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Practical Teaching Derived from almost 60 Years of Trading Experience and 27 Years of Mentoring .  Click here to learn about private mentoring with Master Trader Joe Ross.

Confidence

When it comes to trading the markets, nothing is certain. How do you cope with uncertainty? Many traders are overconfident. Rather than face the possibility of losses due to market uncertainty, they fool themselves into thinking they are omnipotent. Behavioral economists Brad Barber and Terrance Odean illustrated how novice traders are especially overconfident. They analyzed account records from a...
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Efficiency and Success

How much time do you spend preparing for the trading day? Do you spend hours scouring the markets for a winning trading opportunity? Do you watch hours of commentary or read all the major financial newspapers? You don't need to spend hours and hours reading about the markets if it doesn't directly lead to a profit. For example, most media coverage of the markets is for entertainment value, so spen...
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Greed

​ In the movie "Wall Street," Gordon Gekko argues, "Greed is good." Greed can motivate you to strive for perfection and keep you persisting in the face of adversity, but greed has its downside. It is often said that the markets are driven by fear and greed. The masses have a natural desire for wealth and all the advantages that money can buy. In their zeal, the masses invest in stocks and believe ...
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Maintaining Discipline

Winning traders are disciplined. Discipline means controlling impulses and fighting the urge to abandon your trading plan prematurely. Maintaining discipline is often easier said than done, especially when the market is moving in your favor. It's hard to avoid closing a trade out early in order to lock in profits. Some winning traders face more losers than winners, and when you hit upon a winner, ...
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Trading Opportunities

Good trading times may be just ahead. Are you ready? It's times like these when the right mental edge can make all the difference. If you want to take advantage of trading opportunities for the New Year, it's vital that you approach trading with the proper mindset. Be ready to work hard and do whatever it takes to come out a winner. Unfortunately, many traders aren't up to the challenge. They don'...
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Why Stops

​ Would you ever think of jumping out of an airplane without a parachute? Of course not, but that's what some people do when they trade the markets. They are very willing to put their money on the line, but they don't have much to protect them from a major disaster. Placing a stop, for example, can prevent you from allowing a small loss to turn into a big one, but many traders avoid placing stops....
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If You Doubt, You May Be Out

​ It's almost impossible to have rock solid confidence as a trader. Sure, some traders can't be thrown off track very easily, but it's natural to feel a little afraid occasionally. Let's look at some of the reasons that you might feel shaken. What the markets will do tomorrow or next week is far from certain, and you don't have a crystal ball. Your information is fallible. And without perfect info...
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Ready to Lose

Imagine what you would do in the following scenario. You have been looking at a position for a week. You had a clear and simple trading plan: Just wait for an announcement at the end of the week, watch prices jump, and then sell. As might be expected, things aren't working as you had planned. First, no clear trend has emerged; prices are moving chaotically up and down. Second, it's been two days s...
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Being Flexible

How flexible are you in your everyday life? When you are in a new city, do you worry about getting lost or do you just go your own way and assume that somehow and someway you'll eventually get back to your hotel? Do you get upset when you are told you are wrong, or do you welcome criticism or an opposing opinion? The ability to be open and flexible often makes the difference between winning and lo...
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Handling Success

In his book, "Trading to Win," Dr. Ari Kiev notes, "winning days are often followed by plateaus and losing streaks." Behavioral economist Dr. Terrance Odean observed that novice online investors who had a series of winning trades tended to have periods of overtrading. It's as if they believed they could take more risks, and potentially lose profits, since they had just made more than they expected...
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Take Advantage of New Market Opportunities

Something is usually going up when something else is going down. Therefore, good trading times may be just ahead. Are you ready? It's times like these when the right mental edge can make all the difference. If you want to take advantage of trading opportunities for the New Year, it's vital that you approach trading with the proper mindset. Be ready to work hard and do whatever it takes to come out...
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Staying with Winners

When you are riding a winner, avoid looking at it all the time.Search out new trades in other markets.Absorb yourself with looking for opportunities elsewhere, if you are the type that must have market action.Diversification is the key word here.But remember, you can afford to take only the very, very best trades elsewhere when you are riding a winner.Don't blow away the profits you are making on ...
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Finding a Balance

​ Are you having trouble finding a balance between your trading and the rest of your life? Since you took up trading, do you seem to be possessed by it? Trading can be all-consuming. You don't seem to have time for your family, or any recreational activities. Is it always going to be that way? Have you gotten into something in which you are now trapped? What I'm describing is what happens to many ...
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Safe Trading

​ Humans don't like taking chances with their money. If given the choice, they would take a sure thing rather than a gamble, even if it meant making relatively little profit. What do you think most people would do, take $100 right now or take a gamble in which they would either receive nothing or $200? Most people would take the $100 but would you? If you trade the markets as a short-term trader, ...
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Contagious Behavior

​ People have a natural affinity to follow others. It can be very adaptive at times. If you see someone slip on an icy sidewalk, for example, it would be wise of you to start walking slowly and carefully to protect yourself from getting hurt. People are so attuned to others that they mimic their behaviors without knowing it. Psychologists call this phenomenon contagious behavior. Contagious behavi...
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Seeing what you want to See

Some people live in a world of delusion and fantasy. They see what they want to see and ignore what they don't want to see. Traders are especially prone to this ailment. When your money is on the line, you are consumed with avoiding loss. Trading is a competitive business where few make it in the long term. This fact always lurks in the back of your mind, putting added pressure on you. In the back...
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Stress and Vulnerability

Many traders underestimate the influence of stress. Stress is not only a psychological reaction, but a biological response as well. When you are stressed, your body reacts instinctively. You are agitated, on edge, and ready to lash out. Your attention is restricted. Your mind is closed and inflexible. The stress response has a specific biological, adaptive function: Your energy is channeled into m...
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Mastering Yourself

If we had a crystal ball, trading would just be a matter of buying at a bottom, holding the stock as the price continued to rise, and selling near a top, right before the public sells in a state of panic. But we don't have a crystal ball, and there is no foolproof way to forecast the markets. Sure, if you have enough capital, are willing to wait long enough for a stock price to increase, and will ...
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Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

People come from humble beginnings to achieve wealth, status, or fame. But to get ahead, successful people often had to break conventional rules. This readiness to break the rules is often associated with an affinity toward risk. Although they may achieve success, they may also have a shaky self-image. Sure they achieved a lot, but a voice deep inside their psyche still questions their self-worth ...
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It’s not the Money, It's the Challenge

Why do you trade? Most people would think it's obvious. It's for the money, right? What many winning traders know, however, is that money is a poor motivator in the end. It's much more satisfying to pursue trading for the pure joy of mastering the markets, regardless of how much money you make. Winning traders are motivated more by the process of trading than by the profits they are making. It's c...
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Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry a high degree of risk. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results, and all of which can adversely affect actual trading results. For more information, see the Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options.