The Counter-Intuitive Way to Trading
I don’t think there exists a trader who does not struggle with his or her emotions when trading. I also do not feel that there is any trader who doesn’t want to control their emotions when purchasing. In one of the submissions where I encouraged traders to share their frustrations, I received an email from someone named Jack with this concern:
“I always hesitate when I trade. I have a personal strategy which often leads to big profits. But 3 out of 5 times I back out of a trade, only to find out that it would have profited me even bigger sums if I hadn’t. My mind is set up and ready to make the trade, but it’s like there’s a part of me, like a whole different person, telling me to back out.”
I’m sure all traders have experienced this or something closely similar. Sometimes our emotions get the better of us, and we end up regretting chances we did not take. Sometimes we are bound to our emotions. It’s hard to shake this feeling off. It feels like there’s an entirely different person in our head telling us no, just as Jack relates. So every trader’s question is: how can I control my emotions when trading?
The counter-intuitive answer to this question is: Stop trying to control your emotions.
You have to realize that it’s not your emotions that have control over you and tell you No. Instead, it’s you resisting the feelings that give them power over you. You have to take a pause, reassess your emotions, and think hard about its hold is on you. Passion is just a feeling, after all, so how come we are so bound to it?
The Annoying Boy
Imagine that you are holding a boy by his wrist. You’re walking on a road and dragging him with you. You don’t realize that you are holding him extremely tight. You are drugged and not even aware you are holding on to a boy. You have lost your spatial and bodily awareness and assume that the boy is holding on to you. The boy sticks with you, following you wherever you go. Now you want to get rid of him, but you don’t know-how. He’s overpowering you. You feel helpless. When you resist him, you think that his hold on you is getting even stronger. Soon, you are at his mercy, dragging you and controlling you where you go.
Here, the kid is an emotion. In reality, it has no control over you. It is you that’s holding on to it. The more you resist your feelings, the more it feels like it’s controlling your every move. But exactly like the little kid that you hold on too tightly, you are giving the emotion power and control over you.
The Counter Move
Stop resisting the emotion. Welcome it instead. This is one of the most liberating things you can do. You are not freeing yourself from the excitement, because you can never get rid of it, but you are owning it and accepting it as part of you instead. Use the emotion hand-in-hand in decision-making. Welcoming passion means letting go of the kid’s wrist. You are no longer making it control you. You no longer think that it has power over you. Instead, you realize that it is just a feeling.
When you feel anxious and panicky as you enter a trade or when you are trying to hold for a big profit exit, instead of resisting that feeling, welcome it. Receive the anxiety and the panic and sit awareness. It might feel unnatural at first, and you’ll feel like wanting to push it away, but soon enough, you’ll realize that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel these emotions. Panic and anxiety make us feel like we are in a dangerous situation, and our first reaction is wanting to get away from it. This is the reason why some traders opt-out of a trade, afterward realizing the mistake they made. This is even more natural in trades where the profit is potentially significant, as it also requires potentially substantial risk. However, if you stop resisting and welcome the emotion, you will realize that it did not kill you at all. Instantly, its power over you will disappear. It won’t be a big deal anymore, and you will feel its strength decrease.
Then, you’ll end up realizing that when you stop resisting your emotions, like in Jack’s case, you will have even greater control. You’ll never be completely rid of your emotions when trading, so the least you can do is stop and let it. You’ll even find that the feelings you feel—the anxiety and the panic—will help you decide on your trade. You can welcome these emotions from a place of awareness and slowly, let go of your hold on them. Your feelings have never had control or power over you. It is you, though unknowingly, that has full control of it.