Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Dozen Thoughts on Trading Stress and Emotion

* Everyone has a stop-loss level: For some, it's a price; for others, it's a pain threshold.

* It's not stress and emotion that get in the way of trading; it's the stress and emotion that results when trading becomes personal: about you, rather than about supply and demand.

* The measure of a trader is how hard he or she works when markets are closed.

* Much bad trading is hormonal: too much testosterone, too little.

* When traders don't track their results, it's because they don't want to know them.

* The best traders have a passion for markets; the worst have a passion for trading.

* When it comes to market history, there are only two choices: trading with awareness of it, trading in ignorance of it.

* I recently encountered a daytrader of currencies who was trading EUR/USD with high leverage. News came out in Europe and the market blew through the trader's mental stop-loss. The trader had no idea that an economic report was due at that time; he was only looking at chart patterns. That represents trading at its worst.

* Losing a job or not wanting a 9-to-5 one is not the right reason to pursue trading.

* Markets tend to move in the direction of the greatest number of stops.

* The best traders are not relaxed *and* they are not anxious. They are alert.

* Deep down, traders who don't prepare don't feel they deserve to win. We always gravitate toward our just desserts.