Tag Archives: psychology

Psychology, ‘edge’ and what they ACTUALLY mean in trading

Pin-ball ricocheting through the trading universe of gurus, systems, literature and hype I’ve been repeatedly irritated by everyone’s inability to define two persistent concepts. You’ll hear these tropes over and over…

  1. You need an edge
  2. Trading is 90% psychology

Well thanks you great and ponderous genii but what in heavens name do you actually mean?!?! You may as well be describing clouds to a fish for all the good knowing this will do.

Did I mention this ‘godlike pronouncement from on high’ nonsense irritates me? Oh and by the way, the definitions (when they do appear) don’t necessarily agree with each other. Brilliant eh? #facepalm

I’m feeling quite combative so in this post I will be sticking my neck way out there and proposing some proper definitions.

Let’s take a step back and roll out a big concept… To trade successfully you basically need these three things squared away.

Trading without attachment

Risk

Don’t risk more than you can afford to in each trade. Don’t trade an amount that has a negative impact on your ability to manage the trade or think rationally. If I have to explain to you why this is important we’re basically in deep s**t already.

A large part of the issue around risk seems to be un-realistic expectations which I’ve addressed elsewhere. Summary? Don’t trade like you know what you’re doing. This can be fatal. I will re-visit this in detail in another post and try to remember to post the link back here.

Edge

You have an edge if the trades you take over a statistically relevant period of time have a net positive expectancy. In other words… How you trade needs to make money over weeks, months and years. Your indicator diarrhea based, extensively back-tested blah-blah-blah is of no use if the execution is appalling. Does how you execute, manage and evolve as a trader net you profit over time?

Hand wringing about how you detail or characterise your ‘edge’ is pretty much a waste of time because all you need to know is whether you have one or not. To do this all you can do is look at your results.

If you make money then you have an edge. It is likely that this is the result of a ridiculous amount of study, losses, perseverance, pain, irritation, despair etc. then at some point this becomes familiarity, belief, success, euphoria, process orientation and ultimately boredom.

You should then be able to show/teach another person how you trade. You really know how to do something when you can teach it to someone else so clearly they can pass it on successfully to a third party you’ve never met.

At this point the student/teacher process breaks partly due to issues around risk but mainly because of the third leg of the stool…

Psychology Arousal Control

We make crappy decisions under conditions of emotional arousal or stress. Putting your wang in some random ’cause you’re horny and then giving your girlfriend an STD is an example of arousal leading to making a crap decision.

I’ve crossed out psychology and labelled it ‘arousal control’ because (again) no-one really relates to what ‘psychology’ as a word means in this context. Hopefully everyone has experienced what arousal is at one point or another but please don’t send me emails with examples. Thanks.

Arousal is when our focus narrows and our rational decision making goes completely out of the window. It’s when our monkey brain starts screaming like something trapped in a cage from 28 Days Later. It’s gibbering and throwing poop. Monkey mind needs to STFU because: –

  • If you manage your risk
  • as well as having a trading process that is statistically profitable over time
  • with a mind this is in an un-aroused state

then with these three things in line you have every chance of taking money out of the market in the form profits. With just one of these legs missing your stool will fall over.

So here’s the point of this post.

I used to be worried about my psychology with respect to trading and it would drive me nuts ’cause it’s such a huge topic. You read about it literally everywhere with trading, psychology, psychology, psychology AAAAARGH… I had literally no idea where to begin ‘sorting out my psychology’ and found this very demotivating.

Apologies in advance if the next part comes across as somewhat glib cause you’re not there just yet. It’ll take practice but what I’m going to suggest is very do-able I’m not special in this regard.

If you want to sort out your ‘psychology’ with respect to trading then you need to concentrate on removing the aspect of your response which leads you to make mistakes. It’s okay to have emotions, just not emotions that lead to you to make bad decisions. Even asking yourself simple questions when you are about to make a trading decision can have a huge impact at each stage. Take the arousal out of the equation by whatever means works for you.

