Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Who's In Charge?

Reading Time - 5 Minutes


Who’s in charge?

It’s a straightforward question and you would think that the answer would be relatively simple.

Someone turns to you and asks, ‘Who is in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take?’

The answer that springs to mind, of course, is ‘I am in charge’.

And yet, if you stop to think about it, you might start to doubt yourself.

Learning to trade involves discipline, patience, and the ability to follow a well laid out plan. When it is written like that, compacted into one sentence, no more than sixteen words, it appears almost simple. And yet, dare to tell someone who has been learning to trade for any length of time that it is easy, and they will likely pick you up, turn you over and dispose of you through the nearest window.

When we write down what we need to do to learn to trade effectively, it really does seem like an easy path. Plans are written out, schedules are created, goals are set for the future. It’s exciting and yes, it is possible. Now, all you need to do is start walking the walk, following your plan and your rules.

You sit down at the computer and sure, some of the time things go well. You make some progress. And then… wait… what the hell just happened?

You abandon your plan for no good reason other than you suffered a loss and it annoyed you. The market isn’t playing ball and none of your setups are appearing, so frustration pulls you into random trade after random trade. You skip multiple trades that you should have taken for reasons you invented in your head and then when you finally take one, it’s a loss.

Afterward you sit there, dumbfounded. Perhaps you go for a walk, annoyed and yes, even
depressed. But as you walk, your spirits pick back up again. You assure yourself that it will never happen again. You commit to your plan of action once more and when you push back through the front-door after your walk, the markets better get their asses out of the way, because you are ready.

And you are. Things go well. You follow your plan. You maintain your discipline. And then, all of a sudden, it happens again. The walls come crashing down. You erase your progress in one angry attack on the computer, through one raging episode of greed and envy and fear, taking your anger out on a market that doesn’t even know you exist, hammering at a computer, determined to ‘win’ when all that is happening is that you are losing and making sure that you lose in a big way.

Again, the simple question – ‘Who is in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take?’

The walk. The assurance that it won’t happen again. The reset. The pushing it to the back of your mind.

Well, you are right, of course. You ARE in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take. There is no escaping that. Our minds aren’t designed or suited to trading, sure, but YOU are in charge of what you do. So why the hell are you self-sabotaging? Why are you ruining your opportunity to work toward your goals?

That question is aimed at you, the person reading this post. If you suffer from this problem, then you need to consider it. The only way to address what is going on is to shine a light on the problem, set up six big, generator driven spotlights until you can see every corner of the issue.

Most people in the world follow this route. It doesn’t have to be in trading. It can be in any walk of life. Anywhere you see people setting out to ‘achieve’ something is where that self-destructive trait will lie and wait.

Want to get fit so you join the gym and go for a sum total of one month?

Want to start your own business so you buy the books and do the research online for three weeks and then give up?

Want to learn a new language but don’t even attend all of the classes you paid for?

That is the reality of life for most people. It is an endless cycle of setting goals and then giving up on them. It is wanting to do something, knowing how important it is to you, and then tossing it aside.

The problem is that no one likes when things get hard. And with whatever you want to do in life, if it is out of the ordinary, then it is going to be hard. And by out of the ordinary, I mean it doesn’t involve going to work, coming home and sitting in front of the TV because you’re too tired to do anything else.

If you want something different, you need to be prepared to do what others won’t do.

Get that spotlight out and decide if you are self-sabotaging yourself. If you have read to this point, then I am confident that you are doing it.

Stop it.

Stop fucking doing it.

Simple, right?

Well, the words are (just like explaining trading, funnily enough). But there is no way to sugar coat it, no way to wrap it up into fancy sounding ‘tricks’ that will solve the issue for you. All that you need to do is to stop self-sabotaging yourself in whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.

Decide if the effort is going to be worth it. Do you want whatever it is that you are aiming for enough? Is it so important to you that you are willing to work at it when the going gets tough? Because it WILL get tough. If it didn’t, then guess what? Everyone would be doing it.

Now, mistakes are ok. We are all human, and sometimes things go wrong. But you need to be focused on correcting those mistakes. You need to be able to jump on them as soon as they appear instead of letting them spiral out of control. When they come, stop brushing them to the back of your mind and allowing yourself to repeat them a week or two down the line.

You can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. But it is going to be hard enough without YOU standing in YOUR OWN way. So, get out of your way.

It is difficult to be alert to it because our natural tendency is to revert back to being lazy and comfortable. But if you want to achieve anything worthwhile, you are going to need to do it.

For trading, make sure you keep a ‘negative diary.’ Tear yourself apart in that thing every time you allow yourself to slip and damage yourself. Do it even if the slip leads to profit. Really pour the negativity and anger onto the page, explain to yourself why it is so stupid to do and how it is going to stop you from achieving your goals. And then, every single time you need to add to that diary, make sure you ready EVERY page of it. The bigger it gets, the more you have to read.

What that will do, is drill it into your mind. And really feel the emotions on each of the pages as you read through it. Remember how it made you feel having to fill in the page and understand that it is holding you back. Keep the diary near your trading computer so you can see it every day. Glance at it before every trade you take and remind yourself how important it is to keep that side of you in the book and away from the actions you are now carrying out.

Be in charge of you.

James Orr


  1. If you think you are beaten, you are;

    If you think you dare not, you don't.
    If you'd like to win, but think you can't
    It's almost a cinch you won't.
    If you think you'll lose, you've lost.

    For out in the world we find
    Success begins with a fellow's will:
    It's all in his state of mind.
    If you think you're outclassed, you are:

    You've got to think high to rise,
    You've got to be sure of yourself before
    You'll ever win that prize.
    Life's battles don't always go

    To the stronger or faster man,
    But sooner or later the man who wins
    Is the one who thinks he can.

    Attributed to Author Napoleon Hill


    1. I'm a big fan of Napoleon Hill but hadn't read that before. Thanks for sharing.

  2. For a moment I thought you knew me, I have to stop it. Thanks for article. Very insightful.

  3. think big,believe big,act big,and the result will be big.
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