Developing the Mind for Trading

Hi Trader!

Ah, the summer doldrums are about to be over. Kids are back in school, vacations are over, and in Europe folks are home from August holiday. It’s time to get in gear. What’s going to be different for you?

In this month’s article, video, and webinar you are going to notice something different. What is explored this month is how your survival instincts run counter to your capacity to trade effectively. What’s remarkable is that traders don’t even see the survival instincts of their emotional brain in operation until their trading mind is simply incapable of trading effectively. If you have ever caught yourself doing the same stupid thing over and over again – while knowing full well what you should NOT be doing it – you have seen the instinct-driven emotional brain take out a perfectly good rational mind trying to trade.

Your survival instinct, so useful for living in a dangerous world that no longer exists, now has become the albatross that hangs around your neck. It does not know the difference between psychological discomfort and biological threat. The programs of the survival brain were laid out so far back in your evolutionary past that you don’t even notice them in operation. Yet whether you getting ready for the hunt (chasing trades) or fearing loss of capital (anticipating and avoiding negative consequences), these instincts drive the emotions of trading – until you learn how to deal with them.

Most traders believe they can out-think (or that "thinking" gives them an advantage over) the instinctual nature of the limbic system. They create rules and trading plans that are supposed to keep them rational as they trade. Then, poof, capital is put at risk and all bets are off. The limbic system smells threat and triggers to fight/flight. The limbic system (emotional brain) was in operation long before there was capital to be won or lost. It just knows that it has to keep you alive whether the thinking brain is a partner or not. And with the flip of a neural switch, your highly prized thinking brain is hijacked and your trading is governed by survival instinct. It is going to drain your capital if you don’t figure out a way of managing it better. As useful as it was in another time, your instinctual brain’s emphasis on survival in the short-term is going to keep you from working with probability – because that is what it was adapted to do. You’re going to have to learn to override the instinctual survival programming that you bring to trading.

Without intentional re-programming of instinctual survival circuits in the brain, you are not going to produce a mind that can work with the probability-based world of trading. Fortunately you can learn how to re-program the default programs of the survival instinct of the emotional brain.

If you are a serious student of trading, I strongly suggest that you take our Developing Traders State of Mind (DTSM) Group Course. That’s what it teaches you to do. Your logical and rational left brain is simply no match for the power of the survival instinct of the emotional brain. The DTSM Group Course (being offered this month) teaches you a very different understanding of your brain and mind. It also teaches you how to calm the instinctual survival impulses that derail your thinking mind. And you will learn how to intentionally invoke a mind that embraces probability for long-term success, rather than short-term survival

The trading mind can be developed. It takes work, not magic. My hope is that you decide to develop your mind for trading. If so, I’ll see you at the Group Course shortly!

To learn more from Rande, be sure to check out some of his other articles at