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Work on your psychology, or just trade your way to success?

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Work on your psychology, or just trade your way to success?

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  #1 (permalink)
Rockledge, FL
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: Gain Capital, OANDA
Trading: GBP
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Posts: 416 since Oct 2014
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So I was thinking this morning about how much of this game is psychological, and how important it is to have your mind focused on the right things, and in the right way to be successful. I think we all would like to assume that our goals are pretty in line with the general thought that we come to the markets to make money, though I doubt most spend much time thinking of what it takes to get there, or if they do, then if they are aligned with reality. Just the general action and movement in the markets makes you want to do something, not sit around and think. Especially with one click trading, just click the button! You can assess what happened later. (Literally as my daughter walks over to my keyboard asking what a button did, and wanting to touch it! It's in our nature.) This is so wrong, but what you need to do is so counter-intuitive it makes us all struggle to one degree or another.

I believe that what you have learned about market movement, your strategy, your understanding/misunderstanding of profitability, etc. so I guess you could say your collective knowledge about trading, and your psychological beliefs about trading will have a direct impact on the way you trade. Now after I have laid it out like that, it all seems very obvious, but if those thoughts and beliefs shape the way we trade, and in essence how successful we are, then why don't we spend more time thinking about them? I do not have the answer to this if you were waiting for it, just writing out my thoughts . So I think we talk about risk, strategies, and statistics so much more because they are the exciting aspects to trading. It is where the rubber meets the road, and gives us direct feedback of what we need to adjust or change to make more money. But until you have truly grasped the psychological aspects of successful trading, it is very possible and easy to get caught up in the trap of knowing what you need to do, and then not being able to execute. Maybe you know what you need to do, but not the why. This is why we also can fall into the trap of thinking we need more discipline, when it is so much deeper than that! God knows how many times I have been there.

Also maybe this is just part of everyone's journey, the sad part being those who quit before they seek the right questions. It does take time and experience to learn to ask the right questions, do you know how many aha! moments I have had over the last 7 years? Moments that I thought would translate into my success? As for me I am quite stubborn, and it took me a long time to start asking the right questions. Much longer than necessary, but I made it to that point finally. Perseverance winning out.

Profitability boils down to one thing, and that is making more money than we lose right? How do we get there? Cutting losses short, letting winners run? Home runs, base hits, or a combination? They say there are a million ways to make money in the markets, but which one do we take? Trading is simple, but not easy they say. The truth there is astounding, but essentially useless as those other cliche's listed unless you take the time to peel back the layers of the deeper meaning(think never ending onion lol).

I guess all I am trying to say or ask is, how much time do you spend thinking about the important aspects of trading vs. the physical aspect of it? I am almost of the belief you should be spending more time thinking about it, and expanding your knowledge and beliefs, than you should be trading. We want to grow our accounts by stretching and working out our risk muscles, but how much are you growing psychologically in your trading? Most of us are impressed by @Big Mike, and his journey here laid out so publicly for us to read and have followed, but I think it is easy to read through his knowledgeable posts and miss one of the most important facts. His insatiable appetite for growth helped him achieve his desire of becoming a wildly profitable trader.

Are you growing? Do you have a plan for growth? May your growth this year lead you to new equity highs!

Gonna cross post this in the trading psychology section.

Rule number one in the markets is to never lose money. Well since that isn't realistic, I say if you're going to lose some money anyway then lose small, but when you win, give it all you've got and win big!
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  #3 (permalink)
Ede Netherlands
Posts: 4 since Jan 2020
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Of course, because emotions are something that's hard to control and something that's hard to fix. But with time and experience you become more calm and every problem in your way requires less of your strength, so you start to work more productively and calmly.

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  #4 (permalink)
Kyiv, Ukraine
Posts: 9 since Apr 2022
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Psychology for a trader is a very important aspect. You need to understand that it is the issue of psychology that is extremely important for a trader, as an impact on the results of work.

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  #5 (permalink)
 ZviTradingCoach   is a Vendor
Posts: 34 since Dec 2020
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The thread is titled "Work on your psychology, OR just trade your way to success?"
The fact is you need to do both at the same time. Work on your psychology AS YOU trade your way.

Just trading over and over again "until it finally kicks in" usually won't solve anything.
Too much psychology-oriented focus seems to debilitate most traders and except for specific issues, and for a specific time period, cannot be the sole focus.
The trick is to be aware of your psychology AS YOU TRADE.
Notice psych issues that come up as you trade. Think of solutions to those issues - how to act differently next time.
The next step is to work on those issues WHILE TRADING.
Notice them come up again - only tis time, you're prepared. You have a plan for what to do when you sense the same stress again.
It is THEN - when you re-experience old difficulties but act differently - that your "psych muscles grow stronger".
Keep doing this over and over again and new habits will form, and you will ingrain better responses for the same situation.

As a practical example you can look at my reply to another post, dealing with a similar subject:

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