Why Intraday Day trading is So Difficult (and Psychological solutions to make it a bit easier)

Who said day trading is hard?

In fact, it’s a shortcut for earning tons of money. 

Just open an account. Deposit the funds. Then start taking as many trades as you can. 

Or if you have a loss in any of the trades, then no issues; you can hold it to the next day. After all, that’s what most day traders do. 

But do you know if you’ll day trade like, then what will happen next?

Either you will blow off your trading account or start blaming the intraday trading because that’s what most traders do. 

But deep inside our hearts, you and I both know that problem is not in the form of trading. Instead, the problem is in our perspective on it.

I, too, had the same attitude for day trading for many years. But with time and after burning hands, it got changed. And from those years of experience today, we’ll discuss the three main reasons to understand why day trading is harder for most traders.

  1. Reasonable Expectations SAVE you from Mental frustration.
  2. Knowing your WHYs fuels up the Discipline.
  3. Decision-Making Skills are the Backbone of Success.
Day Trading Is Hard because of unrealistic expectations

Reasonable Expectations SAVE you from Mental frustration: Every trader starts day trading with the expectation to make lots of quick money. 

And that expectation of lots of quick money is the first and the primary cause that makes the day trading harder. 

Most day traders think that they can easily convert 50k into 1 lac. And that’s where 99% of day traders lost the battle. Of course, making 1 lac from 10k is not impossible. But by holding such high expectations, you put pressure on yourself. And that can destroy your mindset

Suppose you started day trading with the belief of making 1 lac from 50k, and if, by chance, you made only 20k from 50k, then will that be a bad gain, or will the value of 20k profit decrease?

One of the most damaging effects of such high expectations is that you start taking highly risky trades. Or you start looking at the trades where there is no opportunity for the trade. And in that carelessness, if your 2 or 3 trades go against you, then your confidence and mindset will fall like cards & you’ll start blaming the day trading. 

So, always maintain fair expectations to succeed in a day or in any form of trading.

Suppose, if your capital is 1 lac, then set fair expectations from that, rather than turning that 1 lac into 2 or 3 lac. 

Make the target in percentages. From a 1 lac or any size account, a fair expectation of 3-4% per month is reasonable. It’s anytime better than fixed deposits. 

Last important piece of advice. In the starting, aim for something smaller. Then, as time passes, you’ll learn with your experiences and gradually scale upward.

Day Trading Is Hard because lack of discipline

Knowing your WHYs fuels up the Discipline: Success in any area of life depends on discipline. And that discipline comes from knowing our WHYs. 

Before starting, most traders never ask themself why they want to start from day trading.

When we don’t know WHY we want to do or achieve a particular task, then the chances are high that we’ll fail to accomplish that work. 

And that’s where understanding our WHYs comes into play. 

The understanding of our WHYs behind doing a particular task keeps us disciplined and motivated. Think of discipline as a bridge. That helps us to achieve a specific task. 

For example, I exercise and meditate daily without fail. I do that because that helps me achieve results in my trading and research. So, here exercise and meditation are like a bridge that I use to achieve a mark in my work.

So, if you want to become a day trader, then you must know your WHYs. And when you successfully understand your WHYs, you will automatically become disciplined.

Decision-Making SKILLS are the Backbone of Success: Day trading doesn’t mean you keep taking or looking for the trades until the market is open.

Most day traders believe, and in fact, they do that. They keep taking the trades until the market is open. They rush behind every move, and in that, they often make a loss

There is no need to keep looking or taking the trades until the market is open. One or two daily trades can bring you good money. And to find that one or two good trades, you must have sound decision-making skills. 

Decision-making in itself is a broad subject. And the whole can’t get covered in this post. But still, I’ll try to explain the most I can. 

Below are the two major villains of the decision-making.

  1. Narrow framing. 
  2. Confirmation bias.

Narrow framing means avoiding or seeing only one side standing. It’s like a trap that paralyzes our minds.

A simple example of narrow framing is that most traders believe they can only make money by trading the Index options. Keeping their attention focused only on one choice is narrow framing. 

The best way to escape this situation is to explore other choices before making the final decisions. For example, in the case of Index options, one can start trading in volatile cash stocks.  

Confirmation bias is a situation where we force our minds to see what we want to see at that moment in time. 

Like many times we force our eyes & minds to see a specific pattern. We do that because, at that moment, we believe that pattern is present on the chart. And on that base, we decide to take the trade. 

But in reality, that pattern is not there on the chart. So we believe that pattern is there. And in such circumstances, our eyes and minds only look for the details related to that pattern. And finally, later, we realize that it was a wrong decision. 

The best way to overcome confirmation bias is to make and follow strict risk and money management rules. 

Summary: What’s the one thing you can do today? 

Maximum of the day traders lose basis just because of the wrong expectations. Set clear and fair expectations. 

Discipline is the key. And you can use that key only when you clearly understand your WHYs behind doing that work. Without that, you won’t remain disciplined for long, and soon you’ll get lost in the chaos. So, make sure to understand your WHYs behind starting as a day trader.

Last but NOT least. Decision-making is one of the most underrated skills in the business of trading & investing. But that skill is a must. Without that, you can’t succeed. 

About the author

Divesh Jotwani is a full-time trader in the Indian stock market. He has spent over 20+ years researching and discovering WD Gann's methods and applying them day-in and-out markets.