The emotional part of your brain (when aroused) is a terrible trader so you need to practice managing it when engaged in this activity. This is why gurus and the trading literature keep banging on about following rules. Ironically having rules and being discretionary cannot logically fit into the same box – hence discretionary trading is hard to teach.

Having been able to observe what I do/did and then dial back the monkey/arousal part of my brain when I see it kicking in means you’re now seriously tipping the odds in your favour.

How have I managed to actually do this?

You can’t change a behavior till you know it from every angle in order to combat it. It will seek to continue doing it’s job because there is a reason for it’s existence – just unfortunately when trading it’s not useful.

The job of this part of the brain is to hyper focus in case of danger or ’cause you’re going to have to fight someone else for the chance to mate. Your job is to trick this part of your brain to back off so your more rational/experienced/conscious and process driven thinking can help you make the most of the dice roll trade.

Which is where the other two legs come back in. If your risk isn’t in control this is very hard to do. If you haven’t got a clue how/why your trades make money then quieting the monkey will be extremely difficult if not impossible. Let’s assume you’ve got these two parts sorted though… What else can you do to help re-frame what you’re doing?

  1. Rinse as much emotion as possible out of the event you’re engaged in. What happens next must have absolutely no bearing or impact on your life, self esteem, emotions, hopes, fears or dreams. Win/loss or whatever means nothing. Consciously think about this when looking at getting into or managing a position. Breath deeper if you need to.
  2. Really treat this experience as an opportunity to learn more – especially at a physiological level. With practice you can observe/feel your mind and it’s almost like trying not to go over the edge (ahem… you know what I mean). If you going to make a knee-jerk reaction based on your mind running about then STOP and don’t do anything till you’re sure you are going on something you can justify – a proper REASON has to exist for you to take action
  3. Do not engage in the mental gymnastics associated with chains of events. You may have taken three losers (or winners!) in a row. Taking or managing this trade has completely bugger all relationship to anything that went before. Don’t fall into this trap. Events that follow each other are NOT correlated at all in any way. I can’t overstate how important this is.
  4. Do not look at your P&L – if you want to mess yourself up emotionally by 200% then feel free to do this. This is partly related to point 3 above of course. You’re involved in a one off single and unique event – stop dreaming about the Ferrari
  5. Breathing – like any stressful event just breathing and being an observer is a very effective way to ‘step back’ from what you’re looking at. In the end though (like everything) it takes practice over and over again. Keep practicing keeping your mind in check.

Having finally realised this I’ve stopped worrying about my ‘psychology’ and have been focusing on dialing back my emotional knee-jerk reactions when executing and managing trades. This has meant I’ve actually been looking at what’s happening, following my rules (edge), managing risk and taking the emotion out of each event.

In some ways the fact I’ve previously meditated regularly and still do this (not as often as I should) gives me an advantage because I can usually take a few breaths and step back from the ‘omfg it’s going against me I’m a terrible human being I’m never going to make it why did I get into this position what am I doing with my life‘ insanity. After all, it’s only a trade and I didn’t bet my house/car/self-esteem on it.

Practice taking a step back, looking objectively at the trade as a single, un-correlated event and things begin to sort themselves out. Practice this 100 times and it begins to be less of an issue.

Update: +22 | +2 | -2 | +0 | +24 | -10 | – 8 | +10

My particular problem right now? I’ve not had enough practice doing this when my trades are in the green ’cause that last one should have been +30 😉

brain

Some new observations about psychology and so on

It seems my post title’s need work since I may as well call this one ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ but let’s go with it anyway… I’ve long stopped being concerned about turning this blog into a ‘thing’ since I write here to help clarify my own thoughts rather than add more noise to the signal.

As an aside I went through ‘wordpress’ list of ‘blogs I follow and ended up deleting 60% of the entriest since most people who were active 1-2 years ago seem to have stopped writing.

