Traders Block

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by FredBloggs, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. FredBloggs

    FredBloggs Guest

    ok ok, we all get drawdowns from time to time, but......

    i have traders block


    i stopped trading last week as i noticed my equity curve had started a down trend. i usually paper trade when this happens until i get my act back together and it goes back into an up trend. then i go back to real trading. having the discipline to do this has saved me loads.

    usually i can get back in a few days, and a period paper trading is also good for my soul as it helps me remember what its like to be in that carefree zone.

    this time is different. i am even screwing up on paper trading!

    my 'system' if you want to call it that is still working. the markets i trade are also fine. its 100% me.

    my trades are still there, its just that im not and dont seem to be able to get into the zone anymore to be able to perceive them. im also starting to do dumb things out of desperation (i.e. not trading the plan) when paper trading to get back into the up trend so i can go back to normal, but this is making it worse (surprise surprise)

    half of me tells me i need a break for a week, build myself up again mentally (its starting to make me doubt myself which is a big no no for a trader, despite mt earlier achievements). the other half says no way, my priority must be getting the equity curve back.

    ive read my notes and studied my audits from past successful months, but i still cant get back into the zone.

    has anyone been in this situation?

    how did you get over it?

    has anyone tried meditation - how does it work, and was it a help?

  2. KevinL


    From a very wise trader:

    It's been said a million times by a lot of pretty bright people that 90% of this game is mental. I think that's wrong. 100% of this game is mental. Think about it, what's the physical aspect??Pushing a button? Picking up the phone? Please, don't stress yourself!

    Each and every day of our investing lives we have to make decisions. Those decisions will spell the difference between winning or losing.But what forms our decisions? Emotions and Information. So, it's quite obvious that the mental game "is" the game, and how we think is paramount to how we do.

    The old adage, and one that I put a large degree of faith in is the idea that in investing fear and greed run the roost. When investors are afraid, they do indeed tend to sell. But then greed factors in, and let’s face it, we only buy stocks for one purpose, to see if they can increase our net worth. Depending on our view of the present fear, or the lack of fear, and our concept of making money (the greed part) we base a lot of our decisions.

    If you are doing any type of personal investing, in any of the common markets, whether it's stocks, bonds, options, or commodities, you have picked a very solitary game. Unlike playing on a football team or baseball team, where a poor performance can be made up for by team mates, in this game, if you screw up, you are alone. Think about it like this: Let’s say you are a running back on the college team. But, you are in a funk, your girlfriend left you, and you are miserable. So, your first run sees you lose two yards. Your second run produces a fumble.

    In a matter of moments, the coach is in your face. What's your problem?? Are you sick? Should I bench you in favor of Jasper over there? Where's your head at? Even if he puts you back in, the Quarterback already knows the deal. Soon, instead of running hand off plays, he's passing to the tight ends and wide outs. Even if your performance is dismal at best, the other guys can pick up your slack and you can still win the game.
    In investing, you are playing a game more like tennis. You have your opponent (the market) and you. If you screw up, there is no one to save you. No team mate will pick up the slack. Just like in tennis, it's one on one. In each set, the "better man" will win. Since we aren't talking about using the muscles in our arms and legs, since we aren’t talking about brute force of smashing a ball past your opponent like a guided missile, what are we talking about? A one on one session of mental chess.

    Our game is all mental. Do we buy, do we sell? If China does this, what happens to that? If rates go higher, will my stock be affected? If this company earns well, will I be rewarded? On and on it goes, with ever widening layers of questions to be answered. If you think that you can drift into this type of one on one, against a very formidable opponent (the market) without the right mental attitude, let me remind you of how fast you will become broke. Can you say, instantly??

    Hope this helps.

    Kevin Lam
    Full Service Futures & Forex Broker
    Global Futures Exchange & Trading Company
  3. When was the last time you took time off? By this, I mean no CNBC, no newpapers, nothing to do with the markets.

    Taking time off will throw you back in the game if you get some rest. Not being able to focus and get back on track is many times a clear signal that a break is overdue. The harder you push when you are feeling down, the stronger the resistance.
  4. Maybe the trades *really* aren't there anymore. At least the way it was before for you? How bad is the drawdown compared to previous times? Is your personal situation any different from before?
  5. FredBloggs

    FredBloggs Guest

    risk taker - the draw down isnt that bad at all, and not really the nub of my concern. this is because i stop trading AS SOON AS i spot the down trend. my problem is getting back into the swing.

    had i carried on though, i would be n serious drawdown! thanks for the reply.

    ft71 - yea what you say is ringing bells. maybe i just need to take a break and take the fact that i will be skint next month on the chin!!

    i always take at least 1 day a week totally away from the market, but i may spend some hours of the weekend looking at my audits, looking at et etc - trading related stuff.

    having said that, when i am trading mon - fri, i am typically only trading for 3.5 - 4 hours a day, and 2 hours in total before and after my trading. in total, i typically start at 11.30 local time, finish at 5.30.

    kevin - thought provoking. thanks!

    anyone got any angles on meditation or other types of inner focus?
  6. Trading is mostly mental but not 100%. If you actively daytrade and scalp the market you have to be lightening quick with hitting your keys, sending out markets, limits nx's whatever else. There is a lot of quick timing of your ins and outs, a split second too late and your losing 20 cents instead of getting out flat. Anyone who has ever traded NYSE oils and homebuilders know this to be true.

  7. If you are trading on "intution" You will have problems..

    If you are trading on if statements, Then this will fix your problems.

    Good luck.
  8. I disagree, once you've traded for a certain amount of time, then trading on intuition is really how you excel. Your intuition, assuming you have a sound system and are already consistent, can be the difference between good trading and great trading.

  9. jond83


    i dont wanna be the one to say this, but maybe you are burnt out
  10. Didn't you advise me to take a break some time ago?

    I think the key problem is that human beings always revert to our most practiced "simple" behaviors when under stress. That is why people lose money because they keep going back to their old pattern under stress. Proper diet, excercise and meditation help manage stress in general. I found breathing exercise to be more easily employed under fire. Once I throw my breathing out the window, I know I am in real trouble.

    The other part of the equation is to practice good trading either in simulation or mentally enough that it becomes the basic pattern reverted to under stress. I don't think "bad" paper trading helps. I am currently trying a lot of visualization on "good" trading practices... :confused:

    Meditation is a whole other realm to get in touch with the real deal... more like waking up from stuff we put ourselves through. If you believe trading is a lifestyle thing (I do), then it might not be bad to get into. But I would recommend to get reliable instructions from a real lineage... because a slight miss in some key points can make a huge difference. Sadly I suspect most meditators (even some instructors) are not meditating properly. Here is a concise and reliable meditation manual:

    Maybe there are other more important areas in our life that need attention.
    #10     Sep 21, 2005