The original stoics were members of the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism started in Athens, Greece in the 3rd century B.C. In modern times a stoic is thought of as any person who can endure mental pain and hardship without being emotional or complaining about their circumstances. This philosophy can create a good mindset for traders and even give them an edge over others who let their fear, greed, and ego interfere with their trading plan.
Here are ten stoic quotes that can help your trading mindset.
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
The first step in being what you want to be is having a goal. Step 2 is believing it is possible. The final step is doing the work and research required and then taking the risks to transform yourself.
“Anything or anyone capable of angering you becomes your master.” – Epictetus
The moment that the market price action makes you mad you give up control of your mindset. The louder your emotions become the more difficult it is to follow your trading plan. There has to be distance between your emotional reactions and your trading decisions. If you take trading results personally then you can’t trade.
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” – Epictetus
You must start out in trading with a beginners mind and know that you know nothing at the start. Also, if a trader believes he knows where the market is going in the future it can create a cognitive bias that becomes very expensive to stay on the wrong side of a trend or at least miss a good one.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius
Everything you hear on financial news networks is an opinion about what price should be, not a fact about what it will be. Every opinion and prediction we have about the future of market prices is a perspective not a fact. No one has a crystal ball.
“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” – Marcus Aurelius
Your time and energy are valuable and limited, focus like a laser on things that are most important for your own trading method and ignore everything else that doesn’t matter.
“Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.” – Marcus Aurelius
Don’t believe the naysayers that say trading profitably is impossible or that no one can do it. It is difficult and most fail but the majority of people fail to become professionals in other fields as well like sports, doctors, and lawyers. Why? Because the majority just can’t do the work needed over the long term to get there and stay there. Successful traders are well documented in the Market Wizards books and Trend Following for those that want proof.
“Confine yourself to the present.” – Marcus Aurelius
In trading, hindsight is a parasite and worrying about the future price action will make taking your current signals stressful. Focus on the execution of your trading plan with the present price action.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
You can’t get lucky with a trade if you’re not taking all your signals.
“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.” – Seneca
Learn from successful traders, follow them on social media, ask them questions, send them emails, read their books, and study their past trades for a short cut in the learning curve, learn from other’s successes and failures.
“It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters.” – Seneca
Focus on the quality of your trades not how many you make. When there are no signals in your trading system, do nothing.
A stoic focuses on accepting what is happening with equanimity and making quality unemotional decisions, this is a great mindset for a trader.