Stop worrying yourself out of profits By Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
Every time Michael thought about entering the market, he said to himself "But what if I lose?" Those
thoughts often paralyzed him from action or delayed his entry so long that many opportunities simply
passed before he would pick up the phone.
When Michael did open a position, all he could think about were negative consequences. "My system is
wrong at least half the time—what if this is one of those times?" He couldn't sleep because his mind was
racing with those "what if" thoughts. Michael suffered from a chronic "dis-ease" of the mind called worry.
Current research suggests that both a biological component and a psychological component of stress
impair human performance and that it is useful to consider these two components separately. The
biological component is the fight-flight response, a primitive reaction that early man developed in order
to survive. (See Stocks & Commodities, June 1987.) This physiological arousal causes people to narrow
their focus and put more energy into what they are doing. It might help you run faster or fight more
aggressively, but it does not help you invest more successfully.