G. C. Selden Trading Psychology – Hunches And Gut Feelings

Recently most traders probably have spent a great deal of time managing risk and emotions. I know I have. When it comes to correctly gauging and dealing with emotions it is paramount to analyze your reactions in a detached way. The best way to get objective insight is to imagine taking a step back and then ‘watching yourself.’ It’s as if you were your own mentor or trading coach. This is not an easy task. Good results require emotional detachment, a lot of experience and the ability to honestly assess the degree of trading proficiency you have attained. Ultimately it will tell you what those gut feelings you are occasionally experiencing really are worth. That’s exactly what G.C. Selden addresses at the end of his classic trading book : ‘Psychology of the Stock Market’ which was first published in 1912. Here’s an excerpt dealing with ‘hunches and gut feelings.’ Lots of additional and valuable insight for traders is provided. Enjoy! 

An exaggerated example of “getting a notion” is seen in the so-called “hunch.” This term appears to mean, when it means anything, a sort of sudden welling up of instinct so strong as to induce the trader to follow it regardless of reason. In many cases, the “hunch” is nothing more than a strong impulse.

Almost any business man will say at times, “I have a feeling that we ought not to do this,” or “Somehow I don’t like that proposition,” without being able to explain clearly the grounds for his opposition. Likewise the “hunch” of a man who has watched the stock market for half a lifetime may not be without value. In such a case it doubtless represents an accumulation of small indications, each so trifling or so evasive that the trader cannot clearly marshal and review them even in his own mind. (more…)

Mark Douglas-Quotes

I know it may sound strange to many readers, but there is an inverse relationship between analysis and trading results. More analysis or being able to make distinctions in the market’s behavior will not produce better trading results. There are many traders who find themselves caught in this exasperating loop, thinking that more or better analysis is going to give them the confidence they need to do what needs to be done to achieve success. It’s what I call a trading paradox that most traders find difficult, if not impossible to reconcile, until they realize you can’t use analysis to overcome fear of being wrong or losing money. It just doesn’t work!” – Mark Douglas

If you really believe in an uncertain outcome, then you also have to expect that virtually anything can happen. Otherwise, the moment you let your mind hold onto the notion that you know, you stop taking all of the unknown variables into consideration. Your mind won’t let you have it both ways. If you believe you know something, the moment is no longer unique. – Mark Douglas

To whatever degree you haven’t accepted the risk, is the same degree to which you will avoid the risk. Trying to avoid something that is unavoidable will have disastrous effects on your ability to trade successfully. – Mark Douglas

Mastering the Trade, quotes by John F. Carter

masteringthetradeThe quotes below are provided by John F. Carter, master day trader; pulled directly from his new book Mastering the Trade.

I had just completed this book today evening and this is 2nd time read this book.

This may be the best quote of all:
“The financial markets are naturally set up to take advantage of and prey upon human nature. As a result, markets initiate major intraday and swing moves with as few traders participating as possible. A trader who does not understand how this works is destined to lose money”

“The financial markets are truly the most democratic places on earth. It doesn’t matter if a trader is male or female, white or black, American or Iraqi, Republican or Democrat. It’s all based on skill.”

“A trader, once in a position, can deceive himself or herself into believing anything that helps reinforce the notion that he or she is right”

“…professional traders understand this all too well, and they set up their trade parameters to take advantage of these situations, specifically preying on the traders who haven’t figured out why they lose”

“…markets don’t move because they want to. They move because they have to.”

“After all, the money doesn’t just disappear. It simply flows into another account – an account that utilizes setups that specifically take advantage of human nature.” (more…)

Development of trading expertise

anim_expertise1) Much of performance learning is the cultivation of positive habit patterns – If you have to make efforts to follow trading rules, that is effort not devoted to tracking markets. The key to success is turning rules into habits, so that they can be followed without effort, preserving mental capital for analysis and decision-making.this excellent New Yorker article on Toyota and the notion of kaizen. The path of kaizen is difficult to follow, but it’s a sure path to excellence.

2) The development of new habits opens the door to fresh ways of thinking and behaving – I’ve long noticed that successful traders periodically remake themselves and their trading, adapting to changing market conditions. They cultivate new habits, which aids them in developing new skills and ways of making money.

3) We will learn and perform best by making maximum use of our learning strengths – This is an extension of the notion of operating within a trading niche. If we’re engaged in a concerted program of learning and development, it makes sense to ground our efforts in learning competencies.

4) Performance improvement often occurs in small, continuous steps forward – This is an idea central to quality and performance improvement among manufacturing firms. The successful trader may set a single goal each trading session and track progress faithfully. Over the course of a year, that is hundreds of opportunities missed by the trader who lacks such goals. Take a look at

14 Questions for Traders

1)       Do I treat my trading/investing like a business?  Have I prepared for it the way I would for any other business?

2)      Do I have a business plan – a working document to guide my trading business?

3)      Do I have a set of written rules to follow?

4)      Am I following a regular procedure to prevent mistakes?  A mistake means not following your rules that you have laid out for yourself.

5)      Do I have a tested trading methodology?

6)      Do I know how my methodology will perform in different kinds of markets?

7)      Do I know what kind of market we are currently in now and what to expect from my methods in such a market?  Should I be trading these markets?

8)      Do I trade with exact exit points that are preplanned for every trade (position) I take?

