Can you be an emotional and a successful trader?

Micheal Bigger brought up that question this morning. I have be around many traders and every trader handles emotions in a different way.

The problem with making a value judgment about emotions, is that we do it on the premise that what emotion means to you and what it means to me are the same.

I have been around the “emotional” trader and the quiet trader. The emotional trader that is mf-ing every one and the trader that never says a word. Their outward display of emotion had nothing to do with their emotions or how they were trading. Unless of course the loud trader got quiet and the quiet trader got loud.

The loud trader seemed emotional and the quiet not as much. But I do not know if the quite one was more emotional. I do not know what he did when he was home. Just like each person expresses love in different way each person expresses their emotions in different ways.

When it comes to trading don’t fight the FED or yourself. You are your best strength but remember a weakness is commonly a strength that is overused. If screaming gets you past a moment then do it. But do not let it linger. If being quiet helps, do that. But do not ignore it.

There are bad emotions. Emotions that linger and do not allow you to move on are bad. Emotions that rob focus are bad. Emotions that cause you to break things are bad.

I think the reason emotions get such a bad rap is because for most people they do not know how to use emotions as a tool. As a way to move forward. As a drive to be successful. As motivation to survive. Almost every major change I have had to make in my life is because of emotion. I was tired of feeling a certain way or of being pissed off.

Prolonged emotions have the same effect on me as being drunk, it leads to poor memories and bad judgment. When I get too filled with emotions I must address them. I process them in bulk. But for some they process them as they come up.

I am the quiet trader and Anthony is the “emotional” trader. He has also made a few million dollars more trading than I have.

If you are interested, we are going to be live streaming today at 1ET and will talk both points of views.

Emotions may be processed differently for every successful trader but one thing they have in common is that they never forget for very long what is important, making money.

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  • peter_north

     Great post – thanks! (FYI, I think you mean “quiet” rather than “quite” a few times in there.)

    • Peter,

      Thanks. I fixed it.

  • Anonymous

    Emotions are largely misunderstood in trading.  The old sayings of “eliminate your emotions” or “emotions are a sign of weakness”  are simply not right.  First, as long as you have a pulse, you’re going to have emotions, no way to eliminate them. Even if you’re a ‘quiet trader, you still have emotions. Second, because we can not eliminate them, we need to learn to use them in trading. Emotions are a form of self-communication, they tell us when we are feeling good and bad. They provide the fuel for taking action.  When you really understand what your emotions are telling you, it can be a very powerful tool in your trading.

    And in addition to one’s own emotions, its also advantageous to look at the emotion of the market; sensing the emotions of the other participants (and this is best done if you understand your own emotions first).  Bottom line, emotions can and should used as data for your trading. 

    I’m not sure I’ll be able to tune into the live event where you guys talk about it, but I’ll try.

    Andrew Menaker PhD
    Trader and Trading Psychologist.

    • Thank you for the comment, I agree with you.

4 Responses to Can you be an emotional and a successful trader?

  1. peter_north says:

     Great post – thanks! (FYI, I think you mean “quiet” rather than “quite” a few times in there.)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Emotions are largely misunderstood in trading.  The old sayings of “eliminate your emotions” or “emotions are a sign of weakness”  are simply not right.  First, as long as you have a pulse, you’re going to have emotions, no way to eliminate them. Even if you’re a ‘quiet trader, you still have emotions. Second, because we can not eliminate them, we need to learn to use them in trading. Emotions are a form of self-communication, they tell us when we are feeling good and bad. They provide the fuel for taking action.  When you really understand what your emotions are telling you, it can be a very powerful tool in your trading.

    And in addition to one’s own emotions, its also advantageous to look at the emotion of the market; sensing the emotions of the other participants (and this is best done if you understand your own emotions first).  Bottom line, emotions can and should used as data for your trading. 

    I’m not sure I’ll be able to tune into the live event where you guys talk about it, but I’ll try.

    Andrew Menaker PhD
    Trader and Trading Psychologist.

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