It’s been about two years since The Mental Game of Trading came out and I’m thrilled by how many of you have found it helpful!
There are a number of traders who allowed me to share stories in the book of the work that we did together. I recently reached out to a few of them to see how they were doing and whether or not they were still using the system. Spoiler alert: I got good news!
I was happy to find that everyone was in a really solid place. While a couple of them have taken a break from direct trading, all are doing well and continuing to use the tools both in trading and beyond. Several of them stated their next big challenge is in sizing up, which is what inspired this month’s theme. You’ll hear more about that in my regular monthly blog and on Office Hours. But if you are interested in where they are now, here are the highlights….
Big Picture Takeaways
Brendan was a trader profiled in the Confidence chapter who had struggled with a subtle belief that he could be right on every trade and expecting perfection, which he addressed. “I’ve been fairly successful in sustaining these changes. While I still occasionally slip back into old habits, I’m able to recognize them quicker and not let them have a lasting effect.”
Vlad, whose stories appear in both the Fear and Confidence chapters, was a trader and owner of a firm in South Africa that applies algorithmic trading systems to their own portfolios. Today he has shifted to building quantitative systems. “Although I may not be trading actively anymore, I use the strategies in my day to day life. In my mind, the methods apply to many disciplines – you just have to fine tune them to suit the specific need. As I work with other traders now as well, I have the capacity to understand their approach to trading and make decisions based off this understanding.”
Brian, whose story appears in Chapter 3, is a futures trader from Canada who worked on issues with greed and fear, as well as procrastination and focus problems. “I have sustained the progress but it was not easy. I found that I would stray away from using the techniques almost because I thought it would work instantaneously. In reality, it is a process over time. I have been able to make some good progress over the last couple of years using the process.”
When you met Nick in the Confidence chapter, he was an aspiring full-time trader in the U.K. working through FOMO. “I’ve had drastic improvement. The shift from comparing my results to ‘what if’s’ in the market to comparing my performance to what my strategy does has been huge. I am currently executing at about an 80%+ accuracy, compared to probably 20% when we first spoke!”
Max, a Forex trader from France who appeared in the Greed and Confidence chapters, is still trading on a full-time basis. “I’ve managed to keep my focus on my strategy rather than swaying around trying new things, keeping in mind the amount of work I have done to develop my strategy. That was extremely worthwhile for me. Recently I ran into a drawdown larger than I had anticipated, yet instead of looking to change my strategies, I decided to keep executing with a smaller size until the market changed, which it did, and enabled me to get back out of the drawdown.”
Lastly, Chris, whose story came up in the Greed chapter, told me: “Enhancing your mental game in trading is an ongoing evolutionary process. At the time we spoke, I was dealing with certain issues – that I was able to overcome, utilizing the systems and processes that we talked about (which was outlined in the book) – and now I’m using the same processes to overcome current and newer issues – which came about as I got to higher levels in my trading journey. The systems we discussed have been very powerful.”
Do you know what I found inspiring here? They’re all still using the system. So often you hear about overcoming or conquering your problems but don’t often think about what comes next after that. As an efficiency guy, I love the fact that you can both address a present set of issues while learning how to use a system that can apply to future ones.
Slipping back into old habits, as Brendan noted, or sustaining the work but it not being easy, as Brian called out, are honest assessments that I appreciate. Mental game problems can take longer than you realize to truly resolve. Also, it is common to go through phases where progress comes easily and you are not being tested as much, and then out of the blue you’re tested in a major way. It’s hard to stay vigilant during periods where a problem isn’t showing up. The key is that you’re able to quickly recognize when it has reemerged and use your mental game strategy to correct it.
Using the Tools
I was also curious which tools they found most helpful.
“Recognize, Disrupt, Correct, Strategic is a process I follow daily when I get distracted or am feeling the nerves around bigger positions.” – Brian
“I use the Mental Hand History all the time! I have also adapted the ABC system to make recognizing my mistakes quicker and easier. I also now track performance to the same – if not greater – degree as I do my PnL, win percentages, etc. My journal is focused more on how I am performing and less on the outcomes.” – Nick
“The inchworm concept is something I continue to use and teach to our new recruits.” – Brendan
“The A to C game with the inchworm is very important. So is taking small breaks and resetting when things are tough. I remind myself to understand the amount of work I did and the impact it has on what I do today to avoid throwing hundreds/thousands of hours away.” – Max
“I have what I call a Mental Game sheet in front of me at all times. It lists my current, top issues that I’m dealing with – with a correction right underneath it.” – Chris
“I think the journaling method that we used was incredibly helpful. The fact that it was moldable and allowed me to apply my quantitative thinking to qualitative issues definitely helped even more than expected.” – Vlad
I hope you enjoyed this little recap. Once again, I am grateful these traders allowed me to share their stories with you, both in the book and via these quick updates. As they have once again demonstrated, the work can be hard and it evolves over time. I’m not sugar coating it. But the tools are available to you and the system is effective.
Lastly, I have a quick ask – if you liked The Mental Game of Trading, please consider leaving an Amazon review. They really help! And if you haven’t read it yet, there’s no better time than right now to get started.