and to be a successful trader you have to make sure that rational thinking always wins. The problem with that is that your emotions sometimes lead to decisions that seem rational at that moment, but are really based on fear (like when you tighten your stops when the stock moves up for five minutes or sell positions too early).
Those decisions can only be identified as wrong when you do your analysis after the trading day. For me it has shown me that my biggest mistake that i still continue to do is to sell a winning position too early. I have to learn to accept that it is impossible to know the top in an uptrending stock. As long as the stock is in a bullish pattern and there is no important long-term level where it is unlikely to continue,you should not sell your entire position.
I often sell stocks because i lose patience with them when they don’t move. That can be a good idea sometimes. When the advance/decline is 9 to 1 and your stock is the only one not moving there is no point in holding on to it. It just distracts you and you cannot focus fully on the good stocks. But when the market is negative and your stock is not falling with the market it makes no sense selling it. It is more likely that the stock will perform better as soon as the market turns.
I think it is essentially important to be in a certain state of mind when the trading day begins. When you start observing your own mood swings you also can start to see correlations to your trading performance. Being to relaxed has not worked out too good for me, but being too aggressive is the worst thing when you are trading. I try to be as aggressive as possible without forgetting that aggressive trading doesn’t always mean successful trading. That is only the case in the right market conditions,so you have to be willing to wait for your chance. Always remind yourself that trading is a business and it is not about having fun,but about making money (although for most traders both are the same). It is never good to get overly excited about a stock. If it goes up-good, if it goes down-get out and move on.