"The Market cannot hurt Me. I can only hurt my Self!" - Josh Ridenour
There is a Time for Losing - The 29th verse of the Tao Ching is about how there is a time for everything in life. A time for being ahead, a time for being behind. In the market, there is also a time for everything. A time for large profits, small profits, break even trades, losers, and consecutive losers which lead to a draw down. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment depending on where you currently are. But it does not really matter what part of the cycle you are in, it is all part of a traders life and the cycle of a trading performance.
Stop Predicting! It is a false belief to believe prices and markets can be predicted. If it were possible eventually the majority of market participants would figure it out and there would be no one left on the other side of the trade, and the market would cease to exist entirely. If it were possible to predict markets, you could avoid losing trades and only take winners. Anyone who has been trading for very long knows this is simply not the case. The problem with making predictions is you then shut your mind off from the information the market gives you. Instead of being open to what is happening, your mind becomes rigid and can only take in what confirms your beliefs. This prevents you from being able to flow with the market, and open your self to the opportunity in front of you. The best traders admit when they are wrong, get out, and even reverse if necessary.
If you dont believe this - listen to a stock analyst on Mad Money or any other TV show about stocks. They are often so confident in what they say that they might even convince you! But there is a reason why he is on TV talking about markets, and not trading them. If he could trade the markets and make money he would have no reason to go on TV as the financial rewards are miles apart. In fact, analysts make the worst traders because they are so caught up in their thoughts and beliefs about market direction that they cannot trade effectively!
Cease efforts "Wu Wei" In Eastern Philosophy there is a term "Wu Wei." It cannot be fully understood or explained in words, only experienced. At the essence of its meaning is to "Let be" to "allow" or "flow like water down a stream." The point is to stop resisting, and stop trying so hard. The harder you grasp at something, the harder you try to succeed, the more you fail. If you are constantly trying to make money, and constantly trading, you are probably not making a consistent return.
Rather than trying so hard, let trading come naturally. Profitable trading is effortless. It does not require thought, only action. In fact, I try to do as little as possible, and trade as little as possible. My most profitable weeks I hardly trade at all! This has become a fundamental aspect of my trading system. Instead of constantly trying to make money all the time, I simply wait for a pot of gold to be in front of me before I do anything. Then, I take it. Again if you dont believe me; try as hard as you can tomorrow to make as much money as possible and see what happens!
Stop Trying to Remove or Control Emotions - Most traders who have been trading for a while come to the idea that emotions prevent them from success and are standing in their way. I know, as I have been there. And so we try as hard as we can to remove emotions from our trading. There is a problem with this concept. You are a human right? As long as you are human, you will have emotions; no matter how hard you try to remove them. It is simply not possible. So removing emotions or attempting to do so is the wrong approach. Instead; use your emotions to your advantage! They are warning signs; listen to them.
Then there is the negative internal dialogue which the market often brings out. After a series of losing trades, many traders get upset and feel bad. They blame the market for taking from them, and feel like a loser. How do you think a trader will perform after feeling this way for a few days or longer? His performance suffers as he tries to take back what was once his and he compounds his mistakes by trading out of a negative mindset.
You have to learn to recognize and become aware of your internal dialogue. It is very important to your trading career, and your every day life. Most of us live our lives without the slightest idea as to what we are doing to our selves. Your mental structure is a choice. This is what I mean when I say "The Market cannot hurt me, I can only hurt my Self."
My book "A Traders Mentality - The Path of Self Discovery and Being a Trader" is all about these ideas and how to free your mind and better your trading performance.
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