If your head isn’t in the right place, your trades won’t be either

A bit of a self-reflection post is this one.

So, I was up bright and breezy this morning and looking forward to a busy day with data, the BOE and whatever else was on the cards. I managed to get my kids sorted at a decent time for once and had a plan in my head to hit my desk nice and early, trot out the options post, cover the early data, throw out a UK retails preview and then a BOE preview. Those plans all got shot to bits when I found that the Live Blog wasn’t working properly. I then had to spend a big chunk of the morning chasing my tail to get it fixed or a find a temporary solution. Fortunately, I’ve got a fantastic developer (check his link out at the bottom of the site if you’re after one) so I didn’t have to wait long to implement a fix so no major problem there. Shit happens and we try to move on.

However, because my original plans had been tipped in the bin, I’ve found it a real struggle to get back into the groove. I hate it when I get really focused on doing something a certain way and something comes along to upset that. So, I haven’t really recovered from this morning and my trading head is completely out the game. That doesn’t happen very often as I’m usually quick to get back into the swing of things after problems but this time it’s been a struggle. I had ideas for the BOE, for the pound, for trading in general but I’m finding I’m staring at the trading screens and nothing is sinking in.

Now, this isn’t a sympathy post at all, it’s a post on how our emotions are important to our trading. I’ve got very little interest in trading right now because my head isn’t in the right place and I’d rather not trade than compound my off-key mood by doing something stupid. Our emotions are one of the most important parts of our trading. If our head isn’t right, how can we expect our trading decisions to be right too? Perhaps some folks can ignore it and be mechanical and just blindly trade the techs but that’s not how I function. I need to know I’m in touch with my trading and what’s going on in markets, not feel like I’m on the outside looking in.

There’s many people and traders who are on the hunt for trading systems, signal services and other things that they think will help them trade but the best trading system in the world is ourselves. The flip side is that we can also be the worst trading system if we’re not right in the head. Identifying those times is important as that can save us losing money. Despite how I feel today, that doesn’t stop me from trying to straighten my head out, and this post is partly an attempt to turn something negative into something positive. I thought it might help me shake this off but it hasn’t and I just know in my own mind that this day is lost and I’m going to have to write it off and come back fighting fit and fresh tomorrow. The thing is, I’m not that disappointed in having to do that. Markets won’t cease to exist overnight and trading opportunities won’t dry up either. So what if I’ve missed a few hours of possible trading, there’s always tomorrow and the days after that.

The lesson here is that we should all self-analyse our moods and our feelings and make the call whether we’re in the right frame of mind to trade. It’s hard enough doing battle with the market let alone doing battle with ourselves, so why bother?

Ryan Littlestone

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