling. What’s an exercise like? How do you how do you recommend when you work with people that you work with? How do you get them to better tap into into themselves?


Denise Shull  36:26

We’re constantly asked, like, like, questions, I asked, What’s the worst that can happen? What do you really think’s going to happen? Not you don’t have to be bright in this conversation. Right? Like you, you create a space for yourself, when you’re completely non judgmental. You simultaneously want to know that what that future emotion you’re predicting this, I can’t really overstate how powerful it can be to realize that you’re thinking something and about to do something, literally just because you’re trying to avoid future. And when you shine like a light on that, you know of your light in this case, is your consciousness. Oftentimes people go that’s not actually a really good reason. Like, is, is the pathway a question you can ask them because there’s this feeling about the situation? But is this feeling telling me something about the problem I’m trying to solve? Or is this feeling about me because if the feeling is about you, chances are it has nothing to do it. Jennifer Lerner at Harvard called it intervals emotions, and incidental emotions. I call them informational emotions, or irrelevant emotions are in the market intuition and impulse. Like, you know, maybe there are times when, you know, you would be embarrassed that it matters enough. But generally, that’s not a good data point. If you’re trying to analyze some situation, some business situation in the world, you know. So there’s a skill. It’s called emotion differentiation, emotion granularity, but it basically means you can put your feelings into words. So you can tell the difference between fear, frustration, disappointment, and you can tell the difference between gradations of fear or gradations of frustration. So like with my investment clients, I say I’m happy to have two new clients in September. And both of them like the one first thing I do is write down every word for every emotion that they feel in the process of managing, you know, a book, it’s called a book in a hedge fund. Because I’ve left them to start to be able to be more granular, because the research shows that the more granular a portfolio manager can be particularly negative emotions, the more money they make. Wow, accurate.


Scott D Clary  39:00

How accurate are they at identifying these emotions the first time that


Denise Shull  39:05

I so I’ve only reviewed one of them so far the other ones sent me his homework this morning, but I had a chance to look at Excuse me. I was it was interesting with the one that I reviewed he the positive emotions were that they were like happy and joyful, pleased. The negative emotions were behavior. They were let me see if I can even remember. Stubborn that will just be stubborn. Like I’m like, Oops, what is stubborn me and stubborn means you’re doing what you know, like you refuse to change, right? That’s actually a bit you don’t feel stubborn. You don’t I feel stubborn. I mean, maybe once in a while, you know, do joking with your wife or something. But I mean, you know, walk around saying I feel stuttering, but he really felt was like afraid of being wrong. So therefore, like it was a con confirmation bias that, you know, I won’t see that disconfirming data, because I’m afraid of having to say it was wrong, because I’m afraid of being embarrassed or afraid of looking bad, it might be fun, because you just started at this place. That ends up being a stubborn behavior. So and that happens a lot, when you first ask the person to do this, they give you a lot of either my palms are sweaty, my heart is racing, you know, some physical thing that’s happening, or a behavior thing they’re doing, but not the actual emotion behind it. I know, I really, I really do know that I am speaking to an audience that didn’t forgive the analogy, but it just struck me in a bit. The workboat ocean looks flat. Like you’re


Scott D Clary  40:55

No, but that’s what so that’s what’s so fascinating. You’re you’re teaching me as you’re teaching the audience, it’s all about Listen, with with, there’s a lot of topics that I know a lot about, this is definitely not one of them. Because because it’s a very difficult topic to wrap your mind around. And then I think that the whole point of this conversation is to understand this is like this is the gateway in this is the this is the first pass at getting people to, to self examine, and to understand how their emotions are affecting or hindering their performance. It’s wild to think this because you get so caught up in the day to day and there’s so much noise and so much activity, that it really takes a special kind of mindset to be able to calm down, remove all the noise, remove all the activity and actually look at how you’re feeling and how you’re operating. And I think that’s actually what separates mediocre from exemplary performance in any trading and business and sports in anything.


