Setbacks are the rule rather than the exception when it comes to trading. Discovering reliable trading strategies is a challenge, and frequently, a promising strategy produces a loss. Losses and other setbacks can be frustrating and anxiety-provoking. The winning trader isn’t fazed by these setbacks, however. Winning traders welcome challenges rather than hide from them.
Your ability to tolerate frustration is essential. It is vital to have a specific and active plan for coping with setbacks, otherwise, they can build up psychologically and produce chronic stress problems. Your mind and body have limited resources, and unless you cope with frustration and anxiety effectively, you’ll eventually become exhausted. You’ll lose your ability to focus and process information objectively. By taking a few specific preventative measures, though, you can build up your frustration tolerance so that you can handle a torrent of trading setbacks.
People with low frustration tolerance tend to believe that they should experience absolutely no setbacks. But setbacks are a natural part of life. Indeed, if you are trying to succeed in a challenging profession, such as trading, you should expect setbacks. Instead of dreaded events, challenges and setbacks can be viewed as part of the excitement and stimulation of living. When you face a setback while trading, you should view it as an opportunity to learn and develop your trading skills rather than a discouraging impediment. Merely changing your viewpoint regarding potentially frustrating events can change your ability to tolerate them. If you expect them and accept them as natural and not as a disaster, you’ll feel less frustrated. And rather than passively feeling paralyzed by them, you’ll try to creatively think of ways you can use the setbacks as a new starting point than can lead to a higher level of trading skills. View setbacks as ways for you to gain more experience with the markets and hone your trading skills.
In addition to a general attitude change, it is also essential to take additional preventative measures to tolerate frustration. The most important step concern building up physiological defences. It is difficult to cope with frustration when we are tired and worn out. By getting plenty of rest, and especially sleep, we can cope with frustration more easily. Regular exercise and proper nutrition can help your body create a natural defence against frustration.
Once you are properly rested and nourished, you can also make a specific plan for coping with setbacks when they occur. In addition to accepting uncertainty and setbacks as part of your life, you should think in terms of the big picture. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and you shouldn’t expect to hone your trading skills without extensive practice and experience. That can take time. Traders are frustrated when they set unrealistic expectations for themselves and fail to meet them. By realizing that it will take time to trade profitably, you’ll feel more relieved, and you will anticipate setbacks. You won’t be caught off guard, and you will be ready to deal with them. It may be discouraging at times to continually face setbacks.
To cope with them, you may want to make a list of successful trades and recall them when you are feeling especially beaten. The key to frustration tolerance is to realize that although external circumstances can interfere with your plans, you have the freedom to decide whether they will impact your mood. You can choose to feel beaten, angry and frustrated, or you can anticipate setbacks, view them as challenges and growing experiences, and as exciting ways to hone your trading skills. The more you can acknowledge that setbacks are a necessary part of trading, the more easily you’ll cope with them, and be able to use them as stepping stones to higher levels of trading success.