My own post frequency has died on it’s arse since I’m focusing on doing rather than writing about stuff and then NOT doing anything. It seems every time I come back to WordPress they’ve also changed the UI… shows you how big these gaps are becoming.

However I felt beholden to recommend the following book (not a trading book) and make an additional observation since it might help someone out there. Off we go…

Struggling with placing trades

So here’s the thing… I’m sure I’ve written about this whole topic before. I have a few persistent behaviors I get into when looking at placing trades. Some or all of these may occur: –

  1. I look for confirmation of my idea by other traders
  2. Manage to talk myself out of placing the trade at all
  3. Get scared off by the big red/green candle and don’t do anything

Issue number 1 is simple to fix. Don’t canvas other people’s opinions or spend too much time worrying about everyone else. Since it really has to come down to me in the end the opinions or others are essentially meaningless.

Issue numbers 2 and 3 are allied to that basic human emotion of fear. That part of your brain which has been programmed since time immemorial to stop you taking risks. Since science-fiction like reprogramming options aren’t available it means the only option is to re-frame the conscious decision making process around the circumstances of placing the trade.

So on to the serendipitous solution where I ran smack into The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Which can be summarised as follows…

The one thing you must do is, by definition, outside of your comfort zone. Avoiding or hoping for the perfect circumstances before proceeding is foolish and delusional. The obstacle lies in the path which must be taken since victory doesn’t come from fleeing from the battlefield.

The book describes how seeking comfort or ‘ease’ is actually robbing us of our capacity to evolve and experience new things. Taking on the experiences that scare us knowing that these are the exact things we must become familiar with is immensely powerful psychologically. I’ll prove this point with my own experiences later on.

Struggling with change in general

I am not happy with certain aspects of my life. There are characteristics, habits and behaviors I have which I don’t actually like very much.

  1. I eat chocolate when I’m stressed at work and don’t sleep for long enough
  2. I don’t eat particularly healthily anyway which compromises my time in the gym
  3. I waste a lot of time consuming media (films/games) instead of creating (I love to write) or spending time learning new skills
  4. The list goes on…
  5. and more…

While this intersects with some of the ‘avoidance’ behavior of my lizard brain not wanting to expose itself to change/risk/the unknown I heard something the other day which literally scared the crap out of me.

There is no future version of yourself. The person you are now is the person you will be in the future.

I had recently spent some time getting my head around the fact that if I actually did want to have a different life then the person I’d have to be would have to be significantly different… and then… nothing happened. Once I heard this phrase the reason became very clear.

I hadn’t been making the effort to change my habits in the present because some ‘amazing future version of me’ would have it all nailed down and it would happen ‘in the future’. In the meantime what I had was an amazing way of excusing myself for my lack of effort, focus and will-power.

All of my less than optimal habits associated with how I use my time, pursuing my goals around trading, diet and fitness have been deferred to this amazing future me.

The ‘future version of me’ will never ever appear unless I focus on changing the only version of me that actually exists. The person I am now – in this moment

So I am in the process of continually reminding myself the ‘future me’ (who I have dearly loved and cherished for many years)  has to die. I’ve never been one for reminiscing about the past – as anyone who has encountered my shocking memory will know – but I’ve previously held on very tightly to ‘someday’.

It appears this is not a profitable belief so it’s going to get crushed.

Ah yes, taking on experiences that ‘scare’ us

There’s a lot more behind this which I’ll go through in another post but by accepting the obstacle as part of the path I’ve actually had these results +22 | +2 | -2 | +0 | +24

I know 5 trades don’t make a track record (at all) but these are the ones I’ve taken within this new mental framework. Way less mental pressure and actual emotional distance from the whole experience. I might even say ‘fun’ 😀

Thanks for reading

Rob

Blog update for November

Well that’s just super… WordPress ate my blog so this is a re-type… hence it’s going to seem curt, short and to the point. I can’t remember the jokes from the first version either but take it from me they were hilarious 😉

It’s been two months since my last post and I’ve pretty much taken my brain out of the whole ‘trading’ subject. Ok, that’s a lie. What I’ve been doing is attempting to re-frame how I think about the sharp end of this topic which is placing and managing trades. This has resulted in me realising a few things about the contents of my own brain which I’ll go into.

