Attitude Trader made this comment in a discussion we were having at his site:

“When I spent a weekend with Mark Douglas in Chicago he told us about the ‘four insidious fears responsible for 90% of trading errors.’

1.) Fear of being wrong.
2.) Fear of losing money.
3.) Fear of missing out.
4.) Fear of leaving money on the table.”

Even though I’m “just” paper trading right now – I’ve been slowed down with major hesitation when entering and staying in trades. It comes down to I’m afraid of failing. Paper trading should be like playing a game of checkers; yes you want to win, but its really inconsequential what happens.

PositionTrader made this comment on my post from yesterday at the version of my blog at Covestor:

“….Firstly, congrats on having the discipline to paper trade! I could never do it. And I know exactly how you feel about being scared to do pull the trigger. I felt, and sometimes still do, feel the same way after my huge initial losses. But unfortunately, there is no way of losing this fear except by real trading. Paper trading is fine for making and fine tuning strategies, but for learning/mastering the psychological aspect of trading (which I feel is more important than any trading strategy), one has to play with real money. There are completely different emotions involved when real money is at play! Go for it if you trust yourself and your strategy!”

I’ve gotten this feedback a lot. It’s probably true, but I swear, if I used the TOS part of my account that has real cash in it, I really don’t think I would react that much different. In any case, it really doesn’t matter. I have to get over my anxieties paper trading first before I will be able to deal with the psychology of real trading, which I do have some experience with. It comes down to being afraid of failing – I’ve invested so much into this, I’m worried it won’t work out and it’s really crippling me.

I think the first step is making progress on my trading resolutions I made at the beginning of the year. Here’s a review of how I’m doing:

1) Relax. I’m going to start drinking a beer to take the edge off at 9:30am. Problem is I don’t drink. So I’m going to pretend I’m drinking. Ha, that’s what some people feel like paper trading is like – pretending to get drunk! Glad I’m taking this serious, still need to chill.

2) April Fools. I’m cool with waiting until to the end of March to evaluate how I’m doing and whether it’s time to take the plunge with cash trading.

3) Trading Hours. Still no trading in the afternoon, just the first couple hours of the day. This is a matter of better time management with my real life work, but also I’m often exhausted at the end of the day.

4) Batting Practice and Scrimmages. This has not happened yet because I haven’t relaxed, the point is just taking some practice trades, swings like at the batting cages. I have an idea of trying to focus on one type of set-up to see if that may help facilitate this.

5) Healthy Living. Talk about failure. The January Effect for me has turned into breaking the scale. Beyond that, it really effects my trading. I am way more confident and mentally acute when I’ve gotten a good night’s rest, caught up in my real life work, done some prep work, and most of all, am physically balanced – exercising, eating right and no caffeine. I’m going to reevaluate this next Saturday, and if I haven’t gotten back on track, I’m going to take a break from blogging and paper trading until I do.

On another note, Neil Patrick Harris was pretty funny on SNL tonight.