Getting Past Blocks / Barriers

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by hagadol, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. hagadol


    Getting Past Blocks / Barriers

    I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest problems I have in moving forward with my trading and probably non trading issues is finding methods to change my beliefs / ways of operating.

    I can easily identify areas in my trading which I want to change. I am an obsessive note taker and list maker. The problem is not the awareness of what needs to be changed but an execution method to change it.

    So what can one do to execute the changes you are aware you need to make. Writing a list of them and reading this daily, makes me feel good, though more often than not, that is all it does and I am unable to execute and make that change part of me.

    Any ideas on this ?
  2. The problem you're having with trading is a problem all but the most enlightened of us go through regularly. I'll tell you why you're doing it: your animal spirit (aka EMOTIONAL self) is guiding the actions leading up to those errors, not your intellectual self. The knowledge of your errors won't be enough, but don't get discouraged, you can transform that knowledge into less mistake making, it just won't be easy.

    So that I can help you identify what some of your potential problems might be, can you list the errors you're making? Without specifics, it will be hard for anyone here to help you... that is, assuming you want help and aren't just posting here to vent your frustration. If you do want help, realize that no one can post a universal quick fix for making your intentions manifest themselves through deeply rooted subconscious barriers. So tell us what's going on in great detail, please...
  3. TinGull


    Perfect time for this post for me!

    One giant barrier I'm going through is embracing the loss. ;) If I have a great up day, I'm happy. I figure, this is great, I'm doing it right. THEN, when even a small down day happens, I'm ripped up. I feel like a moron who doesn't know jack. Now...I trade credit spreads, so keep in mind these aren't realized losses that I see...yet. And that is my huge problem. I see the losses on a daily basis and forget the longer term picture. I just don't know how to not get upset when a loss occurs.

    Freakin' psyche........
  4. Have you tested your system in order to find out what your percentage of loss is, what your longest string of consecutive losses is, what your biggest drawdown is?

    If not, then there's no way you're going to be able to "accept" loss because there's no way of knowing whether it's normal or it reflects a fundamental flaw in your system.
  5. It sounds like you have a bad case of idealizing. You have programmed your subconscious with some ideal of what your system's win/loss ratio should be; in this case, that it has no or few losses whatsoever. You may intellectually know that this isn't possible, but your emotional self demands that of you. Why? Hm, I don't know. If you can figure that out, you can probably trade successfully; trading is not easy, if there weren't a challenge of passing by mental blocks that the common man never comes to terms with, it wouldn't be such a lucrative career.

    I'm not a behavioral psychologist, but I'm sure there are a million techniques you can use to slowly train yourself to not fear losses.

    This assumes you're confident with your system. If you're not, and it doesn't have a historical record, then... well... that's what your problem is; as the above poster said, how can you know if your loss is a normal loss or the destruction of your system?
  6. TinGull


    Thanks for the insights! Well, I mainly trade credit spreads, and I'd say I'm around 1 spread that I need to adjust or close early with a loss for every 7 that I put on. Those other 7 make their max profits, so...maybe I am just idealizing and want to be 100% right. Definitely something I will work on, and thank you both once again for the insight. It's truly appreciated!!!!

  7. Loses are part of the game. Actually a big part of the game. Everybody has them. Just gotta keep them small. Small is a relative term, could be $50 bucks for one trader and $500,000 for another.

    I went through exactly what you describe. if i made money it was a fantastic day! If i lost money I was quiet and down in the dumps for the rest of the day. Its amazing the emotional swings you can go through while learning to trade.

    I knew I could not deal with it long term. I knew there would be losing trades in my future and I did not think it was a good way to go through life. You cannot let your P&L control your moods.

    I spent some time thinking on my situation and I realized that I was focusing on the money. You cannot focus solely on the money! That sounds wierd, because we all know that money is the only reason we started to trade. I know some will say they love it so much they would do it for free, but I wouldn't. I know I only do it for the money.

    I knew i had to change my focus, so I started focusing on the trades. Focusing on trying to make the executions perfect. Staying in the trade long enough to extract most of the money from each trade. You can't extract every penny, but if you can get most of it you are doing better than most traders.

    When I was focusing on just the money, if I lost on a trade or two I would get aggitated. i was down money and I had to get it back. Now the anxiety level started to build and i started taking less than perfect trades. i was trying to force the market to do what i needed it to do. Obviously that made me lose more money, which put me into a deeper funk. Overtrading will get you every time.

    I rewrote my trading plan with the focus on trade selection and trade execution. I slowed up big time. My goal for the first week was two perfect trades a day. if I got two, then I could take one more. I also made myself believe that not taking a trade is sometimes the perfect trade. You gotta feel good about not taking a marginal trade. I needed the discipline. The way i trade, if I can't find some easy trades in the morning, its a good day for golf! then i come back to the screens refreshed for the next day.

    You can't force the market to give you money, you can only take the money it hands to you.
  8. TinGull


    Absolutely perfect :) Thanks!!!!!!!
  9. Seeing as the OP has not come back perhaps I can take a turn on the couch. My bigest issue is closing postions for no good reason (except that they are not ticking in my favour right now!) I guess its another mainfestation of fear. Though I am pretty sure its not fear of financial loss. I think its possibly tied in with fear of 'failure' of course intellectually I know that the only failure is not sticking with the plan and closing out the positions before I should! Foolishly I have managed to attach quite a degree of self worth to this (the whole trading endeavour) despite being pretty comfortable with most other aspects of my life.

    I guess my ego is partly to blame, it probably likes to be pampered a bit by booking a profit even if it is only a few ticks. Actually I am hardly aware I am doing it anymore - the old subconcious nips in and clicks the mouse while Im not watching :)

    I really have tried quite hard to deal with this but for some reason there is something that resists tackling the issue. I'd really welcome any suggestions.

    #10     Sep 15, 2006