Developing non-attachment

Really what this comes down to is that I’m too attached to the outcome associated with an action.

This is supremely ironic because in my day job (project manager) I’m very much at home with making decisions and proposing a course of action. Where I think this falls over in trading is that I’m way too attached to the outcome…

‘Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.’

In my meditation practice being attached to the outcome of a situation means that you fail to see it clearly. That filter of attachment introduces fear, doubt and uncertainty which makes for sh**y trading decisions. Getting in too early and then getting out too early are big ones for me.

So I’ve spent a lot of time re-framing how I perceive myself when trading. In fact what I’m attempting to do is develop what’s called ‘witnessing consciousness’ which is the dispassionate observation of the ‘chatter’ in your own mind. This isn’t trading without emotion, this is avoiding being triggered by emotions that do arise – think of this as being able to look at yourself doing something from the outside.

This leaves room for intuition/fear/emotion etc. but it means that you’re looking to create a ‘gap’ between feeling and action which is based on trading experience and reason. It’s an attempt to short circuit your screaming monkey brain which is trying to throw pooh at the monitor 😉

Being here now…

I have consistently attempted to push my life forwards and then gotten incredibly frustrated when it’s failed to move at the speed I’d like. I’ve recently realised what a waste of energy this is and my disappearance two months ago was really the result of me throwing my toys out of the pram to go and sulk…

There is no good time to start anything new. Waiting for the perfect moment or opportunity to start doing something is preventing you from starting. The trick is simply to start because inevitably you’ll get there a lot sooner because whatever it is that you want to do will probably take you longer than you think anyway… so just start.

If I’d have waited till I knew everything about exercise and nutrition before starting to go to the gym I’d be in even worse shape now if I’d never have started. As it is – seven years later – I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and I still don’t really know as much as I’d like about what works or doesn’t work for me. A couple of things I’ve tried recently have paid off but again, this is seven years after I began by puking up trying to run round the local park.

Probably because it’s more cerebral and not physical I’ve delayed really starting to get my head around trading till fairly recently – I have been waiting for perfection when it’s clear that may only be reachable in a few more years. The learning isn’t in the learning, it’s in the doing.

So there needs to be a lot more doing.

Forget about the future

I have literally no idea what my life will look like with respect to trading two years from now. What I do know is that thinking/planning/worrying or being concerned about it now is a complete and utter waste of time and effort.

The thing to focus on is the trade I will place tomorrow, then the one after that, then the next one.

In a number of years (as with going to the gym) I will be able to think back to this point and think ‘Aha! look how far I’ve come’. Being overly concerned with the end goal now is a total waste of time and inhibits my freedom of action/movement.

These three things are the same thing

Fear. Fear of making a mistake whether it is with regards to trading or any other topic. Having some idea that I’m able to get to a point of understanding or ‘completion’ in trading/life is essentially an illusion. As with all things you have to engage in experiences and then learn along the way as part of an iterative process. Had I had less fear/concern about the future I’d have got laid a whole lot more by now too…

In my work life I’ve pretty much had enough of these that I know what works. In going to the gym all this time I’m finally getting there where I know what works for me nutritionally. In trading this comes down to knowing way more theory than learning from real experiences.

So the way forwards is to practice non-attachment, to be unconcerned with the distant future and place one foot in front of the other. Then one day I’ll look up and find I’m at the top of the mountain.

Thanks for all the comments / encouragement over the last few weeks. There will be a number of blogs coming out in the next week with stuff I’ve stumbled over as well as some decent trades too so stay tuned and thanks for your patience.

