Trading is as much about psychology as it is about developing a solid strategy. Without the mental fortitude to stick to a strategy, it will never work, regardless of how good it is.
Successful traders not only learn to master their strategy, but they also take charge of their own psychology, developing traits, such as discipline, patience and anti-egotism. Let me begin by exploring the third trait, simply because this is rarely mentioned, but equally important.
Conducting self-analysis and having self-awareness allowed me to recognize the egotistical divide (the part that is concerned with the self-image and how others may perceive me). Many of us are dominated by our ego and don’t even know it.
So, let’s break it down further for anyone that is a little lost.
For a typical trader, the more conscious, rational and logical thinking part of the mind doesn’t typically run the show in the present moment. Rather, it’s the more automatic reactive unconscious mind that is fueled by feelings and emotions that takes over when you become engaged in a trade.
Many can mistakenly blame the feelings and emotions as the culprits; however as human beings, we will always have feelings and emotions and they will not just disappear as some people may lead us to believe.
This idea of being emotionless like robots came from traders who thought they could be robots whilst trading; without having to think and feel anything. Well, I say, that is only possible if you stop being human altogether!
We do however have a choice. We can either let our feelings and emotions work for us, or against us. It all depends on how we process and use them.
Think of your feelings and emotions as INDICATORS IN YOUR TRADING. When something doesn’t feel right, the first thing you must recognize is to know which drives what. When you are conducting your analysis and your finger is hovering above the mouse prior to pressing down on the “buy” or “sell” tab, ask yourself the question – “Is this the logical trader making the decision? Or is this my ego? It may sound funny but I always ask myself these questions out loud to reaffirm the question.
We will all have our own way of handling things but this is something that for me, was extraordinarily important on my journey to becoming psychologically fit for the markets, and I believe it will help you too.
Only once YOU have become attuned to your inner-differences in terms of the two above mentioned self-image perspectives, will you then be in your own perfect self-state within the markets.
As a point of reference, I would like to recommend a book called ‘The Chimp Paradox’. It’s not directly related to trading but its psychological explanations are incredible and have been a true help to me throughout my journey within the markets.
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