What's Your Biggest Obstacle?

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by Doug Allen, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. I'm just curious about what other traders think is their biggest obstacle to success.

    I know my biggest challenge used to be boredom and over-trading even when all my signals were telling me to stay on the sideline.

    Maybe if we all share what our biggest obstacles and challenges are we could see a common pattern and then fix it! :)

  2. Sounds like your biggest obstacle is being on the sidelines.

    But seriously, carbon dioxide and the fight/flight response are the biggest obstacles we face. Learn to breathe and control the shape of your heart wave. Only then will you have the capacity to trust both yourself and the market.
  3. zdreg


    unlikely there is no common pattern since personalities differ to a great degree.
    the only thing that counts in life is developing the ability to handle challenges .
    it starts with a dedication to reality.

    ( the use of the word curious in a serious endeavour ie trading is curious.)
  4. I probably didn't explain myself well enough.

    I had no problem developing and implementing trading strategies that are high probability, low risk, winning strategies.

    The problem was being bored. I had a friend who was a professional card counter at blackjack and he said the same thing. Once you get the system, it's all mechanical after that and can be boring.

    What exactly do you mean by the fight/flight response?
  5. Hey zdreg...

    lol... yes, it is curious.

    Since my trading business is pretty much a solitary endeavor by design, I was wondering if other traders have any common problems.

    I know personalities are all different, but we all have common patterns, just like the market. It's almost like I'm thinking there must be a "trading system" that you can apply to the psychological component.

    If everybody's common patterns could be broken out, I'm sure there would be some sort of common solution. At least I think there would be.
  6. Eddiefl


    Being patient and waiting for valid signals and only trading those was my obstacle.

    Analogies helped me, i read that in one of those peak performance books, that wasnt about trading.

    I use the analogy of a sniper, wait, wait, wait, then boom-make the shot, only valid targets. Analogies give you a reference for behavior.

  7. "Hey, it's the weekend, I think I'll figure out what to buy on Monday"

    It doesn't work like that.

    But we are conditioned to think this way.

    If you have an "ah ha" moment and all your money is tied up in other trades because you went on a spending spree, opportunity is lost.

    My analogy.

    Some people are paid to watch dials at a nuclear power plant, their skill set is knowing how to react if and when something goes wrong, it is dull and boring, their expertise is in knowing what to do and when.
  8. Hi EF,

    I love the sniper analogy!

    Awhile back I got Medal of Honor for my birthday and I got addicted to it for about three weeks. The sniper role is the perfect metaphor.

    I guess the opposite metaphor is why some people lose... just run into trades blasting anything they see.


  9. Redneck



    IMHO - Very good question you’ve raised

    My biggest obstacle was, and remains to this day – me

    Below is an excerpt from a document I created to help me get the hell out of my own way

    I’ve removed some items I don’t wish to share – otherwise I hope it doesn’t come across too egotistical – it’s not meant to be.

    Take Care

    The System of Me

    My Trading Truth
    •I trade who I am
    •My trading is a mirror into my soul

    To remain consistent with my trading truth I will;
    •Maintain spirituality (inner peace)
    •Journal (To make me distinguish reality – from what I “think” reality is)
    •Decide each day – who I am – who I will be – what I want to have happen
    •Completely accept that my only enemy – is me
    •Completely understand why I trade

    •Trade only when I am emotionally calm and centered
    •Trade with total – clarity – awareness – and freedom
    •Trade with a complete singularity of purpose

    •Completely understand and accept the market for what it is
    •Completely understand and accept a stock’s price for what it is

    My Trading Perspective
    •To be a consistently successful trader I must use a system that matches my perspective

    From what perspective will I decide to trade today?
    •Greed (Loves to win, looks for big winners, sometimes allows a winner to turn into a loser, prone to overtrading)
    •Fear (Hates to lose, sometimes cuts winners short, prone to hesitation when pulling the trigger)
    •Ambivalent – harbors neither fear or greed – identifies setups and trades them, exit’s as required

    •Extrovert (prone to being impatient)
    •Introvert (patient, sometimes too much)
    •Centered – neither impatient, or overly patient

    •Tendency to have weak opinions (prone to requiring too much confirmation before entering a trade, or of needing to know the unknown)
    •Tendency to have strong opinions (prone to projecting wants, needs, will, and/ or desires onto the market)
    •Opinion-less – it is what it is

    •Ally (willing goes and/or agrees with the market – sometimes to the point of getting freight trained)
    •Opponent (fights and/or disagrees with the market)
    •Detached – simply reacts to what is observed every moment – remains in the present

    My Profitability Goal
    •Increase winners
    •decrease losers

    My Profitability Facts
    •Good traders learn from losers
    •Great traders learn from winners
    •I will learn from both

    •I absolutely know my next winner or loser does not matter one damn bit

    My Growth Goal
    •I must continuously grow my mental, physical, and emotional capacities in order to effortlessly flow with the market

    •I must know, appreciate, and continuously grow – the successful trader I am.

    The tools I will use to grow;
    •I will journal the following every trading day
    oBasically every damn thing
    oWinners – why they won – amount they won
    oLosers – why they lost – amount they lost
    oDays of week, times of day – of each trade
    oTrades I did not take, their outcome, and why I did not take them
    oMy emotions, thoughts, reactions throughout each trade
    oThe amount of sleep I had the night before
    oMy meals and meal times
    oMy exercise
    oMy greed / fear meter
    oA printout of daily chart

    I will periodically categorize my journal and review it to identify poor behavioral patterns. Identifying these patterns will force me to bring attention to my shortcomings. Bringing attention to my shortcomings will force me to focus on, and fix my shortcomings.

    Journaling will also help me stay in tune with myself, help me identify my shortcomings sooner, and enable me to resolve / eliminate my shortcomings earlier in their lifecycle.

    Exercise – physical

    •I will perform the following physical exercises daily
    oAerobic 30 min. (To help breathing, relaxing, and establish my internal rhythm)

    oStrength 45 min (To help overall wellbeing – promote faster healing – support emotional strength)
    oFlexibility 10 min – 2 / 3 times a day (To promote limber mind and body)

    Exercise – mental

    •I will perform the following mental exercises daily
    oMeditation 5 min. (To quiet my thoughts and center my being prior to trading)

    oVisualization 5 min (No negatives, I will only use positive messages, and pictures, to set a successful preconceived set of notions into my subconscious)
  10. Taking a profit.

    I trade pennystocks ( I know it is forbidden to tout them on here but anyway) and the ones I have bought have gone up 100%, 200%, 300% you name it and the ones I have kept my eye on went up even more.

    When you buy 5k of a stock and it doubles in a week it's hard to not keep it all and wait for it to double again.

    I've been lucky and burned holding or selling.

    It's hard to be consequent.

    Can't do it.
    #10     Feb 8, 2009