Module 12 Innerworth — Mind over markets

Chapter 110

Information Anxiety

Do you ever have a nagging feeling that no matter how hard you try, there’s no possible way that you can keep up with everything around you? If the answer is “yes,” you may be suffering from information anxiety. These days, there are more sources of information than ever. It’s hard to process it all. This is especially true of trading. Compared to just 20 years ago, traders have more information available than ever.

There are multiple sources of information from the Internet, financial newspapers, and cable television. Market action is transmitted instantly, and not only that, numerous indicators are available at any trader’s fingertips. It’s easy to feel overloaded to the point of feeling information anxiety. But any form of anxiety can interfere with a trader’s ability to perform with a peak performance mindset. It’s essential that you control information anxiety and don’t allow it to distract you from your trading.

More doesn’t always mean better, and that’s especially true of information. We may be able to access large quantities of information, but it doesn’t do us any good if we can’t process it all and extract the vital specifics we need. Some seasoned traders point out that traders in the days of Jesse Livermore needed nothing more than the tape. Even today, there are many traders who can trade profitably by merely looking at price and volume. Today’s trading software offers an array of indicators, but many show the same piece of information.

It’s a waste of time to look at all of it. For one thing, knowing how the market is behaving at any one moment is not necessarily going to allow you to predict what it will do next. The markets are inherently chaotic. Even if one had perfect knowledge of past and current conditions, it doesn’t necessary mean that you can use it all to accurately forecast the future. In the end, it is more useful to limit the amount of information you look at. Face it. You’re human, and the human mind can only process a limited amount of information. If you try to process more than you can handle, you’ll feel information overload, and your ability to process information will be compromised. So you might as well acknowledge your limitations, and focus on a limited amount of information that you can process.

In modern society, there’s a strong urge to gain as much information as possible. Most traders believe that if they could just have “perfect” knowledge, they could trade profitably and consistently. However, this is a false belief. There’s no such thing as perfect knowledge, and even if you had it, it may not help you. Indeed, the quest for perfect knowledge is often a distraction. If you search for perfect knowledge, you’ll never find it; you’ll feel upset that you cannot achieve it, and you’ll always feel inadequate because you haven’t met an objective you’re trying to meet. It’s much better to avoid information anxiety by sticking with a few key sources of information that you can easily master. You’ll reduce information anxiety and trade with a more relaxed, decisive mindset.

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