Delusions Every Trader Faces

Usually when we think of delusions we imagine mental disorders: someone struggling with schizophrenia or hypochondria. We may even imagine somebody we know–somebody who is high-strung with anxiety and convinced the world is out to get them. There are some pretty bizarre delusions out there:

  • Ever feel like you’re life is a movie? For people suffering from the Truman Show Delusion, they’re literally convinced that their life is a reality show they can’t escape from. This article on Buzzfeed reports that a man actually sued HBO for putting him on a secret reality show.
  • As if living your life in a reality tv show wasn’t bad enough, imagine your life was a video game! Want to score points to win? Steal cars, avoid police, and receive your instructions through your gaming headphones. Even if you’re arrested, it’s just another level to the game. (Source)
  • Do you know someone who lives their life in denial–to the point that they don’t even think they exist? A rare condition known as ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’ is a delusion where the individual is convinced that they’re already dead or don’t exist. Some even claim to be able to smell their own rotting flesh.

I think most of us suffer from multiple delusions (hopefully not that serious, though). A delusion is a belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational. I’d like to think that I’m connected with reality and don’t belong in an asylum (my family might tell you differently, especially when I’m even remotely lacking sleep), but as I’ve grown older I’ve been able to look back and recognize the delusions I used to live by. Most traders experience delusions as well.

Traders, both new and old, often experience delusions in the currency market. Some common ones we might face:

  • “If I just keep trading, I can make a little more money.” That’s a scary delusion. You can be following the charts all day making trades, but it’s not about how many it’s about how well. The quality of your trades is much more important than the quantity.
  • “I can make some quick, easy cash in Forex.” The economy is not a magic box where you put a little money in and get a lot of money out. Trading requires discipline and strategy–not luck.
  • “It’s going to come back soon…”  This delusion can bring you down. Fast. When you hit your stop loss, it’s time to get out. Trying to hang on to a losing trade is like trying to hang onto a hangnail–it’s a lot less painful to just cut it off.

We’re all at least a little guilty of these delusions, but a diagnostic is the first step to a cure. Review some of your past trades, and identify any delusions that affected the outcome. Then, find a way to overcome them; you can share it with a friend or mentor, keep a reminder next to your computer, or even watch a cheesy motivational trading video. Whatever you need to do, don’t let yourself be the reason you don’t succeed.
Happy Trading!

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