Denise Shull  41:56

Right, what I’m going to say, I’m going to add to that how someone handles the negative, the so called negative because I don’t really think they’re negative. They’re just unpleasant emotions is the difference. You know, what you do with your fear? What you do with your frustration, what you do with your disappointment? Do you unpack them? So you find the lesson? Or do you act them out, which is really the two choices like, because if you don’t know what you’re feeling, or you’re trying to suppress an emotion you act it out. Then if you act it out randomly, ie like not making a choice to do to make a choice to act unfair, you can make a choice to act on anger, but it’s better if you’ve used your cognition, that’s where you use your cognition. But that’s the difference, like, and my clients, you know, take Lindsey jacobellis, who, for those of you don’t know, just won two gold medals and snowboard cross, in her fifth Olympics at 36 years old, after in the first two Olympics where she basically gave up gold at the last second, and it’s kind of a classic sports story. And then she could win everywhere but the Olympics, like can I tell you that Lindsey has completely managed her, you know, like, surpassed or run through her fears and frustrations in total? And like, no. Can I tell you that she learned to handle the mapping Olympics in a completely different way? Yes. That’s what a ladder


Scott D Clary  43:35

and that’s so when you when you work through when you work through this process with her with hedge fund managers with business leaders. That’s one use case for a high performance athlete. Maybe give over one more, one more, just paint a story or picture of how this actually impacts when somebody when somebody works with you for a period of time. How does this impact a business performance or, or portfolio performance even like in terms of numbers percentile without naming names if you’re under NDA most likely, but like what does that actually translate to when somebody dives into this and starts to understand it? Well, I mean, the raid is on board, right? But I mean, I’m giving you a chance to brag your depressive stories.


Denise Shull  44:27

I tend I tend, I mean, in some ways I can brag. Like, like, totally brag. No, no, like, like I have said that I believe this. I can solve any performance problem with anyone anywhere on the planet. It doesn’t matter.


Scott D Clary  44:47

That’s pretty good. That’s pretty wild. That’s amazing.


Denise Shull  44:51

Well, I fully I can like, you know, I definitely just noticed that the Earth is round and so I’m like hacking sail around. Yeah, I mean, it is true. that a person can have resistance to solving it. And that makes it harder. In that situation, I can know exactly what’s going on and exactly what needs to happen. But I have to work with them longer to to break through the resistance, like I have a private equity guy who’s upset that he has never gotten the same title as the other people that he works with. But he doesn’t want to see that he has his history, while he was growing up with not being given the thing that he wanted. And so that’s influencing how he’s acting, and influencing him not getting it, but he doesn’t want to go there. Because like, what is my childhood have to do with anything? Well, the human brain is constantly predicting based on your past experience, and the most important past experiences the first 10 years of life in terms of who you are now, your ego. But I mean, I mean, my portfolio matters now, not every single one of them is made like 100% more. But pretty much


Scott D Clary  46:02

do you notice significant? You notice significant, like pretty much every one of them has had?


Denise Shull  46:08

Well, they say crazy things like you’re the only person ever that’s made this make sense and helped me to avoid that thing. You know, when I shouldn’t know this, but me People call me like, they go to a performance coach. Like all their study at all, they’re yours, like I finally made sense. But again, it goes back to I literally, like, literally, I was interested in my own emotions, and my own decision making and my own, you know, sometimes getting in my own way. And both personally and professionally, and I just refuse to accept, you know, what, they stand up straight and smile or feel more confident? Because like, come on?


Scott D Clary  46:57

No, you’re well, that’s the thing. I think that what you’re highlighting is, is an issue with most individuals that operate at a high level like that, like that private equity guy that didn’t want to address his childhood. There’s an ego involved. And I think that that’s why when you break down that ego, and you you accept that help into your life, that’s when you really see your performance skyrocket. Like that’s it, you just have to get rid of the ego and understand that you don’t have everything figured out.


