How much impact does your behaviour have?
Note: This old post (January 2011) is one I get emailed about the most. I’ve recently updated it to include some additional knowledge (and correct my spelling).
You know what you have to do, you’ve even got a decent idea how or why… so why does it seem so impossible? it drive’s me mad at times!
It’s not the end of the world, mistakes are normal, we aren’t computers…
…which is entirely true, but it still sucks when you’ve spent all afternoon shuffling forward, only to be power-slammed back to square one Argh!!
In the politest way possible, it’s nice to hear I’m not alone on this! But what do we do about it?
Today I got off to a flying start. It seemed there was a lot of strange dutching going on, but I can’t be sure.
I kept stakes small and was rather hesitant because of it… its often better to be safe rather than sorry.
I completely misjudged the main event and lost a couple of quid, which was frustrating but nothing to cry about. I’ve been trailing a few techniques to change my behaviour. They seem to be paying off thus far, I’ll share them with you below… could it be the answer on the path to making money from the markets? I bloody hope so!
Ok, so I have this problem that seems to crop up every month at the moment; I get the pissed off when I lose a large amount in one race, usually anything over £50 does the trick. This then leads on to further losses, and fighting the temptation not to go in-play.
I’m capable of re-cooping that in a single race but have only done so a handful of times since I started. A good result for me in one race is usually £15 – £20 at the moment. I usually manage £30 or so once each day. With that considered, £50’s not so much is it? Wrong! Maybe I should push harder…
Ok so this is a massive problem if I’m to last long-term, as stated previous in the post ‘crash and burn‘. So after a lot of thought, I’ve put a few (possibly rather extreme) measures into practice. Hopefully it will force my behaviour to change…
Being self-aware – to start off I am focusing on how I’m feeling when trading. By being self-aware it seems to stop some mistakes… but it’s not enough alone! Seeing a mistake coming is the strongest tool I have to stop this madness. Although it’s easier said than done, I probably need to find some cognitive methods to help.
Alternative behaviour – so when I take a loss that bothers me (£10 plus). I stop, praise myself, sit back, take a deep breath, and have a few seconds to time-out. Telling myself it’s a good way to treat the situation… if the loss is much bigger and the impulse to be angry is stronger, I remove myself from the room to get a drink. This seems to be working a dream so far.
Positive Reinforcement – I will be reinforcing my behaviour each time I take a loss, by praising myself for it etc. Also, I’ve got a pot of sweets on the side. I’m only aloud when I’ve taken a loss. (most people have had a winning bet at some point, this is what causes the repeat behaviour… a way of reinforcement. By not doing it, in theory, the urge should be weaker).
Also I’ve taken a screen shot each time there’s a sizeable loss. I sit and look at it each day trying to associate good feelings with taking that loss. More importantly… I’ve invested in a rather nice Hollyoaks calendar to tick off each days trading that’s a success 🙂 Carley is helping me through January! (above) I’m quite looking forward to March…
Negative Reinforcement – I have a screenshot of my previous in-play blow-out. I look at each day, before I start. Telling myself I don’t want to do it again, and that’s what going in-play brings…
Avoidance – (my favourite lol) this one I wouldn’t advise for everyone, although I’m happy to do it if it means I can get this sorted. Every time I think even for a millisecond ‘maybe I should go in-play‘ or ‘maybe I should hedge in play‘ or anything along those lines I have a piece of bungee to the side of my desk… crack across the legs (stings like hell) but it soon makes me reject those thoughts, also it highlights how many times I think it even if I wasn’t planning on acting on it!! my legs pretty sore as I type!
Vulnerability awareness – something to bear in mind when we are feeling vulnerable, the chance of these problems are a lot more likely. Surely if you can think of a time you’re a bit emotional, tired maybe? obvious maybe, but I thought id add it 🙂
I’ll update how these changes pan out. I’m quite hopeful for some of them (I can’t take much more bungee!). Pretty extreme maybe, as I said at the beginning. I’m desperate to stop even the thought of going in-play and improve my discipline levels all-round. If you’ve got any additional methods that have worked for you, please comment and let me know.
Related Article: How To Deal With Trading Fears