Analysis paralysis. We’ll all heard of it. Have we all experienced it? I know I have.
My personal tendency in all aspects of life is to be very analytic. That has some nice advantages, but it also as some nasty drawbacks at times as well. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I think too much, and while it wasÂ not normally meant to be a deragatory thing, it is indicative. I do think alot, and probably would be considered by many an intellectual – for better or worse.
The “worse” part is something I became aware of many years ago, early in my professional career as an analyst. My job required me to product commentary quite frequently. It was actually too frequently in many respects because I found that by being forced to revisit the price action I wasn’t able to allow the market moves I had previously outlined to properly develop. I was instead coming up with new analysis at each point, often to the detriment of producing quality trading ideas.
This is something which has from time to time carried over into my trading as well. There have been spells where I have allowed myself to get sucked way into the fine details of things. Sometimes I catch myself before much damage is done, but often it ends up becoming a hindsight sort of thing. Basically, the more I think about trading, the less well I tend to do, which is definitely part of why I’ve tended to perform better taking longer-term positions where the decision-making is more spread out and less at risk of turning into over-thinking.
The funny aspect to this whole situation is a bit of a paradox. I find that my gut generally gives me the right read, butÂ if I consciouslyÂ check my gut it nullifies things. In other words, I can’t think about what my gut is telling me. I just have to accept it’s influence whenÂ it chooses to speak up.
And by the way, the gut thing is something I definitely believe to be reflective of experience. It’s not something people are just born with. It’s a question of having seen the patterns of how the markets move many, many times such that your waking mind doesn’t even have to register them at all. This tends to go along the lines with what Brett Steenbarger has been writing about in his blog of late – how expertise comes from frequency of repetition, not time.
My point in sharing these things is to encourage you to look at your own work in the market to see whether you might be over-thinking things to your detriment at times. I’d love to have you share your own experiences through a comment.