The Need to be Perfect Can Kill Your Trading

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Bob puts many hours into his trading in more ways than one. He studies the charts. He has spread sheets with inter-market correlations and spread sheets with his own trading stats. He’s glued to the screen during market hours. He’s very busy.

Bob is a hard worker; working hard is second nature to him. He worked hard to get into the right college, earned a degree in engineering, graduated near the top of his class at a prestigious university. He was lucky when he entered the workforce because at the time, the economy was rolling along and recruiters were seeking people just like Bob.

The freedom to be his own boss is what brought Bob into trading. Master of his own destiny.

With all his hard work, Bob is still about break even as a trader. What Bob doesn’t realize is that the skills that made him a good engineer are not the same skills that will make him a good trader. Yes, there is a certain amount of study involved, but in the final analysis, for a trader, it’s about how you respond to discomfort. Not how much you study the charts, not how many spreadsheets you have, etc.

Bob did well on a simulator, but with cash he succumbs to the anxiety of interacting with a market that will always show some noise, some ambiguity.

Bob realizes that his hesitation to enter when he sees his signal and the inability to hold a winning trade are preventing him from succeeding.

Like many perfectionists, Bob is getting in his own way. And like many perfectionists, interacting with something as messy as the market brings up a lot of anxiety. But instead of dealing with the issue, Bob spends more time searching for the answer in the charts, and in the spreadsheets etc.

Deep down, Bob knows the solution to his problem is within him, not in the charts. But by analyzing the external data (everything outside him) it keeps him busy. That’s what many perfectionists do; perfectionists stay busy.