Dorn: This is Not a Slumber Party

Friday, 24 Jul 2009 | 10:56 AM ET

Most traders come to the markets because they see a way to break from the 9-5 routine. They want to make their own decisions, say” bye bye” to working for the boss man (or woman), set their own time schedules and routines. There is a magnetic attraction to the idea that you can make money, sitting in your pajamas, typing on a keyboard and doing what is called “playing” the markets. Playing at home in pajamas… sounds like a teenage slumber party with lots of fun, doesn’t it?

But wait—it can’t be that easy, can it?

Of course not.

If it was that simple and a sure thing, everyone would not only be doing it, but would be happy, joyous and free. Clearly that is not the case.

So why?

I believe that everyone can attain personal and financial success using his or her own unique ability. Many of you have proven this in life outside the markets. You are successful in real estate, accounting, medicine, engineering, the law, sales, etc.

So why are you struggling with the markets and why is this pajama game not working so well?

The answer is really quite simple, and—just like so many secrets—is hidden in plain view. The type of thinking that made you successful in life outside the markets is the mirror image of that in the markets. In “regular” jobs, in the world of real life—there are rules. These rules are set down by other people. Other people make rules and you follow them. If you do not follow the rules, you risk for losing your job or your license.

Think of medicine: a doctor must abide by many rules set forth by state medical boards. If they do not, they are warned, disciplined and may have their licenses revoked. The rules are out there and doctors follow them—or don’t (at their own peril and that of their patients.)

Now we come to the markets. Yes- there are rules of trading set by regulators, exchanges and the brokerages, but they really are minimal in the overall scheme of things.

A broker works as his control screen shows a graph of activity on the French Stock Exchange in Paris.
A broker works as his control screen shows a graph of activity on the French Stock Exchange in Paris.

So- who makes the rules for your trading? You do.

Who executes trades based on the rules you make for your trading? You do.

Who tells you if you are right or wrong about the rules you make? Well, the markets tell you but you have to listen and take action.

So, once again—it’s about you.

In this type of environment, many people flounder. They are not used to making their own rules, executing them and taking personal responsibility when their rules are shown to be an illusion by the markets.

In the end, your freedom in the markets is solely a property of who you are, what you believe, what you believe that is not true and what you do about it. In most cases, it is the ability to think in probabilities in a counter-intuitive manner that separates the losers from the winners. In other words, the same type of thinking that brought you so much success in the world outside the markets will not bring you success in the markets.

Think about this for a second, please. Let it filter in and then try to get your brain around this concept.

It is critical to understand this at the deepest level in order for you to move forward as a trader.

Although you may be trading in your pajamas, this is not a slumber party. It’s a daily battle in a long war where you must plan your own strategy and tactics and take complete personal responsibility for what happens to you—and your money!


Dr. Janice Dorn is the only Ph.D. (Brain Anatomist) and M.D. (Board-Certified Psychiatrist and Addiction Psychiatrist) in the world who actively trades, writes commentary on the financial markets and manages a subscription-based website. Dr. Dorn has been trading the gold futures markets full time since 1993. She has written over 1000 articles on trader and investor psychology, and mentored over 600 traders and investors.She writes on all aspects of trading psychology and provides a real-time trading service on her website: TheTradingDoctor.com.

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