Thursday, 15 October 2009

Reprogramming the mind

It's been an interesting week or so.

Whenever I have had spare time after work instead of trading or market analysis, I have been learning an awful lot about the psychology of trading and myself. I have been looking for answers to many questions in regards to my behaviour and responses to certain scenarios. My learning has mainly revolved around two authors, Brett Steenbarger ( and Mark Douglas ( who have both written extensively on the subject. Their books have been a real eye-opener for me and I find that going through them once just is not enough to take in all of the information.

As you can imagine with so much material to get through, I have tried new ways of learning over just reading for hours on end. I thought back to a learning styles course I went on with work a couple of months ago where I was, surprisingly to me, told my preferred learning style is auditory, followed by logical, visual and kinetic methods. I then looked for ways to adopt material to learn more effectively. I found a very useful website for converting pdf or doc (or any text files) to audio mp3s ( I have now converted over four books and many short articles in this way and have found it to be nothing short of excellent for me. At times when it is difficult to concentrate on reading or even carrying a book around all I need to do is whack in my earbuds and I automatically start to focus and learn within seconds. I have found it particularly useful on my train journeys to work (about 2 hours a day) which was previously occupied with listening to music. I now use this time to go over material. The robotic style voice can be a bit odd at first but I got used to it pretty quickly, unexpectedly its unique tone is now starting to have a positive effect on my focus. I plan to use this to my advantage by making an mp3 of all my rules and listening to them before a trading session to get me into the right mindset.

I almost feel like I am brainwashing myself at times and I have noticed a difference already in a few situations in my day to day life, for instance my reaction to making a mistake or when somebody else makes one, I think has changed forever. My attitude towards taking a loss is where I am placing emphasis at the moment and although I haven't tested this in a trading environment yet I do feel much more objective when looking at the market and my results, and am not just agreeing that it is about the bigger picture but actually believing it. A large component is the fear factor and it will be interesting to see how all the material I have gone over in regards to this has made a positive impact yet. I am quite a confident chap and consciously never felt like fear was a factor, however I have realised that this is obviously not the case, as subconsciously I must be fearful in some degree, if for no other reason my inexperience is more than enough to trigger this.

I plan to start trading again this weekend onwards and feel that although the break was important it is also important not to leave it too long as I need to be building up my market experience. I will also resume the evening sessions so all in all I plan to be trading about 3 sessions a week depending on how the week pans out.

I will leave you with a link to an article I found amusing earlier this week on a YouTube method to predict the current X-factor winner. Happy trading everybody and I'll see you in the markets soon!


Anonymous said...

If you want to make it at trading you've got to grow some balls and start actually trading.

Reading hundreds of books and trading pennies isn't going to help you too much, it's a whole new ball game when you're playing with real stakes. The simple fact each tick now costs will help you focus and find out if you're cut out for trading or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying the books might not help but it's experience you need to gain rather than theories. Some people just aren't cut out for trading no matter how many books they'll read

JS said...

Thanks for your comments Anon. You're certainly right about some people not being cut out for trading, roughly speaking the failure rate I gather is easily over 90%, with another new batch all waiting in line once they have given up.

I'm aware of the over-reading aspect you mentioned too. When I first researched trading psychology and reconditioning material there were 5 books I wanted to cover, and after that no more. I've just started the fifth and have no plans to carry on reading new material, perhaps go over a few chapters as a refresher but that's about it.

My aim after that is to solely trade and analyse my performance in a structured and more effective way. I think after a year of trading in this way I see no significant improvements it's time to reassess whether I am cut out for this game.

Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate hearing other peoples views as it helps me reflect and be objective about what I am doing.

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