People will go to great lengths attempting to avoid discomfort. And as traders, much of what we do is in response to being uncomfortable. This is an extremely critical concept to understand and explains many trading problems and mistakes.
The problem is not in being uncomfortable per se, the real problem is that our efforts to avoid discomfort can easily end up making us feel worse. If you can understand why you’re uncomfortable and what your typical default reaction is to being uncomfortable, you will be well on the road to trading success.
Here are a few sign posts along the road to get you started:
You avoid the discomfort of boredom by taking marginal trades.
You try to avoid the discomfort associated with the fear of missing out by chasing.
You deal with the anger of getting stopped by taking a revenge trade.
You try to avoid the discomfort of being wrong by hesitating or freezing, or holding the position past your stop to prove you were ‘right’.
See the pattern? Most trading mistakes can be viewed as behavior in response to some type of discomfort.
Mistakes must be seen as learning opportunities. And that’s not just a cliché. If you don’t learn from your mistakes,
1) They become emotional baggage that weighs you down, and
2) You will be destined to repeat them.
For this reason alone, it behooves you to learn about the patterns of your discomfort. Yes, discomfort often does come in patterns, but we are so focused outward on the chart that many people do not recognize the emotional sequence going on inside.
You can’t eliminate your emotions but you can learn to control (or ‘re-condition’) your response (your reaction) to the discomfort by being aware of and understanding your emotions. Part of what I do with my coaching is teach them to be aware of their internal patterns and how these internal patterns correspond to what they see on their charts and in their actions.