Traders face setback after setback, but they never feel beaten down. They recover from a setback quickly and are ready to tackle their next challenge with enthusiasm. Not all traders can take setbacks in stride, however. For some people, any loss regardless of how small can be upsetting. With proper preparation, though, you can be a resilient trader who can come back time and time again.
Resilient trading is often a matter of attitude. A resilient trader is realistic. He or she accepts reality and appreciates what the markets have to offer. On some days the markets offer many opportunities. On other days, there are just a few. But whatever are available, resilient traders accept the current state of affairs. They don’t pressure themselves into trying to take out more money than the markets are willing to give.
Resilient traders are eternal optimists. They may expect setbacks, but they don’t equate a setback with personal failure. They are confident that if they put in time and effort, they can overcome any obstacle. That said, they accept their limitations. They don’t believe that they must be “perfect.” Non-resilient traders believe that they must be thoroughly competent to the point that every trade is a winner.
By holding this attitude, though, they tend to expend all available psychological energy mulling over the negative consequences of failing, rather than focusing on what they can do in the here-and-now to implement their trading plan. The quest for extreme perfectionism is distracting and obscures the flow of immediate experience, and thus, the ability to read current market activity with unfailing accuracy. Striving for perfectionism is an important ideal to hold, but don’t forget that it is merely an idea. You might try to reach for it, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get there.
Besides the right attitude, the resilient trader uses risk control to minimize the impact of losses. Psychological resilience is a matter of reducing your level of stress, and nothing is more stressful than risking money that you can’t afford to lose and living with the fear that should you fail, you cannot easily recover. If you risk little on each trade, though, you won’t have anything to fear. You will feel more at ease, and when you face a setback, you’ll be ready to jump back in and tackle the challenge of the next trade.
Trading is challenging enough. You don’t have to make it even harder. Manage your risk, anticipate losses, and don’t beat yourself up unnecessarily for not meeting unrealistic expectations. Enjoy the process of trading, and don’t merely focus on the prize. With the right attitude, you can be a resilient trader and achieve enduring success.