By Rob Colville on January 26, 2018 in
Trading should never be a need. It should always be a want. What do we mean? We mean that you should never be anxious, on edge, sweating because you can’t get near a computer or your smartphone to put a trade on. It’s fine to want to, good, in fact, as it means you’re enjoying the process, but needing to trade is something else entirely, and it can cause some big problems emotionally, financially, and mentally. The trading market is not about to disappear on you; there will always be another trade if you miss one. It really shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s far easier if you just don’t care about your trades. Then you won’t need to trade as such; you’ll just be able to do it when it makes sense, when it is going to net you some kind of profit. It’s difficult to put yourself into this state of mind, and perhaps ‘don’t care’ isn’t quite accurate because you will always care… but it’s the emotional attachment that causes all the problems. Believing that you are on a winning – or even losing – streak and that you will continue in that vein forever and ever is always an issue, for example. There are no winning streaks. There are no losing streaks. If you are careful and do your homework, you’ll win more than you lose, but nothing is guaranteed.
If you ever find that you need to trade then something has gone wrong. You need to step back and completely stop trading until you can go back to it without that all-encompassing need. You should then give yourself a reminder: there will be another trade tomorrow. And if that one is no good, there will be another trade the next day, or the next. The market is staying where it is, the trades will continue to happen, and the world will not end if you don’t trade every time you could (because just because you can trade does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that you should).
A need to trade can come when you’re feeling cocky or too confident about what you’re doing. You know you’re good, you know you’re doing well, so you trade and trade and trade. Soon enough, that desire becomes a need, and that’s when you’re in serious trouble. Dangerous trouble. Lose all your money kind of trouble. Getting too cocky and trading for the sake of it rather than trading what makes sense is how the biggest losses happen. Don’t let that happen to you. If that’s the way you can see things going, close everything down. Switch off the laptop. Don’t even look at the markets for a day or two. Re-set your mindset and go back to it when you’re able to trade carefully and sensibly.
It can work the opposite way too. You might not just need to trade, you might need to trade well, and a fear of losing (money and face) can cause traders to pull out of a trade far too soon. Do you do that? If you see that things aren’t going your way even though the research says that it should be all right, do you cut and run? This is (usually) another mistake. It comes from feeling the pressure to get this trading thing right. Exiting a trade too early is an emotional thing, not an intellectual one. You went into the trade for a reason, so stick with it unless you’re over-trading or you haven’t managed your risk as you should. Every time you end a trade early, you are choosing to lose out. The best way to deal with this issue is not to watch the trades. Set and forget and you’ll be a lot happier.
Really. You don’t need to trade. This is especially true if there are other things going on in your life. A marriage, a birth, a death, a house move, divorce, holiday, illness… Any situation in which you would take time off work, you should also take time off trading. Yes, you’ll miss a few trades, but the fact that the market will still be there when you get back to it. You can pick up where you left off and start making a profit again. The markets won’t wait for you, but they’ll be ready for you when you return if you’ve had to step away for a while.