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Best Quotes From Trading in the Zone By Mark Douglas – Learn How to Master the Market:

Trading in the Zone By Mark Douglas Master The Market

  1. The goal of any trader is to turn profits on a regular basis, yet so few people ever really make consistent money as traders. What accounts for the small percentage of traders who are consistently successful? To me, the determining factor is psychological – the consistent winners think differently from everyone else.

  2. What I’ve discovered is that, at the most fundamental level, there is a problem with the way we think. There is something inherent in the way our minds work that doesn’t fit very well with the characteristics shown by the markets.

  3. Intelligence and good market analysis can certainly contribute to success, but they are not the defining factors that separate the consistent winners from everyone else.

  4. The defining characteristic that separates the consistent winners from everyone else is this: The winners have attained a mind-set – a unique set of attitudes – that allows them to remain disciplined, focused, and, above all, confident in spite of the adverse conditions. As a result, they are no longer susceptible to the common fears and trading errors that plague everyone else.

  5. Financial and emotional disaster are common among traders because many perspectives, attitudes, and principles that would otherwise make perfect sense and work quite well in our daily lives have the opposite effect in the trading environment. They just don’t work.

  6. When you learn the trading skill of risk acceptance, the market will not be able to generate information that you define or interpret as painful. If the information the market generates doesn’t have the potential to cause you emotional pain, there’s nothing to avoid. It is just information, telling you what the possibilities are. This is called an objective perspective – one that is not skewed or distorted by what you are afraid is going to happen or not happen.

  7. Ninety-five percent of the trading errors you are likely to make – causing the money to just evaporate before your eyes – will stem from your attitudes about being wrong, losing money, missing out, and leaving money on the table. What I call the four primary trading fears.

  8. To operate effectively in the trading environment, we need rules and boundaries to guide our behavior. It is a simple fact of trading that the potential exists to do enormous damage to ourselves – damage that can be way out of proportion to what we may think is possible…To prevent the possibility of exposing ourselves to damage, we need to create an internal structure in the form of specialized mental discipline and a perspective that guides our behavior so that we always act in our own best interest. This structure has to exist within each of us, because unlike society, the market doesn’t provide it.

  9. The consistency you seek is in your mind, not in the markets. Your attitudes and beliefs about being wrong, losing money, and the tendency to become reckless, when you’re feeling good, that cause the most losses – not technique or market knowledge.

  10. Even though most people who trade consider themselves responsible adults, only the very best traders have reached a point where they can and do accept complete responsibility for the outcome of any particular trade. Everyone else to one degree or another assumes they are taking responsibility; but the reality is that they want the market to do it for them. The typical trader wants the market to fulfill his expectations, his hopes, and dreams.

  11. The problem is that preventing pain by avoiding losses can’t be done. The market generates behavior patterns and the patterns repeat themselves, but not every time. So again, there is no possible way to avoid losing or being wrong.

  12. It’s when you’re winning that you are most susceptible to making a mistake, overtrading, putting on too large a position, violating your rules, or generally operating as if no prudent boundaries on your behavior are necessary.

    Mark Douglas

  13. Did you ever wonder why leaving money on the table is often more painful than taking a loss? When we lose, there are any number of ways in which we can shift the blame to the market and not accept responsibility. But when we leave money on the table, we can’t blame the market. The market didn’t do anything but give us exactly what we wanted, but for whatever reason, we weren’t capable of acting on the opportunity appropriately. In other words, there’s no way to rationalize the pain away.

  14. I want you to keep something in mind: Very few people who go into trading start out with the appropriate beliefs and attitudes about responsibility and risk. There are some who do but it’s rare. Everyone else goes through the same cycle I described in the example of the novice trader: We start out carefree, then become scared, and our fears continually diminish our potential.

  15. Very few people who decide to trade ever take the time or expend the effort to think about what it means to be a trader. Most people who go into trading think that being a trader is synonymous with being a good market analyst.

  16. The most effective and functional trading belief that he can acquire is ‘anything can happen’. Aside from the fact that it is the truth, it will act as a solid foundation for building every other belief and attitude that he needs to be a successful trader.

  17. To protect ourselves from painful information at the conscious level, we rationalize, justify, make excuses, willfully gather information that will neutralize the significance of the conflicting information, get angry (to ward off the conflicting information), or just plain lie to ourselves.

