Why Beating Yourself Up Enforces Bad Trading Behaviour

When you beat yourself up for missed opportunities, letting a loss run into the abyss, cutting your profits short or anything that you think you should have done differently, you are stuck in the problem. All you can see is the problem and hence you will repeat the same mistake over and over again, beating yourself even more up for it and so sliding down the vicious spiral of repetitive trading mistakes.

The moment we start focusing on solutions we start freeing our mind up to sort for new ways of behaving, instead of repeating the old behaviour over and over again.

For that you need situational awareness, the ability to see what is happening and notice how the action you are taking is getting you results or not. A losing trader has a diffferent situational awareness than a profitable trader. A trader with a high degree of situational awareness sees a lot of opportunities whereas a trader with a low degree of situational awareness stays stuck in the problem, which keeps creating the losing trade.

The good news is the situational awareness can be developed at any time.

It’s kind of like with chess players. They both have the same potential for moves and both of them can play the game. What determines who is actuallly going to win the game is who can look into the playing board and see more opportunity. It is the person who can think three and four moves in advance.

You see the novice chess player is just thinking of how do I move a knight, whereas the master is looking at the board and thinks that 3 or 4 moves in advance so they can make the perfect move to win the game.

Profitable traders are the same, they see what losing traders who are stuck in the problem can’t and that’s why they are able to play a more strategic game in the playing field of trading.

So, if you are a trader who keeps beating yourself up, first look at how you are thinking and feeling, most probably you keep repeating the same distructive thinking dialogs with yourself over and over again.

How are you feeling when you are beating yourself up?

Once you have taken stock of how you are currently thinking and feeling, start shifting your focus to the solution. How would you be rather feeling? What would be more constructive for you to say to yourself? What would be a more resourceful state of mind and internal dialogue?

Look at your physiology, when you are beating yourself up you are most probably frowning, hunched over with clinched jaws and fists as if you are ready to give yourself a big smack. Change your physiology, start breathing deeply and slowly, apply relaxation techniques to let go of the frowning, relax your jaws and fists, stand upright, and look up into the world.

Then do some proper analysis of your trading behaviour, at what point does it all go pearshaped, at what point do you give up on your losing / winning position, what is your thought process that leads you to the behaviour of cutting a profit or letting the loss run.

Look at your trading statistics, be brave, face your demons.

With a toast to your trading profits