Trade what is… for in doing so your trading is based on fact, substance and reality.  It provides clarity, confidence, manageability, and useful feedback for consistent success where appreciation for winning, and respect for losing, keeps you in the game.

Do not trade what you think should be….for in doing so your trading is based on egotism, a false sense of foresight, the desire for validation and approval, and the “win at all cost” mentality, which  leads to confusion, anxiety, anger, and despair…not to mention the inability to trade another day.

False Beliefs About Trading the Markets

1) What goes up must come down and vice versa.

That’s Newton’s law, not the law of trading. And even if the market does eventully self-correct, you have no idea when it will happen. In short, there’s no point blowing up your account fighthing the tape.

2) You have to be smart to make money.

No, what you have to be is disciplined. If you want to be smart, write a book or teach at a university. If you want to make money, listen to what the market is telling you and trade to make money — not to be “right.”

3) Making money is hard.

Nope. Sorry. Making money is actually easy. Statistically, you’re going to do it about half the time. Keeping it, now that’s the hard part.

4) I have to have a high winning percentage to be profitable.

Not true. How often you are right on a trade is only half of the equation. The other half is how much do you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong. You can remember that with this formula:

Probability (odds of it going up or down) x Magnitude (how much it goes up or down) = Profitability

5) To be successful, I have to trade without emotions.

That is both wrong and impossible. You are human so you have emotions. Emotions can be a powerful motivator to your trading.

When you feel angry or scared in trading, take that emotion and translate it into something more productive. For example, if you’re feeling angry because you just got run over by the market, view that anger as a reason to be more focused and disciplined in your entry and exit levels on the next trade.

Trader's mindset?

How does someone know that they reached the trader’s mindset? Here are a few characteristics:

1. No anger whatsoever.
2. Confidence and being in control of the self
3. A sense of not forcing the markets
4. An absence of feeling victimized by the markets
5. Trading with money you can afford to risk
6. Trading using a chosen approach or system
7. Not influenced by others
8. Trading is enjoyable
9. Accepting both winning and losing trades equally
10. An open mind approach at all times
11. Equity curve grows as skills improve
12. Constantly learning on a daily basis
13. Consistently aligning trades with the market’s direction
14. Ability to focus on the present reality
15. Taking full responsibility for your actions

Developing the trader’s mindset takes time. It usually takes traders 2-5 years before they can read through the above list and honestly say that it describes themselves.

Characteristics of Perfect Trader

-Sense of calmness
-Ability to focus on the present reality
-Not caring which way the market breaks or moves
-Always aligning trades in the direction of the market, flowing with the market
-Not caring about the money
-Always looking to improve your skills
-Profits now accumulating and flowing in as your skills improve
-Keeping an open mind, keeping opinions to a minimum
-Accepting the risk in trading
-No Anger
-Learning from every trade
-Winning and losing trades accepted equally from an emotional standpoint
-Enjoying the process
-Trading your chosen approach or system and not being influenced by the market or
-Not feeling a need to conquer or control the “market”
-Feeling confident and feeling in control of “yourself”
-A sense of not forcing the markets or yourself
-Trading with money you can afford to risk
-No feeling of ever being victimized by the markets
-Taking full responsibility for your trading

When you can read the list above and genuinely say that’s me, you have arrived!

Emotion and Trading

While trading I watch my emotional state of mind more than the price action. This has helped me trade better

Here are some of the emotions I feel from time to time and what they mean to me in context of trading

1) hesitation to pull the tigger – something is not right – don’t take the bet

2) anger – start of revenge trading – stop ASAP

3) uncomfortable while watching or not watching the price – non aligned with the market, trading with too much size – reduce size or quit

4) ignoring the little voice and gut feeling – trust the inner voice and take action

5) trading on hope – quit asap

6) thinking after hours or during market hours of money you can make = greed, impatience to make money – focus on how much you can lose

7) stress = wrong side of the market

8) feeling joy = right side of the market

Symptoms of fear- For Traders

  • Jumping into unplanned trades because you fear being left out 
  • Hesitate in pulling the trigger because you fear the prospects of a loss 
  • Cut winners short in fear of giving prof its back, affected by noise 
  • Hang on to losing trades because you fear taking the real loss 
  • Feeling helpless about trading results 
  • Fear of missing out on trade 
  • Afraid to pull the trigger on a trade