  18. When we expect to be right, any information that doesn’t confirm our version of the truth automatically becomes threatening. Any information that has the potential to be threatening also has the potential to be blocked, distorted, or diminished in significance by our pain avoidance mechanisms.

  19. We have to be rigid in our rules and flexible in our expectations. We need to be rigid in our rules so that we gain a sense of self-trust that can, and will always, protect us in an environment that has few, if any, boundaries. We need to be flexible in our expectations so we can perceive, with the greatest degree of clarity and objectivity, what the market is communicating to us from its perspective.

  20. Putting on a winning trade or even a series of winning trades requires absolutely no skill. On the other hand, creating consistent results and being able to keep what we’ve created does require skill. Making money consistently is a by-product of acquiring and mastering certain mental skills. The degree to which you understand this is the degree to which you will stop focusing on the money and focus instead on how you can use your trading as a tool to master these skills.

  21. If you believe that anything can happen and that you don’t need to know what is going to happen next to make money, then you will always be right. Your expectations will always be in harmony with the conditions as they exist from the market’s perspective, effectively neutralizing your potential to experience emotional pain.

  22. Many people make the mistake of assuming that once they understand something, the insight inherent in their new understanding automatically becomes a functional part of their identity. Most of the time understanding a concept is only a first step in the process of integrating that concept at a functional level. This is especially true of concepts that deal with thinking in probabilities. Our minds are not naturally wired to be ‘objective’ or to stay in the ‘now moment’. This means we have to actively train our minds to think from these perspectives.

  23. Remember that the underlying cause of fear is the potential to define and interpret market information as threatening. What is the source of our potential to interpret market information as threatening? Our expectations! When the market generates information that doesn’t conform to what we expect, the up and down tics seem to take on a threatening quality (become negatively charged). Consequently, we experience fear, stress, and anxiety. What is the underlying source of expectations? Our beliefs.

  24. The idea is eventually to learn to become an objective observer of your own thoughts, words, and deeds. Your first line of defense against committing a trading error is to catch yourself thinking about it. Of course, the last line of defense is to catch yourself in the act. If you don’t commit yourself to becoming an observer of these processes, your realizations will always come after the experience, usually when you are in a state of deep regret or frustration.

  25. We have to be careful about what we project out into the future, because nothing else has the potential to create more unhappiness and emotional misery than an unfulfilled expectation.

Commentary on the Top 25 Quotes From Trading in the Zone:

Most unsuccessful traders don’t even realize it, but their mindset is responsible for their disappointing trading results. They like to blame the markets or other outside circumstances, when in reality the source of their trading woes comes from within. It usually takes a long time for traders to come to terms with it, but the consistent, upward-trending equity curve they seek is a direct result of having the proper perspectives. When comparing profitable traders with unprofitable traders, those perspectives vary drastically.

A How to Guide For the Stock Market - Achieving Consistent Profitability

As humans, we inherently have a lot of pain-avoidance mechanisms that kick-in during times of high stress and anxiety. This is just the way we naturally are through no fault of our own, but these pain avoidance mechanisms can be disastrous when we’re interacting within the markets. They can lead us into making all kinds of trading errors because we fear being wrong, losing money, missing out, and leaving money on the table. In order to avoid making these costly trading errors, we need to adjust our mindset to align with actual market characteristics. If your attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives about the market are out of alignment with the realities of the market, then there’s a conflict. Don’t fight the market – be in harmony with it.

2 Main Principles That Need to be Implanted into Every Trader’s Mind:

1. Anything Can Happen, and
2. You Don’t Need to Know What Will Happen in Order to Make Money

These core principles are critical to understand because they lay the foundation for the two essential elements of trading success: 1) the proper mindset and 2) a validated system. The proper mindset puts you in alignment with market characteristics. But even more than that, it provides you with an objective perspective that allows you to better think in probabilities. Since you were once an impulsive and irrational trader, you now have a better understanding of the herd. Most traders never rise above the group mentality, which makes their fear-based actions more predictable. This newfound perspective can certainly help in the discovery, creation, and refinement of a validated system. Since every individual trade is an event with an uncertain outcome, it’s critical to have these two pillars in place for emotional and financial protection. Over a large series of trades, your statistical edge should work itself out in your favor.

