Novice traders are often puzzled by their inability to put on winning trades. Everything seems plausible in the planning stages of a trade, but when it comes time to execute the trading plan, they choke. Why? Many times it is because of performance anxiety. When their money is on the line, they worry about how well they will do, and they can’t get the idea of losing out of their mind. What’s the solution? If you can think like an independent-minded trader, you will trade freely, creatively, and profitably.

Going against the crowd isn’t easy. We have a natural human, adaptive tendency to follow the crowd. Following the crowd usually keeps us safe, like fish that swim in schools for protection. The old adage, there’s safety in numbers, is true most of the time. As for adaptive as conformity is, however, it prevents us from looking inward for guidance. We have a habit of looking outward and thinking of what we “should” do rather than what we want to do.

It’s amazing how conformist humans can be. Have you ever been at a party and done something you would never think of doing just because everyone else was doing it? It’s hard to break away from the crowd. It is difficult to look completely inward for direction. But, ideally, we should be able to look inward and not care what anyone thinks. For example, imagine going to the financial district during lunch hour, taking off all your clothes, and walking around nonchalantly (believe or not, you can actually see this happen in San Francisco occasionally). It would be difficult to do, but if one were completely independent-minded, he or she would have no trouble doing so. He or she wouldn’t care what anyone thought. If only we could always be so secure that we naturally traded like rugged individualists.

Rugged individualists are not driven by money, fame, or recognition. They are resilient and persistent. At their core, their self-esteem is genuine and unwavering. As Dr. Nathaniel Branden observes, “When we appreciate the true nature of self-esteem, we see that it is not competitive or comparative. It is not about making myself higher by making you lower. It has nothing to do with you. It is the joy of my own being.”

Winning traders are extreme individualists. They see trading as an art form. They aren’t concerned with the status and prestige that riches may bring. They love what they do and enjoy the benefits of working for themselves and being accountable to no one. They go their own way and know deep down that they are meant to be traders. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling. The more you can think like an individualist, the more you’ll be trading freely and creatively. The profits will soon follow.

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