Analysis Paralysis In Trading

Analysis-Paralysis In Trading [Chuckles] This is an article I’ve been avoiding. Maybe it’s cos’ I’m guilty of it.

You know, A bunch of knowledge makes—jack cross the rubicon.

[Jamal Narrates]

It’s December 1, 1990. [steady exhales] ugh… what a glorious day! I mean—I’m grateful I survived. Are you? (rhetorically—cos’ I talk to myself a lot). Anyway, I finally get to attend “School of Candles” in Pretoria.

South Africa is a great country but, [sarcastic laughing] only because they have one of the best—Trading schools in the world. Hashtag “respectfully” [chuckles].

I mean—Finally! Heh… I’m here. The Oakland… miserable red-collar guy is here. Can you believe it? Considering all the blown accounts and failed trades—I finally left the country to… South Africa.

[Sighs] Pfft… Don’t mind my excitement—at least—I’m not sitting on my a*s reading this article because I have a problem. [Smirks] You are!

[Tuts] i’m pretty sure you haven’t travelled out yet and it’s cos’ you keep losing. You’re a loser! At least… [Grunts] someone had to tell you.

Don’t worry that makes two of us. Yeah—you and [Mulls for a bit] uh… you!

Ugh… [eye-rolling] duh… I know you are not here for my—school of candles story. You’re here cos—you are stuck!

Am I right?

Anyway, I’ll help I promise. But, you have to promise me that I won’t be wasting my time. [Shudders] Do you promise? Okay—Great.

So…

Analysis Paralysis In Trading (What Does That Even Mean?)

[Kids playing in a distance]

Look at them… [exhales softly] so peaceful. Quick question—Have you ever really stopped to watch kids play? The laughter, glee, ambience, passion—so peaceful; so serene!

These guys literally have nothing to worry about. [Hesitates] Don’t you miss that?

When last did you laugh? No… like actually laugh. These days—we have to watch a funny illiterate online to… [Sighs] crack up. How miserable can one’s life be?

So sad; so depressing and why’s that? 

I don’t know about you—but, I miss those days. Nothing to worry about.

You’re probably wondering, “What’s he on about?”… [Tuts] I just had to remind you of what your life (hopefully you’re still breathing)… is supposed to feel like. Before… [groans] I tell you how it actually feels like. That’s why you’re here right.

Shucks. Analysis paralysis—wonder who comes up with these names. In a lame man’s term, it’s basically being paralyzed (not literally)  from over-thinking. over-researching and over-analyzing… 

[Wind whirs]

[Jamal soliloquizes] Why do we do these things; why do we even do anything. Imagine the thought of—mentally paralyzing yourself… [Cracks fingers] Do you love yourself at all?  Of course not—Humans (you reading this now) think of the possible worst for—every situation.

Imagine… [Whimpers] You go out and a complete stranger gives you money, from nowhere; out of the blue. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Be honest, Don’t lie.

[Smirks] That’s what I thought.

[Birds trilling] Anyway, Being completely mind-paralyzed is bad. I mean [guffaws]… have you seen—how they have to literally drive paralyzed people everywhere… They become furnitures (not trying to be insensitive); they really can’t do anything… [Deep exhale] on their own.

You’ll end up—A furniture trader!

Analysis Paralysis In Trading (How Can You Tell?)

In school (school of candles), I attended every class. Wyckoff 101, Fibonacci 203 (borrowed course), Way of the candles, Price-action 105, Order blocks and Market structures 103, Supply and Demand, Indicators not manipulators… Weird ones! I took all. 

Trust me [Gasps and sighs]—I was a diligent student. But, I had no direction. 

I practically learned everything and anything. I mean—I wanted to be a great trader (don’t we all).

The next class (Final year) required… Mastery.  I realized that—sticking to one thing was a problem. [Jamal rattling] Oh! No, I can’t choose. I literally attended all classes—just to find out what was best for me—even after taking these classes… in my first year. 

[Students chattering]

Hello Jane, [Jamal chuckles] I know this is kind of awkward… But, what’s your major? 

Uh… Order blocks. [Jane mutters]

[Jamal feeling miserable with himself] Imagine! I couldn’t even come up with something. What the H-E-L-L do you want Jamal? You’re just going round in circles.

I couldn’t choose. Wanted to take action but, how could I? [Exhales steadily] No one gave me the memo. I don’t even know what making decisions feels like. “Making Decisions” suddenly sounds like the strangest word in—the dictionary. 

[Shudders and grunts]

So, tell me have you been in this position. All you keep doing is learning—anything; everything. But, no actions!

Two ways you can tell:

  1. Can’t seem to make a decision. 
  2. Always looking for a better solution—without actions! 

For analysis paralysis in trading [tuts] It’s not something you can cheat. As a trader, You can’t go over or under it—Dealing with it is… the only solution.

