Katz’s Corner: Coping with Uncertainty

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A recent article from Trader Psyches discusses the challenges traders often face when confronted with the market’s constant uncertainty and ambiguity.

Dr. Jonathan F. Katz, performance coach at High Performance Associates, provides his response to the article:

“The ambiguity of uncertainty”…..one of the great challenges of life…especially for traders and individuals working in high performance outcome professions like sports and finance. I have always marveled at the amount of time and energy people put into avoiding the discomfort associated with uncertainty……as if it is the “enemy”. Anxiety, uncertainty, discomfort, they are NOT the problem….in fact they are the important warning signs for the challenges and obstacles that you are facing.

So….what do you do? How do you handle these uncomfortable and unsettling emotional reactions? The 2 keys to minimizing their potential adverse impact are: Preparation and Planning. With regard to preparation…. Have you gotten a good nights sleep? Eaten a reasonably healthy breakfast? Reviewed the markets? Read the economic news? These are just a few preparatory steps which will help give you a better sense of control and comfort going into the trading day.

As for planning…..Do you have a strategy for how you are going to handle your trades? Have you planned for both sides…whether your trade is going for or against you? Are your plans free of rigidity and nimble enough so that you are able to make the necessary adjustments on the fly? The more you are adequately prepared for the day and have a game plan to deal with the upside and adversity you might face, the more effective you will be in making good decisions and judgements.

Use the uncertainty, anxiety and discomfort as “normal” indicators of challenging circumstances. Do not view them as signs of weakness or feelings you should run away from. Speak to any high performer and they will tell you that the ability to effectively manage through difficult times (of uncertainty, ambiguity and anxiety) is probably the biggest confidence builder you can experience. This is a good thing to keep in mind…..especially when things are not going your way during the trading day.

Your thoughts?

3 Comments on “Katz’s Corner: Coping with Uncertainty”

  1. I would add that one needs to know what their typical default reaction is to uncertainty and ambiguity.

    Planning and preparation is important. And anticipating the arrival of uncertainty and ambiguity is also important. There is no escape from uncertainty and ambiguity in trading, anticipating it is key.

    The next step, and it’s a critical one, is to understand our default patterns in response to uncertainty and ambiguity. By doing this, we give ourselves a chance to chose a different action (or re-action) in response to the thoughts and emotions generated by the uncertainty and ambiguity.

    We also need to learn to not attach our feelings of self-worth to any given trade, and not tie or sense of self-worth to the outcome of any trade; we don’t want to ‘become the trade’. There are other considerations as well….but I need to focus back on my charts as I’m managing a trade right now…..

    Andrew Menaker, PhD

  2. I see¬†consistent (at least daily) “meditation” (mind preperation if you will)¬†as a very critical part of preparation.

  3. I use to drink green tea and it really keeps me fit and healthy and away from several of diseases like cancer and diabetic cure, I everyday use to go for morning walk and it makes me active and away from heavy body.

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