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

  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. "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. 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.
  11. i agree w/ gnome

    best trader combo is long run confidence/ short term indifference
  12. "Positive mental attitude" is a prerequisite for averaging down. :)
  13. Positive mental attitude and hope are two different things.
  14. Best yet.

    you have to have a winning percentage of trades in terms of the amount of winners vs. losers. figure out where to enter, where to exit (win or lose) and based on those numbers you need to be making money(positive expectation). THEN you need the money management to execute the trades as your system (regardless of your system) tells you to. IMHO

    You will need to have a good enough mental attitude to follow through and if you can get that far you should have an easier time maintaining that PMA even when losing streaks happen

    Best of Luck!!
  15. Keep your emotional highs low, and you lows high if that makes any sense.....

    Generally dont get too high or too low, try to stay unemotional, unbiased, and objective.

    And trading while the other kind of high will only lead to red!
  16. I agree with the ideas that indifference in the short term is the best strategy coupled with longer term confidence..After all, you want to be confident that over time you will win, but you do not want to put all your faith or hope in each and every trade...
  17. whatever keeps you going. I try to keep a 'truthful' attitude.
  18. so true...
  19. I was just going to add before I saw your post that I try to maintain a subdued confidence - not too high and not too low. The confidence helps when losing - helps you know you will pull your way out, and the subdued part helps when you are winning so your head doesn't get too big. Whatever the good emotions for trading they are the ones that are more subdued.

  20. you mean like this subdude?

  21. Chasin could you elaborate a little on what you mean by 'truthful'???

    PEACE and good trading,
  22. Sacasm, right? (If not, sorrrry.)

    As I see both positive and negative attitude as more likely to lead to undisciplined trades (and likely unnecessary losses) than to benefit, here's perhaps my favorite thought: BLACKJACK!

    I'm looking for the "blackjack" trade set-up where the game is a bit different. In this game I get to set the rules, but I can't guarantee a win or tie for myself on any hand (trade).
    1. I get to count cards
    2. I can bet or not bet any hand
    3. I get to see my cards and the dealer's up card before deciding whether to bet or not

    With these rules, I'd bet only when (a) the remaining cards mostly count 10, (b) the dealer has 9 or less showing, and (c) I have 19 or 20.

    As you can imagine, one should beat the dealer over the long haul. However, should one be extraordinarily unlucky and have the dealer draw out 21 over and over, one could still lose one's butt. (And so it is with trading.)

    With such a game, you wouldn't need "positive mental attitude" and no losing streak should ever get you down as the odds on the next hand (and every hand) are still in your favor, no matter what. Therefore, "attitude" is irrelevant because you set the parameters... either it works out or you stop out.

    "So, Sherman", as Mr. Peabody would say, " Think Blackjack, design the best game you can and let 'er rip".


  23. :) :D :p :cool:
  24. Actually I try to forget myself while trading. That's probably when I do the best trading.
  25. hmmm how can 'I' forget 'I' ??? :confused: :confused:
    must be some kind of crazy Zen riddle or something! :mad:
    Are you by any chance related to the Cretan Philosopher that declared "All Cretans are liars"??? Plus if "you" lost "you" than what "I"was doing the trading???