It's Got To Be Perfect


By Darrell Martin

There is one character trait, which while valuable, may be getting in the way of your trading. It seems to appear in certain professions, but can manifest in just about anyone from time to time. It can be invaluable in the right situation. In fact, if you were to need the services of any of these professionals, this would probably be high on your list of requirements. It is perfectionism.

These people require perfection in their jobs and as they attempt to trade, this quality can get in the way. They may be architects, engineers, computer programmers, surgeons, lawyers and people with degrees in finance or anyone who has to have exactness in their professional life.

As they try to go from expecting perfection in their work to trading, they want all the lights green. They want to be right with everything perfectly in place before they make a move. They are so zoned in on what they see as an error or a flaw that they lose sight of reality and cannot trade. The error may or may not be real. The fear of imperfection causes them to miss trades or get in too late or out too early.

The Blame Game There is also the blame game. If things don’t go perfectly, they have to have someone or something to blame. It was the software. It was a stupid mistake they made. They didn’t see the signal in time. The charts were set up wrong. The indicators, tick size, bar size, parameters…. The excuses go on and on.

When this happens, they freeze for the day and analyze whatever happened. Then they analyze it again as they want to be right! They trade backwards instead of forwards.

Learn From Your Mistakes It is important to learn from your mistakes, but then you have to move on to the next trade. In most cases it does not matter whose fault it was. In reality, what matters is what you can do going forward and what would have happened if you would just go forward.

You may believe that it has to be perfect. You may want to change everything you can to make it perfect, but even then, it’s not perfect. Things can get messed up that are out of your control. The software may have a glitch. The data stream can misprint ticks. You will make errors.

Good Enough How do you handle the imperfections and trade forward versus spending all day looking backwards? Consider the following statement: “There is no such thing as perfect. There is good enough to make money and improving.” How do you handle the reality of that?

If you are stuck because you are constantly looking for perfection, how can you overcome this block to your trading? If you are waiting for perfection that means you will never start trading. You may be like one Apex Investing trader who said, “I can’t get out of demo because of that ‘perfection’ block.”

When asked how he thought he could get past this block, he said that he was demo trading during the day and doing market replay at night. He was also spending 12 to 14 hours a day on the weekends in further study. He said he knows the rules, but if he loses even one trade, he tells himself that he isn’t ready yet.

A book that may help in overcoming that perfection block is “Trading in the Zone” by Mark Douglass.

Let Go Of Perfection It is important to never give up, just be willing to let go of perfection. You need to focus on letting go of needing to be perfect in every aspect of trading. If it’s too hard to let go of perfection, refocus it. Refocus it on perfection in execution. In the end, the execution of your trading is all you can control.