Off the reservation and self preservation

Right up-front, before anyone else makes this comment I’m going to make it for them.

I am currently failing to learn this skill

Now this isn’t in some sort of ‘oh, woe is me’ post because I’m just not like that – oh no.

This is a statement of fact based on a recent trade where I went completely off the reservation. Friday I got involved in a trade with the following characteristics: –

  • It wasn’t my idea
  • It was in a pair I’ve not previously looked at
  • It was against the prevailing market mood
  • My entry point didn’t follow any setup at all
  • It was on a timeframe I’ve not traded in before

While this experience wasn’t particularly damaging financially it did lead me to question whether (after all this time) I have any business putting real money into trades when I am still pulling this sort of suicidal crap.

After much soul searching (well 20 minutes) I’ve pulled my live account and will be trading on demo till Feb. So that’s four months to get my proverbial s**t  together and prove to myself I can build a rising equity curve over time.

BEFORE anyone chimes in with the ‘demo account is not like real trading’ bleh, bleh, merh meh me noises… I know this. However I’d suggest that if you (or one if you’re pretending to be HRH) can’t do this off a demo system then there is literally no way on earth you can trade successfully with real cash.

I appreciate this isn’t exciting or interesting for people reading (sorry) but as I pointed out this trade was a universe away from everything I know that works…

Reading books, knowing setups and all that is valuable but they’re nothing without proper execution… and my execution really, really does suck.

So back to the drawing board, back to school, back to backtesting and back to demo. The upshot of this may be that my posting rate drops off a cliff but it was already pretty minimal. However, in this context going backwards may actually mean going forwards in the long run.

Let’s make it so ’cause now I’m just plain pissed off.

Miss-directed rebellion

In the last few weeks I’ve kind of been ‘on a break’ from looking at making trades because I’ve realised there are some psychological bits and pieces that I need to sort out. (ok, ok, some huge dirty great rocks)

On the plus side I actually (now) have the means to get inside my own head and root about for answers. As I wrote here I started meditating regularly well over a year ago now.

The fact that trading prompted me to even start doing this means, even if it ends up nowhere, meditating has really changed my life so I’ve not wasted my time. This isn’t the right post to get into the muck and bullets of that statement so back to the first paragraph…

It’s clear to me that through all the stuff I’ve learned about the technical part of trading there isn’t really any more to cram into my brain. Where I am now on this is all about application and probably has been for at least the last three months. I can keep ‘information gathering’ but that’s really all it will be in the vast majority of cases.

So we get onto the super duper part of application. Applying the knowledge I have in the market. Exciting, right?! Hmmmm… not so much. In fact I have discovered a number of challenges.

  1. I absolutely cannot get out of bed in the morning
  2. I have a lot less ‘self-discipline’ than I thought
  3. Definitely under capitalised due to my life circumstances

Point number 3 is something I’m working on (hey, work – gettit?) but I’m going to have to come back to that one elsewhere. However points 1 and have definitely been the source of endless frustration. Being generally pissed off at yourself for something that you can’t seem to overcome despite a lot of ‘good intentions’ is not healthy.

So eventually after a lot of sitting (i.e. meditating) and when this quote hit me in the face from somewhere I figured it out. First the quote: –

habits – you make them and then they make you

What I figured out is that from a quite young age I’ve been in the habit of rebellion. Now this doesn’t mean I’m some sort of anarchist 😉 it just means that early on (as a teenager) for a number of reasons I had to define my own identity and in part was only able to really do this by a certain degree of non-conformity. This could also be described as ‘f**king things up’ 😀

Now where this really becomes a problem is that ‘rebellious voice’ may have served me for a time as a teenager but I’ve let it stick around and it’s significant influence has become something of a habit.

Doing stuff for yourself and that ‘I’ll show them’ approach may work to solidify a sense of self when you’re 16-24 but it’s now quite counter productive.

