Let’s get this out of the way first… It’s never money.
More on that later but I wanted that to be clear first. There is never a monetary loss you can’t recover from.
This one is personal, spiritual maybe. This one is saved for those that end up quitting the game and I would venture to say that every single wash out of trading had this happen and it was the final straw. Lots and lots of people make money for a while in the markets. Only a few will ever get over the obstacle I am about to talk about. It’s a beast. An outright killer.
Only the grizzled veteran can truly say they have looked this one in the eyes and survived. Like the Jeremiah Johnson type from the old movie. Lone mountain men of the past that could take on a grizzly bear with a pocket knife and win. They had no choice. It was win or die. They had to face fear and pain and continue on. There was literally no choice.
We don’t have much of that in the world any more. We don’t have many opportunities to take on our enemies single handed. We have insurance and nannies and and bail outs and all kinds of transferred risk. And this keeps us most days from confronting our deepest fear: that we don’t have what it takes.
So what am I talking about?
Loss of confidence in ourselves and our abilities. If we ever stop thinking “I’m really AWESOME at this…” that’s the beginning of the end. Simply, we must have confidence no matter what happens. EVER.
I have had to fight this for over 2 months now. It snuck up on me out of now where. I was cruising along at about 1% a day and just doing my thing. No hesitation. No thoughts to what happens if… Just doing what I do. Then one day it happened.
I took a normal loss and all of a sudden it was like I had made the biggest mistake of my trading career and everything I had done was out the window. I was now trading the most risky strategy ever created. I was juggling hand grenades and land mines while my feet where on fire.
I hate to say it, but I will. I got scared.
And instead of fighting it head on in that moment and saying “no, you got this. Keep going through tomorrow.” I went the opposite way.
I tried to reach perfection.
OMG! What a stupid thing to do as a trader.
I can rationally look at the markets and say “I will never be perfect” but I sure tried… again. Yes again. Every year or two I go through this period where I dig and dig and trudge and try and fight and lose to get a system without risk. A system that will keep me safe all the time in the markets. Screw stop losses, I can be the best. I can “figure it out”. Figure it out… famous last words raising like a fog from the bones along the road of traders past that attempted this feat and failed miserably.
When I am at my best, I am a discretionary trader that works of instincts that are framed by a few chart tools. Put another way, I have a few lenses with which I look at the market and then I make a bunch of trading decisions based on those lenses. I am paint pictures and never search for perfection, only profitability. I have latitude and flexibility. I am not perfect.
But when I get off on this tangent. When I stop trusting myself and I spend hours and days and weeks and months trying to perfect something that was never made to be perfect, I lose it. I lose what makes me great at trading. I try to protect myself. I stop believing that I can handle the situation and then it turns into my indicators are better at trading than I am so I need to build a robust and complicated system and even, dear God, build a bot so it can take all my risk. The guy who has spent eight years of my life looking at charts, understanding price, and working this game. I **#@# know this game and I end up down this mental road that is tough to find my way back from.
And if I go back to my experiment posts, I see the same things. False precision I used to call it. Trying to be precise at something that never can be. It’s a lie. I can’t control it. I can’t be smarter than the market.
Like I said earlier. The loss that debilitates every trader that has ever stopped short of their goals isn’t money, it’s belief. It’s self confidence. If you can withstand this storm and come back from it, I don’t think there will ever be a trade that will get the better of you ever again. Loss, win, tie, who gives a ****. I can take on this market and win again tomorrow no matter what happens. I have what it takes.
And yesterday after holding on for seriously too long. I am coming back to life. I feel like I want to take risks again. I want to get back in the game. I don’t need a rock solid plan to never get in trouble again. I just need to be cool and do what I know how to do. The rest will take care of itself.
So why am I sharing all this. Will you think I’m stupid and emotional, maybe. But that’s ok because I know some of you out there go through the same things and hopefully it will help.
You will never “figure it out” so stop trying. Love the game. Take the risk. Always… freaking always believe you have what it takes to beat the market. It’s the greatest game on earth.
I’m ready to go on an epic run… See you on the other side.
Thanks for reading