Thursday, June 4, 2015

Don't Take It Personally

If you really believe in what you're doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.
Laurie Notaro
Experienced traders have a knack for staying detached, new traders however, often have trouble with this mindset. They take trading losses and drawdown's personally. You cannot allow this to hit your ego by attaching personal significance to just an everyday trade. Losses should be expected, they are an integral part of this business, and you cannot take them personally.

It is perfectly natural for a person to feel upset, disappointed when experiencing drawdown. You have lost money and even if you were to return to profitability after a drawdown, from a mathematical standpoint it may take some time to build one's trading capital back up to its original level. There is however, a difference between taking it extremely personal, letting it impact your self-worth, and feeling a little disappointment. That being said, disappointment can be useful. Disappointment can have two consequences; it can cause you to give up and that's unfortunate, or disappointment can spur you to take action. If you lack the skills necessary to perform to your satisfaction, you better work on building those skill sets. Disappointment is a natural emotion, but it is not very adaptive for trading. Trading requires that one do the unnatural. Therein lies the case for being detached and objective. 

What is consistent trading about? Using a trading strategy that is capable of producing a profit, note I said strategy not system. Sometimes it takes ingenuity, sometimes its serendipitous and sometimes it's a matter of learning from others. In the end however much has to do with odds. You expect to make profits over a large number of trades but in the short run even the best winning strategy must have a string of losers. That is just the nature of probability theory! The probability of flipping a head or a tail is 50/50 however that does not mean in the short run you can't flip 10 consecutive heads, it means in the long run you will flip 50% heads and 50% tails.

When I say trading requires that one do the unnatural, I mean that when it comes to trading you've got to unlearn what you've learned your whole life.  It isn't all about you, at any given time it may just be the odds working against you. In most professions you put in effort to make sure you meet the expectations of the people who pay you, and you're a success. Your effort and talent have a direct payoff. With trading however you need to consider that success can sometimes (not always) be a matter of odds. That is extremely difficult for most to accept that to some extent your success or failure may just be due to odds randomly working in your favor.  That takes some of the glory out of it, doesn't it? But on the other hand, it helps you cope with drawdown's. If you are a skilled trader who really has mastered the markets, you can feel assured that, if you are trading at peak performance, the odds will soon move back in your favor, and you will again see consistent profits. Taking a detached, unemotional view may take some of the glory out of trading, but on the other hand, it will help you stay unemotional, take precautions, such as careful risk management, and stay focused on the process of reading the markets, implementing winning trading strategies, and trading consistently.

No comments: