Now, before you dismiss this article because the title makes you think, "Here we go again, another 'happy-clappy' you can change the world type PMA trading piece," please understand that this is not the case.

Maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude in regards to your positive expectation is known as PMA
Maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude in regards to your positive expectation is known as PMA

We sometimes forget that we are (at heart) entrepreneurs as individual traders, especially when we are disappointed. We have our own perfectly formed microbusiness possibility and can run it with only a modest amount of capital, an iPad or netbook, and a wireless connection, which is a great plus. However, there is a drawback: no other business can 'hurt' like trading, and it is during these low introspective moments of reflection that we should rationalise our emotions and re-set our trading mind. Hmm, that last piece sounded a little too much like the psycho babble we're trying to avoid, so let's correct it by paraphrasing my eighteen-year-old Daughter: "you need to get your 'nut' back in the game."

Being positive is an attitude that must be learnt, not a sensation. It's a state of mind that must be self-induced; in this game, you must teach yourself positivity. If you don't already have a winning mindset, you should start establishing one as soon as possible; it's just as important to your future trading success as your strategy and money management. "You're ready, you've got what they want and need, now get into character and take the opportunity before someone else does," I tell my older kids when they're pursuing opportunities.It takes years to achieve a black belt in a martial art, and many martial artists claim that it wasn't until they gained black belt status that they truly began to learn.

Now I'm a hopeful realist who sees the glass as 51 percent full. I've met permanently gleaming 'happy' folks who appear to be formed of the gleaming crystals they claim are responsible for their joy. Being in their company can be as emotionally draining as being in a room of football fans at a bar after their side has been relegated, so when I hear the normal incompetent neuro linguistic programming talk, my scepticism radar vibrates rapidly. Especially if it's done by amateurs who are just as likely to make a complete mess of your mind as they are to leave you floating in the clouds doing some 'blue sky thinking.'But I have to admit, I'm fond to certain phrases and trader'mind aids,' especially if they quickly connect and stay lodged in my grey matter, keeping them at the forefront of my trading mind. "What's the worst that can happen?" is a question I urge myself to remember at the outset of every trading day.

The worst-case scenario is that I lose 5% of my trading account today. My trading plan contains a built-in default 'time out' risk. If I go over that limit, I'll just stop trading for the day. Given that I'm a swing and position trader who doesn't risk more than 2% of my account every trade, I'd have to lose 5% on average by having three bad trades in a row and withdrawing the third before it hits the hard stop. Knowing that's my bottom, I can start the trading day with confidence.So the worst that can happen is that I lose money; but, I will survive; my business will not go bankrupt; there will be no external outlier event that will cause my business to fail; therefore, I can trade with confidence knowing that I will still be in the game.

You have the option of allowing external influences to govern you, which usually results in a negative attitude, or you can choose to achieve and maintain a positive outlook. Another important lesson I learned early in my trading career is to turn negative trading experiences into positive trading experiences by turning them into learning experiences. In every terrible situation, there is always something important to be uncovered. Look seek and attract attention to the positive aspects of life. After making a mistake, instead of berating yourself, learn from it and move on. What did you discover about yourself and your trading, what new abilities did you acquire, even micro'coping skills'?

How can we stay upbeat when we've lost a trade? After you've asked yourself, "generally, did I plan the transaction and trade plan?" try ticking this mental check list.

Is my transaction based on my alert or on a predetermined goal and conditions?
Did I keep track of what was going on in the news?
Is it true that I made a decision to come to a halt?
Is it true that I set my stop taking into account large round numbers, resistance, support, and significant moving averages?
Is it true that I exited and monitored the transaction at the crucial intervals outlined in my plan?

You might include additional items on your own checklist, but I'm sure you get the idea. There is a significant positive to be gained from your losing experience if you followed your plan. You should be proud of yourself for being so disciplined. There are lessons to be learnt from losing trades, and while these lessons might be costly in our game, every trading problem is an opportunity disguised as a learning opportunity. Accept that you will make mistakes and move on, knowing that you will make a different option next time. The habit of keeping positive in all situations, like any other habit, involves effort and a commitment to yourself to take charge. But begin small, by paying attention to your feelings and a desire to improve.

Practice picturing oneself in a positive and confident light when things go wrong. Self-affirmations (a list of positive comments about yourself and your self image) are a simple yet effective way to train your subconscious mind to see yourself positively. This is significant because many of us are socially conditioned to be harsh on ourselves; we are purportedly all expected to strive and conform. Hard physical labour and compliance are not major traits of the 'work smart' successful trader who has chosen to work outside of the 'nine to five,' therefore resist societal conditioning and embrace your decision to go against the grain.

When faced with adversity, an individual's ability to remain positive is put to the ultimate test. Negativity is contagious; it affects not only the individual, but also anyone with whom they engage. Being positive, or eliminating negativity, is an attitude that can be found at any time and developed into a habit. The circumstance you find yourself in does not change whether you are positive or negative, so we might as well be optimistic.