“If you aren’t first you’re last.” We’ve all heard this false saying, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, given the right perspective, losing can be winning, as you learn more about yourself through the process. Nevertheless, we’ve all lost. In fact, I would probably argue that we’ve all had losing streaks during our time as market participants. It is almost a given that we go through periods of growth and then periods of lack-of-growth. Growing, is painful.
Perhaps I am being cliche, it is an apt to use these saying within this context. On occasion, refection is dire to the health of our mental bodies. To relate down to a personal level, I have been on a losing streak as of lately. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the exact reason as I feel as if I am still doing what I have always done, which makes it more difficult. Therefore, I wanted to share of my personal, rambling, thoughts on the subject. I don’t believe I have anything to hide in terms of my trading, I am here to learn and grow and sometimes that requires being uncomfortable.
I have traded a few times this year. Almost all of them losers, I don’t trade too actively (maybe once every 10 days), so there has not been many overall trades. However, within these few trades I have managed to lose a sum of money – not a ton – still very much ‘in business’ – but enough for me to question my practices some. Often times, I think that traders can get into a losing streak because they lose once, then don’t trade for a while and then feel the urge to get back into it, consequently forcing a trade and losing more money in the process. Now, of course this is not what all traders would admit to, people are really good at coming up with coherent excuses for their mishaps, but in all reality, we are all broken, fumbling around trying to be the best we can be. Look no further than a pick up game of basketball to see this flaw in play. Imagine a couple guys playing some ball and they began to lose, by a lot. Some of the guys get upset and in a way, stop trying to play. Eventually, the game ends and the score is too embarrassing to speak about. Naturally, most people will try to downplay the significance of this loss by making statements like “they got to warm up”, “we didn’t have the right ball”, or my favorite, “Come on ___ (name of someone), you have to make your shots”. All of these are represent the psychological term “self serving bias”, which is defined as “The self–serving bias is people’s tendency to attribute positive events to their own character but attribute negative events to external factors.” We all have this and when it comes time to self-reflection, implementing this self-serving bias can be detrimental to one’s growth as a person as they reflect and see ‘nothing’ wrong.
At this point, you are more than likely realizing this is truly a rant. Well, I would have to concur, but is the best way I find to get my thoughts out of my brain. It’s like they’re all bouncing around in the walls of my head but until I speak or write them down, I don’t exactly know the significance of them. Anyways, back to the stocks: the point is, we all have losing streaks, like me, right now. We all need to reflect, but we all MUST be careful for when we do, we do not enact the natural tendency to view oneself as innocent to mistakes. We all make mistakes, let’s all admit this and move on and work towards learning more about them, why we make the mistakes we do, not the ‘what’ of the mistake. Think about it, wouldn’t you much rather know why you did something versus what you did? This is the power of self-reflection, it tells you why you did something. If you know what it is, but know why it is, it is close to meaningless.
In conclusion, before this rant gets to be over 1,000 words (that would a ton of writing within about 2o minutes of sitting). I think the reason I have been losing is this: While I have confidence in my strategy, I have inflated myself to a level that is unequivocal to the literal level I am currently at in terms of my process’ ability to produce winning trades. Sitting here at college, getting told all the time you are are going to be super-rich someday is not healthy for my psyche. It is important for me at this point to cool it off, focus on the best-of-the-best and realize this the stock market, and that’s it. It pales in the comparison to salience of the broad scope of my life on this planet earth.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Happy you all are here to journey through the highs and the lows.