Module 12 Innerworth — Mind over markets

Chapter 255

The Quest for Discipline

Trading with discipline is one of the greatest challenges for traders. It’s common to hear novice traders say that they just can’t help but abandon their trading plan. It’s understandable. One may carefully devise a trading plan and have every intention of following it, but when it comes to actually put money on the line, they have trouble doing it. For some people, it may just be a matter of the stress of having to face a potential loss. But for others, discipline takes considerable effort. It’s easy to understand why. Trading is a lot like playing sports. It’s a good idea to have a plan, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to follow it rigidly. It’s often necessary to make midcourse corrections. That’s why finding the proper level of discipline is a challenge. You don’t want to trade too sporadically, but on the other hand, you don’t want to be too inflexible and over-disciplined.


Some people have no trouble with discipline. They like rules and enjoy following them. Other people, in contrast, dislike rules and structure. They are independent-minded and live by their own rules. Traders tend to be in the latter group. They aren’t afraid of taking a risk or going their own way. These traits are ideal for trading profitably, but on the other hand, they aren’t particularly consistent with a disciplined trading style. At times, those attracted to trading may have trouble maintaining discipline.

If you have trouble with discipline and are a little impulsive, you can learn to develop more self-control and discipline. First, keep in mind that you don’t have to be disciplined all the time. You only need to be disciplined when you are putting on a trade. It sometimes helps to remember this fact. It eases some of the pressure to think that you only need to be focused when you make specific trades, rather than during all waking hours. Second, it is essential to outline a very detailed trading plan. You should specify exactly what signals tell you to enter a trade, and what signals tell you to exit. Some traders make the mistake of leaving some of these factors unspecified, figuring they can just extemporize when the time comes.

But this approach presents problems for discipline. When you don’t know what to do specifically, you will be sloppy and less likely to maintain self-control. Third, it is important to make sure your energy level is high, yet your stress level is low. Psychological resources are required to maintain self-control and discipline. When you are tired and worn out, you have little energy left over to focus on managing your trade. To keep your peak performance edge, it’s vital to make sure you are relaxed, rested, and energized. If you aren’t, you’ll tend to make careless mistakes. Discipline is vital for trading success. It is essential that you develop a sense of discipline. The more disciplined you can trade, the more profits you’ll realize.

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