May 05, 2009 at 11:04 am | | Comments 9

Excuses are a Waste

As the producer of a stock newsletter for the past 5 years (wow, time is flying), I get a lot of email.

Some of it is from subscribers, and some of it is from people who are ‘tire kickers’ and haven’t decided yet to take control of their trading. They want to know if what we offer can get them to the next level.

A response is always provided to them of course, but it’s not always what they want to hear.  The deciding factor is their attitude.

You see, in their emails they often times want to air out some garbage and tell me a story.  It goes along the lines of “I used to be good at this, then I hit a rough patch and now I’m lousy.  Can you fix me?

And although their ‘story’ might be factual, that rough patch probably isn’t what’s holding them back.  It’s their reliance on it.  They lean on it like a crutch, because it gives them an identity, a safety net to fail into – for now.  They have to stop relying on that and get back on track.

There will always be people like that, and neither I nor anyone else can bring about a change in them – they have to do it for themselves.  They have to move beyond that mindset and toward something they really want.

The “I’m losing and it isn’t my fault” attitude is an excuse, and it’s not going to get you anywhere.  A lack of success can’t be blamed on circumstances.

I know because I’ve had that attitude.

A few months ago, I was putting together an educational course for people who want to learn trading.  It was a big project and it brought about some demands on my time which previously weren’t there.  What used to be free time was replaced for a little while with work on that project, and so my situation was temporarily different.

Out of my routine, I fell into a trading funk for a few weeks.  I was wrong a lot and irritated regularly with my trading.  And I told myself it was because of that project.  When asked by friends how my trading was going, I’d say “it’s been better, but I’ve been really busy with the educational course” – as if anyone cared.  As if that project were the reason why I was struggling with my trading.


Once I stopped relying on that excuse and decided to get a grip – and it is a decision – I was finally free to get back to the winning ways I had been missing.  I wasn’t being driven by every little tick which might have gone against me, and I wasn’t as afraid that open profits might quickly disappear.  As a result, my trading improved rapidly.

But it all began with my attitude.

So here’s the thing… If you’ve got loser’s limp and you find you’re frequently making excuses for your trading results, consider this a wake-up call.

That attitude is leaving you stationary like a turtle in mud (no, not that kind of Turtle), and you’re going nowhere fast.  Get back on track mentally and move toward the attitude you know you should have.

The past is there to serve you, not hinder you, so take what you can from it and move forward.  Once you’re thinking better, I’ll bet you start trading better too.

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

[tags]Stock Market, Day Trading, Stock Trading, Investing, Swing Trading[/tags]


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  1. Thank you. A much needed post.

  2. Thanks Mark, I appreciate the comment.

    I had to see in myself that I was making this very mistake before I could get back on track, so hopefully this will hit a hot button for some traders out there struggling with the same thing.

    It’s not easy to hear sometimes, but getting out of those mental ruts without some cold truth isn’t easy either!


  3. “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

    — George Washington Carver

  4. So true. I’m in the process now of “getting back on track”. Not that I’ve ever really been on track, but I’ve recognized that the excuses were holding me back. Enough. Time to move forward. I’ve learned from the past. I truly believe that your own psychology is the hardest part to master in trading. I’m looking forward to the day that I’m back in the green. If I use one word to describe myself, it would be DETERMINED.

  5. Hey Lisa,

    I’m glad to hear you’re committed to finding your groove in this market, it’s a rewarding feeling to “find it” after spending some time searching. Moving beyond the excuses phase is truly a decision, and making that single choice can do more for you than anything else in the trading realm. We all battle different things in our trading, and it’s an ongoing challenge. Hang in there and keep me posted on your newfound determination – I’m excited for you!


  6. Well said Jeff, thanks for your comment!

    Probably not a statistic which is very far off. Whatever the number happens to be, I’d go so far as to say “When used, 100% of the time an excuse will offer a reason to fail.”

    Bottom line is – they might make us feel better but they don’t make us money! Save them for another aspect of life, because they offer no benefit for trading!


Trackbacks: 3  |  Trackback URL

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