You keep delaying actions—whilst over-analyzing every situation. For this trader—you keep imaging downsides… Always the negatives; never positives. Imagine taking a trade—but, you’ve already imagined—300 scenarios of your plan going badly. 

Pfft… heh—who does that? Uh! [Smirks] you. You’re literally mentally paralyzed. What other options do you have than over-thinking everything. 

[Jamal utters]

Are You Asking The Right Questions? 

[Children bickering] 

Ta-ta… I envy them so much. Anyway, You learn to be in the comfort zone because… [Scoffs]

Why stress your brain till it’s paralyzed. Your brain is literally “yours truly”—It would always try to keep your safe. It will protect you, which is good. But, you become safe and unsuccessful. 

In trading, which do you prefer? 

Actually making a decision irrespective of the outcome or… staying out and avoiding everything. 

[Shrugs shoulder] I mean if we’re being honest—the second option looks safe and comfortable. Will you choose that though? Remember you want to be rich; you want financial freedom.

Even if you go through hell—do it without hesitations.

[Clattering] Yup—That quote is a reference to the previous sentence. Eh… your lack of decision making will only make you—miss out on a million market opportunities. So, are you asking the right questions?

When you literally ask yourself the right questions… [Clears throat] It gives room for a clearer thought process and faster decision-making. 

[Chuckles] Honestly though—Let’s blame google.

An increase in options; an increase in choice. The fear of making the wrong choice arises. Then you become mentally paralyzed.

Most traders today are stuck.

[Jamal mutters] I remember meeting a guy (Joe)—In one of my trading communities—in school. This guy found it hard to make a decision. Heh… So he buys and sells at the same time.

Analysis paralysis in trading can make you a fan of gambling. But, there’s a solution…

You can start by answering the right questions. What are the right questions?

  • Is it worth the risk? 
  • Will it matter in 5 minutes?
  • What was my first choice?

Can you answer these questions? Make it a habit to answer these questions before—you take a trade. Not just trading—anything at all… [Sighs] Train that brain of yours.

Is It Worth The Risk?

[Birds tweeting, soft jazz playing]

You know some-times the best way to eliminate choices is to—know the risk attached to each choice. Imagine having a $50 account (your only money) and trying to take a trade. You’ll probably over-think every thing because—you just can’t lose that money. I mean… Heh—that’s all you have right?

So, the first question should be… “If I take this trade, is it worth the risk”. Note that… you might lose—but, the keyword here is “risk”. [Mulling] How much are you willing to let go of?… [Tuts] That should be the first thought.

Try this exercise and you have to be truthful—always!… [Soliloquizing] If I was given $50 and I was told to give someone $5 (out of your $50)…  Would I be okay with that?

If you will, then you can decide to risk 10% of that account—knowing that you won’t feel bad if you lose.

Ergo, You’ve just made a decision—because you eliminated your options.

[Jamal smirks] I mean losing 10% of $50 is better than losing all.

Now what next? [Shudders] you need to eliminate all trades that will make you lose more than 10%. See, No mulling— just progress.

Note that… Not all trades are negatives. But, we should always consider the risk.

Will It Matter In 5 Minutes?

[Jamal flips page and begins writing] Now you know the risk you’re willing to take, the next question is—Will it matter in 5 minutes? 

Ever heard of the “5  by 5 rule”? 

Well, the 5 by 5 rule states that—if you come across an issue take a moment to think—whether or not it will matter in 5 years. If it won’t, don’t spend more than 5 minutes stressing out about it.

Forget the “5 years”—My own 5 by 5 rules is… [Shudders] don’t waste 5 seconds pondering over it, if it won’t matter in 5 minutes. Mine works right?

I mean… [scoffs] 5 years is a pretty long period you know. By the way, the market waits for no man. The fact of the matter is, there are some problems that do not need your full attention. 

Why stress over some money you’re okay losing. If after 5 seconds you’re cool with it then—go ahead!

Do me a favor. Let’s practice… Um—can you remember what you just did 5 seconds ago? If you can, it matters; If you can’t, “It’s irrelevant and doesn’t matter. There, fixed right!

What Was My First Choice?

[Exhales] The human mind is like a sick computer virus.

It’s basically, randomly, just processing relevant and irrelevant informations and thoughts.  You tend to have all these choices, thoughts and feelings all mixed up—especially during pressure. I was listening to Roger Khoury the other day and he said, “When driving a car in a—calm state—you’re basically just following the rules of the road right? But, what happens when you’re late for a meeting—You find yourself breaking all these rules.”

Similarly… [sighs] same applies to the market. You don’t have time; you’re supposed to make a decision—If not, the market leaves you. 

