Archive for February 2014
For those traders that can’t make the transition to computers, there are very few options open for this very specialized skill set. In this final excerpt, we see what some of the interviewees are planning to do once they leave the floor, either by choice or attrition.
In my previous posting I had presented 6 potential sources of trader burnout. Here are the final three sources.
- Trading Overload – Part of the appeal of trading, especially in the Forex market, is the 24 hour access provided. This is often a selling point for novice traders. The reality, however, is very different and few people can sustain a trading schedule that covers more than a few hours at a time. Fatigue, hunger, bathroom breaks and seclusion are just a few of the problems associated with 24 hour/6 day/week accessibility. Availability does not mean profitability. Place boundaries on your trading activity so as not to get overwhelmed by it
- Perceived Unfairness – If you haven’t figured it out, I’m sorry to bust your bubble, but the market doesn’t care about your position in Google, the number of hours you’ve analyzed your charts or how much time and money you’ve spent learning how to trade. The market is very narcissistic and will slap you upside the head in a moment’s notice. This perceived “beat down” can have a toll on a person’s resolve and should be reevaluated if it affects other aspects of your life.
- Lack of Community – As I mention in Trading Overload, trading can be a very solitary experience. Most traders are alone with their computer making what can be life altering decisions about themselves and the ones closest to them. The responsibility of these decisions can be overwhelming. It’s important to be a part of a group or organization, like the Chicago Trading Group, that allows you to talk about trading with others that understand what you’re experiencing.
Trading can be a fulfilling, long-term, rewarding activity. It also has its own dangers that need to be heeded by anyone engaging in market. Awareness, acknowledgement and action on these 6 sources allow novice traders to transition to veteran traders relativity unscathed.
The Good Enough Trader explained what many traders experience, a sense of maintaining the status quo. Things are “good enough” when it comes to the trading results. Another way to look at it is a sense of breakeven, not too big either from a winner or loser point of view. This can result, for lack of a better description, in a malaise of mediocrity.
Please don’t mistake the description of “malaise of mediocrity” as a negative. It’s an imperfect way of describing what you might be feeling in your trading results. If you are generally happy with maintain status quo, then you don’t need to read any further. The malaise of mediocrity I’m speaking of is a sense discontentment regarding your trading results.
Generally, most traders that talk about a break-even result are not happy. They have envisioned some sort of result that will propel them into another type of reality, be that lifestyle, tax bracket or bank account. But somehow the dream of making a bunch of money hasn’t been realized. A way of remedying this situation is to create a passion about your trading.
Awareness & Acknowledgement
The awareness and acknowledgement are kind of in the same thought process. By acknowledging that you’re not happy with your results is also the awareness that your results are not what you expect them to be. So, unlike The Revenge Trade Calmed or The Defeated Trader Empowered, there isn’t the same need to step back and make the awareness that something is amiss that requires you to pause and acknowledge the feeling. The Good Enough Trader is more contemplative. Since this is a level that is very much “in your head”, it’s very easy to get stuck there and not able “think” your way out.
So what is required is to utilize some of the Revenge Trader to spark a fire about your trading. The focus of that spark is directed toward the question, why are you trading? I addressed this in my posting The Difference Between the Will and the Way. Understanding what the purpose of your trading is will go a long way to inspiring you to make trades that feed a specific purpose. As an example, I trade not because of the money, but because what I’m able to do with my life. My priorities in my life are my family and my community. Trading has allowed me to pursue a type of lifestyle that allows me to work from home and be very present to my family. I use the Revenge Trader to fight for that lifestyle and create trades that support those goals. If the trading didn’t serve that purpose, I would most likely find something else that did. Another way of looking at this is that I’m trading for a living not living for trading. The strategies, my style of trading, all support the priorities in my life.
A suggestion would be to examine your reasons for trading. Create some clarity about your reasons for coming back to the market day after day. Making money can be achieved by many ventures. What is it about trading that is different from say opening up a coffee shop or starting a consulting business? How does trading support your lifestyle?
If you would like to have some assistance regarding your trading goals, sign up for a complementary exploratory coaching call. Click this link to find an available time to meet.
The next condition we’ll examine is The Altruistic Trader.
*The educational material contained is gratefully adapted from the training received at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), its founder Bruce D Schneider, and his bestselling book Energy Leadership.
In this excerpt of Floored, we look at the realm of high stress electronic trading. The challenges don’t go away just because you now have a computer making the decisions for you. The attractiveness of the computer screens is often overshadowed by what appears to be the lack of control.
To say that trading is hard is stating an obvious fact. The apocryphal factoid that 95% of all traders fail is in the back of most traders’ minds as they experience the roller coaster that is the financial market. Regardless of this fact’s accuracy, trading amongst professional and retail traders alike experience a higher then normal turnover rate compared to other activities.
So it’s important to occasionally assess your state of mind and see if you are experiencing signs of trader burnout. Trader burnout isn’t about having a bad trading day, but is, as Paula Davis-Laack defines in Psychology Today, “the chronic state of being out of sync with one or more aspects of your life.” The result of this misalignment is a lack of energy, enthusiasm, and confidence in your trading activities.
So to help you understand what might cause a lack of enthusiasm for entering the market, I’ve adapted a list of six sources of potential burnout. The first three are presented here.
- Lack of Control – Lack of control is sort of the epitome of trading. The very act of trading suggests that we are, at some point, willing to “give up” control to let the market do what it will with our money. That being said, there comes a point where increase stress over a trade and the lack of control can have a detrimental effect on more than just our decision process. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to a higher risk of coronary disease, stroke, depression, and a host of other medical conditions. Monitoring how you are coping with stress is primary to successful trading.
- Conflict with Values – One of the biggest challenges traders face is reconciling core values with the decisions they are making. This often reveals itself around money, since money often has a lot of emotional significance attached to it. The challenge is understanding which core value is conflicting with a particular decision. We know that there’s a conflict when we feel uncomfortable while making a decision, or experience immediate regret once a decision has been made. Ignoring these feeling over the long haul can create the same amount of stress as a Lack of Control. Creating awareness and acknowledging these feeling can lead to valuable information about how, and more importantly why, you’re trading.
- Insufficient Reward – There’s a old adage that says, “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.” Most traders have a pretty good understanding of what this means. There will be days when everything goes in your favor, and then there will be days we’d rather forget. Overall, though, there should be some reward for the effort we’re putting forth. A novice’s reward might be valuable knowledge about the market and their engagement in it, while veteran’s reward might be financial. Either way, the trader should walk away with something of value. When that is no longer the case, it’s time to reevaluate the motivations regarding your reasons for trading.
Stay tuned for the next three sources of trader burnout.