Module 12 Innerworth — Mind over markets

Chapter 251

Maintaining Discipline

The winning trader is a disciplined trader. Discipline means controlling impulses and controlling emotions. As many novice traders can tell you, however, maintaining discipline is often easier said than done. Just as the vast majority of market participants are driven by fear and greed, many novice traders find it difficult to avoid succumbing to self-doubt and panic. Trading is challenging. Not anyone can just open a trading account and trade profitably and consistently. It takes practice, hard work, and determination. Discipline is key, and it is vital to take whatever steps are necessary to maintain discipline.

 

The markets are chaotic and unpredictable. When faced with an uncertain set of circumstances, it is easy to see why many traders feel unsure and unsettled. After a trade is executed, what happens next is anyone’s guess. Some traders thrive on the excitement, but many find it disconcerting. The best way to combat feelings of uncertainty and chaos is through organizing perceptions and activities. If one trades with a detailed trading plan, for example, one will impose structure onto an unstructured reality.

The markets may be a mass of confusion, but you can address it by clearly defining a target profit objective, and entrance and exit strategies. The more structure you have to follow, the less uncertain and unorganized you’ll feel. You will know what to do and when to do it. The more each element is defined, the easier it will be to follow your trading plan and maintain discipline.

One’s mood and attitude is another factor that impacts one’s ability to maintain discipline. An optimistic yet realistic attitude is vital to maintain trading success. Successful trading requires an intuitive feel of the markets and keeping this intuitive perception as objective as possible demands that one not be adversely influenced by unpleasant mood states. Trading is so challenging and unpredictable, however, that it is hard not to feel frustrated and disappointed at times.

Many traders struggle with trying to maintain a positive or neutral mood. It takes practice and attention. If one lets his or her guard down, a pessimistic mood may take over. Maintaining a positive mood requires that one monitor self-talk, what one tells oneself. It is vital that negative statements be screened, and refuted. But this all takes psychological energy, and humans have a limited amount of psychological energy. When the limits of the mind are reached, maintaining a positive mood is a challenge.

The best antidote is to build up as much psychological energy as possible. The most efficient approach is to get plenty of rest and relaxation. When you’re tired, the available psychological energy you can devote to trading is restricted. When people are tired, they have great difficultly controlling emotions and may give in to a negative mood. By getting the proper amount of rest, you’ll have enough energy ready to combat negative moods.

Maintaining discipline is vital for trading success, but it is difficult at times. The best ways to keep disciplined are to trade with a detailed trading plan and make sure you have enough psychological energy on reserve to keep your emotions and impulses under control. By maintaining discipline you can trade profitably and consistently.

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