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Trading Psychology

Is Your Mindset Helping or Hurting Your Trading Results?

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/11/2023 5 min read



These are all emotions you can feel after suffering a big trading loss.

As much as you would like to think it’s on to the next trade…

There’s some mental baggage you’re carrying over.

How you respond will determine whether you dig yourself into a deeper hole or bounce back.

With more than $7.4 million in trading profits to my name, I can tell you straight up I’ve suffered some big losses throughout my trading career.

But I’ve always been able to bounce back from them.

Now, that’s not an accident.

I’ll show you what I’m doing to get back on track after taking my biggest hit in 2023 in the ticker symbol BBAI. 

Be Honest and Take Ownership

I missed the breakout in BBAI. I tried to dip buy too aggressively, and then when the real dip buy opportunity came…I was already out of bullets.

What can I say…an absolute disaster.

And you know whose fault it was?


I was the one who wanted to make money from the play. I forced the action and started averaging down out of pure desperation.

I have to be aware that my actions led to this trading loss. I also want to pick apart my decision-making and see where I acted wrongly and what I can do better in the future.

We must all remember that trading is addictive…and trading is dangerous.

I probably have more millionaire students than any other online trading mentor

I’m not saying that to brag…but I’ve been around many successful traders over the last two decades.

And if there’s one thing most will agree with, it’s: You’ve got to respect the market, or it will humble you quickly. 

Developing The Right Mindset Again

Tim Sykes holding An American Hedge Fund in Italy after creating his top penny stocks list
© Millionaire Media, LLC

Sometimes after a big loss, you will wear it.

Most people can see it on your face, tone, and body expressions.

Naturally, you want to shake it off and get back on track.

But you can’t think about revenge trading or anything else that will get you emotionally charged.

You’ve got to go about it one trade at a time.

It may take a few days, several weeks, or just a couple of trades to get the losses back…or it may never happen…there are no guarantees in trading.

That’s why I tell my students to focus on their best setups and take it one trade at a time.

Review your past trades to familiarize yourself with your best setups and results. Or study recent winners in the market and try to reverse engineer why they worked.

The best way to stage a comeback is by focusing on A+ setups.

Don’t Set Monetary Goals

Tim Sykes checking his top penny stocks list in Italy
© Millionaire Media, LLC

I tell my students to think like they’re retired traders. Only jump back into the market if you find a trade so compelling…you’ll regret not being involved.

This allows me to be more selective.

You see, I was forcing the action. Trying to get past $7.5 million in trading profits and pushing to get my monthly gains up.

But the market doesn’t care about my profit goals.

And that’s the funny thing about trading.

The more you desperately want to make money, the less likely you will.

That’s why if you’re considering giving trading a real shot, you need money set aside or a job to fall back on.

Many of my top students didn’t make profits in year one. 

That means your trading profits aren’t likely to pay your bills anytime soon.

But if you don’t have the pressure of money, you’ll likely be better focused on the  opportunities.

It’s counterintuitive.

But the less you focus on the money…I believe your chances of success are greater if you instead make process-related goals.

That’s why I like to consistently remind myself of my best patterns and the best ones that work for me.

Don’t pressure yourself to make your losses up quickly—stay focused.

If you’d like to learn more about my mentoring program…click here to get started. 

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”