“I cannot accept uncertainty”

I cannot accept uncertainty

Imagine how difficult it must be trading with such belief. In our daily lives we constantly strive for certainty, we want the outcome to always be expected, and yet there is just too much we can’t account for.

How do you behave and feel when you try trading with this belief?

  1. AfraidThe Market can take my money at any given moment!
  2. HelplessAnything can happen and I have no control!
  3. RestlessHow can I be at peace when I have no control over my trading even a minute from now?
  4. FrustratedAll my work is for nothing, because no matter what I do, I am not certain of any single trade!
  5. Miserable I try so hard, but all I get is more frustration each day!
  6. LostThere are no trading opportunities I can see! Any trade I consider might lose!
  7. PanickingI just placed a trade and the Market already behaves not the way I expected!
  8. EmbarrassedAll I do is making a fool of myself, I always buy at tops and sell at bottoms!
  9. Withdrawn/ApatheticI don’t even want to look at the Market, there is no doubt it will just go against me yet again…
  10. TiredThe more I analyze, the worse results I get, my efforts – all for nothing…

Well, I don’t want to go to “Suicidal”, but it is true that our beliefs can push us into dark corners of our minds indeed.

Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we need to be certain of the future, when we know for a fact that it’s impossible? If you need to be certain, be certain of this:

I have no idea how the Market will look a second, a minute, an hour, a day or a year from now!

So how do you trade, when nothing is certain? Just like Bruce Kovner said in “Market Wizards”:

…making your best judgment, being wrong, making your next best judgment, being wrong, making your third best judgment, and then doubling your money.

Let’s see if your thinking changes when you consider just the opposite of the belief we started with:

I completely accept uncertainty on the market. I have no idea where the price will go.

How do you feel now?

  1. LiberatedHow great it is not having to know!
  2. ConcentratedNow that I know what I don’t know, I can concentrate on my analysis better, without having to be right.
  3. ConfidentActually, now I know exactly what the outcome of my trade will be – uncertain!
  4. RelaxedMy job is to explore the opportunities, Market’s job is to show me if they work or not. I simply concentrate on my business and let the Market do its own.
  5. AmusedEach single step the Market makes is always a pleasant surprise for me – it simply teaches me and shows me where it goes.
  6. Fascinated It is amazing how balanced, harmonious the Market is, if I but let it go!

You can have the best trading system in the world, only to be ruined by your own thinking.

True, you might not become profitable even when your beliefs are in harmony with the nature of the Market, but you will become the greatest learner, watching and following the greatest teacher there is in trading.


“I do not understand the Market”

I do not understand the Market.

How do you feel when you believe this about yourself? Examine the following statements and see which ones cause the biggest emotional reaction – these are the ones you want to work on.

  1. Powerless
  2. Hopeless
  3. Stupid
  4. Like I am wasting time
  5. Frustrated
  6. Tired
  7. Angry
  8. Afraid of losing the money
  9. Afraid of looking stupid when I open a “wrong” trade
  10. Hesitated

Whatever you believe about yourself is what you are. So how do you think you would be feeling if this believe did not exist for you, if it would have completely disappeared?

  1. Free
  2. liberated
  3. Empowered
  4. Willing to pull the trigger on my trades
  5. Willing to explore the Market without resistance

Is it possible to understand the Market at all? Once again, the main question here is what do you believe “understanding” to be. Depending on how you define “understanding” it might be possible to understand the Market or it might be not.

What is understanding?

  1. Knowing where the Market will go
  2. Knowing why the price moves on the Market
  3. Knowing what the possible outcome of my trades could be

Consider which one is easier to understand about the Market. When you need to know where the Market will go, you are bound to be frustrated most of the time in your trading. If you simply need to know what could the outcome of your trades be, you will bring clarity to your trading.

If you really want to understand the Market in terms of knowing where it will go, why is that?

  1. Do you want to avoid losses?
  2. Do you want to prove that you are right?
  3. Do you want your trades to be ideal, absolutely perfect?
  4. Do you want to have confidence in your actions?

Remember, that each of the above questions must be broken down into aspects. Your belief system is extremely complicated and the answers are not likely to be found by scratching the surface.

Limiting Beliefs

Trading can often be very difficult to manage as a business, when you are doing it all by yourself. Every single day you have to get up in the morning and repeat the same tasks over and over again. It can quickly become frustrating, especially in the beginning, when you are not really seeing any outcome of your hard work.

If you have to motivate yourself every day to get started, there is a problem already present. You are not a trader just yet, because you have to overcome the resistance that is constantly present in the background. Think about some other areas of your life, your hobbies, what really interests you? Do you have to struggle to get started in these areas?