trading mentality quote from the disciplined trader by mark douglas

Most people wrongfully believe that being a good market analyst will make them a good trader, but that’s not necessarily true. Some of the worst traders out there are doctors, lawyers, and engineers – who would typically be considered some of the most analytical minds and extremely intelligent people in their respective fields. But without the proper mental structures in place, even the smartest individuals armed with the best analysis can be terrible traders. Sometimes it’s an ego problem: the more analysis they do, the more they think they’re right. And when they think they’re right, they ignore the consequences of being wrong. They’re willing to risk more capital than usual, not have any stops in place, and will endlessly seek information that validates their positions even if trades move against them. When things don’t work out in their favor, they don’t blame themselves – they blame the market or other external forces.

Avoid experiencing costly lessons at the hands of the market. Build the proper foundation first – your mindset – it’s the cheapest way.

Learn More in the Trading Success Framework Course

Written by Matt Thomas (@MattThomasTP)

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Matt Thomas

Founder of, Creator of the Trading Success Framework Course & Trading Paradigm Skool Community, and Intraday Futures Trader Using Auction Market Theory & Profiling (Volume & Market Profile).


  • Rosanna says:

    Awesome quotes you have from Trading In The Zone. I’m am excited to read more about Mark Douglas and Trading in the Zone, Thank you for sharing the best quotes from this book. What is your favorite quote from it?

    • Matt Thomas says:

      Hi Rosanna – great question and a really difficult one to answer! I probably could’ve chosen one of ten different quotes here as my favorite, but I think I’ll go with #8:

      “To operate effectively in the trading environment, we need rules and boundaries to guide our behavior. It is a simple fact of trading that the potential exists to do enormous damage to ourselves – damage that can be way out of proportion to what we may think is possible…To prevent the possibility of exposing ourselves to damage, we need to create an internal structure in the form of specialized mental discipline and a perspective that guides our behavior so that we always act in our own best interest. This structure has to exist within each of us, because unlike society, the market doesn’t provide it”.

      In my opinion, this quote highlights the importance of having an edge, having rules that define that edge (entry/exit criteria, risk/money management rules, etc.), and above all else – the internal framework/mindset that actually allows you to consistently follow the rules that constitute your edge.

      Most market participants simply DO NOT bring these 3 components to the table (mathematical edge, risk/money management, and proper mindset/psychology). Instead, they trade randomly and impulsively based on their emotions – out of fear, greed, frustration, anger, excitement, etc. As a result, most lose money in the long-run. Overall, this quote makes clear the necessity of structure in regard to strategy/system/methodology (rules, criteria, plans, etc.), as well as mindset/psychology (new attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives in regard to risk, loss, uncertainty, etc.

  • Aly says:

    This has been an interesting list of quick tidbits with big lessons on making money in trading. I definitely feel like I have a lot more research to do before I feel comfortable with many of these concepts, but I do feel like this book can probably answer the biggest questions that I’ve got in terms of trading psychology. Seems to have some pretty powerful information.

    • Matt Thomas says:

      Hi Aly – in addition to The Disciplined Trader by Mark Douglas as well, these 2 books are some of the best resources available as far as trading psychology goes. In my opinion, trading psychology is the most important aspect of becoming a consistently profitable trader, and it probably shows in my list of top recommendations – pretty much all of them have strong trading psychology components to them (Thomas Kralow, 2ndSkies, Topstep, etc.). You might have the best trading strategy/system in the world, but it can be quickly compromised by an improper mental framework.

  • Astrostar says:

    I agree that in order to prevent the possibility of exposing ourselves to damage and various form of danger, we need to create an internal structure in the form of specialized mental discipline and a perspective that guides our behavior so that we always act in our own best interest

  • Maria Hardy says:

    Loving the quotes. I for sure enjoy truly each quote about attitude and taking the responsibility. Setting your mind to take responsibility for the decisions you are making creates a sense of stability. I have been a day trader for years. Back in 2004, I dedicated myself completely to it (while I was pregnant) and successfully made money.

    After opening another business with the profits, however, I barely had time to put toward trading. I could not commit to it for years after that and therefore I haven’t been able to gain much. But putting the right mindset and attitude can make a person successful down multiple different paths, especially trading.

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