Do I Want to be Right? Or do I Want to be Profitable?

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This is a version of a now infamous quote by my friend Matt Lacoco (who I am calling out in this blog to write another post to his blog. It’s like the ice bucket challenge, just with out the ice, or the bucket, and it involves writing…so it’s not like it at all but whatever.)

The first time he said it I hate to admit it but I just brushed it aside like well I don’t know but I’m pretty sure that if I sat down and thought about it, this question would force me to some conclusions I wasn’t quite ready to face at the time.

So I, in an act of self preservation, ignored it. Sorry Matt.

But we all reach a point in our trading, or writing, or whatever we are doing when we can’t skate around the hard questions anymore. Do I want to be a profitable trader, or do I want to be right?

I know some of you are looking at it like this: “well if your right, won’t you be profitable? That’s a stupid question Shonn…” What does “being right” mean? If it’s simply that your trade worked out the way you thought it would, then yes you will be profitable. But if you don’t approach trading with an I don’t need to be right attitude, you won’t get to that point where your trades work out.

How have I approached trading trying to be right…? Being right means the actions I take need to work all the time. It means that I have something to prove to myself or someone else and being wrong is not an option. Being profitable means I am engrossed in the strategy and the “right” just falls out of that process on it’s own.

I don’t have enough space here and you would hate reading that so I am going to hit the biggest one. Ready?

I NEEDED TO BE RIGHT ABOUT WHAT TRADING WAS

What? Its charts and buttons. That’s it right?

No that’s not what I mean

I needed to be right about what it meant to be a trader. Hitting the charts every day, gun slinging and making trades. Pushing buttons and being in the market. That’s how traders make money right!!?? Being in the market! Wrong. Traders make money when they are out of the market.

This type of trader does not enjoy the game. They don’t want to be bound up and intensely and intricately involved in the strategy behind the game. They just want to trade. They want to play the infinite game where consequence is kicked down the road for the chance and surprise of the potential outcome. I have been this guy. I fight being this guy every damn day.

All I have to compare it to is being a player in a sport and then becoming a coach. I have done that so I get it. All the player is focused on is showing up and doing what they are told. They don’t go home at night and wrap themselves up in the intricacies of what the strategy will be. They still believe that the game is played solely on the field. Action, not planning is their only tool. I don’t blame them, I get it. But you and I know that as that athlete progresses, they will never make it if they don’t play the strategy game long before they get on the field.

Peyton Manning is the perfect example. If we could see a ratio of the time he spends studying his opponent and the game of football itself verses the 3 hours he’s on the field actually playing, I bet it’s 20 or 30 to one. If he tried to suit up every morning and play professional football every day, I have a hunch he would be much less effective as a player.

But we as traders so often only see the game. We only see the three hours and think that’s all it takes to be great. That is being profitable and not approaching the game like he’s right, or ready, or better than the natural laws of practice and repetition. Those three hours, as with a successful trade, don’t happen just because he showed up on game day.

Once a player becomes a coach, the tools they used to know, the actions, are no longer in their hands. All they have now is strategy, and they have to go through a learning process to gain competence on how to use strategy and not just action. They must gain that deep desire for intimacy with the game, and only then can success be born. Its a transformation of sorts and traders, the same as athletes, will need to go through some form of this.

As traders, we are full time, ongoing, minute by minute strategy planners. We need to make quick observations and sound judgement in the heat of battle. We must take action, that is inevitable but we are not unlike Peyton Manning in the sense that he is a player/coach in all respects. He thinks about the game like one of the guys on the sideline and that strategy planning, that love of the game, translates into calm, collected action on the field. Traders must be cool under pressure and be able to see the path forward at all times and this only comes from getting deeply involved in the strategy.

Does your planning play time go 20:1? 10:1 like Manning? Mine doesn’t usually but that’s one of my goals. Plan more, trade less. Strategize more, act less.

I want to be fully engrossed in the love of the game and the full time job that is planning and creating strategy.

And then, when we get done with out full time job, we show up to our part time, hobby kind of gig of actually pushing the buttons and opening the trades.

Happy Trading All

TradingLife:Strategize

Check out my inventory chart of the day at  FX inventory logo

Also, next week my first book on Inventory Trading called, well, “Trading Inventory” will become available for sale. I will send out a link when its ready.

Thank you for reading and following. I always love to hear from everyone so leave a comment or email me at shonn@shonncampbell.com

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One thought on “Do I Want to be Right? Or do I Want to be Profitable?

  1. Yes it’s about time Matt wrote something on his blog. Would be nice to get more info into the trading ideas from the mind of Matt Lacoco, as I am getting from yours. Call him a fanboy, that might stir him to action 🙂
    Look forwards to the book.

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