What's more important: Trading Method or Trading Psychology?

Ancient argument:

What's determines success in trading:

  1. A successful methodology 
  2. Psychology and discipline? 

Answer: BOTH!

But this is not a "chicken or egg" dilemma. Clearly in this case method comes before mind.

I don't care how much self-discipline you have. If you don't have a viable trading methodology, then you will lose money.

So method is more important.

Well, maybe "more important" isn't the right phrase to use. But it definitely comes first.

The reason I say it may not be more important is because there are many valid trading methodologies available. Yet ironically, traders keep jumping from one method to another ...

  • one indicator after another 
  • one book after another 
  • one mentor after another 
  • one seminar after another 

This is the infamous "search for the Holy Grail."

Sorry ... doesn't exist.

Like most things in life, people keep looking for the answer outside of themselves, when the answer was inside of themselves all along.

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz ... You had the power all along.

Okay, we've all heard that the psychological aspect of trading is the key to success. But HOW do you tap into it?

There's only one way I know.

Though the hard work and the daily drudgery of keeping a trading log of every trade you take.

By recording, and reviewing every trade you take (along with the ones you didn't take, but should have), you'll learn more than from any book, seminar or video.

This feedback mechanism is the key to success.

Like all subjects of Master:

You begin by adding. You need to acquire the information, the principles, and rules of successful trading.

After you spend a long time accumulating all the information, then you strip it away. You simplify until you find an approach that works for you.

Then you simplify further by eliminating your mistakes.

Someone once told me: "Successful trading is simply a business of not making mistakes.

We're not aware of how many mistakes we're making until we keep a trading log of every trade, and then review it every day and again at the end of every week.

I haven't met a trader yet, who following this discipline, hasn't been absolutely amazed at what a large percentage of their trades broke their own trading rules (the definition of a "mistake").

Beginners work on trading.

Masters work on themselves.

- Dr. Barry Burns
(c) 2007




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