9)      Have I developed specific objectives for my trading/investing?

10)    Do I understand that I achieve my objectives through a POSITION SIZING METHOD?   Have I developed a specific position sizing method to meet my objectives?

11)   Do I truly understand the importance of all the questions mentioned above?

12)   Do I understand that I create my own trading/investment results through my thoughts and beliefs?

13)   Do I accept full responsibility for that creation?

14)   Do I regularly work on myself to make sure that I follow the very important points (questions) above? (more…)

Creative Responsibility

“What good can come from comfort? It’s not going to be art. I think there’s a false ideal out there, to some people — maybe younger people — they might think “I could be an artist and I don’t have to work.”

“But I think calling yourself an artist, you have to work three times as hard as someone with a punch-clock job. Because if you punch in, you have a responsibility at your job, but you can also do what you’re told, and work the machine, whatever you’re doing, do whatever is already there for you… do what’s expected of you of that job.

“But if you are an artist and you have to create something from nothing — there is nothing on this canvas, nothing on this tape, we have to create something that didn’t exist before — that’s ultra-responsibility, super-responsibility isn’t it.”

– Jack White (via Conan O’ Brien)

Traders and investors bear a “creative responsibility” in respect to creating something from nothing… starting with a blank canvas (portfolio) and producing profitable and worthwhile results over time.

This notion reflects the craftsmanship embedded in the investment process… trade selection… methodology and process design…

As an active market participant, do you see yourself as an artist too? How do you embrace the creative responsibility that comes with such?

4 Trading Quotes From Mark Douglas

There is a random distribution between wins and losses for any given set of variables that define an edge. In other words, based on the past performance of your edge, you may know that out of the next 20 trades, 12 will be winners and 8 will be losers. What you don’t know is the sequence of wins and losses or how much money the market is going to make available on the winning trades. This truth makes trading a probability or numbers game. When you really believe that trading is simply a probability game, concepts like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or ‘win’ and ‘lose’ no longer have the same significance. As a result, your expectations will be in harmony with the possibilities.

If you really believe in an uncertain outcome, then you also have to expect that virtually anything can happen. Otherwise, the moment you let your mind hold onto the notion that you know, you stop taking all of the unknown variables into consideration. Your mind won’t let you have it both ways. If you believe you know something, the moment is no longer unique.

To whatever degree you haven’t accepted the risk, is the same degree to which you will avoid the risk. Trying to avoid something that is unavoidable will have disastrous effects on your ability to trade successfully.

The less I cared about whether or not I was wrong, the clearer things became, making it much easier to move in and out of positions, cutting my losses short to make myself mentally available to take the next opportunity.

The Zurich Axioms – Forecasts Predictions And Prophets

Here’s what Max Gunther, author of ‘The Zurich Axioms’ has to say:

The Zurich Axioms: ‘On Forecasts’, page 62:

Human behavior cannot be predicted. Distrust anyone who claims to know the future, however dimly.

‘Speculative Strategy’:
The Fourth Axiom tells you not to build your speculative program on a basis of forecasts, because it won’t work. Disregard all prognostications. In the world of money, which is a world shaped by human behavior, nobody has the foggiest notion of what will happen in the future. Mark that word. Nobody.
Of course, we all wonder what will happen, and we all worry about it. But to seek escape from that worry by leaning on predictions is a formula for poverty. The successful speculator bases no moves on what supposedly will happen but reacts instead to what does happen. (more…)

If You Have to Be Right, Trouble Ahead

“I confess, I think about the future. So do my colleagues. If someone who’s spent decades investing doesn’t have an opinion about what lies ahead, there’s something wrong. I believe our clients want us to apply the benefit of our experience in gauging and reacting to the opportunities and risks that lie ahead.
But I have a mantra on this subject, too: “It’s one thing to have an opinion; it’s something very different to assume it’s right and act on that assumption.” We have views on the future. And they can cause us to “lean” toward offense or defense. Just never so much that for the results to be good, our views have to be right.”
–Howard Marks, Oaktree Capital Management January 10, 2012

Marks is not a technical trend follower, but wise words about not worrying about being right.
The Dead saw it too:
Drivin’ that train
High on cocaine
Casey Jones you better
watch your speed
Trouble ahead
Trouble behind
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind

 
Trouble with you is
The trouble with me
Got two good eyes
but we still don’t see
Come round the bend
You know it’s the end
The fireman screams and
The engine just gleams

Mastering the Trade, quotes by John F. Carter

The quotes below are provided by John F. Carter, master day trader; pulled directly from his new book Mastering the Trade.

This may be the best quote of all:
“The financial markets are naturally set up to take advantage of and prey upon human nature. As a result, markets initiate major intraday and swing moves with as few traders participating as possible. A trader who does not understand how this works is destined to lose money”

“The financial markets are truly the most democratic places on earth. It doesn’t matter if a trader is male or female, white or black, American or Iraqi, Republican or Democrat. It’s all based on skill.”

“A trader, once in a position, can deceive himself or herself into believing anything that helps reinforce the notion that he or she is right”

“…professional traders understand this all too well, and they set up their trade parameters to take advantage of these situations, specifically preying on the traders who haven’t figured out why they lose”

“…markets don’t move because they want to. They move because they have to.”

“After all, the money doesn’t just disappear. It simply flows into another account – an account that utilizes setups that specifically take advantage of human nature.” (more…)

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