Trading Psychology: How to Handle FOMO (Dr. Steenbarger)

BellaBella Daily Update

Do you feel that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is crushing your trading PnL?

That if you could just get a handle on FOMO you could become the trader you deserve to be.

That FOMO is keeping you from a career as a trader and all of the rewards that come with it.

Dr. Steenbarger presents in the video below, at our prop firm for our prop traders, actionable ideas to mitigate this PnL killer, FOMO, with one’s trading.  Also, please see the show notes from his presentation below.

Trading Psychology: How to Handle FOMO (Dr. Steenbarger)

Show Notes from Dr. Steenbarger Presentation at SMB Capital

Key Takeaways 

  • Fear and anxiety occur when we perceive a threat. 
  • We perceive missed opportunities as a threat for our future. 
  • Higher level thinking occurs in the frontal cortex. 
  • We will never have perfect focus. 
  • The desire to learn and grow is the motivation that is greater than the fear of PnL. 
  • The successful traders in the industry are the ones who are always learning and developing. 
  • Consistency in profitability is far better than the overall magnitude of profitability.
  • Loving the growth and development as a professional trader is much more valuable than PnL. 
  • The exposure therapy technique can be thought of as similar to Paslov’s because of the fact that you’re training your mind and behavior to respond to a certain event. 
  • Cognitive work is learning new ways of thinking. 
  • Cognitive Journal – Activation, Beliefs, Consequences, Disputation 
  • If your teammate misses an opportunity and is down, you want to pick them up instead of bringing them down further. Be constructive and supportive. 
  • There should always be a learning PnL in every situation. 
  • You want to be well diversified when it comes to the “life portfolio” (work and personal).
  • Set a few high-priority goals instead of many goals. 


  • FOMO is an anxiety. FOMO is a fear.” 
  • “The key to overcoming fear is taking the threat out of the situation.” 
  • “We are always going to miss opportunities.” 
  • “You can only trade what you focus on.” 
  • “If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?” –Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav
  • “We have to find a motivation that’s greater than PnL.” 
  • “The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit.” – Bryant McGill
  • “Without struggle, no progress and no result. Every breaking of habit produced a change in the machine.” – G I Gurdpeff
  • “One of our best motivations to change is hate.” 
  • “What you trade and how you trade should be an expression of your distinctive cognitive style and strengths.” – Dr. Brett Steenbarger
  • “Make trading important but not all important.” 
  • “What gets measured gets improved.” – Peter Drucker
  • “Build new habits of thinking and build new habits of behavior.” 
  • “FOMO leads you to take bad trades. That’s how you know it’s FOMO.” 
  • “We are good at setting goals, but not necessarily reaching them.” 
  • “Every goal needs a detailed plan.”
  •  “A goal without a detailed plan is just a good intention or a wish.”

Related Videos

Trader Psychology: Every Elite Trader Has These Six Qualities With Dr. Brett Steenbarger

Trading Psychology: Growing Your Trading Business (Dr. Steenbarger and Bella)

Improving the odds of trading success: A conversation with Dr. Steenbarger and Bella

Important disclosures

Mike Bellafiore is the Co-Founder of SMB Capital, a proprietary trading desk, and SMB Training, which provides trading education in stocks, options, and futures. Bella is the author of One Good Trade and The PlayBook. He welcomes your trading questions at [email protected].