A State of Mind: We All Have Them Days & It’s How You Deal

Over the last few years, becoming a full-time trader has been not just about learning the markets but a journey of personal development. In fact, I’d argue it’s been more about me than the market! I now understand why Adam Heathcote emphasized awareness development—despite some cynicism, it makes perfect sense to me now.

Understanding what is happening, why prices move, what’s behind the movements, and knowing when to enter a trade or when to hold on to maximize profits is crucial. But if you can’t transform that knowledge into profits, it becomes utterly useless. What’s the point?

I’m sure many can relate to watching a market, having their own set of logical predictions about what will happen, and then, lo and behold—everything unfolds as expected! You’re left in a daze, thinking if only you had placed a trade at the right moment, you’d be sitting on a tidy profit. But you didn’t.

On the flip side, it works the other way around too. Suppose X, Y, and Z have happened; it seems like a no-brainer to enter the market. So, you do, only to watch the price go against you by two ticks. You cash out at a loss because you were on your maximum stake, and then, suddenly, the market shifts back past your entry point by another eight ticks. Your analysis was solid, but poor execution and fear of losing money messed it all up. Now, you’re staring at the screen, infuriated and feeling like you’ve just missed out. Sounds familiar, right?

Don’t worry—this issue is relatively easy to solve, though it often doesn’t happen overnight. Understanding market dynamics aside, mastering your own psychological response is key. It’s what separates a break-even trader from a profitable one.

It reminds me of a Thomas Edison quote I love from my ‘About Me’ page. Often, people don’t realize how close to success they are, so for God’s sake, don’t give up! Just the other day, I received an email from a chap named Simon, who sounds like he’s on the brink of a breakthrough, although he doesn’t seem to realize it. Hopefully, I gave him enough encouragement to persist, drawing from my own experiences.

Your perspective, beliefs, and the confidence that stems from them are what trigger the ‘Eureka moment.’ It’s not about having an edge in the market or a mythical ‘free cash’ button but about starting to trust your own understanding and behavior through self-knowledge. That is the final piece of the puzzle that makes everything click.

I’m fully aware of the tone of this post, but it needs to be a bit intense to get the point across, so I make no apologies. Here’s an example from my own trading just the other day:

During the third race of the day, the 14:30 at Ayr, I lost a significant sum of money due to a couple of foolish mistakes. We all make them, even successful traders, though not everyone documents them publicly. I didn’t follow my own advice to take a break after a bad race. Instead, I continued trading more aggressively on larger stakes than I should have. The end result was the market went against me, and due to low liquidity, I couldn’t exit safely, resulting in a loss of £211.70 in one race.

What happens next is crucial and separates the good traders from the bad. You can choose to stop trading for the day and stew in frustration, beat yourself up about the loss, or take a short break and return with a mindset of ‘this is not a problem,’ maintaining faith in yourself with a positive attitude.

The natural choice might seem obvious, but the best option is clear, and that’s exactly what I did. Admittedly, it wasn’t a great day, and had I not incurred the loss, I would have only made £280. But fretting over it wouldn’t help my mindset—I’m aware of my behavior and its effects, and though I’m not invincible, I believe understanding this makes all the difference.

In summary, it’s not about being superhuman but how you handle situations. This applies to everyone, even those who haven’t yet mastered market dynamics.

All this talk about personal development and self-awareness is great, but how do you embark on this journey? It’s easier than you might think. I’ve discussed it before and am becoming increasingly passionate about it. I’m considering creating a series of video clips for my YouTube channel to share my thoughts and suggest small changes that can enhance our mental state while trading. I’d do it this way because explaining it all here would take all day.

It may seem a bit intense, or some may doubt its validity, but I guarantee it works. Try it! If you don’t, you’ll be the only one missing out.

8 thoughts on “A State of Mind: We All Have Them Days & It’s How You Deal

  1. Well fancy me being in the blog! Now I am pushing forward. Had a poor day today but doing just as Caan says, taking a break for a cuppa and some food. Taking responsibilty for my actions and using ‘Trading in the Zone’ Mark Douglas at all times now.

  2. Hello Caan thx for your blog it’s really interesting. I have a couple of questions, (if you want!):
    Do you think that the type of the race (short race with maiden horses) can reduce the ease to close (in loss) a trade?
    You never speak about big bots on the market, i think that there are 2-3 bots with a bank equal or greater than the sum of all others account’s banks. I’m really interested to know the point of view of an experienced trader about that. Will you post something about this argument?
    Thx again!

  3. People hate it when you tell them it’s the mindset angle that will decide if they’re ultimately successful though Cann, they all assume there’s some little tricks we’re hiding from them. Some sort of x does this, y do that strategy. Even if we simply guessed we’d be right 50% of the time it doesn’t take too much skill to tip that 50% in your favour, trouble is people have unrealistic expectations of how much they can take out of the market and react badly when things go wrong and poorly when things go right so they don’t make the the most of their winners and lose too much from their losses. Plus they have no patience to wait til opportunities arise, you see it all the time with youtube videos of people sticking in far too many trades with no real reason why they’re doing it other than wanting to be in the market.

  4. Hi Caan,

    interesting view on responding to a “significant” losing trade, demonstrating great mental discipline. I’ll add my approach, in case you, or any of the blog followers are interested, but before I do I’ll point out a couple things about the way I trade. I only have one strategy which I apply to all races; I get very few trades so a significant loss creates serious longish term damage to my trading bank.

    My preference for dealing with that unwelcome beast known as the significant loss is to stop trading for the day, but I’m seasoned enough and profitable enough not to experience the frustration side of things.

    I use this approach for three reasons :-

    1. Whilst not frustrated my mental balance is impaired, as the losing trade remains imprinted on my mind.

    2. Experience tells me that the “make up” of the market is such that the anomaly which created my loss is likely to still be present in later races.

    3. I try to trade whenever there is racing which means practically every day, so I look on the few hours off as a “holiday”.

    cheers, Alan

  5. You should really consider adding a forum to your blog Caan, it’s a great way of creating traffic and keeping traders in touch . Be good to have one that’s not biased and tied to a software vendor

  6. I’m relatively new round here, don’t know if youre still around Simon but im interested to see if you continued trading or it didnt work out in the end? Do people even go back this far into the blog? lol, ive enjoyed going right to the start and working my way through it. Inspiring to see how Caan started to where he is now! Cheers

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