Unless we learn to do all the tasks related to trading with enjoyment, we are not traders. We are simple trying to force ourselves into becoming what we are not. The only way to solve this problem is to work with our beliefs.

Try asking yourself, what is it that generates resistance to trading work in your mind? What beliefs do you hold that constantly come up and often do not allow you to work for 8 hours straight with ease and joy?

Here is a sample list:

  1. Trading is boring
  2. It is not “right” to speculate (due to your religious, political or any other beliefs – examine those)
  3. Trading is too difficult
  4. I need someone to tell me what to do in order to do it right
  5. I don’t like working alone
  6. I can’t work from home
  7. I don’t want to spend so much time at the computer every day
  8. My family/friends do not believe in me succeeding and so I can’t take my trading seriously
  9. I am too disorganized
  10. I am lazy
  11. I am not smart enough to trade
  12. I cannot concentrate well enough
  13. I don’t like getting up so early
  14. I don’t like going to sleep so late
  15. I am not lucky (examine your beliefs related to trading being “just luck”)

I could easily continue the list on and on, but the whole point is for each of us to discover our own limiting beliefs.

Let’s examine the first belief, “Trading is boring” in more detail.

  1. I could care less where the Market will go (great, you already have one of the most important components of a successful trader!)
  2. I don’t understand the Market (do you have to?)
  3. I don’t enjoy analyzing the Market (the better you get at something, the more you enjoy it – I did not enjoy practicing guitar the first couple months too)
  4. It is too difficult to keep all the information in my head (make notes, take screenshots, write a blog!)
  5. I am too tired and I am falling asleep as I watch the Market (review your sleeping schedule and eating habits, make sure you drink water ALL THE TIME, review your alcohol/smoking/caffeine addiction)

Once again, this is just an example of how we must take each of our beliefs and break them down into aspects in order to discover what is really limiting our full potential.

Unless you are ready to become self aware and look inside yourself – trading is not for you. Stop wasting your time, your family’s money and go find something you can be truly good at.

Following the Market

One of the most important concepts in trading is following the market. I was always looking at the market trying to predict its future: what is it going to do the next candle? What trade can I place right now? Often I would go back in history and watch some trading pair bar by bar and still make the same predictions. Not only that, but I would actually feel frustration when the market was not doing what I expected it to do.

A very good exercise is to watch the market unfold, mentally (or in writing) noting what it is doing right this moment (this candle), and go to the next candle with open mind. I call this market meditation, because it takes all our presence, all our ability to control the thought process in order to just watch what the market is doing instead of trying to tell it what to do.

When doing this exercise, I often catch myself surprised after the next candle is revealed. I am surprised because I did not expect the candle to be that way, and yet the whole purpose of the exercise is to stop all my expectations. Why is it so difficult to just let the market be?

This exercise also proves yet again that the market can do absolutely anything. It can go in any direction by any amount at any given moment. When we catch ourselves surprised, not expecting the current move that has just been revealed, it is very important to listen inside – to the thoughts that float in our brain and the emotions that we feel. Is there anger, frustration, disappointment? Is our brain trying to judge us because we were not able to “predict” this move? Try to stop this incessant thinking – if there is anything to judge, it is our inability to let the market go, and follow the flow.

And yet, there is another side to this. Sometimes we see the market close just as we wanted, and we feel a rush of adrenaline, a pleasurable sensation that tells us we were “right”. In this exercise the excitement is no better than the frustration we’ve just experienced when the marked defied our expectations. Any emotion about the market implies a conscious or subconscious judgement on our part.

Remember, the purpose is to watch what the market is doing – without trying to predict, understand or judge. The market is supplying us with an endless flow of information. I believe that we can never deal with this flow constructively, unless we first learn to let it be just the way it is.

So give it a try:

  1. Open any trading pair on any timeframe
  2. Go back in history a couple thousand candles and start revealing one candle after another, pausing at least for a couple seconds on each
  3. Make a mental note how the current candle has closed
  4. Note any emotions, feelings or thoughts that you might have, accept them and let them go
  5. Go to the next candle whenever you feel like it

You can also add any indicators you usually watch – but avoid any indicators that give you a signal to buy or sell. For example, you can add a moving average and then note its position relative to the price chart on each candle. At the same time, do not say that it is a sell signal because the price has crossed the moving average. Remember that any trading signals are not generated by the market, but by our brain – one way or another, for better or worse, our brain has learned to recognize a particular pattern as a buy or sell signal. In this exercise we want to avoid such patterns, because they are nothing more than our subjective judgement. An indicator simply gives us another variable, another source of information for us to note. This is the real purpose of any indicator – to help up clarify what the market is doing right now, not what it is going to do in the future.