2. EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES

Think about why you really want to trade. If you want to trade for the excitement, you might be better off riding a roller coaster or taking up hang gliding. In my own case, I found that the underlying motive for trading was serenity or peace of mind-hardly the emotional state typical of trading. Another personal motive for trading was that I loved puzzle solving-and the markets provided the ultimate puzzle. However, while I enjoyed the cerebral aspects of market analysis, I didn’t particularly like the visceral characteristics of trading itself. The contrast between my motives and the activity resulted in very obvious conflicts. You need to examine your own motives very carefully for any such conflicts. The market is a stem master. You need to do almost everything right to win. If parts of you are pulling in opposite directions, the game is lost before you start.
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How did I resolve my own conflict? I decided to focus completely on mechanical trading approaches in order to eliminate the emotionality in trading. Equally important, focusing on the design of mechanical systems directed my energies to the part of trading I did enjoy-the puzzle-solving aspects. Although I had devoted some energy to mechanical systems for these reasons for a number of years, I eventually came to the realization that I wanted to move in this direction exclusively. (This is not intended as an advocacy for mechanical systems over human-decision-oriented approaches. I am only providing a personal example. The appropriate answer for another trader could well be very different.)

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