Saturday, April 09, 2016

The Greatest Mistake Traders Make

Thanks to Bella at SMB for bringing this video on building your inner coach to my attention.  There are quite a few gems in the video, including the idea that your inner voice--how you talk to yourself--needs to become your inner coach.  We build that inner coach by maximizing performance in the present: focusing on what we're doing now and how we can do it better.  It is the process of self-improvement that yields the outcome of success.  Or, as the video emphasizes, winning is not an outcome; it's a process.

The mistake I see traders making is that they spend the lion's share of their effort on coming up with the next trades--not on the process of winning.  They focus on making money, not on getting better.  It would be unthinkable for them to go a full trading day or week without placing a trade, but they think nothing of going a day or week with no concrete work at the self-improvement that is the source of winning.

Imagine an athlete who felt the need to enter competitions every day, not wanting to miss any opportunity to win.  So much time would be spent on the playing field or court that little or no time would be spent in the gym.  Playing time would eclipse practice time.  Conditioning would fall apart; performance would show the effect of the lack of drilling and practice.  The need to win would get in the way of winning.

That is the greatest mistake I see among traders.  They want to be on the field; they want to score.  They are fearful of missing opportunities to win.  So they don't go to the gym; they don't drill and practice; and over time they lose their edge.  Their inner voices reflect the ups and downs of the most recent performance; their inner voices are not inner coaches.  

As the video suggests, suppose your inner voice while trading scrolled across the screens of other traders.  Would you be proud to display your inner voice, or would you be ashamed?  If you wouldn't want your inner voice to go public, why would you want it filling your head?

Further Reading:  The Real Reason We Trade Emotionally