Then [laughs] if you’re like me that attended all classes in—Pretoria, you probably don’t have a particular strategy. Different options; different opinions. What happens?

[Exhales softly] You become paralyzed!

All this can be avoided if you remember your first choice. Many traders fail to understand that our gut feelings, our instincts—matter. 

Where do instincts come from?

In as much as the brain behaves sick sometimes—It also stores useful informations… [Whimpers] knowingly or unknowingly. These useful informations are usually processed when needed. 

[Jamal murmurs] Do you ever know something and wonder—how you know that thing?

It’s cos’ you probably already came across that stuff but, you ignored it. Cos’—It didn’t matter. But, look who wasn’t ignorant “your brain” yeah, remember… [Smiles] “Yours truly” loves you. 

Those first choices… [Smirks] are thought of for a reason. So, make them your last resort—always!

Havoc Of Analysis Paralysis In Trading

[Distorted sounds and voices. Jamal inhales sharply]

Hey guys, my name is Jamal and I’m a victim of Analysis Paralysis in trading … [Audience in unison] “Hey Jamal”…

Sounds familiar. Yeah, group home.

[Jamal sniffles] My encounter with Analysis Paralysis in trading wasn’t a great one. There were consequences. Each with its own baggage. 

After I narrowly graduated from the School of Candles, Pretoria. I mean I’ve learnt everything—I was ready for the market. 

On Tuesday, May 3, 1994,  I deposited $50,000 to my trading account. As a graduate of School of Candles—what was the next thing? [inhales steadily] To get into the real world of trading . 

A nasty encounter in the market occurred. I found a GJ (gbp/jpy) trade, the daily had a bearish head and shoulder, the—4 hour, a double bottom. On my chart, I had Bollinger bands, Moving averages, Relative strength index… Name it.

Yeah [scoffs]—I was that confused. Didn’t know if to—buy or sell. Oh! No, a clash of interest.

My indicators… [clicks tongue] some gave me buy signals; others sell signals. [Deeply sighed] Oh my God! What now? What’s the direction—Now I’m exhausted, tired, I can’t think straight!

The market decides to buy… [Mulling] Yeah, I guess I’ll go long now.

[Slam] The sound your phone makes when you just placed a trade. Greedy old Jamal, used 2 standards for US30 on a $50,000 account. I was more than confident.

The market does it thing. [Jamal screams] What! no… no… n0—Why is there a sell taking place now? No!

The Havoc

[Hours later]

That’s it… That was so easy [Jamal sniffles] I lost it all.

Everything! [exhales] “What was the point of school then?” I thought. Useless! [beating myself up] You’re so useless Jamal. You can’t get anything right.

I couldn’t make a decision… My brain said, “Pause”. I was paralyzed and I failed. Three things happened to me:

  1. My trading performance reduced
  2. Creativity was gone. Couldn’t decide on a strategy and all patterns became useless.
  3. Lost my willpower. I couldn’t make a decision—too many options.

Thank you for listening! [Audience mutters in unison] “Thanks for sharing Jamal”.

How To Overcome—Final Words

[Instrumentals playing]

[Scoffs] Don’t ask me what I went to a group home to do. Analysis paralysis in trading affects you mentally—It builds into a habit and you become the hesitant trader.

Do you remember him? That guy who couldn’t make decisions, that insecure coward. Yeah—that was who I became. 

June 23, 1994, I was in bed. Thinking, crying, staring—”What went wrong?”, I thought. How come… [Sobs] I mean i’ve gone to one of the best schools, learnt everything there is to learn, and graduated with a 2:1. So, what exactly is the problem.

I discover that—I was.

[Muttering] “Jamal you are the problem”—I discovered 6 things. These 6 things I’m going to tell you are very important. I’m telling you because—I love you.

You shouldn’t follow my past; you shouldn’t make my mistakes. My mom’s teaching helped. Remember when she gave me the trading elements and principles…

Steps To Overcoming This Nuisance.

This is the truth; this is my truth. After a month I discovered that:

  1. You need to trust you. No one else opinion matters in the business of trading. It’s your business—You should mind it.
  2. Limit the amount of research (information you consume) you do. It’s called “learn and earn” for a reason—Not “Learn and continue learning”.
  3. Talk to someone. If you think you’re stagnant, you need to pour out all those information—on someone. Teach them!
  4. Perfection isn’t the key. Progress is!
  5. Know your end goal always.
  6. Notice every thoughts and emotions. If possible, write them down. 

If you follow this manual, you should never have reason to be stuck or mentally paralyzed. Remember sharing is caring!

Tell someone about this article. Most traders have no idea what analysis paralysis in trading is.


All my articles are entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of lazyluchi’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities are entirely coincidental. 

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