By Créde Sheehy-Kelly, High Performance Psychologist

October 14th 2019

Successful trading requires an ability to master much more than the markets. Self-awareness and a high degree of mental and emotional control are an integral part of the arsenal of any consistently profitable trader.

A seasoned trader knows what process they should be following to generate profitable results. Often, it is in the deviation from this process where the P&L takes the biggest hits. But if a trader has the blueprint for success at their finger-tips, what makes them deviate from the plan?

While, admittedly, changing market conditions can result in a drop in performance as a trader adapts their approach, often it is the more ‘human factors’ which can get in the way of us doing what we know we need to do. We become our own biggest barrier to peak performance.


Think of the trader who, having placed a trade based on sound rationale and analysis, becomes overactive in the market as the excitement and adrenaline takes over. They may become more focused on the potential profit to be made as opposed to the execution of their process. Or the trader on a losing streak who, in an effort to redress the irritation and disappointment of one losing trade, chases this with a series of trades where they ignore their own strict trade selection criteria and risk limits and compound the size of their loss.

Mindset can also have the opposite influence. A trader’s lack of confidence and natural aversion to risk may result in them leaving profit on the table, by not trusting their analyses and competence sufficiently to allow the trade to run on.

In each of the examples above, it is the trader’s psychology that is negatively impacting performance as opposed to any deficit in technical knowledge or understanding. It follows then, that even when performance is going well, there are still performance gains to be made by optimising mindset and emotional control.

Focused practice

To achieve and maintain a consistently profitable trading status, the mind and emotions simply cannot be annexed from the performance picture. Just as the technical skills of trading can be learned and honed over time, the mind and emotions can also be mastered through focused practice.

By proactively incorporating performance psychology principles into your trading preparation and process, it is possible to cultivate a mindset that not only supports your trading performance but actually enhances it.

So how can you put this into practice? Check out my video outlining 5 top tips for training your mind and emotions to achieve your peak trading potential.