The other day, I was mentioning (to an otherwise smart and informed guy) that I really believe that trading psychology is the most important aspect of trading.
In return, I got a weird look followed by: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Trading psychology is for the weak. Risk management is more important than anything!”
Risk management is more important than anything — this is one of those things that have spread on the Internet and, unbelievably, it has become an accepted truth to many traders.
I don’t discount the role of risk management. It’s true, it is absolutely crucial! But as a person who likes to think deeper about things, I can only notice that the mind is the starting point of all things. It is all you really have in life; it is what you bring to the game. And risk management is only direct result of how you’re using it – or not using it.
The trading/investment psychology work that I do here at Trading Composure isn’t about sharing some feel-good statements for some doe-eyed traders who lack mental toughness. It’s about helping one think with clarity. If one can’t think with clarity, how does one expect to manage risk?
That was my point when I told the guy that trading psychology is the most important aspect of trading.
That said, in this week’s post, I want to share 74 trading psychology truths that will hopefully make you understand just how important your mental edge is and why working on it should be one of your top priorities.
About Failures and responsibility.
1. Beginner’s luck often stifles growth. Losses and failure are good for you.
2. When failure smiles at you, the best thing you can do is smile back, while acknowledging that the lessons that stick are those that hurt.
3. Learn to laugh at the little things and this whole trading thing will be a whole lot easier. Be amused by your mistakes and failures and be thankful for the lessons. Trading is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.
4. Mistakes are essential stepping stones. Don’t shy away from them. Instead, welcome them. Let them teach you. Keep trading and keep pushing. Virtually every tale of success in trading that you’ll read involves resilience in the midst of failure.
5. Trading is a process. Be patient with yourself. At first, you will make mistakes; you will fail. But you want to fail. You need to fail. Failure is good for you. It builds resilience of mind; develops wisdom; it is the foundation upon which mastery, success, and happiness rest upon.
6. In order to succeed, you first have to be willing to experience failure. Truly willing. No lip service. That’s the price to pay.
7. One of the biggest difference between a winning trader and a losing trader is gratitude. when you allow gratitude to flow in your life, failures and mistakes don’t have the same meaning.
8. The moment you begin to entertain an expectation of obtaining something from what you’re currently doing, you’re instantly taken out of the experience of the present moment and you start operating with a loss aversion bias, which leads to rigidity and inflexibility.
9. When your expectations are low, it’s very hard to fail.
10. Being at the mercy of strong emotions makes trading so much harder than it needs to be. Yet the cure is so simple:
Understanding your system
11. If winning trades give you a buzz, you’re conditioning your mind to drool in anticipation of its next fix. And when it doesn’t happen, it’ll upset your expectations. If thrill naturally arises (which it will), feel it as it is, but then don’t cling to it.
12. The paradox in trading is that you need a good reason to get started — to invest time and energy in it — but once you start, you need to let go of expectations.
13. The market will always supply unexpected changes. Flow; don’t resist.
14. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, resolve to simply be patient and consistent.
15. Don’t demand or expect that the market unfolds as you would wish it to. Follow your process and accept reality as it actually happens. That way peace is possible.
16. In trading, things frequently won’t turn out as you expect them to. And how you deal with this is really what will make or break you.
17. You need to further your clarity by developing a deep understanding of probabilities, instead of feeding your delusions and grandiose expectations.
18. If you intimately expect to have a winning trade everytime you place a trade, you’re preparing yourself to head on an emotional roller coaster ride.
19. Don’t take trading too seriously. Nothing ever happens the way we expect. Overthinking is a waste of time & energy. Just stick to a process.
20. Failure is just a matter of perception.
21. It is your own mind, not the market, or life, that is to blame for your failures. You, yourself, are responsible for the good and bad in your life.
22. Even the worst loss that ever happened to you can be seen and converted into something positive. Life is all perspective in the end. You have the choice.
23. It’s the worry that gets you, not the actual loss.
24. From the market’s perspective, every up or downtick is just information. You are the one interpreting that information based on your beliefs.
25. A good trader trades rules unconditionally. Money is just a by-product of doing that well.
26. Being positive doesn’t mean that you have to be overly happy, cheerful, and optimistic. It means that you cultivate perspective and allow wisdom to guide your life.
27. Your mental and physical health comes first. Everything else is secondary.
28. It all starts and ends in the mind. The most crucial skill is how you think.
29. Happiness isn’t about reaching a state of constant high. It’s about being content with what you are and have.
30. If you always look to learn from everything, you will generally do so.
31. In trading, often what a person needs is not some brilliant mathematically-oriented mind, but just a little bit of common sense, patience, humility, and discernment.
32. Patience, persistence, and practice— your three best friends. Don’t ditch them.
33. Focus, patience, wise discernment, non-attachment —the skills you acquire and cultivate in meditation and the skills you need to thrive in trading are one and the same.
34. Part of being a good trader is knowing how to go through drawdowns with grace, courage, patience, and vision.
35. Impatience shows a lack of control over yourself.
36. The two greatest mental skills of the Pro-trader are patience and non-attachment.
37. In trading, patience is not just a virtue. It’s gold. Sometimes you can accomplish the most by doing nothing.
38. Trading is mostly a waiting game. if you want action that happens on your own terms, you’re in the wrong field.
39. Patience/ resilience/ non-delusion WILL be rewarded by the markets.
40. Trading is a path of losses. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll make sure to reap small losses. But sometimes unfortunate events will cause you to take bigger losses. If you’re any good enough at this game, you’ll make money in spite of that.
41. At its core, it is not losses that make you suffer. What makes you suffer is some idea or belief that you’re holding too tightly.
42. A person who hasn’t made peace with his past losses is likely to accept future gambles that would be unacceptable to him otherwise.
43. If old losses still trigger deep emotional pain within you, it means you haven’t healed yet. And you won’t release your potential as a trader until you do. Remember the lesson; let go of the pain. What helps:
Exposure therapy – a.k.a. trading small