Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Psychological Battle

With my strategy now pretty much settled, I will this week be concentrating mainly on the side of trading that has given me the biggest headache since day one - psychology. I have been guilty in the past of thinking that the changes required in my mindset would happen naturally, as I became more experienced and gained more knowledge. I'm sure that for some people, they will gain that mindset naturally with experience but for me (and I think for most traders), it will take a lot more than just blind faith. What I'm saying is, in order to attain the perfect trading mentality, most of us have to be prepared to do more to change. Reading up on trading psychology in financial trading books has given me great insight into what is required but knowing the theory is one thing, putting it into practice is another. That is why I have tried to come up with plans and practical tactics (Talking, FPD Plan, The Beach etc) to get my head sorted.

What I've found a real help over the past few weeks, is to concentrate on one specific problem and set it as a daily or weekly goal to improve. I did this when I started focusing on improving my frustration levels by 'going to the beach' and that is now steadily getting better. I also wanted to stop fixating on monetary targets, so I got rid of the option to see my balance on The Toy. I was shocked by how often my eyes kept flicking towards the section on-screen where my total bank used to be displayed! Every couple of minutes I'd be automatically looking at it, showing just how obsessed I must have been to get that figure to a certain amount. After 2 days, I stopped looking and now, I hardly even think about what my balance is. Last week, I didn't even know what my profit was until after the final game on Sunday! And it has definitely made it easier to focus on each individual match without being affected by what I feel I need to be making.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; getting the right mindset is the hardest thing about trading. Finding the right strategy and learning the sport and the markets is something that anyone can do given enough time. You can change your system and gather more information easily. But changing the way you think, usually requires a massive amount of work and I don't think most traders realise how important this is. Your mindset will not change over-night, you have to put as much effort into sorting your head out as you would do testing new strategies or sifting through statistics or analysing the market. But I know for certain that most people don't spend any time concentrating on the mind. So if you have problems with the psychology of trading, it's no good just sitting there and hoping it will magically improve of its own accord - it won't. And no amount of staring at the ladders will ever change that.

3 comments:

  1. Lost a huge wedge last week. How do i pull myself back from that one?

    The little one will get less presents this xmas :-(

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  2. Well you could put your whole bank on Kvitova today ;)

    But if you want some serious long-term advice, then all I would say is analyse what you did and why you did it. Then you need to come up with some rules to prevent yourself doing it again. Find the root cause (usually a mental / emotional issue) and then come up with practical solutions.

    And don't think about pulling yourself back, it will only lead to chasing. You have to just assign it to history and start over as if it never happened.

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  3. Thanks Sultan.

    Will do the same as i do in chess.

    Hopefully then i can maybe find an edge.

    AL

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