Profitable ETF Trading Strategies: Finding your best mental state for trading
In previous articles I have described my concept of the “zero-state”, and the combination of personal satisfaction and improved bottomline performance I get when I trade from that state.
In this article I want to describe some other mental states that traders I know find useful and consider the implications for your own journey of self discovery and trading mastery. It is my hope that you may discover that it works for you or that the journey of discovery may awaken you to other states along the way that you will find equally satisfying and useful.
After all, trading from an emotion free state (like my description of the zero state) may not be the best mental state for you. For example, I know traders who find it necessary and useful to achieve a state of emotional alpha male competitiveness in order to enter the ring of combat, which is how they perceive the markets and interpret their role.
Without being mentally prepared for the combat they anticipate, and therefore see, they will be undercutting their own effectiveness in the trading arena.
Another effective trader I know has a need to see himself as a pure mechanical businessman and must take a different approach: that of disinterested observer; He gets so disinterested that he cannot even watch the trades unfolding lest he start adapting his rules in mid trade. His analysis showed that this was not adding value, and so his mental state needed to be as far away from engagement as possible.
These were just 3 examples of different mental states being suitable for effective traders, which implies that there may be as many unique states as there are traders, which means that you must use introspection and self knowledge to discover what works for you psychologically as well as needing to examine trading strategies that suit your personality, time frame, risk profile and working hypothesis of market behavior.
How will you know? Know thyself, consult with trusted others, but above all else, make sure you are trading with real money in very small position sizes to assess the effects of market, system, money and self on your total trader’s performance system. Without that essential step you are postponing the day of judgment. The sooner you get into the game, the sooner you will engage in real learning.