Overcoming Your Psychological Issues as a Trader (a Case Study)

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs1 Comment

Here is a case study on one SMB Trader struggling with his psychology. I’m sure many readers have experienced the same struggles. We end with a plan to solve this psychological issue for this trader.



I’m really disappointed. This was bad. Probably the most disappointed I have been in myself in a long time. There’s no reason, no excuse, that I’m not up 2K today.

Honestly, I traded the open so well. I was up like 500 bucks by 10 AM. Then I gave it all back. Then I made it all back and finished up 630.  Between 11AM-1 PM I did nothing but lose money. In that time, I could have bought back IBM on that trend line around 194.50/195 twice. I am just so mad at myself for not being bigger in IBM.

In reality I should have been up like 800 today. I had a $170 error when I accidentally got in IBM instead of MLNX because I entered an order in the wrong market maker and gave back 170 bucks in IBM. That being said, 800 still is not a good day for earnings season for me. Anything short of $1500 is a disappointment. So, either I am trading wrong between 11–1 or I need to be less active at this time.

I think if I am up on the Open, I need to be better at settling down, not being very active, and looking got the trades2hold with real risk that I actually want to take and potentially hold through midday. I need to be better at transitioning from momo open trading to trades2hold. I eventually make this transition and make money from 1–4 but I think I did a poor job of this. The part that makes me angry is that I know this. I even said to myself around 1030, time to settle in, change trading and wait for setups. Somehow,it all didn’t work out for me. Also, the key stroke error really bummed me out. Without that error I make about $525 in IBM for the day. I didn’t buy back the first 194.50 or the second or the third.

Not acceptable. It’s fine to not do the second, but the first I must do. And later when the range is established, I should be bigger buying at support. Also, WCC, I should have 1000 shares not 200, this is pathetic.

I’m trading way too light. So often I’m perfectly correct on a trading idea on no size. I really am selective, and I do have a set play book which is why my win rate is high. I need to make the most out of this by actually sizing up. I had almost $2200 of positive trades today and about $1500 of losing ones. This is too much to lose, if I cut down how many losing trades I had today, I end up having one hell of a day. Need to be more selective between 11 and 1.


You are too emotional while trading.

You have to work on just making trades and not worrying so much about the result.

You’re getting in your own way by caring too much and letting disappointment in trades affect finding other trades.



You’re right. Yeah, I mean I think I just get so mad at myself for not being big in trades that I make chops in. Like I have such a good understanding about what my play book is and how to execute trades, just not big enough. I think if I was performing to my potential I would be less emotional. Like, I make trades that others find hard to make and consistently make money in them. Why don’t I risk more? How do I get past this mental block?

I don’t think being emotional prevents me from finding other trades, even when I’m emotional I am focused. Like today I still bounced back and made 600 bucks after giving back a lot.

You are right in this situation: I see missed opportunities in stocks I trade and I feel like because I maybe didn’t make enough the first time I don’t buy the pull in which turns out to be a even better trade and this is when I get mad at myself.

What do you suggest I do?


Controlling your emotions is a typical problem for the active pro trader. We trade so much that disappointment sits ready for an appearance on every trade.

I didn’t make enough in a trade.

I should have been in another trade.

Why did I make this piece of (expletive deleted) trade?

I should have sold this position earlier or later or never.

The trader above is getting in his own way. By being so hard on himself for not performing better in real-time he can’t perform to his ability. It is a vicious of cycle of under-performance fueled by personal ambition.
So what can we do to break this cycle and get this trader on a path towards improved performance?

1. We identify the problem.

2. We allow the trader to develop a plan of correction. First, let a student struggle with a solution. They learn more.

3. We offer a plan of improvement

4. The trader does the work, the daily exercises, to improve.

5. If none of this is enough then we call in the psychology coach.

I’m sure thousands of Readers suffer from the same flaws and have the same feelings as the SMB Trader above. I have had them. I still have them and have to work so they do not infect my trading. Take comfort that their are solutions. It just takes the smart solutions above.

You can be better tomorrow than you are today!

Mike Bellafiore

One Good Trade
The PlayBook

No relevant positions

One Comment on “Overcoming Your Psychological Issues as a Trader (a Case Study)”

  1. This is an excellent post and gets to the core of the issue. You want to train your mind to focus on the right things– like evaluating the markets and setups, executing your strategy, monitoring risk actively– and get all of the “chatter” out of you head. The best way to do this is to change your mental focus, so that you pay attention where you need to instead of giving a window for all of the chatter

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