    Feeling paralyzed once in a trade 
  • Living in denial about results 
  • Rationalizing poor results 
  • Chasing big moves only to find you bought top and sold low 
  • Not taking stops 
  • Take small gains to “catch up”, market leaves you behind
  • Winners turn to losers and then you get out 
  • Wanting to get back at market 
  • Experiencing large mood swings; big highs, deep lows, anger and /or depression

Emotions and Behaviors in Trading

Successful trading requires the individual to have more than a certain amount of control over emotions and behaviors.
Emotions may include, but not be limited to, the following items:
1. Anger, anxiety, confusion, depression, disappointment, exhilaration, frustration, insecurity, passion, satisfaction, etc.
Behaviors may include, but not be limited to, the following items:
2. Arrogant, consistent, controlling, denial, following through, [im]patient, [ir]rational, letting go, perseverance, stubbornness, tenacity, etc.
Having control over these and other emotions and behaviors will allow for the trader to execute trades objectively, and more importantly, according to a strategic plan.

Sounds easy enough, does it not? “Execute trades objectively, and more importantly, according to a strategic plan.” Being that traders are human, it is not such an easy task to accomplish. It is not easy to be objective and diligent about sticking to a strategic plan day after day after day – especially with the constant volatility and erratic dynamics of the market tempting and enticing you at every turn to take actions that are NOT necessarily objective and NOT necessarily part of the strategic plan.

15 Points for Traders

1. Anger over a losing trade – Traders usually feel as if they are victims of the market. This is usually because they either 1) care too much about the trade and/or 2) have unrealistic expectations. They seek approval from the markets, something the markets cannot provide.
2. Trading too much – Traders that do this have some personal need to “conquer” the market. The sole motivation here is greed and about “getting even” with the market. It is impossible to get “even” with the market. Trading too much is also indicative of a lack of discipline and ignoring set rules. This is emotionally-driven.
3. Trading the wrong size – Traders ignore or don’t recognize the risk of each trade or do not understand money management. There is no personal responsibility here. Typically, aggressive position sizes are used, however if risk is not contained, then it could spiral out of control. Usually, this issue comes from traders wanting to make a huge killing. Maybe they do win, but the point is that a bad habit emerges if a trader repeats this behavior.
4. PMSing after the day is over – Traders are on a wild emotional roller coaster that is fueled by a plethora of emotions ranging throughout the spectrum. Focus is taken off of the process and is placed too heavily on the money. These people are very irritable akin to the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (something I wouldn’t know about personally).
5. Using money you can’t afford to lose – Usually, a trader is pinning his/her last hopes to make money. Traders fear “losing” the “last best opportunity”. Self-discipline is quickly forgotten but the power of greed drives them, usually over a cliff. Here, the rewards are given more attention and overall personal financial risk is ignored.
6. Wishing, hoping, or praying – Do this in church, but leave this out of the market. Traders do not take control of their trades and cannot accept the present reality of what’s happening in the market.
7. Getting high after a huge win – These traders tie their self-worth to their success in the markets or by the value of their account. Usually, these folks have an unrealistic feeling of being “in control” of the markets. A huge loss usually sobers them up pretty quickly. It’s important to maintain emotional restraint after wins, just as you would for losses.
8. Adding to a losing position – Also known as doubling, tripling, quadrupling down, typically, this means that the trader does not want to admit the trade is wrong. The trader’s ego is at stake and #6 comes into effect as the trader is hoping the markets will “work in their favor”. If you are wrong, you have a near 0% chance of making a full recovery. (more…)

The Farmer and The Calf: An Investment Story

This story is about a farmer who received a calf from a rich man. Hopeful that the calf will be able to help him have a better life, the farmer did his best to take care of it. But as the calf grew, so did the farmer’s expenses.One day, he said to himself, “I don’t want to wait anymore for this calf to become an ox. I’ll just sell it and buy several sheep which are easier and much cheaper to take care of.”And so he did just that.After several months, he realized that breeding sheep were not as easy as he thought. And so he said to himself, “It takes too long for these sheep to give birth. I better just sell them and buy myself several hens which can lay eggs for me everyday.”And so he did just that.The plan worked very well, he was earning good from selling all the eggs. Life improved for the farmer. But after several months, the hens started to lay less and less eggs until one day, the hens couldn’t produce anymore.The farmer was devastated. In his anger, he cooked all the hens and had himself a feast.Later that week, he remembered the single calf that started it all and realized that after all his hard work, nothing had changed in his life.
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