Fear This

Merritt BlackFutures, Futures TOTD, Trader Development

I see a whole lot of traders afraid of a whole lot of things:

  • Being wrong
  • Losing money
  • Open profits evaporating
  • Not catching the next big move
  • Failing in general
  • Taking a loss, therefore letting it get worse
  • Having objective trade processes, therefore being fully responsible for results
  • and More

Do you identify with any of these? Do you experience fear in your own trading?

Let me give you something to be afraid of! Get ready to lose some sleep.

A few weeks ago I saw this post by Dr. Brett Steenbarger, and I caught a particularly interesting phrase:

When we have our trading laid out in “playbook” form, with explicit rules, we can ground our decision making in what we do best.  This helps us reframe the fear of missing a move into a fear of trading poorly.  Notice how this approach helps to transform fear into actual opportunity.

A fear of trading poorly. I absolutely love this simple shift in mindset. There are so many things that humans can naturally react to poorly in trading based on our fight or flight instincts. Reframing what is actually dangerous to us as traders can take us to levels of performance previously unattainable.

In order to do this, I think it’s really a two step process:

  1. Objectively define your entire trading business. Especially in regard to your “Playbook”- which is getting very clear about the variables that go into defining a quality trade opportunity for you. I mean it, you have to get really serious about this type of work. Stop toiling endlessly not really knowing what is a real opportunity and what is not. You cannot shoot from the hip as a new developing trader; you have not earned the right to be that discretionary yet.
  2. Now shift your focus as you go through the act of trading. Shift what you’re actually setting out to do each day. Shift from looking to have a profitable day towards focus on executing your playbook flawlessly. Shift from wanting this particular trade to work, to a focus on your process for managing the existing position. Shift how you feel about your session at the end of the day from basing it on the outcome (P/L), to grading yourself on how well you executed according to identifying your Playbook trades and executing that trade according to process.


Shift your mindset. Let the fear of trading poorly drive you to become better. Let it outweigh other destructive patterns that plague so many traders.

Trade well,


*No Relevant Positions

Risk Disclosure