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Anxiety of Performance

Most trading problems are caused by a variety of performance anxieties.  Performance anxiety is one of the biggest trading problems encountered.  It is where traders experience pressure to succeed while staying fixated on the results of their performance.  Performance anxiety occurs not only in bad markets but in good markets as well.  

Performance anxiety occurs just as much on winning trades as it does on losing trades.  Why For winning trades there is a fear of locking in a profit too early.  We have all done this before where we book a gain and take profits prematurely. Then after we sell the stock keeps flying higher.  This tends to cause anxiety in many traders who just have to look back to see where the stock is now that they are out of it.  It is not enough that they just made a good profit they are unhappy because they could have had more.  This type of anxiety is probably occurs more often than that of a losing trade.  Anxiety that follows a string of losses are no more debilitating than that of the anxiety felt when we are making money. It is human nature to want more but it is crazy to put pressure on yourself to want to sell at the exact top of a stocks run.  That is impossible to do with any consistency.  You may get lucky a few times but to do it on all trades is just being unrealistic. 

Excessive SelfDemands
Eliminating perfectionist expectations at the start of the trading day can go a long way toward reducing performance pressures.  If things are not going right for you on a particular day just step away from your computer. It is far better to step away and refocus on what the market is giving you than to act blindly on one's fears and compound an alreadydifficult situation. 

If the market is not doing what you think it should then that is your red flag.  This should set off the bells and whistles in your head.  Any time the word should enters our thinking about trading it is time to step back. Shoulds include internal demands to make a certain amount of money to trade with a particular frequency to make back money that has been lost to not leave money on the table etc.  Our performance anxiety is often fueled by excessive selfdemands.  The way we cut down on this anxiety is to set and affirm reasonable trading goals through the trading day week month and year.  Setting reasonable goals can go a long way toward reducing performance pressures. 

Swallowed Up By The Market
When something becomes allimportant the pressures that accompany performance increase tremendously. Traders who trade for a living and who have little else going on in their lives are especially vulnerable to performance anxiety. If trading is your whole world and trading is not working it will feel like your world is collapsing. 

By spreading our selfesteem throughout many areas we can ensure that the inevitable drawdown and cold periods will not disrupt our selfconfidence because we are involved in a number of other successful areas of our lives. 

Last Thoughts
Remember there is more to life than trading stocks and this is a very important lesson to learn especially when the market is not cooperating.  This is a tough market right now so do not let the pressure get the best of you.  There is always tomorrow next week and next month.  When you are ready the market will be here the market is always here!

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