When I think of complacency two major things come to mind:
Often a traders biggest loss comes after a string of winners. This is well documented and suggests to me that complacency is present. The ‘every swing I take is a home run feeling’ or the ‘I can do no wrong feeling’. Sure enough when in this state the market is all too willing to smash you back down hard as a reminder of your mortality.
The other thing I think of are traders who have taken their foot off the gas. Who have decided that their approach is the only thing that works and will never need changing. You have to stay on your toes. The chances of the same approach working over and over ad infinite are slim. It may not need a complete overhaul and rather only subtle changes but it is complacent to believe something is a sure thing.
Most traders are imminently aware of their account balance – what I think many don’t think about is their emotional balance. Trading can take a serious toll on your emotional balance. It is a competitive endeavor that requires decision making under stressful conditions. Each trade you chose to assess and then take uses up some of this emotional capital. You need to be aware of this. Not doing so leads not only to exhaustion but possible burn out.
As I said I’d love to read some examples from you on these points as they pertain to trading in the comments section. If you’d like maybe we can go into these areas in more detail in the future.