Hey Joe! No matter how hard I try, I still find myself hesitating before a trade. Any comments about that? There are any number of reasons why a trader hesitates before a trade. The main one is lack of planning. Without a plan, there is no degree of confidence a trade will be successful, itâs all wishful thinking. Unless they are outright gamblers, traders usually have a strong need to protect their assets and avoid risk. This is especially true for beginning traders. It can take a long time to build up sufficient capital for serious trading. By that I mean sufficient capital to be able to trade for a living. It is quite understandable to fear losing all or part of your initial capital. Beginners tend to seek absolute certainty before taking a risk, and gaining true confidence in you ability to trade successfully can take time. Unscrupulous marketers of mechanical trading systems and methods take advantage of the beginners fears and lack of confidence by advertising âsure-fireâ âmagicâ ways to trade, instead of revealing the truth about the difficulties in becoming a consistently successful trader. When it comes to short term trading, there isn't very much time for long deliberations. Market conditions are in continuous flux. Decisions need to be made relatively quickly, and if one waits too long to execute a trade, he or she may miss a significant opportunity. The reasons for hesitation are everywhere, and traders must be aware of them, and create a plan to prevent them. Letâs look at a few of the things that cause traders to hesitate: *The complex charting software available these days tends to increase hesitation. Traders think that the more confirmation they can get from indicators, the more certain they can be that a trade will be successful. However, all indicators lag the market. The notion that an indicator can somehow predict what will happen once a trade is entered is nothing more than wishful thinking. An indicator may give some degree of confidence about entering a trade, but the indicator cannot trade the trade, only the trader can do that. Once a trade is entered, it becomes entirely a process of management. It's tempting to look at as many indicators and signals as possible. Doing so, however, can be very time consuming. That's why seasoned traders advise looking at only a few if any key indicators. *Hesitation is often related to a lack of confidence in the traderâs trading strategy or trading ability. There are numerous reasons for such lack of confidence. Some of the reasons are shallow and mostly on the surface, like being distracted by watching financial TV while trading. Other reasons are more deep-seated, and actually reflect psychological problems dating all the way back to early childhood. A trader may not believe that his or her trading plan is adequately developed. Nevertheless, they are determined to trade, so they muster up their courage and finally jump into a trade almost guaranteeing that the outcome will be a matter of pure chance. Some traders may question their trading plan because they know that they did not spend enough time preparing it. Sometimes hesitation is intuitive, warning the trader to avoid the trade. All too often, traders are not tuned into their own intuitive feelings. In the case of intuition, hesitation can act as a motivator. If the trader feels the hesitation is because of lack of adequate preparation, then that trader must learn to spend more time preparing for trades. By studying the markets a trader can come to see new higher probability setups, thereby reducing doubt and indecision, and in turn stop the hesitation because of more adequate preparation. *Hesitation sometimes reflects a deep desire to be right and a fear of being wrong. It has been our experience that many of the people who are attracted to trading fit into this category. Great care must be taken by physicians, engineers, scientific types, and mathematicians, who seem to be the most prone to this type of hesitation. They are often perfectionists afraid to face their inadequacies. By putting off a decision, they don't have to face their limitations, and can pretend they are better traders than they really are. If I had the time and space, I could give you dozens of examples of this kind of hesitation. The perfectionistâs reality states that everything must be in order and follow rules. They think strictly inside the box. They want everything to be perfect, so they continually second guess and doubt themselves and what they are doing. They believe that they cannot cope with being wrong. This occurs in trading decisions as well as other life decisions. Extreme perfectionists often think that once they make a bad trade, it will be the start of a downward spiral and a complete blowout of their trading account. *Hesitation very often relates to low self-esteem or other deep-rooted psychological issues. We see these more times than we would like to. Traders with low self-esteem usually lack confidence, not only in trading, but other areas of life. Beneath it all, they doubt their ability to trade, and hesitate making a trade until they the guilt of not doing so overcomes their fear. At that point in time, they enter a trade out of pure compulsion driven by guilt. This exposes them to a trade with no real plan to support it. They become victims of pure chance. We also find that traders who hesitate may have a conflict regarding their success. They can actually fear success. They have been told by parents or others that they were no good, that they would never amount to anything, that they were âbad.â These people strive for success at one level of their consciousness, but at a deeper level, they secretly believe they cannot attain it, or do not deserve it. Identifying, directly facing, and eventually eliminating a problem of hesitation is the only way to truly deal with it. Chronic hesitation will eventually destroy the confidence a trader needs for success. If the problem is not dealt with and the traders continues to hesitate, miss important market moves, and see his or her equity begin to dwindle, that trader runs the risk of becoming a phantom trader, a pretender, becoming convinced that the imaginary trades being made are real. If you are prone to hesitation, it's vital that you deal with this problem early in your trading endeavors. Identify the reasons for it, confront the problem, and make changes as soon as possible. These are changes you have to make within yourself. If you will truly engage in self-examination with the object of eliminating hesitation, you can trade become consistent and successful in trading profitably.