Trading Wisdom

Headinsand-How do you feel when your trading position goes against you? Do you react instinctively or do you follow a specific plan of action? Here’s what Richard Dennis has to say about this issue: “When things go bad, traders shouldn’t stick their head in the sand and just hope it gets better. You should always have a worst-case point. The only choice should be to get out quicker. The worst mistake a trader can make is to miss a major profit opportunity. 95 percent of profits come from only 5 percent of the trades.” Ignoring issues will usually carry negative consequences in the future. Have a well-researched plan and execute it with focus!

Are You Taking Trading Too Seriously?

Here’s a great video about trading psychology, even though it’s not directly about the stock market, futures or Forex, and doesn’t reveal any day trading tips. But it does contain a secret most traders are violating every day.

Trading is a great business. I love it, I’m passionate about it, and it is so much fun that I’d do it even if there were no money involved.

But it’s not just me. We traders are a passionate bunch.

We spend a LOT of time reading, studying, trying different indicators, tweaking indicators, testing various strategies and looking at chart after chart after chart.

And then you add the money factor – and well, we can get to be a bit obsessive (just ask any trader’s spouse!).

Work ethic is good, and it does take a certain amount of experience in the markets to become successful. The problem arises when you take things TOO seriously. That causes a block of your mental and emotional energy. And in extreme cases, it can have negative consequences in the rest of your life.

This video isn’t about trading. It’s about life. And therefore, it is about trading.

Enjoy, and leave a comment below with your reaction to the video.



Sticking to the Plan

A Trading Plan only has value if it is utilized as intended. It does you no good to have one if you do not stick to it. We all know this, yet traders find reasons to deviate from their Plan, almost always with negative consequences. Why? There are several reasons.

  • The Plan does not match the trader: A Trading Plan is a personal thing intended for a specific trader, based on her/his personality and circumstances. If it is not created honestly based on reality rather than hope, then it will not match the trader, and likely it will be neglected.
  • Lack of Patience: Trading Plans are intended to be long-term, at least relatively so. Many traders give up on their Plan, or often more specifically the trading system in the Plan, after a period of sub-par performance rather than sticking it out through the inevitable rough times.
  • Lack of Discipline: Trading according to a plan requires continuous performance of a set of actions in a proscribed manner. Doing so takes discipline. Traders lacking discipline do not stick to Trading Plans. (The word “discipline” is probably the most frequently used in regards to trading success.)
  • Self-Destructive Behavior: Sometimes traders have deeply ingrained issues of a psychological nature which tend to sabotage them. It is something which can be overcome with work, but first it must be recognized and addressed.

These are not the only reasons traders fail to stick to Trading Plans, but they do represent a large portion of the explanations for it happening. The point is that a Trading Plan is little more than a document if not put in to practice.

I hope this sequence has been helpful to you. Definitely feel free to drop me a question or leave a comment with your thought, experience, or ideas on the subject.

Traders and Drinkers…Are We Different After All?

If you find this post offensive, relax. This post is not intended to offend, only to discuss more trading psychology. I pass no judgments on this topic because I have lived through this subject in different aspects myself. I came across an article that correlates destructive trading to destructive alcohol consumption. Take a quick look at this questionnaire that professionals use to determine the severity of alcohol abuse…

1) Have you found that your drinking is bringing unwanted, negative consequences?

2) Have you recently felt guilty over the way you have been drinking?

3) Do you find you need to drink more just to get the good feeling?

4) Do you find that your personality changes when you drink excessively?

5) Do you find it difficult to take a break from drinking, even when part of you knows that this would be best for you?

6) Do you find yourself drinking to feel good about yourself?

7) Do you sometimes feel that you cannot control how much you drink?

8) Do you find yourself getting angry when someone close to you questions your drinking?

9) Do you find yourself vowing to limit your drinking, only to slip back into overdrinking?

10) Do you find it difficult to not drink given the opportunity, even when the occasion is not really appropriate?

Like I mentioned, these were questions that are typically asked by a psychologist when confronting someone struggling with alcohol consumption. You can apply this to any substance abuse, addiction, or whatever struggles you cope with. The question is “What about trading?” Take a look at the modified questionnaire…

1) Have you found that your trading is bringing unwanted, negative consequences?

2) Have you recently felt guilty over the way you have been trading?

3) Do you find you need to trade more just to get the good feeling?

4) Do you find that your personality changes when you trade excessively?

5) Do you find it difficult to take a break from trading, even when part of you knows that this would be best for you?

6) Do you find yourself trading to feel good about yourself?

7) Do you sometimes feel that you cannot control how much you trade?

8) Do you find yourself getting angry when someone close to you questions your trading?

9) Do you find yourself vowing to limit your trading, only to slip back into overtrading?

10) Do you find it difficult to not trade given the opportunity, even when the occasion is not really appropriate? (more…)

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