Fear of failing in trading

What if you can’t help it, but you are really afraid to fail as a trader. You have put so much into your desire to trade. You have a wall full of books. You have invested most of your money. You don’t dare fail now, but you fear you will. How do you deal with your fear of failing?

How you think and how you approach life affects how you approach trading. If you are extremely fearful, you are not going to be willing to take risks. The ultimate result of this is that you may be afraid to put on a trade. Your expectations, whether conscious or unconscious, have a powerful influence on your trading performance.

As traders we face many common fears. We are afraid of being wrong. We fear losing money. One of the greatest fears is that of missing a trade. Some of us are afraid we are leaving money on the table. All of these are different sides of the same box – fear of failure.

So how do we handle fear of failure? We have to recognize the basic assumptions that underlie the fear and counteract them.

Generally, rather than come face to face with our fears, we avoid dealing with them. We may even deny their existence. However, can be useful to simply identify our erroneous underlying assumptions and change them. When we change our assumptions, we really are changing ourselves.

We need to know what causes the fear of failure. Some of us feel that we must be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving. But the truth is that you do not have to be that way. Holding such a belief produces fear and anxiety. If you are a trader, fear and anxiety can produces hesitation and self-doubt.

Traders who believe they must be competent spend their time worrying about what they did wrong, what may go wrong, and how they will recover should they fail. They are, in effect, distracted by their own thoughts.

You cannot afford to allow fear of failure to interfere with your trading success. You don’t have to be perfect. As any professional trader will tell you, you are going to make mistakes from time to time, and if you are totally immersed in avoiding them, you’ll be so anxious and fearful that you will make even more mistakes. Tell yourself that it is not practical to believe that you must be thoroughly competent. You don’t have to be the greatest achiever. Realize that as a trader you cannot live up to a standard of perfection. If you strive to be perfect it may actually lead you to the very failure you are trying to avoid.

Joe Ross


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