Some of my personal psychological topics related to my trading are:
1. Habits that are typical and normal in my life, but counter productive to trading
2. Thoughts that are habitual and needed to change
3. Feelings that got in the way
4. Fear of about 20 things also not good, but must be faced
5. Extending determination to trade well to all aspects of my life that required adjustments but I didn't get to putting my energy into them until recently
6. Repeating the same thing and expecting different results
7. Understanding when my distraction urge is high and knowing I just won't enter trades in that state of mind
8. Spending too much time with trading on my mind during times when no progress could really come from it and I really need to stop and go live life and do other things (thought addiction)
9. Repeating so-called lessons way too many times because they were not learned
10. Finally and for good, the compulsion to need to place a trade has drifted away and I now feel different and act different, and follow my plan, and can be happy not trading for hours and days. Passing on setups for many reasons, testing my new found state, and actually having gains that I am keeping, however small they may be, this is totally different for me. Biggest and most significant change is this one.
I have plenty more and can elaborate on each one. I'll continue listing more. Feel free to ask me about any of them. (4 years full time now and part time prior for a total of 15)
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Thanks. No priority but that bunch is just the most recent, which did move me into following my trading plan, so they are just the most significant recently, but all the prior ones all add up and are also just as important.
11. Realizing that what I am doing and have been trying to do for years, does not work, will never ever work, and is a waste of my time and effort and I'm done with it. - I was sim trading this impossible style after losing with it live trading - I just couldn't give it up, until I worked it out of me.
12. Agreeing with Dr. Brett Steenbarger that trading is a performance activity. Then deciding that it was a highly competitive high performance activity, but that was actually counter productive. See next one.
13. Making the analogy that for me as a beginner, I put myself into the situation where trading was like boxing, where now as a little less of a beginner, it's like surfing, or maybe competitive surfing.
14. Realizing that I wasn't just risking my stop loss amount, but risking my entire self esteem in every trade - imagine the stress caused by that! It was extremely limiting.
15. Physically, in the brain, the energy shifts to different places and when thinking, there is heat that can be detected with a device that shows the heat in the prefrontal cortex - conscious thought area, and when feeling, it shifts back to the lower regions. So we either mostly think or feel. It's never just one, but emotion removes that critical and logical thinking we need at our fullest ability in trading. I had a lot of feeling as a beginner, my goal was to stop that. It wasn't easy. Got the idea from lots of places, but the science from Steenbarger.
16. The point that Mark Douglas makes about the fact that in or daily jobs we may have had before attempting trading, we were under strict control and had very limited freedom. As an independent trader, we have total freedom. That can be a big change that we might take advantage of. I sure did. Remember all those times you wanted to show up late for work but you didn't want to let anyone down or perform poorly or hut the company/client whatever? Well, now I can show up late! Great, but I'm now only hurting myself. This is only one small example of this.
17. The need to be right is tricky also.
18. Thinking that trading is just another activity when it is more like another profession or career. Meaning that it requires a bit more study, effort, time, expense, energy, etc., in order to achieve any success.
19. I took 6 months off of day trading to trade options that were low cost in order to study my psychology in a very slow version of trading that had large amounts of time for me to observe a bit deeper into my self but still have money on the line and it helped. It was like a slow motion car crash. More analysis of the incident.
20. Finally relaxing my scam detector and believing that it may be possible to actually trade and profit consistently. Certainly the way that I was doing it, it was impossible. Getting to the point where I was able to do it correctly was a bit step in believing that it was possible. Accepting the instruction and guidance of the trainers, coaches, etc., that I was looking very skeptical at, previously. My skepticism bordered on paranoia. Easy to think this was considering all the rest of our consumerist society where sales and taking someone else's money is the goal in life. Yes, how ironic that that is now all I am doing! LOL. However, it is really the hedge funds and banks money, not any of ours. (Al Brooks says we're only 5% of the market)
#8 is big for me, but not as big as if I had a job, family, spouse, etc. But there are times when, looking at my intermarket stuff, basically the US dollar, bonds & notes, gold, oil, and they're all flat. Maybe they moved earlier, but it's summer and now they are sleeping. I need to just leave it and know that there is going to be time eventually that it will trend again. Or even range would be better than flat lining. Also, there are endless free materials to be watching after 4pm on a Friday, or other days, and there are books to read, charts to review, etc. There are more important things in life and I was totally consumed with the idea of trading. I'm like that with new things. I used to practice guitar for 6 hours a day when I started in High School. So it's easy to get obsessed and ignore healthy living and socializing. Extremes like that need to be tempered.
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* Trading is not a form of self expression
* I have emotion and
I can't ever control my emotion
I make sure to express my emotions appropriately so that when it comes time for trading, I'm calm & able to think clearly but
if I feel, I am aware of it, I don't trade or even look or have the platform open.
* am a disciplined trader, but only when in the confident, low emo energy state
i am an undisicplined and losing, gambing, idiot anti-trader with other emo or deep emo
that's it, simple, it only took me 5 1/2 years.
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This is awesome. I can relate to everything that you have discussed here and the one about not thinking about trading when it is not productive to do so made me laugh; I still suffer from this one. Great work in identifying these things in such a way that you are able to articulate it! It must be liberating to be able to self identify with this stuff. Really great!
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I can totally relate to the emotions you're feeling, I'm really battling them right now. Very similar to a kid when they are growing up.
I like what you said here " I make sure to express my emotions appropriately so that when it comes time for trading, I'm calm & able to think clearly but if I feel, I am aware of it, I don't trade or even look or have the platform open."
I feel I was handling it a little better when I was getting my cardio exercise in. Something you might try if you haven't already. I'm going to start back with it.
"Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time."
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Love the honesty and self-awareness in this thread!!
Thank you for pointing out that trading is not a form of self-expression. Super important point for me ... when I see trading as art it means that I'm attaching my ego and sense of self to my trades, which means there is a lot more on the line than just my stop loss. Very counterproductive! Trading is not a referendum on one's worth as a person ... and it doesn't have any meanings, except the ones we invest in it.
The bit about relaxing the scam detector makes me smile...nervously. I suffer from this big time. In my case, there is pride underlying my difficulty trusting others.
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great comments, the ironic thing about this journey for me, is that I thought I was just doing this for the money.
All the other things I ever did were not for the money, art, music, even some jobs, exercise, eating better, heath stuff, and I figured I wasn't going to go on any kind of journey like those other things, but since, like Dr. Brett Steenbarger says, trading is a performance activity, it challenged me like none of fhose other things.
...and all of the other things I've done, were all about increasing emotional expression, not the jobs tho, but even the jobs were about more time and effort attacking the issue to be solved, so trading challenged every single motivation and problem solving techniques that I ever had to improve my problems with it...
...so it turned out that since it was so mentally/psychologically challenging, it caused me to go deeper into self and learn more than I thought I was going to, which is the nice little twist that makes me smile...
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