Simple Trading Psychology, Yeah, I said it...

The Simple Power of Choice

how to overcome the odds


If you don’t have a mountain, build one and then climb it. And after you climb it, build another one; otherwise you start to flatline in your life.”

— Sylvester Stallone




The underdog is a revered character in American storytelling. Whether the story be a novel, a television show or the evening news, Americans are fascinated (enamored?) with the individual or individuals who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve a desired outcome.

I’m no different from the average American in this regard. The underdog, the outsider, the slightly different from the norm… I celebrate them… think they should be held in high esteem. If their cause somehow relates to fairness (i.e., rectifying an injustice), I can barely contain myself as they figure out how to overcome the odds against them.

Some time ago I tried to figure out just what distinguishes those who do when others don’t (substitute can’t or won’t as appropriate). I did all manner of reading and listening to experts in an attempt to distill the essence of these extraordinary individuals. A few themes surfaced repeatedly:

* Necessity – “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” It also helps produce herculean efforts to achieve goals and/or needs

* Greed – I don’t agree with Gordon Gecko completely, however, it is true that self interest is a primary driver of human behavior

* Ego/Pride – Some people are driven by their own and/or other peoples’ opinion of their aptitudes and results

* Fear – Ever see an American Football running back “find” another gear when being pursued by an ill-tempered linebacker?

* Love – Perhaps the grandaddy… has driven behavior since time immemorial

This list is neither exhaustive, nor are the components mutually exclusive. However, I think it a fair sampling of the drivers that push humans to superior performance. The light that shows you how to overcome the odds against you.  Interestingly, it seems to me that the latter 4 states are the means by which a goal becomes a necessity.

But what’s the trigger? How do those who have converted wants to needs and carved a path make the impossible possible? Everyone has wants… how do some people make the attainment of those wants an imperative? I think the answer is simple…

It’s a decision…

Dare I say it?

It’s a choice.

Absent exigent circumstances (the adrenaline filled mother lifting a car to save her child) we DECIDE to win…

To succeed…

To obtain.

Just like the smoker who decides to and then quits cold turkey…

The overweight person who decides to and then drops weight equivalent to a 5th grader…

The student who decides to and then makes As…

The employee who decides to and then reinvents herself to become part of the “talent” as opposed to mere overhead…


The Point

I’ve seen an incredibly high number of people miss opportunities because of uncertainty… They were unwilling to decide on/commit to an end result because they could not figure out how they were going to get there.

Don’t be one of them.

The “how to do” a thing is the easy part… and becomes far more apparent when you’ve decided on and “committed to” the what of that thing.

Make up your mind what you want.

Decide to achieve the end result.

The how will “find” you.


And By The Way

Learning to trade is no different.  People spend all manner of time, effort, energy and money looking for shortcuts to trading success.

Here’s the dirty little secret…

There are none.




Promises of overnight riches by some vendors notwithstanding…  There are ways to shorten the learning curve (or, for that matter remove the need for learning altogether…)… and there are ways to speed your progression.

But there is no overnight transformation.

So stop looking.

Instead, DECIDE to learn how to code…

Or sell…

Or trade.

Learn how to do it properly and COMMIT yourself to the task of developing the skill set.

That’s the “shortcut…”

Yeah… I said it.


The Trader

P.S. Don’t be an idiot and think I’m saying the decision is magical ala “The Secret” nonsense.  You still have to do the work… You still have to execute.

Now go get it.

Tell your peeps...

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