1. Know what you are going to do before you do it.
A Master Chess Player is at least 6 moves ahead of his opponent at every step in the game of Chess. A Master Trader identifies the market participants in that stock at that moment, determines when the next level of market participants will buy, decides a specific price for entry, and has one or more exit strategies planned for that stock trade before he ever places an order. In other words: he knows what he is going to do before he initiates the trade and has all of his various strategies worked out for all the different scenarios that can happen to that trade. He is prepared for all situations and ready to trade.
2. Develop your own unique Trading Style.
Too often traders simply follow the crowd. Instead you should develop your own unique trading style. A trading style is not a strategy. It is a set of parameters or rules that you adhere to strictly, ignoring rare anomalies that occur in your trading from time to time that go against your rules. Your trading style should also ignore gimmicks, fads, and ‘hot new strategies’ that are constantly being promoted to crowd traders. If you establish a set of parameters for your trading, write those rules down, and follow them while ignoring the crowd mentality of most small retail traders, you will begin to establish strong emotional control in your trading decisions. The trick is writing the parameters down and then sticking to those rules. Emotions want traders to ignore rules.
3. Ignore the Money.
Don’t trade for the money. Trade because you can’t imagine doing anything else. Trade because it is the most enjoyable and rewarding profession you can do. You can have a passion for studying charts without letting passion rule your decisions. Highly successful people, in any career, do not do their job because of the money, they do it because they love what they are doing and can’t imagine doing anything else. The money is secondary to doing the job that gives them purpose and self-esteem. Money is not the ultimate motivator, purpose and self-esteem are.
Crowd mentality is most likely to be wrong. Crowds don’t think. They react.” This takes us all the way back to rule number one: have rules. One of the rules should be to follow our own thinking and not that of the crowd. By the time the crowd jumps on board, the move is usually over anyway! Hence, reaction instead of action.
As prices rise, they naturally attract more attention. As more and more people jump onboard the rally, its climb accelerates. But in all the excitement, there is a tendency to confuse account balance (the amount actually on your account) with account equity (the total value including the sum of your open positions). People begin to treat their potential profits as if they were already realized. This expectation can sometimes cause basic reversal signals to be overlooked.
Additionally, those who missed out on the opportunity early on, when the trend was still young, are becoming hypnotized by the length and size of the rally. Jumping onboard late is a risky game, however, as those who got in early will eventually need to take their profits. There is also a bit of the “greater fool” factor, as anyone who is still buying is now buying at a higher price, and from a seller who has reason to believe the move may soon be over. The idea then is that hopefully someone will keep on buying after you, at an even higher price, when you eventually decide to become a seller yourself.
When prices start falling, they awaken fear and panic. Fear is one of our most primal emotions, which explains why prices often fall faster than they rise. People holding longs run for the door trying to sell as quickly as possible, and short sellers motivated by the falling prices add their own orders to the mix as well. When those short orders are eventually covered in order to realize profit, there are temporary rallies which can give false hopes.
This crowd mentality frequently creates moments of market imbalance which can be capitalized upon, once one can learn to recognize the signs and interpret them correctly. Above all else, the key to developing this skill is practice.
Crowd mentality changes slowly, and price patterns recur, albeit with variations. Emotional swings provide trading opportunities, while efficient markets chop up and down, offering no edge to traders, only piling up their costs