Friday, May 01, 2009

Where Is Your Head When You're Trading?

Where is your head during the market day?

Are you looking through the rear-view mirror, criticizing your last trade?

Are you looking at your profit/loss for the day and filtering trades through that?

Are you distracted by people or the phone?

Are you thinking about yourself and how well or poorly you've been doing?

Are you locked in an opinion of what the market "should" be doing instead of observing what it *is* doing?

Are you wanting to get your money back after a loss or hold onto it after a gain?

Are you focusing more on yourself or on what markets are doing?

Many times, our head just isn't in the game. We can't be focused on performance outcomes and immersed in our performance at the same time.

When you ask yourself questions such as the ones above, you are thinking about your thinking: you become your own observer. Asking the right questions: That is the start of all self-coaching. With repetition, we internalize the coaching role and take control over our learning curves.


OKL said...

80 posts in April Doc!

That's a record!

Still trying to keep the 'internal observer' and the 'player' in balance; let the former in too much and too many questions are asked, let the latter dominate and too little questions are asked.

It is a fine balance.

Thanks for everything and keep it coming!

JDMoodie said...

Good questions to ask one's self. The distractions are my worst culprit, but that is a necessary evil.

In order to eliminate the negative self talk I start the day with my account balance as "this is what I have to trade with today". I check my notes from the previous day as I asterisk the ones, at the time, that were great ideas or things to avoid or watchout for.

Yesterday I reassessed the market activity three times as it went from a possible uptrend, range then headed back down and I profited accordingly.

"Is the market still doing what I thought it was going to do and why/why not?" This is now my regular question.

Your posts, new book and tweets have helped keep me focused over this latest learning curve of self development as a trader.


Gustavo's Trades said...

Thank you for this post. I was just about to start my day thinking about a few trades gone bad Yesterday. I'm now blogging the bad trade on my journal, learning what I have to learn from it and starting this session fresh.


Lover Dad said...

Yesterday was like 2 days in one. there was the AM range/vwap, then a completely different range/vwap in the PM. Killer. Thanks for your post, because it's hard to let go of "where we went wrong" and "this market is crazy" vs. look at data with fresh eyes as what changes in the market demand different decisions.

bruce said...

You forgot about "how could that guy on ET say that"?! :)

Charles said...

Is this "Brett Steenbarger" a pen name for a team of writers? ;-)

Seriously, in terms of quantity AND quality, the Good Doctor has to be the most prolific blogger in the known universe.

Brett, maybe you could do a post on some of your personal productivity techniques and/or habits?

Hope you have a fabulous weekend my man!

all da best,

IDkit aka Ana said...


I am truly taken aback at the hint that your blog could be a penname for a team of writers!

I too have received comments about my prolific writings, except my blogs are more my collections of thoughts/posts that benefit newbies rather than yours with teachings on trading psychology.

My point is, when writing daily, it becomes second nature to write profusely, speaking for myself.

Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Good point, OKL. There's a time to be immersed in markets and a time to stand apart from them...that's why breaks in the trading day can be so valuable.


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Thanks Jeff; those are good examples of self-coaching--


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Thanks much, Charles. "Brett Steenbarger" is not a pen name for a team of writers, but you've given me a good idea... ;-)