Is 'Positive Mental Attitude' motivation good for a trader?

Discussion in 'Trading' started by MainFramer, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. Having worked in IT for so long and grappled with Murphy's Law for so long, I'm finding that I need to correct for an extreme negative bias in my thinking. So I'm now reading things like "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude" by Clement Stone, and other things in that vein.

    That leads me to ask: how many of you have profited by reading those kinds of books? If not, do you think they may actually be harmful to a trader?

    I can see where you would need to be positive and optimistic if you want to keep a business going, but being unduly optimistic about specific positions you take might actually hurt you. Seems like a contradictory way of thinking.

  2. PMA, Hah! I find I profit by being negative. I mean that, by always looking at the downside I can protect against it. I make more money by not losing it. A healthy dose of skepticism is helpful to the trader. How long would you go eing positive and losing.
  3. PMA give one the confidence to run off the side of a cliff. Not a good idea. Maybe its useful in sales jobs where you get a lot of negative feedback.

    The reason why people white knuckle trades is because they don't know how to get out of a position efficiently, they are afraid they can't put on a position without getting their face ripped off, they are afraid of being on the wrong side of the market.

    All these are symptoms of the disease Counter Trend Trading Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If you trade with the trend things get much easier, THEN you'll get a positive mental attitude.
  4. MarkHyman

    MarkHyman Advanced Futures

    "Attitude is Everything"

    A Positive Attitude is important in trading, as it is important
    in everything you do in life.
  5. Reminds me of a quote I once read in a chess book (can't remember the exact source). Basically it said you should maintain a state somewhere between "guarded optimism and cheerful pessimism". Sounds good for trading too. :cool:
  6. I think optimism/pessimism is not the issue, the issue is learning not to lie to yourself. It is about awareness of reality. If you are in a bad trade and saying to yoursef "I know that this will work out! I just know it!" or some such similar nonsense, that is lying to yourself.
  7. I too am an IT guy who has been accused of being negative. The happy medium is definitely the way to go. Being too positive or too negative and it means your decisions will be based on emotion instead of rational thought.

    Also in my personal experience, the only field where "irrational exhuberance" really pays off consistently is sales. If you can psych yourself into believing the hype about your product you will sell more of it.
  8. I see its effects all the time.
  9. Mainframer,

    I for one have had the ever loving sh*t kicked out of me on some trading days. Ultimately, I am either my own worst enemy or my own best friend. I can attribute very, very few losses (if any) to bad luck and very few gains to good luck.

    I do believe that I can attribute some days that started off red with several losing trades and ended up green with gaining trades to "positive mental attitude". Instead of focusing on the losses and getting bogged down with " I should have, I could have and I would have - if only I had" (unproductive attitude) I make an effort to dismiss my losses, missed opportunities etc. as quickly and as objectively as I can and focus on the next available opportunity that the market offers me (my method) to make a profit.

    So, I suppose reading books on PMA can be helpful. Everything has two sides I guess. Everybody to their own notion said the old woman that kissed the cow! I for one like to try to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. I don't think I'd be a survior without it. I have turned more than one day around that started off with a negative P&L. Best I can figure, that happened from maintaining a certain amount of PMA, without losing objective thinking and analysis of my own mind.

    Unduly optimistic and positive mental attitude in my mind are two different things. The market will let me know which one of those mindsets that I am on. :D Clement Stone most likely a smarter man than me though, so if you just read this, what's the harm in reading him!

    Best regards and good trading!

  10. gnome


    While we all HOPE our trade works out favorably, perhaps the right mental attitude is NO mental attitude.

    It's all a guess, anyway. So why not make it a studied risk that either works out or gets stopped out?

    Being either negative or positive won't impact the result. Reasonalbe thinking + reasonable discipline + a dose of timely courage = MAYBE you'll walk away with the bux.
    #10     Jul 8, 2002