Hi there! If I was asked, what is «number 1» quality, that trader needs to develop, I would answer – ability to be responsible for your actions.

What does it mean?

Responsibility is often wrongly considered as ability to blame yourself. Blaming yourself may be more important than blaming others, but in my opinion it’s not a reliable indication of responsibility. It can be a «blame game» - «oh, why have I done it? What a fool I was» e t.c.
In this «blame game» we tend to feel sorry for our actions but in many cases, it doesn’t help to improve our future performance.

So, what is the definition of responsibility?

I like definition that was made by my mentor in field of trading psychology, dr. Andrew Menaker – «Responsibility can be split into two words – response and ability». In other words, it’s ability to choose our response.
It looks very easy, but it’s absolutely not easy in application to real life, and especially trading. Do you think about your future as a trader when you send a market order with extremely large size? I don’t think so, you are so absorbed by the price action that your response is driven by your emotions.

I think that it should be #1 in the list of desired internal characteristics – ability to choose your responses. How to do that?

Stop blaiming «them»

I have seen too much times traders blaming «them» for their trading losses. Some call «them» market makers, some call them «smart money», big market manipulators e.t.c. Of course, you should make some studies about possible activities of institutional demand and supply, but they are not responsible for your possible losses. That’s the way they make money – and it can include stop-running, yes. They have to execute orders of large institutional players, it’s a business.

Stop negative focusing

I’ve been writing about it several times, for example in article «Negativity bias», our brain very easily concentrates on negative outcomes, so we should balance this feature. You may blame dinosaurs, our ancestors for this feature that were helpful in their life (freeze, escape, fight), our brain has evolved this way – we tend to focus on possible harm much easier than noticing good. Read my article «Appreciating the good»

Work on self awareness

To take 100% responsibility for our actions, we should be aware of unconscious forces that can grab our attention. It may be unconscious traumatic experiences, or hidden emotional triggers or both.
Read this article to improve your self-awareness