What I’ve come to realise is this part of my inner world stopped rebelling against ‘others’ (or my parents) a long time ago and then took it upon itself to rebel against my own desires, wishes and intentions.

Read that last bit again. As soon as I became functionally independent that part of me decided it’s ‘job’ was to rebel against what I’m looking to do!!

Now clearly this part of me didn’t want to die so it had to be very clever and keep very well hidden so I have made progress it’s just maybe not with the speed and precision I could have.

It’s job is to rebel, to pull in the other direction. If I want to go left it wants to go right. If I want to improve my diet it’s busy convincing me that it’s ok to eat chocolate in the morning with my coffee (loaded with sugar).

Now the strategy might be to apply more self discipline. I can tell you now this doesn’t work and it’s tiring as hell. Why fight, fight, fight with a part of your own mental landscape? It’s just too hard and I’m smarter than that.

So what have I done? I have re-tasked this part of my rebellious self away from being an internal ‘blocker’ or guardian to have an external focus.

This is how it works. My higher self want’s to go to the gym. Rebellious me doesn’t want to and starts coming up with all sorts of reasons and justifications not to. Here’s the conversation…

Me: Right, time to go to the gym

Reb: No I’m tired, why not coffee rather? Do it tomorrow etc. etc.

Me: Hi Reb, you know this isn’t your job anymore right?

Reb: What?! How did you notice me?

Me: I’m aware of you now – you’re job is now to look out for external stuff ’cause you’ve grown up. You’re built to push back on stuff out there not ideas from within

Reb: Awww, but it’s harder!

Me: Yes but let’s go to the gym and I’m sure you’ll get the chance to do something later.

Reb: OK, but give me an example so I know what to look out for.

Me: Ok, like someone trying to take advantage or use emotional blackmail or manipulate you (us)

Reb: Right, external stuff as we discussed!

Me: Absolutely partner.

I get to go to the gym and don’t carry a stack of crap around associated with not going the gym/eating cake. Since I figured this out (last week) it’s actually been pretty cool seeing this in action although of course this new habit of correctly focussed rebellion isn’t bedded in 100% yet.

Sometimes it’s not more positive pressure that’s required but less negative influence – maybe from an area that’s hard to accept.

Who knew I was still such a rebel? I didn’t 😉

Searching for the silver lining

This post is somewhat unusual in that it actually contains a chart – whump! (sound of reader falling off chair) and describes a failed trade. That last bit isn’t (currently) so unusual 😉

The silver lining is related to the ‘recovery’ or indeed what’s known as the art of getting out… but before we go there I’ll cover why I thought getting in was a good idea…

Essentially I ‘felt’ that we’d got to the bottom for the euro ahead of the US open and that we should see the cavalry appear to buy back the lows. I didn’t believe there would be a whole heap more selling interest last thing on a Friday…

This was sort of propped up by the super amount of chatter along the lines of ‘OMFG the Euro is going to TANK!!’ which generally gets on my nerves…

It probably didn’t help that I was looking at this on my phone while sitting in a coffee shop. This is never a good idea. At the time I also believed that there would be a short sell off then a recovery – which meant I at least placed my initial stop a thousand light years from my entry.

Now in retrospect what I failed to check when attempting to pull this sort of stunt was the ATR for previous days. We’d moved about 100 points and the previous few daily ATR’s was about 120 so at the very least I was getting in significantly early…

So I got filled at 1.21790 and had to leave what I was doing, move about and get back to work… The next point I have an opportunity to see what’s going on I have one of these moments…

Anyway I’m now pretty much looking to get out of this because the original ‘thesis’ for my trade is very wrong. The only saving grace here is that what I originally believed would happen will still happen it’s just this is going to take me out at/around me entry point rather than at +30 which is what I had originally been looking for

So I’m now ‘happy’ cause while I made a rookie mistake (not checking what the ATR actually was before going into this) I’ve enough experience to ‘know’ that rather than throwing all my toys out of the pram and puke for -20 price should grind back to at/near my entry and I can get out pretty close to even.

