The Loser Trader, the Confident Trader

12/19/2013 10:00 am EST


Rob Booker

Host, The Trader's Podcast

In this episode, your host, Rob Booker, attempts to separate the sheep from the goats, or more precisely, the Loser Trader from the Confident Trader. He will describe the characteristics of the Loser Trader who is obsessed with loss and all the “could have beens” and “should have dones” versus the characteristics of the Confident Trader who never dwells in the past and whose goal is to practice right trading, not to make a certain amount of money. Which one are you?

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Rob Booker:  The confident trader.  Not again, he says.  The trade slips through his sweaty fingers.  Another opportunity gone.  How many more times will the system work?  What if this is the end?  What if this was the big move that he has waited two weeks for?  A loser, that is who he is, but not for the reason you think.  The loser trader, not the losing trader, but rather the Loser Trader.  The trader, obsessed with loss, missed chances, could have beens, and should have dones.  This trader wants another chance at something that is over, like a boy standing on the doorstep, his date safely inside the house now.  No kiss, no move made and now he is forever the one who did not have the balls to act.  He is a loser.  It does not matter anymore what he wants or what he wishes.  He just lost and he will waste buckets of time thinking about it. 

The loser does not realize that everyone misses trades.  He does not understand that systems do not just have one last good trade and then suddenly never work again.  Lost in his own sorrow for what did not happen one time, that missed opportunity, he forgets that he can try again a thousand more times and that he only needs to focus on the next opportunity, but he will not be ready next time.  He will be already trying so hard not to do one other thing that he will not be able to actually do the other.  Call it performance anxiety, if you will, or just call it what it is, losing.  The mind of the losing trader, his last trade affects his next trade.  His last trade affects his behavior toward his family.  He wishes.  He wishes he could have his money back.  He often allows himself to feel guilt, sorrow, and shame.  He apologizes frequently and not just about his trading.  He points to a chart and boasts, “I planned that trade,” even though he did not take it.  He points to a chart after a completed trade and bitches about the profit he could have had, the stop he should have used, or the entry he could have taken.  He cannot stop talking about trading as if he has no other part of his life.  He does not want to do what he is good at.  He wants to do what he wishes he were good at, no matter how bad he says he wants to get “better at it,” he is too damn lazy to practice and so he loses. 

There is another man and this man closes his trades without saying anything.  The closed trade speaks for itself.  He hoards closed trades like trophies piled high on shelves in a room, a room he keeps as a reminder that he very much knows what he is doing.  His primary responsibility is to live a simple life and tend to his trading like an experienced gardener prunes and weeds a little plot of land.

NEXT PAGE: The Hallmarks of the Confident Trader


The winning Confident Trader, he might remember every trade he ever took like a championship golfer can replay a hole in his mind from 20 years ago.  He knows why he does what he does, but he also knows why he did what he did, and still the same, he never dwells on the past.  Instead, he closes a trade and determines that the next time he will even be tighter in his technique.  He never focuses on the goal or a profit target; he is single-mindedly focused on getting the elements of a trade right.  He says, “Why, I perform just 1% next time, if I can just do 1% better next time, I could double my success rate in just the next 100 trades.”  A hundred trades, who thinks about taking a hundred more trades?  The loser is thinking about one trade and it is already over.  Success for the confident man is right practice.  It is good posture, peaceful mind, and a perfect understanding of a plan.  He is not lured away by new strategies, but is immensely interested in improving his skills in the major areas of the game like a basketball player who spends three hours a day on his fade away jump shot.  In 10 years, he could be the best there ever was.  The mind of the Confident Trader.  He wants to get better at entering the trade, not at finding new ways to enter a trade, but be better, more efficient, to take the entries he already knows.  He knows it because he built it.  His performance in the market does not affect his ability to be a parent, or a spouse, or a partner.  His goal is to practice right trading, not to make a certain amount of money today, or even this week, or even this month and right, even this year.  He has an infinite time horizon.  He is determined that if he spends the next seven years practicing one system that everything else will take care of itself.  He works to quiet his mind, even if he is a loudmouth, windbag, non-stop podcast, or excuse me, talker, he seeks to quiet his mind.  He never bitches about a closed trade.  He never tells you what he was able to do, but did not do.  He simply quietly decides to implement a little bit better what he already knows the next time around. 

He studies a losing trade the way that a doctor would look at a surgery.  Let’s try to do a little bit better the next time.  No use rehashing the past over and over in your head or the next time you are not going to be ready for the patient.  You do not want to be thinking about the last patient that did not go right when you are in surgery the next time.  You want to be thinking about what is in front of you.  If you need to learn about it, you are not going to be learning about it during your next operation.  You will be learning about it after the conclusion of something that might not have gone as well as you might have hoped or as well as you know you can do.  We are not talking about re-planning in your mind something that you did not know how to do, we are not trying to get better at something that we did not know at the time.  We are not trying to next time around I will not do something that I will not know how to do next time around, that is dumb, but rather get a little bit better at what you already know you should be doing.

NEXT PAGE: More Hallmarks of the Confident Trader


Show up a little bit earlier for your screen time.  Stay a little bit longer just to work out the kinks.  Write a paragraph everyday about what you wish you could have done better, what you know you could have done better and then write a paragraph about what you know you are going to do next time a little bit better.  Then tear the piece of paper up and throw it in the shredder, put it in the fire, forget about it, and move on to the next one.  Do better the next time, but practice doing better at what you already know how to do.  Do not wish you knew how to do something better that you have never learned. 

The Confident Trader rarely, if ever, makes changes to his system, but he makes small improvements everyday to his mental state.  He does not want to talk to you about trading, he wants to talk to you about your mind, and about you becoming a better version of yourself and that is where the money is made.  He does not want to be good at something, he is good at something, and that is what he does.  He does not care what you think about his trading style, hell, he does not care what you think about him at all.  He is not trying to implement something he learned from someone else.  He is not trying to become a copy of someone that he learned something from.  If he could only do just the way so and so does it, well then he will be successful.  He never wanted to be like that person.  He wanted to study them, write down some notes, and then forget it.  Who you are is an amalgamation and a combination of everything you have ever experienced, all the people you have ever known, and a lot of different mentors, some of which you do not even remember.  Do not try to copy one person.  Learn from as many people as you can, but remember you are an individual, and you are meant to be.  This is meant to be an individual game.  Trading is not a team sport, sounds dumb even saying it.  No matter how much the Confident Trader practices, and oh does he practice, and how good he becomes from that practice, he is always careful to never brag about it to others and most importantly, never to himself.  Why?  Why are some traders confident and other traders locked into a vortex of blame, guilt, and sorrow?  It is because the mass of men and women, I do mean women when I am talking about this trader and that trader, the mass of them, the mass of people listening right now are unaware of the power of a quiet mind.  They fear their own power.  They cower in the face of responsibility.  They recoil at the thought that this whole business is not about trading systems, it is about trading broken, wild, crazy mind, and in exchange, getting a determined solid mindset.  You exchange the destination for the journey, the reward for the work.  When you stop looking, you know you are close to arriving. 

For more podcasts from Rob Booker, visit You can also follow him on Twitter @traderspodcast.

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