Is your trading boring? It should be.

[dc]I[/dc] distinctly remember my first trades: the months of fevered study and preparation, the excitement of filling out those first brokerage forms, getting the first statements in the mail, and then the overwhelming rush of picking up the phone to put on those first trades. Though I had no easy access to live price data, I’m sure I would have been glued to the screen watching every tick if I did–counting the seconds until the fountain of money started flowing into my account. I also remember the agony of the botched trades, or, the horrible pain of loss when I had to get out–and, it should be said, not always at my stop.

As I’ve written before, those first trades were not happy trades; success was elusive. In fact, nothing I did seemed to work, but the emotional roller coaster was, shall we say, extreme. Though I have never particularly liked gambling (because I can so clearly feel the odds are not ever in my favor), I could understand how someone could become addicted to the rush, and how even rare, fleeing, partial success could be powerful reinforcement. Perhaps one of the ways I was lucky as a trader was that I was not wired like that.

Anyway, I struggled for a very long time, and I can point to something that marked a real turning point. I remember putting on a trade, and just not caring about the outcome. Win? Lose? Both? On a very deep level, I simply did not care. I had turned a corner, and I didn’t even realize it at the time.

bricklayerI had stumbled onto what I think is one of the keys to proper trading psychology. You have to be unattached to the outcome of any trade, and, especially for developing traders, this can be scary. Too many people are attracted to trading because of the perceived excitement. (Q; Why do you want to trade? A: I want to work in a fast-paced, exciting environment where every day is a new challenge…. BZZZZ! Thank you for playing. Next.) Proper, professional trading is anything but exciting–it is routine, and, hopefully, predictable. As a friend of mine said, being a trader is a lot like being a bricklayer. You put a brick down, you put mortar down, you smooth it, and you put another brick down… repeat. All day. Every day. Eventually, you build a big wall, but the act of putting the bricks down is just routine. On some level, professional trading is boring, and it should be. What we need is structure, routine, and a methodology that points toward repetitive elements of market behavior. What we don’t need is excitement. Be a bricklayer.

We all know Ed Seykota’s now-famous quote: “Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market.” Too many traders come to the market seeking excitement. If you do, you will find excitement. You can have whatever you want, but just know that exciting trading and making money do not often overlap in the marketplace.

You can have whatever you want. What do you really want?


Adam Grimes has over two decades of experience in the industry as a trader, analyst and system developer. The author of a best-selling trading book, he has traded for his own account, for a top prop firm, and spent several years at the New York Mercantile Exchange. He focuses on the intersection of quantitative analysis and discretionary trading, and has a talent for teaching and helping traders find their own way in the market.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Mark

    That is exactly the issue I am still working on – not being interested in the outcome of a particular trade. Btw, I use your trance session for skill development to become more independent of the singular trade and stop second guessing and impatience after I have got my fill.

    1. Adam Grimes

      It’s a journey, but those trance recordings will give you the tools to make the changes you want. Notice I did not say they would make changes… only you can do that… but having powerful tools helps.

  2. Socrates-Trader

    @Mark @Adam Exaxtly that`s my Q. I would love to have a trance session on this core topic, on this “unattachment on the outcome of the trade”.

    To be honest, years of struggeling with this one so important point. Have tried some things and hacks in the last couple of months and it`s getting better. I can even feel, that I am not so far away to get it fully and deeply, but I am not there.

    Adam, I think that a specific trance session could open this extremely import door very wide.

    1. Adam Grimes

      Interesting idea… I’m considering doing more trance sessions so this is maybe a good direction. Thanks for the idea.

      But… we already have a session for releasing emotions… why not put your attachment in that bucket and let go of it too? Hmmmm… give it a shot. I would be interested to hear your experiences.

      1. Socrates-Trader

        Yes, indeed. Especially the last trace session was a mega wow.

        I have listened to all your sessions regularly and constantly before.

        So I can get within seconds in trance and within minutes into deep trance.
        Now I can even get in trance on your set “anchors”.

        I love the last session because it`s so powerful and makes also on the full awake conscious state much, much sense: You beautifully guide through the following process:

        1. Where is the problem?

        2. What do you want to have instead!?

        Combine this process with deep trance
        learning… perfect.

        It`s a little bit too early to describe results, because I like to see how it develops over a longer time (weeks or better months). But what I can clearly say, that the “gap” gets larger. I mean the gap between the
        trigger and the undesired act. Also the awareness and mindfulness increases, so now I see clearer than ever before: Hmm, yes, here is the trigger, and yes I am tempted, but now I have a better chance to do the right thing because I become much faster aware of the situation (“gap is larger”).

        And there is more room to improve this stuff (through repetition) so I am very positive and curious how thinga will work out in the longer run.

        Adam, one more Q, which I have not understood yet.

        When I listen to your trance session and I am “lying comfortably”, nearly in all cases I have no conscious recall after the sessio, so I fall asleep…

        Now I have tried to sit like in a meditation and it prevents the sleep, so I can make the session fully conscious.

        From your expert point of view, which is the more productive way? I would love to hear some background info and clarification on this.

        Thanks in advance.

        1. Adam Grimes

          Will answer that question in a post soon. Good question.

  3. A_Joe

    Couple of Points – A few trades on an account ( initiated on a Limited capital account ( is generally ) The Gluing Factor behind every trade taken (more energy, less activity, More attachment a Deadly Combo) & Point 2 – Market Provides the Random Reinforcements which invariably increases the Craving for more ( Trades / Profit / make a Loss good / score an emotional Win etc [Depending on Whatever an Individual has initially pulled out of the Market] )

Comments are closed.