There’s a point later where I could have got out exactly flat but I wanted to exit before people started fading the london close and didn’t want to grind out another hour with a potential 30 point loss ‘at risk’ if the market decided to take another leg down. What’s the benefit of risking losing 30 to gain another 5 points on my exit? There isn’t one and I obviously can’t see into the future. If anything this post proves that. LOL

Now there’s all sorts of things I could have done to improve the outcome like adding at 1.2150 but I’m trying to manage this through my phone and generally stick to my (new and on the fly) exit strategy. Adding to losers isn’t on the list of ‘new and wacky things to try‘ especially not on a Friday afternoon when I’ve not done it before.

Or I could have had a stop under 1.2175 but I wasn’t really prepared to do that ’cause I was a little close to the US open bell.

Or I could have closed my trade then got short at 1.21800 but really, by this time I was a bit fried mentally. Worth considering for another time though… Maybe not last thing on a Friday however.

So there you go. I made a mistake, it didn’t kill me, I learned a lot and maybe some of you learned something too (e.g. time of day is important)

While it was a ‘failure’ from a results perspective from an ’emotional management’ perspective there was a marked improvement from previous encounters like this.

p.s. Thanks to everyone for the ridiculous number of views (2000+) related to the previous post which was completely staggering. Your support and interest is essentially what is currently keeping me moving forwards – seriously.

I’m also considering changing the theme/format of this blog but if I go there it’ll be in a couple of weeks time. People don’t seem to like change so I’ll only do this if/when I can find something really sweet/zen looking etc.

Psychological iceberg ahoy!

It’s taken me about two weeks to find the balls to write this post and so it’s worth a quick recap otherwise some of what follows won’t make sense.

In the previous post here I pretty much made the point that from a ‘technical’ standpoint I actually do know what I’m doing. There’s some actual evidence to back this up too 😉

So that post was really about giving myself a kick up the backside and focussing on making the effort required.

The big challenge occurred when (two weeks ago now) I went to put this into action and I’ll be honest people, I completely failed to make any progress.

I just couldn’t get myself into a point mentally where I was happy enough to place any trades. A quite rigorous beat up session then followed.

I told myself that I really like having the time to watch price and ‘connect’ with the market and of course working a job somewhat gets in the way… but that’s not really it.

That was just an excuse.

So it’s actually Rogue Traderette’s blog here which contains this priceless piece of wisdom that I ran into like a freight train. Ouch!

If you’re looking for trading to solve existing issues then you’re wrong…

Awww… crap… as eventually my brain managed to see the rest of the iceberg which was that I’ve always, always (i.e. my whole life) been looking for something outside of myself to ‘fix’ my life. Double Crap.

Here’s why this really sucks. This has applied to almost every significant decision I’ve made whether it’s to do with people, jobs, relationships or in this case trading.

Somehow I thought that something other than me, something external, could ‘fix’ me or ‘save’ my life. I’ve been looking an awfully long time.

How this relates to trading is that it’s psychologically almost impossible to trade if you’ve managed to attach that much emotional load to something over which you have absolutely no control whatsoever.

So what does this mean? Well obviously trading will not ‘fix’ my life so I shouldn’t attach so much importance to the outcome of an individual trade because to borrow that well worn phrase – ‘It’s the journey, not the destination’ and you know (I’m telling you) I’m very, very far from journey’s end.

An over-riding attachment to the outcome, linked to my previous perspective, means that taking trades is actually made way too difficult because I’m making a huge deal out of them. I’m completely failing to get out of my own way.

This is a huge mental boulder that I’m working around at the moment and it’s a biggie so might take a while.

However it might be the last one…

As you can tell – I’m an optimist! LOL 😉

BTW: Huge props to Jess (RogueTraderette) for the great humour, content and just general awesomeness of her blog. If you’re not subscribed there already then you should be! Arnie says ‘Do it NOW!’