This may sound all too simple, but in order to overcome trading fears, you first have to be willing to admit that those fears exist. This will help you with the problems and undue stress they cause. It is often the very first step that proves problematic for new traders. Are you willing to identify and admit your biggest trading fears?
Assuming proper risk controls are in place to eliminate the potential for downside risk, what is the worst that could happen with any given trade? It is often the fear of loss and perhaps a fear of being “wrong” that is so hard for many traders. These trading fears tend to weigh heaviest at the moment of execution. This causes delays and second thoughts just as worries about the results of the trade begin to overshadow the justification for taking it. This is only one example of how fixating on the results of your trades is so damaging and counterproductive. This is even though you can’t control them—
So if your trading fears are dominated by a “need” to win and/or be “right” about the markets, then try taking steps to focus more on the process and less on the outcome. Start to emphasize plan compliance instead. This will give you confidence to identify a trade in the works that satisfies all of your qualifications. Doing so should help keep any fears about the end results. This will stop interference in your ability to execute properly and on time.
The “Execute” button is a powerful thing. Pressing it often feels like the fate of the world is somehow in your hands. This is strange since we essentially relinquish any and all control the moment we press it! Nonetheless, fear about all the “What ifs” that can occur from that moment on are difficult to overcome. Not knowing what the future will hold often gives rise to all sorts of troubling trading fears. Perhaps it is all the planning and preparation, or how hard we try with every trade. Maybe it is how emotionally invested we are. It could also be the need for control. Many humans feel this basic need. Having to let go and leave the outcome of your trades up to fate and solely in the hands of the markets is difficult. This is especially the case whenever your fears about the unknown are strong.
See also: The Only 2 “What Ifs” to Think About with Every Trade
If you tend to value control and avoid the unknown in your life and/or in the markets, it may help to acknowledge that fact. It is not necessarily a bad quality. In trading, however, there are plenty of natural human instincts that we must learn to turn off. Fear of the unknown is simply one of them. Besides hindering performance, fear of the unknown will also take away from the fun, enjoyment, and fulfilment of trading.
I fear change. Now change happens everywhere in the markets. This can be from news, the fear gauge, economic data, to rates and central bank monetary policies. This is especially the case with price action…but I am not afraid of that. I do not rush to get the latest software, gadgets, and technology. This is especially the case once I have finally gotten used to and comfortable using the last ones. And I never believe any hype out there about some new strategy, pattern, or indicator that’s the “next big thing.” I love repetition and structure, and thrive on doing the same things over and over. This may involve scouting the same group of markets while looking only for a few, select patterns to trade. I will even admit that if ever there were a “next big thing,” that I would be hesitant and late to respond to it!
If you, too, tend to avoid change, though, then you have to at least wonder whether that is holding you back as a trader? Are you repeating the same, old mistakes? Are there changes and adaptations that would allow you to make the most of your trading strategy?
Do not simply shy away from new ideas and processes because they are unfamiliar. Instead, recognize that change may be one of your trading fears. Try to be more open and objective. Your unique trading personality does not have to match your human qualities exactly.
Even if it is not natural to you, when you are in trading mode, be confident, proactive, and more easily adaptable. Trading fears must be overcome in order to achieve consistency and long-term success. It is all in the name of your success, and I can personally attest that it can be done!