Dealing with conflict
by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
"I have an elaborate computer system, on-line market quotes direct from the major exchanges, and a
program that gives me distinct buy-sell signals. I know that if I followed those signals, I'd make money.
But I don't. I just sit there and do nothing. What's the matter?"
This is an all-too-common complaint from traders. They've spent thousands of dollars studying the
market and developing a system that works, but they can't pull the trigger. Yet it is only one of many
symptoms of conflict that traders experience. Other symptoms include:
• You make just so much money, say $50,000 or $100,000, and then fall apart. Traders with this
symptom do well until the ceiling is reached and then they either stop trading or fall apart.
• You experience excessive stress. You have trouble sleeping. You worry excessively about positions
to the point that you can't think of anything else, even though the risk may be moderate compared
to positions you have comfortably taken in the past.
• You are preoccupied and forget about open positions you have and lose thousands of dollars as a