What is a Trading Mindset and How do I get One?

I’m writing this today to clear up a few misconceptions about what is a Trading Mindset… As some people are confusing Mind sets with strategies and systems, a lot of people have heard about Trading Psychology and Trading Mindsets without knowing what it all really means. People tell you to go read a book, so you do. You may even implement some of it. But we all seem to stop at what is comfortable for us…


So, what are we doing wrong?

In all honesty and no-one is going to like this answer, I know I didn’t when I was told this. But we are actually doing things back to front, what we really should be doing is acquiring the trading mindset first and then learning to trade. The reason for this is quite obvious really. Although it didn’t click immediately for me. If you get the Trading Mindset first, you don’t go through the pain, you don’t lose lots of money and you don’t batter yourself with a rollercoaster of emotions. But that’s not what we do.

Most of us get into trading via an advert, we are promised riches beyond our wildest dreams and that it is so easy to do a baby can do it. They take us to a webinar where they show their wares and they do make it look so easy. So, we buy a strategy we try and trade it and then fail. Some companies will then tell you that obviously wasn’t the strategy for you, here’s a new one doing wonderous things. Consequently, we buy that one, at some point in the future we realise it’s not the strategies that don’t work and that maybe we have something to do with it. And that’s when we start to see people talking about Mindset and Psychology.

Some people will tell you this is the journey you must go on in order to be a Trader. You have to feel the pain, so you can learn from it, you need to make the mistakes so that you don’t repeat them in the future. These people are telling you their journey, doesn’t make it right, just makes them feel good and clever. Then you have a lot of people in the same position that agree with that statement which then validates it and gives it Authority in the eyes of others, especially newbies who are looking for direction.


Have we not progressed as a race?

Do you get taught how to hunt in order to buy your food from the supermarket? Hopefully you answered no to that question.

Were you taught to bash the girl of your dreams over the head with a club and then drag her by the hair to your den? If you answered yes to that one, you may have found yourself in jail or at the very least you are probably still single.

We have moved on we don’t have to feel the pain to get results anymore. We have also progressed in the way that we teach as we start to understand how we learn. The reason is so that we don’t have to make so many mistakes we learn from the mistakes our teachers made. Which greatly improves our learning curve.

Were you thrown into the sea by yourself in order to learn how to swim? Or did you have a coach?

Did you teach yourself how to read? Or did you have a coach?

Coaches bring in special skill sets that allow you to learn faster, they again have made the mistakes. But they also made notes on their journey to succeed, they perhaps learnt from many different people. They bring all this extra knowledge with them. They also know the mind sets required to be a success. And the mental attitudes the coachee requires to produce the results he wants.


The learning fallacy

While we are on the subject of learning there seems to be a bit of a fallacy that needs to be addressed. Some people believe that in order to be a great coach you need to be the best in your field. But that isn’t always the case. For those of you familiar with Premiership Football you will know the name Sir Alex Ferguson. To date the greatest Premiership Manger, he however was not the greatest player of his era.

If you follow Tennis Novak Djokovic is without doubt a world class player. His coach is Marian Vajda (at the time of writing), not the best player of his era either.

NFL’s Bill Belichick great coach for the New England Patriots. Captain of the Lacrosse team in his senior year at Middletown Connecticut. Never played football professionally. 

Being great at something doesn’t always make you the best coach. This is because some greats haven’t made as many mistakes or they never made notes on what they did at certain learning stages. It was so natural for them they don’t know how to reproduce those results in others.

There are some truly inspirational Traders out there who have tried for years to teach people to trade, but fail to do so because they don’t know how to replicate their results. They don’t know how to replicate their Mindset in others. They teach people their exact strategy, they leave nothing out. And yet more often than not, they can only teach one out of thousands to actually trade it successfully.


Mindset. The Trading Psychology

That is the only thing they have not taught. Not because they don’t want to, they want successful students. The more success your students have the better you look as a coach, the higher you are regarded in your field. This is how you get more students, it’s how they can spread their teachings and help more people to become successful traders.

Unless of course you understand the power of marketing and brainwashing then the results of your students don’t seem to matter… even to them!! Another story for another time perhaps.

I digress. The point being is that they really don’t know how to. Because they have never taken the time to observe themselves and their Mindset at different stages of the Trading Game. Why would they? What they are doing is working and they are producing fantastic results after fantastic results. It just means they can’t teach their skill to you.

But it is a teachable skill, it’s what we in NLP call Modelling. I don’t need to be a great trader, I just need to be a great modeller. It helps that I can trade, because I made all the mistakes there are to make. And there are lots. What this means is that I have taken detailed notes along the way. I know what I needed to do in order to become successful. I know how I had to change my psychology, my mindset in order to become successful and it is all teachable.

And I can easily teach all of you. As soon as you take massive action towards your success. I can’t give you all of my knowledge or all of my support if your not in my class. Give yourself the success you deserve now…


The Learning Game

It is far easier to teach a blank canvass than to unteach and reteach someone who has started Trading by making mistakes, but it is still very doable.

And it is so much easier than trying to learn by yourself. The problem with trying to do it by yourself. Is that you find out who you are now and build a strategy around that. Which is great if you have a great mindset for trading.

You don’t need me to tell you that more often than not, we don’t have the right mindset for trading. It could still work if people continued to grow and continued to change their strategy as they grew as a person and gained a better Mindset. But most profitable traders get stuck in their comfort zone and they just make a living, never reaching their full potential.

There is no person in the world now, that is at the top of their profession or trade or hobby that didn’t or doesn’t have a coach. The question is how much value do you give your own time? If you are happy making mistakes, losing money and feeling emotional drain. Then carry on as you are. You may become successful in 3-7 years, or more than likely you will give up. Bruised and battered by the market and with a lot less capital.

When you have the right Trading Mindset, you build your own strategies into your own well written trading plan. That will give you the biggest rewards with the least effort including Mental effort. This is different because you won’t suffer from either positive emotions or negative emotions.


If you are struggling to learn to trade consistently by yourself, then I would suggest taking a look at our Trading Room. Here you will gain access to two coaches, Andres – Director of Trading and myself Director of Trading Psychology. Where else can you learn and be coached by a Trading coach and a Trading Psychology Coach, while making pips?


To Your Consistently Profitable Trading



P.S. What did you think of this Lesson? Please share it with us in the comments below!


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Callum McLean

Co-Founder and Trading Psychologist at Special FX Academy
Trading Psychology Coach and Certified NLP Coach. It is my belief that trading is 99% Psychological. And it is by understanding and improving your psychology, that you can be a successful trader. Success is a formula that everyone can and should learn.
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