Dorn: Patience Equals Profits

The money's made in the sitting and the waiting, not the trading … Jesse Livermore (Reminiscences Of A Stock Operator)

In our live Trading Doctor webinar this week (Finding High Reward/Risk Setups Using Technical Analysis) we showed many charts to illustrate the value of patience in waiting for a trade to exhale. Exhaling means that it is resting, consolidating or digesting a move. Some people call this Slow Trading. Some call it Boring Trading. We call it WAITING for the right trade at the right time with the best reward/risk.

We may watch for weeks or months for a good swing trade. We absolutely do indulge ourselves a little in our live trading room where we do call intraday scalps if the setups are there. A little thrill here and there is great fun—but we don’t live for thrills.

We are not hyperactive traders who always have to be doing something. We are not afflicted with the global epidemic of Trader Attention Deficit Disorder.

Call us picky or boring—but we don’t like trading for the sake of trading. Jesse Livermore got it right 85 years ago. Be patient. Don’t react to every tick and wait for the right time and price. Then execute ruthlessly. For us, patience equals profits.

We are a global culture of dopamine-fueled trader rat brains always looking for the next fix, the next best thing, the hottest stock pick, the big money trade. Scampering from site to site or room to room, looking for the guru du jour, bombarded with breaking news and transfixed by financial infotainment.

This is not our style. Many of you are hypertexting, hypercommunicating, hyperliving and hypertrading. And you wonder why you’re tired all the time and can’t think clearly or focus properly?

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life…Chinese Proverb

You all have access to trading platforms, tools or systems that give instant access to the financial markets. The Pavlovian bell rings to open the casino Monday through Friday (and on Sunday for futures traders), and your mouse finger is itchy. You just might be suffering from tick-itis ( watching every tick) and devi-itis ( deviating from your trading plan) if you have any of the following thoughts:

No time to wait for setups. It looks like it might work, so I am going to get in now.

No time to wait for this to play out, I have a small profit and it might turn around and go against me, so I am going to get out now.

My position went against me, and it looks bad so even though it did not break support and the downage was on light volume, I better get out now.

The markets are running away without me. I have to find something so I can get in now. Just about anything should work and the most important issue that I don't miss out on this great move, so I am going to just buy something now.

This setup looks good and I just made some cash on the last two trades and am feeling pretty good, so it's OK for me to deviate from my system, and get in now.

I lost a lot on the last two trades, and am feeling pretty lousy about the losses so I need to get into something and maybe double up now to try to get it back now.

I don't have time to wait for setups since I can only trade a couple of hours in the morning before I go to work, so I have to do something now.

I am leaving this lousy service because I want to be trading all day. The markets are here now and I want and need to be in and out of stuff all day so that I can make bank now.

I am feeling so bored right now and just need to put on a trade in order to do something.

This litany of stinking thinking shows the inability to contemplate, move at a considered pace, and wait patiently for good reward/risk opportunities. At its foundation, impatience is a subset of fear and greed and is among the most common reason traders lose money and blow up their accounts.

The journey to trading mastery is a marathon, not a sprint. It is time to slow down, breathe deeply, become a distant observer of yourself, and take a good look at what you are doing to dopamine your life and mess up your trading.

The journey to trading mastery is a marathon, not a sprint. It is time to slow down, breathe deeply and correctly, become a distant observer of yourself, and take a good look at what you are doing to dopamine your life and mess up your trading.

Peaceful warriors have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the water clears. They remain unmoving until the right time, so the right action arises by itself. They do not seek fulfillment, but wait with open arms to welcome all things... Dan Millman

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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.