Specialty Skills

Accountability in Your Stock Trading

Dr. Woody Johnson

There are thousands of traders across the planet who labor under the misguided belief that most, if not all, of their trading issues are caused by someone or something outside of themselves. Firstly, they have relied on outside variables like internet programs, news and friends for information; they have communicated (or not) with family to ensure peace and quiet during trading hours, and they have disregarded important facts within their trading environment causing confusion and frustration. In other words, they are exactly where they should be and getting exactly the results that they should get based upon the conditions and circumstances in their trading and in their lives. One of the laws of The Universe is cause and effect. If you set a cause in motion there will be a corresponding effect. For example, if you have tried to lose weight you might think that you “should” weigh something different from your current weight. But, how could you? You ate just the right amount of food (junk or otherwise), you vegged out on the couch just the right amount of times and you exercised (or not) just the right amount of times to be exactly the weight that you are…you should be that weight. Why, because you are. Any thought that you “should” be different is a rejection of reality and a failure to accept facts. Many of you are not accepting reality as you blame your conditions and circumstances on outside forces. Many of you are failing to take personal accountability for your results, and you have seduced yourself into thinking that it is not your fault.

The dictionary defines accountable as being held to account for an outcome. Additionally, if you were to look up responsible, it would define this term similarly. I take a different view. I’ll explain. To be responsible is to accept or have someone appoint you as the person who “can” respond to an event, issue or situation. On the other hand, to be accountable is to be held to actively “account” for the results that have transpired. I can be responsible for a trade going sour, but that does not mean that I will necessarily do something to ensure that I’ll use the feedback to adjust and do better next time. Conversely, if I am held “accountable” for these results then I am more likely to be emotionally and cognitively invested in that outcome so that I will adjust my behavior accordingly to achieve the desired results. To be responsible is more passive in nature; and to be accountable is more active in nature. So, what does that mean for your trading? Everything!

You are responsible for your trades. If you execute it, then you own it; but that doesn’t mean that you will “accept” responsibility or hold yourself accountable for the results. Many traders blame everything and anyone for their results. These traders continually seek outside themselves for the answers to their issues and shortcomings. What’s more is that they crowd their charts with so many indicators and tools that the price action can barely be seen. These are symptoms of a lack of alignment and integrity in trading. It is also indicative of a failed approach to achieving long term objectives.

Free Trading WorkshopIn order to be consistently successful you must be self-aware while in the trade; that means you are focused with intention on what matters most in the trade. It means that you are in the moment, for the moment, fully available and in the now of the trade. Self-aware also means that you are tracking your thoughts, emotions and behaviors because these internal variables are what drive your execution. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have; if your internal data is conflicted, confused and confounded you are not going to execute according to the plan…while maintaining your rules. That requires that you be diligent and vigilant about what is going on both inside of you and outside. You must be accountable for your thoughts, emotions and behavior at every juncture of the trade. You must be active in this pursuit if you are to be deliberate and trade by design in a “rule based” protocol. If you hold yourself accountable you are more prone to identify what is working and what is not working. What’s more, you can’t identify what is working or not working unless you are documenting your mechanical data (everything that has to do with market information) through a Trade Log; and documenting your internal data (thoughts, emotions and behaviors associated with the trade) in your Thought Journal. This is true accountability.

So, take control of your process first by holding yourself accountable for all of your results. Remain self-aware in order to weed out and root out negative issues that are caused by limiting beliefs and unruly emotions that lead to conflicted executions and rule violations. You can’t change what you can’t face and you can’t face what you don’t know. If you do this you will get closer to your A-Game, which is what you must do if you want to begin to get the results that deep down you know you can and deserve. In Mastering the Mental Game Online and On-location courses we show you how to remain self-aware through a number of powerful, easy-to-use and simple tools to discover your A-Game, bring it to your platform and keep it there. Be accountable! Ask your Online Trading Academy Educational Counselor for more information. Also, get my book, “From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader.” You’ve got to do the inner work to be the trader that you always wanted to be.

Happy Trading

Dr. Woody Johnson


This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.