The Psychology Of Speculation

Tickeritis is a frustratingly painful disease uniquely associated with trader doing intraday or short term trading.

In 1926 Henry Harper, in a book called The Psychology of Speculation, labelled the constant need to watch the market as “tickeritis”

You know you have this Tickeritis when after a trade entry each and every tick that moves away from your target feels like a personal assault or attack, and each tick in the direction of your target feels like a bit of hope or relief.

At some point in my coaching work I usually have a conversation with a Student that goes something like this:

Raj : “I know you keep telling me to focus on the trading process and not be attached to the individual outcomes, but I’m having a really hard time trying to not be emotionally attached to the trade”

Bramesh: “Raj we have focused on not to Focus on P&L while trading , the reality is that when you enter a trade you think about Winning making Profits. And if you spend most of your trading time existing in that mental space, hoping that you will be right, it will be very difficult to succeed.”

Raj: “Yeah, I know I shouldn’t think that way, the need to be right is not a good thing, but I can’t help it. In fact, it seems that this need to be right has sort of defined me as a trader

Bramesh: “You said it defines you as a trader, Thats the cause of trouble? Imagine You want to Learn Driving and someone says Learn on BMW will you take that Offer ? Answer is Strict NO as you do not want to Risk up upfront. But as your learnt on Maruti you slowly gained confidence and were able to drive with confidence.  Same Applied to trading  as you gained experience and learned you began to realize that any one trade has only a 50/50 chance of working. So Need to be right should not define you, But Need to follow and master the process should be our main focus ”

Raj: “Yeah, I understand that now, but why am I still struggling with it, I mean I know it, I understand it, but I can’t actually do it or perform that way,”

Bramesh:  I think you’re suffering from a dis-ease I call Tickeritis it comes in various forms depending on the person. I have a question for you, has it been difficult for you to not look at your P&L when you’re in a trade?”

Raj: “Well, after you told me to remove that column from my trading platform I don’t look at it.”

Bramesh: “How has that been for you?”

Raj: “Well, I don’t look at my P&L because I can’t see it anymore, but I have to admit that I still think about whether I’m making or losing money and how much.”

Bramesh: “Okay. Do you realize what you just said? You’re cheating, still peeking at your P&L through mental accounting. And by doing so you’ve found a way to remain emotionally attached to the outcome

At that point the client often has one of those ‘a-ha’ experiences and then the conversation can go in many different directions depending on their other ‘issues’.

One direction the conversation sometimes takes is the client asks me to describe my own internal experience of not being emotionally attached to a trade. So, I want to share with you, my readers, how I sometimes describe the feeling of being in a trade without being attached to the outcome.

Why is Tickeritis so bad? Besides the stress  the other reason is that Tickeritis is an emotional disease, and when emotions are heightened, our perception narrows. So We need to trade based on Trading Process not Emotions.

So try to practices not to see P&L and every single tick once you are in a “Planned” Trade. It will bring new prospective to your trading.

1 thought on “The Psychology Of Speculation”

  1. Very good article and video, maketitis and tickeritis are very common problem, which we must overcome.

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