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Hirschhorn: Commodities & the Fear of Reinjury

As commodities like silver, gold, oil and copper melted down last week, a lot of traders got hurt. Whether you were buying on the way down or just watching year-to-date profits melt away, you may be going through what we in the sport psychology world call a fear of re-injury.

Losing or getting hurt is part of playing, but when you get hurt really bad, you tend to shy away from future opportunities because you’re afraid of re-injuring yourself. That means you end up missing out on great trading opportunities. Don’t let your fears get in the way of your trading decisions.

Here are 3 things you can do to overcome your own fear of reinjury:

  1. Don’t personalize the situation. Remember, the market doesn’t know how much you’re up or down and it’s not out to get you or hurt you. In fact, it doesn’t even know you exist. And that can work to your advantage.
  2. Get back in the game. You have to start to rebuild, so put on some small trades and get back in the game immediately. It’s ok to be afraid. Don’t worry about winning or losing -- start to swing the bat again.
  3. Put the bat on the ball. Confidence is what you need to build so do what any great hitter in a slump does: put the bat on the ball. As a trader, that means focusing on a few trades and banking some small profits. If you swing for the fences right now, you’re just going to strike out.

Put these 3 strategies to work and you’ll get your head back in the game sooner rather than later.


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Doug Hirschhorn is the chief executive officer of Edge Consulting, a firm specializing in “Peak Performance Coaching.” He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in sport psychology, and has offices in New York and South Florida. His client list includes elite athletes as well as many of the largest banks, hedge funds and financial institutions in the world. Doug is presently at work on his new book, Street Smarts (Putnam, 2010).

Have a question for Doug? You can reach him through his Web site, DrDoug.com

Disclaimer: Doug Hirschhorn's expertise is in the psychology of achieving peak performance. He is not a financial advisor and does not make trading or investment recommendations or provide trading or investment advice. He is an expert on the mental game. Although Doug Hirschhorn has a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in sport psychology, he is not a licensed psychologist and does not provide therapeutic, clinical or counseling services.