Denise Shull  47:24

Yeah, it’s hard, it’s hard, because we go back to the brain is always predicting your future safety. Like, all of our safety is at least partially dependent on our reputation is partially dependent on other people. So that’s just a fact. And so we’re, you know, we’re essentially programmed to think about how we’re going to be perceived and, and some of us more than others, you know, like I said earlier, like I had less of that just because of the environment that I grew up in is because even to my husband who grew up in a big, proper Southern family, you know, expectations and how they should behave. I didn’t have any of that. I will say this though, because I started with the modern psychoanalyst and the schizophrenic. What Hyman Spotnitz was the Psycho and now a psychoanalyst who got kicked out at Freudian, New York psychoanalytic society, which was the place to be, because he thought two things he thought you didn’t have to be a medical doctor to be a psychoanalyst. And he thought you didn’t necessarily have to interpret exactly what happened to you. But you did have to understand what you were angry about. And his thesis was that if you could base your unconscious anger, you could get anything you wanted. And that is true for my clients. So it’s how his theory was that it’s really unconscious rage that makes someone who becomes schizophrenic split off part of the personality and there was this wildly controversial and, you know, there’s people that love and it’s crazy. But if you can understand, like your own anger and not judging, both in the moment, and as it relates to what’s happened to you in the past, it is it. Can I swear,


Scott D Clary  49:21

you can totally swear.


Denise Shull  49:24

God damn fucking superpower. It is like, but what you have to do is go like, you know, I say, What am I feeling and why? Why don’t we angry? And really why? Like, what’s the prediction in in like, Okay, how much of that is in the moment? And how much is fueled by whatever happened to you in the past, but like, then finding that thing that’s pure that’s like, I’m angry because there’s this situation in the moment and it shouldn’t be that way. Like, that’s fuel for action that fixes it. But the process is not it’s you’re told to control it and suppress it and set it aside. And it’s bad for you and bla bla bla bla bla, now you have to understand it. You have to, like, I’m not that big of a meditation person, but I think I have a very meditative way about because of basically always sort of saying, What am I feeling and why? Like, that’s a mindful thing, right? Like, I’m trying to understand the signals My body’s giving me through my intellect, like through the way, you know, I’ve learned the meanings of words, and I’ve learned it, I’ve experienced a lot situations like that I didn’t have if I was a little kid does not like the intellect so relevant, and it’s a tool. Anyway, I can go on and on and on.


Scott D Clary  50:55

No, that’s, that’s fine. No, no, no, you’re good. You’re good. I find this fascinating. And I and I hope that for the listeners, like I said, this is a rabbit hole that they can definitely go down like you said, it’s, it’s, it’s akin to you thinking that the earth is flat, and then you’re discovering for the first time and it’s not flat, which means that there’s a lot of work that you have to do on yourself to get you to the point where you can identify the things that that now come very naturally to you, and probably a lot of the people that you work with. But I want to so i want to give people the opportunity to connect with you outside of the podcast. But before we close this out, where, or I guess like last piece of advice that you give the audience something they can take away and action on or think about tomorrow.


Denise Shull  51:43

Don’t judge yourself. Just don’t judge yourself. Like Stop it. Stop being self critical. Stop being self doubting, like, just try to understand why what you’re feeling why you’re feeling it. And look for that information.


Scott D Clary  52:05

Where can people connect with you? Website social? Where do you want to send people? Yeah.


Denise Shull  52:11

So my company and my website is the rethink group. And it’s the rethink I am moderately active on Twitter. I used to be more active. I’ve gotten so busy, but that’s a much


Scott D Clary  52:27

good problem to have. Yeah, no one needs


Denise Shull  52:30

to either like if I’m tweeting, I’m not doing something I should be doing. But I’m Denise, my middle initial, Okay, shall I say to you? Well, I’m the same thing on Instagram. And I do have a company Instagram and a company LinkedIn. And I think your company Twitter that my brilliant 20 year old former intern, but now director of something or another runs? Yeah,


Scott D Clary  52:57

that’s perfect. Okay. And I asked this question, I asked this question. And I’ll put all this all links in the show notes as well. And I asked this question of everyone. So obviously, you’ve had an incredible career, at this point in your career. And also just based on your on your life experience, what does success mean to you?


Denise Shull  53:19

Real success means more people understand this message. Like, that’s real success. You know, I’ve made some monetary success through building a consulting firm, it’s got five people or six people working for it. That’s nice and getting to live my dream and living in ski town. But real success, like I now working on a second book. And actually the reason the reason I’ll start to cry. It’s like I literally don’t want people to suffer so much by having the wrong view of their emotions in the wrong negative emotion. So the more people that I can help alleviate their suffering and then when I think it’s become more who they want to be, that’s actually success.


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