Trading successfully means being in the right state of mind
The market doesn't change. Our systems don't change. But the person executing the orders is changing.
This should be obvious but you should not trade when you are tired, hungry, drunk, or high. Right off the bat you are in a different mindset. You don't think or process information the same way. You are different.
On some days you go in knowing that today I am going to make money. On other days you're more timid, you skip out on a couple of signals.
Nothing changed except the way you were thinking.
We must have consistent beliefs about the market if we intend on getting consistent results from the market.
Is this what separates the 90% who fail from the 10% who make it? This small mental edge. We truly believe you can beat the market. We believe that on any given day we will be able to make money going long or short. We believe you can hold a security for less than a day.
Do you think that being able to stay in a consistent and focused state of mind is the key to being a successful trader?
What do you guys think?
Last edited by TennisOrDie; May 6th, 2015 at 07:22 PM.
I place a lot of emphasis on a positive and productive psychological mindset for my trading, that is prior, during a post strategy.
Prior - I'll always go for a run and whilst running go through 5 affirmations over and over that align with my belief system of my ability and my future ability to be a consistently successful trader.
To make sure everything is in check and that something big isn't bothering me or i'm not hungover I'll carry out a biomechanical feedback check. Basically rating myself on a 1-100 scale on how fresh I'm feeling and how engaged I am starting to feel to trade after my run. If I'm below 50 I won't trade.
Sometimes I throw a bit of meditation to get present before I trade which actually can help me get focused if I'm not feeling it before.
Market prep is key too for me so I have some idea what to anticipate in order to not get thrown off.
During - For me it's all about interpreting what the market is giving me and understanding it's all non threatening and when my setups are taking shape and I get my signal, I'll pull the trigger. Even if I'm taking heat on that trade I'll accept any uprising emotion and also any euphoric emotion that can be just as destabilising. I'll fire off another affirmation to bring me back in focus. I think this can be the hardest part of trading as getting over emotional in your trading can lead to cutting losses too late and cutting winners too soon/late. It's something that I'm always trying to improve on.
Post - Pretty much all losses are a lesson, and every lesson is one step closer to consistency and some losses can be completely out of your control. I'll log my trade and note my biofeedback pre-trading score, how I felt entering the trade, how I felt exiting and what's the lesson learnt from the trade as a whole (this can be technically or psychologically focused).
My core focus when trading is to always stay detached. See the market for what it is and interpret the market information in a non judgemental state of mind in order to make precise executions. Not to get overly geeed up when you do well and not to curse yourself, the market or your computer when you lose. The market doesn't care for that and you shouldn't either.
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This is exactly what I was hoping for. What do successful traders do to prepare for a trading day? What do successful traders believe about the market? Is this the psychological side that people talk about when referring to day trading?
It's not all about being in the right mindset to trade, but learning to identify when the market is in the right mindset to trade it. What I mean by that is most of the time you honestly shouldn't be trading, but waiting. Most new traders have a hard time with simply waiting hours or even days to make a trade. If you're not feeling well you usually have less patience to wait and are more eager to say screw it and pull the trigger on something that looks iffy. By all means be in tip top shape mentally and physically because this will definitely allow you to make better decisions. It'll also make sitting there ten times easier because you won't have a headache wishing the endeavor was over lol. I definitely feel you on this topic and have given it much thought. Meditation and jogging is a must in my trading career because it allows me to have more mental and physical endurance to sit there longer; Otherwise, I'd otherwise start feeling ill and want to lay down. So basically what it comes down to is that if you aren't in the right mindset you're more apt to make mistakes without realizing it, give up too early, not be able to handle losses with a level head, or enjoy the process because after all that's what the job is all about, right? May the force be with you
Last edited by Itchymoku; May 7th, 2015 at 04:10 AM.
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The market does not change in that it changes all the time. Sometimes it might be worth considering whether systems should change. The person executing the orders might have a different mindset, but I believe the underlying reasons for trading remain mostly unchanged throughout any trader's life.
Processing information in a different way does not necessarily mean you are different. Perhaps being tired, hungry, drunk or high merely allows the feelings that a trader suppresses to come to the surface. Why would someone who wishes to trade and knows what needs to be done allow such indiscretions in the first place?
Having confidence does not automatically equate to making money. On the contrary, over-confidence seems to be a much bigger impediment than being timid.
I would think that the market changes every day, your emotions change all the time, and that this automatically has an influence on the way a trader is thinking.
I would say that applying your process consistently is much more important than obtaining consistent results. I don't need to make money every day in order to have a great year. Sometimes the market is not right and pushing for consistent results is counter-productive.
I think the percentages are closer to 95%/5% or maybe even 99%/1%. Belief alone does not make anyone a successful trader. Yes, you need to have a positive edge, yes you need to have the confidence to execute, but more importantly, you need to know your own weaknesses and find ways to make peace with them and work with them.
No, I don't think being able to stay in a consistent and focused state of mind is the key. Knowing your own weaknesses, finding ways to accept / deal with them, trading with a long-term edge, controlling risk and stopping once you realise your are sabotaging yourself are probably just as important.
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Obviously, trading drunk or high is not a good idea.
I think people get very carried away with the psychology side though. It quickly starts to sound like religious thinking to me.
It is very likely you just don't have a winning strategy and no amount of meditation or praying to the Gods is going to change that. There are thousands of people here and it has to be that most of us are trading losing strategies.
Like in poker, you never go on tilt playing someone you are better than at a stake you are properly rolled for. No one has psychological problems when they put on winning trades.
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You know, you are right in a sense. It is very easy to get carried away on the psychological side of things and it does tend to sound overbearing.
Yet, at the same time, Big Mike showed his method to everyone one this site and I am not sure how many people actually manage make money doing that. You can look into why he stopped posting his results. William O'Neil has a pretty good system (CANSLIM) yet there is plenty of evidence that suggests most people do not make money using CANSLIM. Mark Minervini also published his system, and again, except for a small handful of people I don't think people make money using that. Same with Dan Zanger, Nicolas Darvas, the list goes on.
I only mentioned a couple of methods above, but there are several systems that would most likely make significant money if traded over a multi-year period. I would however wager that most people would not be able to use them profitably. Wonder why that would be?
I heard about this one old trader who makes a trade or two a week and he's made millions off his trading. He teaches many how to trade but he says most people attempt to alter the system because they don't have the patience to wait for his signals. They simple become too bored watching the market 8 plus hours a day to not trade most days.
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