Mindset & Trader Psychology
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Mindset, Emotions & Trader Psychology
There’s lots that can be said here, but I wanted the majority of this information to be related to actual trading. Mindset and emotion control is something you will most likely have to work on. Not everyone will have issues but from traders I’ve talked to and in my own experience this is the bigger hurdle than any technical trading information. You could give 2 traders the exact same tools and and techniques, even set a big red flashing light that tells them when to get out of a trade, but 1 will actually get out, the other will hold on, hoping it turns around.
In my own experience managing yourself is far harder than managing a given trade. You have to fight every bit of hesitation you have within, both on entering and exiting trades. You have to fight greed. A trade that is a great winner, let’s say up 6 ticks in the Ultra Bond, and you know full well this is about where you should get out, but you hold on, hoping to squeeze 1 or 2 more ticks. Instead, it goes against you, and you get out for 3 ticks profit. Knowing when to do what and actually acting on it, keys to success.
I really don’t have any game changing hot takes on mindset and emotions. Instead, let me give you a few resources that I think are fantastic to help out.
Podcasts & Books
- Chat With Traders Podcast:
- Breaking The Habit of Being You by Dr. Joe Dispenza
- Mindset by Carol Dwyck
- Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas (part mindset, part logical trading thinking)
Pre Trading Checklist
Take the best of advice you come across, top 10 or 20 things that really speak to you, write them down, and read them. Every day. Before you trade, read your list. I have one, and I read it still. Refine it, some things will become less relevant, or maybe you find new things to add. I suggest don’t make it unmanageable. Having a list of 100 things to consider you might as well have none. But having 10-20 at most they will be stuck in your head as you trade.
Here’s a few from my list that have been on there from the start to give you an idea.
- Be in control of every trade – don’t get to a position where you are relying on hope
- Wait for specific set ups – no jumping in out of boredom
- Law of large numbers – I know my stats, play the long game. Taking a losing trade isn’t a bad thing
- You are right, or you are right out
- Less trades, more wins (basically wait for premium set ups)
- Be a sniper, wait for the perfect set up and pick it off (same as above, wait for premium set ups)
You’d may be surprised, but by reading a list like this before trading, you’ll find yourself in a trade and one of the points will pop in your head. Maybe you are getting ready to jump into a trade that is okay, but not premium. And boom, front and center “wait for specific set ups – no jumping in out of boredom”. And you take your hand off the mouse.
This is one that some will love, others will dismiss, and that’s okay. Not everything works for everyone. I myself find I really enjoy meditating, nothing extreme. 15 minutes. Find a YouTube video or Spotify playlist or just sit in silence. Whatever works for you, no one is judging how you meditate.
A few years ago I would have been one of the first people dismissing this type of suggestion. Seems like a waste of time. Sit in silence, what does that accomplish? Well, eventually I heard about enough traders meditating that I thought maybe I should actually look into this before dismissing it. And I like it. I’m not some hard core meditator, I don’t have a buddha statue in my living room and wear mala beads around my neck. I just pop on a video I found that I liked most (link below) and sit there with my eyes closed, clear out my head, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well that actually works to just get yourself calm and centered, ready to focus on trading. There are plenty of meditation apps out there as well if those are your thing.
Music While Trading (or lack thereof)
I used to listen to podcasts or music while trading. I realized I wasn’t absorbing any of the info in the podcasts, or worse found it distracting. Your brain is trying to listen to an interview (or lyrics to a song) and also trade.
I switched to listening to things that have no words, just sounds, and for the most part nice calm stuff. Some people probably want to get all hyped up and listen to fast paced music. That’s cool, but this is how I trade, not you. I’m now a jazz music fan thanks to trading! I listen to 1 of 3 things: Jazz Music, Nature Sounds (rain or waves), or super focus flow state music . Below are all YouTube videos I put on in the background. I will say Jazz is 90% of the time what I listen to. Has a bit more character to it than the flow state stuff and ambient nature sounds.
- Winter Coffee Shop Jazz Music
- Ocean Ambiance (waves hitting a beach)
- Rainforest Sounds
- Flow State Music
While I tend to find YouTube videos with the music to listen to, on Spotify or any music streaming service you can find plenty of similar play lists and music. Below is one I listen to pretty often.
Last Thought On Mindset and Emotional Control
You can read all the books you want, listen to all the podcasts in the world, work with a trading coach, meditate and then put on some calm music. There’s endless opportunities. What works ultimately is take those tools you learn and actually put them into action. It’s not always comfortable, it’ll feel unnatural, but just do it. Then do it again. Break the bad habits, work on creating new ones.
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