Get Out of That Trading Rut

By: Terry Leslie

Ever muttered these words? "I haven't made enough winning trades. "What am I going to do?" 'I'll never be successful." Well, if you have, you're not alone. It's usually followed by "But I don't know to do differently." To quote writer Molly Ivins, "The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging."

If you're a new trader, it's normal and natural to feel like you're in a hole. It can cause feelings of panic and we've all been there. Of course, it's human nature to think about the past and worry about the future. But the more you resist this urge, the less distracted you'll be about achieving trading success. As you spend your time focusing on your future plans, analyzing current market conditions, honing your trading skills, and deciding how to approach your next trade, the more successful you will undoubtedly be.

But seasoned traders have a trick. They take their trades one at a time, and view each trade as a completely new opportunity. It's called "compartmentalizing your trades" and by focusing on your immediate experience, you'll increase your energy and remain optimistic about each trade you make.

To successfully compartmentalize, envision a different "mental compartment." Then, as you begin to initiate each trade, start fresh. Don't worry about how the last trade fared or how defeated you might feel if this one is made at a loss. Rather, focus every bit of your energy on the "here and now" this immediate experience. Then, implement your trading plan with a calm and relaxed attitude.

If you've ever played sports, you know how important it is to be "in the zone." The game of golf is a great example. Golfers who excel don't think about the last hole or their current score. They focus on the present by analyzing the course and the traps ahead and determine what they need to do to accomplish the immediate goal. Then, they move to the next hole, approaching it with the same energy and renewed focus.
Now, let's be realistic. You do need to carefully manage risk and it's hard not to remember past failures. But what good does that do, really? If you must worry about the future, do it away from work and not while you need to have your focus at its optimum level.

The mental strategy of trading is different for each trader. There's no right or wrong. There's no best way and your success will depend upon your creativity and individual approach to each trade. But if you treat each trade as its own entity, you will be more successful than if you let each previous trade weigh on your current task.

Seasoned traders think positively, as if anything is possible. The next trade may be a winner or it may be a loser. Whatever the outcome, they celebrate their victory, take the loss in stride, and move on. And, in the end, they are profitable.

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