Why Traders Need Mental Reprogramming to Succeed?

Trading Mind Reprogram

Once in a while, you get a successful businessman or a qualified professional who joins the trading world and wants to start a full time career in trading. They know that you can make a living from trading the market and, hence, they want a piece of it too. In fact, who won’t since there are so many marketing advertisements out there that make trading sound like a piece of cake? While trading can be rewarding, some of those advertisements can get new traders started off with the wrong foot.

Just to be clear, I’m not here to discuss about those advertisements but I do hope to help break down some of the expectations that you might have had before you started trading. More importantly, I do hope that you will start off at the right path so that getting to your goals will be easier as you continue to develop your own trading.

Learning to trade the financial market is not like your average job. In fact, learning to trade is quite a unique activity and it is hard to find a decent career comparison. Hence, I am forced to use analogies like driving a car and playing golf to make my point. You can see what I mean, can you not?

Anyway, if you agree with this sooner or later, here are some of the reasons why a Mental Reprogramming is crucial in order to start off right.

1. You Have No Influence Over Your External Environment

In the conventional world, we were thought to make every effort to take control of ourselves and to utilise the resources we have in the external environment. For example, if you need a car for your business, you use your network of friends or you ask for recommendations before meeting up with a car salesman. You then explain what you want and potentially even negotiate the price. In other words, you can influence the process, either directly or indirectly, in order to get things done.

Unfortunately, in the trading environment, all you have is information. While this information could potentially influence the results at some level of certainty, there is no way of exerting your influence over the potential outcome of the trade. In fact, the only thing that you can influence is your inner environment.

For many this is something new and it’s definitely a unconventional method to succeed.

2. Trading Psychology Matters Too

trading-emotionsThe first impression that many new traders get when they start trading is that all they need to do is work hard and they can become successful one day. Great, because this is absolutely true. However, the next question leading from that is what usually gets the trader onto the wrong path. The all important question that they usually get wrong is this, “How can I become a successful trader from here”?

Unfortunately, many new traders put too much emphasis on technical knowledge and too little on trading psychology. While both of them are important, I would break the process of learning down to the following:

  1. Learn to understand the market behaviours and repeatable patterns within the random market.
  2. Identify a clear set of rules that will help you help you take advantage of those repeatable patterns
  3. Because the market is random, you need to identify what you can control (E.g. yourself and your rules) and then learn to execute them flawlessly.

Can you see how the process has transition from an external environment (the market) into an internal environment (yourself and your execution)? In case you did not catch it, executing your trading plan flawlessly is where the trading psychology comes into play. That’s because you need to execute your rules irrespective of what you fear, what you think and whatever other irrational reasons that could distract you from your rules.

In fact, I would argue that step 3 is the most crucial part of trading and it is 80-90% of the root of your success. In other words, I definitely recommend that you need to work on your trading psychology as soon as you have your trading rules ready.

3. Effort Does Not Correlate to Income

Trading Capital Vs Effort Curve

There will also come to a point in your trading career where you are following the rules and doing everything according to the text book, yet, you might not see the results that you want. Some of you might get frustrated, some of you might not see any profits in the account and some of you might wonder if you are doing the right thing.

On these days, you need make sure that you have no premature expectations about trading profits. This is important because, in the trading world, you need to have zero expectation of your income. Unlike a normal career, where there is a strong relationship between how much effort you put into the job and how much money you will expect to get from it, such relationships don’t exists here. You can keep working very hard on your trading development and you might not see any sustainable income for a long time and that is why, reprogramming yourself is extremely crucial.

However, the opposite is also true, once we understand what it takes and we are discipline with our trading rules, your income will be exponential. In fact, at that stage, the income you get will, again, be disproportionate to the amount of effort you invest into trading. But, this time, your income will be the overwhelming part of the equation.


Many professional traders seem to make trading so simple and that’s because it is. However, that is usually only possible with some internal reprogramming and it is the reprogramming of the mental framework and trading expectations that I’m talking about.

Above all that, these reprogramming should be done, either at the start of your trading career, or as soon as you realise you need to. If you have been trading for awhile and struggling to achieve trading success, that might be due to the fact that you did not reprogram yourself at the start. Nonetheless, it’s never too late to do so.

Anyway, thank you for reading and please post any comments or questions at the box below. Happy Trading!


  • Hans TB

    April 5, 2014

    Great article Alwin!
    I totally agree with your conclusion, the psychology part of trading is the most important factor to deal with. My biggest obstacle was also the execution part of the trading process. So to solve this, I’ve put my trading-execution rules into a program. The analysis, trading decision and moneymanagement is done manually, but the execution is done by my program. And to me this has helped me tremendously to reduce the stress and screen-time. And I’m able now to execute every trade flawlessly and run multiple trades simultaneously.
    Again thanks for the article and keep up the good work.


    • Alwin Ng

      April 6, 2014

      Sounds like you found your own little trading edge, well done and congratulations!!


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