Pride has been the downfall of many traders. Pride is a powerful emotion. We feel pride after making a significant achievement, and we are especially proud when the achievement has increased our social status. Trading is difficult. Few people master it, so when one is doing well, it’s natural to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.
But there’s a point where pride can be overpowering. When people are so proud that they are full of themselves, and feel invincible, they may not think clearly. They may have too much psychological investment in feeling superior, and when this happens, their vision is blurred.
Pride is most evident during competition. Some people have an “I’ll show them attitude.” They secretly feel inferior and they are out to prove their worth to others. When these people make a significant accomplishment, they have a burning desire to brag about their achievements so as to feel superior to others. Gaining a sense of superiority is what motivates them, and the brass ring is the right to brag about one’s prized accomplishment and to put down others.
It’s adaptive to be a little proud occasionally, but at an extreme, too much pride can lead to inflexibility. When one is too proud, there’s a strong need to maintain one’s pride. When one tries to maintain pride, anything that contradicts one’s feeling of omnipotence is threatening. A person may be afraid to look at his or her shortcomings objectively. Indeed, a person who is too proud may not be able to admit that he or she has any faults.
There are often social consequences for being too proud. Many people dislike those who are too proud. They watch and wait in anticipation for the person to fail. These psychological processes play a significant role in creating stress and indecision.
The overly proud trader is likely to feel strong social pressure to continue making large financial gains to save face. The added pressure is likely to sap up precious psychological resources and produce unpleasant emotions that are bound to interfere with rational decision-making.
The winning trader is not overly proud. He or she is humble and doesn’t try to compete with others. The winning trader develops internal standards of self-worth and evaluates the performance by looking inward. Winning traders compete with themselves.
They look at their past performance and try to do better. They don’t compare themselves to others. They don’t feel pride or shame based on how well they are doing compared to other traders. They focus only on how well they think they are doing.
The only opinion that matters is their own. It may mean they don’t have any bragging rights, but they know it’s more important to stay focused on the trade, their immediate experience. Focusing on others takes them out of the zone, and when a trader is distracted, he or she will make mistakes that will have severe financial consequences. By remaining humble, the winning trader stays clear, focused, and objective. It’s the mindset of success.