Your biggest enemy, when trading, is within yourself. Success will only come
when you learn to control your emotions. Edwin Lefevre
While a proven edge and a sound risk and money management technique are important, psychology is what glues everything together.
The reason for that is rather simple: Trading is a very tough profession as it requires us to take quick and often counter-intuitive decisions.
And most of the time the quality of these decisions is affected by myriads of factors based on our current mental state – are we sad, happy, anxious, depressed; are we hungry, tired, etc. These decisionswill also involve all of our beliefs about money, certainty, failure, right and wrong, and so on.
When you’re forced into making quick decisions, if you are incognizant and unaware of your inner states, the strongest thoughts, feelings, or emotions are going to prevail. So to succeed as a trader, we need a certain presence of mind and an awareness of our inner states.
I don’t believe we should attempt to control our emotions, as the above quote suggests — if by this logic, “emotional control” suggests eliminating or
suppressing emotions. Edwin Lefevre among others, although well intentioned are unknowingly responsible for the spreading of certain platitudes, conjectures, and fallacies that people take for granted.
I have been trading for 8 years now and I still can’t figure out what it means to control emotions, or to trade without them.
From personal experience, even though I’ve been trading for quite some time now, the emotions never go away completely. So, rather than “controlling
them” we have to learn to sink beneath them. In other words, we don’t associate ourselves to them anymore. We become passive observers of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, in such a way that they do not impede our behavior anymore.
By means of observation, we become detached from them! The character of this conversation we’re constantly having with ourselves is by and large what engineers our results. Our worries and anxieties, self-doubts, and self-criticisms — they demand expression, and they will find a way to do so when we interact with the markets. Thoughts are necessary and we couldn’t navigate our lives without them but this automatically of being lost in thoughts; of
identifying with them, and not knowing that we’re thinking is really the root cause of our mediocrity. This is something that I address in my acclaimed book, Paradigm Shift, which you will find an excerpt of at the end of this book.
I also delve further into the subject in my upcoming book, Zero to Hero.
The good news is that there is hope, and introspection allows us to inquire about the nature of our mental occurrences. The short trading psychology truths you’re about to read came to me through my humble encounters with my own mind. I hope you can find them useful, more so insightful. Feel free to email, print, and share them at your convenience, but please do credit me for them.
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