What did you learn today? What did you experience? Did you make it through the day relatively unscathed? That's worth something. Maybe you learned that you could stand aside when you wanted to and get out of harm's way. It is something worth learning. Maybe you jumped into the markets too soon, and felt a little bit of regret from losses. Were the losses justified? Did you follow your plan, but the plan didn't work. If you lost because of a faulty plan, it's still valuable knowing that you could follow a plan. Losses due to impulsive decisions are another matter, however. If you traded impulsively, perhaps you learned how you might prevent impulsive decisions in the future. No matter what happened, though, you learned a valuable lesson.
In the modern, competitive world, we are obsessed with winning races. We want to make more profits than the next trader, and when we fail to make profits, we feel beaten. But the only benchmark that should matter is your own. So what if you don't make profits every single day? Maybe you do not yet have the skills or financial resources to make a profit every day. Even if you consider the metaphor of winning a race with other traders, would you try to run a marathon without the proper amount of practice? Would you feel disappointed if you couldn't reach an athletic goal that you knew would take more training than you had? You definitely would not, so why make such high and lofty trading goals? Give yourself a break. Sometimes it is wise to just do your best and accept what you've achieved. When you set high goals that exceed your skills, you will usually feel discouraged, and that may make you feel like giving up. Rather than kicking yourself for not performing up to par, consider the fact that you have learned a valuable lesson today and every day, win or lose. You may not have achieved a high performance goal, but you have achieved a learning goal. In other words, you have moved one step closer to fully mastering the markets. Every little experience counts. So rather than beat yourself up for failing to reach your standards, pat yourself on the back for making it through another trading day. Remind yourself that you are a winner. Don't set overly high performance goals that you can't achieve. Focus on skill building, rather than on making huge profits. When you focus on skill building, you will feel better, and you will keep trying. And in the end you will make the huge profits you desire.
The above is a reprint from the defunct “Innerworth Newsletter” written in 2006. Enjoy and save for yourself.