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The Trader’s Top Ten Questions


Nancy Kline once said ‘A question works because, unlike a statement which requires you to obey, a question requires you to think.’ People prefer to think rather than obey.

This article presents a series of questions that the financial trader should regularly be asking themselves.

Can I improve my trading?

It is important to regularly direct your mind towards ways in which you can improve. I believe that a trader who stops getting better, stops getting good.

The world of a financial trader is highly dynamic, one that constantly changes and evolves. As a professional it is your job to assume that there is always something new to learn and apply that will improve you as a trader.

Am I enjoying my work?

In many of my other articles I emphasise the value of creating a positive internal state before you engage in any performance related behaviour.

How you feel is an important predictor of how well you behave.

Feeling confident and motivated before you begin trading significantly increases your chances of success compared to if you were feeling negative.

By asking yourself the question ‘Am I enjoying my work’ regularly serves as a reminder to generate a positive state before you trade.

What will stop me from being a successful trader?

In all walks of life there are obstacles to overcome, and part of being a success involves persevering in the face of such difficulties.

This self directed question will help you to uncover and predict the potential pitfalls that may stifle your success as a trader.

In my opinion everyone has some awareness of there weaknesses, and can usually identify the likely candidates that can cause problems in the future.

By uncovering these potential obstacles you are able to consciously develop strategies to tackle them.

In my experience self-discipline is predicted by many traders to be a potential obstacle. Traders often feel that the temptation to take high risk trades, and disobey basic money management principles can be so over whelming at times.

Whatever your potential pitfalls maybe, uncovering them early on will give you time to devise ways to cope if or when they do arrive.

By trading the stock markets am I serving my personal values?

Who you are and who you chose to be should largely be a function of your personal values. As a financial trader it is important to make sure that your profession sits in line with your personal values.

Personal values and priorities change overtime which is why it is important that you regularly ask yourself this question. It is likely that if financial trading is not in sync with your personal values your ability to trade well will be compromised.

Are you an opportunist or a strategist?

There is huge gulf between the way an opportunist and a strategist thinks.

The opportunist is a highly ego orientated individual that is driven by greed and lucrative outcomes. The opportunist way of thinking overlooks the mechanics of how to perform well, and solely focuses on the desired outcome.

Strategic thinkers on the other hand focus on the processes behind successful behaviours allowing them to replicate their trading actions. Consequently positive outcomes naturally follow from their process orientated mindset.

When an opportunistic mindset sets in, you lose sight of all the important processes that are intrinsic to succeeding in the financial markets. Consequently your trading performances are likely to suffer.

By regularly asking yourself this question you continue to make sure that you remain a strategist instead of an opportunist.

Onto Part Two

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Click here to read part two of this article.

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