There's nothing you can do

You might be at a stage of feeling very frustrated with yourself.

I know what this feels like – you begin to marvel at your own lack of discipline and ability to do what you know. It’s like “Arrgh! Why can’t I just WAIT for the damn setup?! Why am I such a screw up at this?!”

Speaking from experience, it’s frustrating because you just want to get on. You have plans and goals and now you see that your own idiocy is preventing you from making any progress towards them. All I can say is that there’s nothing you can do about this period except keep going and wait for it to pass… It’s deeply ingrained. You have to trade through it; six months, a year, two years… Grit your teeth and plow on.

In a way, you have to relax into your own ability to seemingly pick every wrong move in the market. Just accept it. Providing you are not losing big money, you CAN relax into it. The good news is you are in fact building up a tolerance to taking losses during this period – you ARE actually developing a skill. It’s called “risk tolerance.”

If you’re still in that “God dammit!” phase then do this: just keep losing and losing, but begin to try to take the losses without any emotional reaction what so ever and move immediately to the next trade.

Once you can do this, you then move on to learning to let go of your need to have success NOW. This combines with learning to do nothing in the market – learning to wait. Why not wait, you’re gonna lose anyway right? So you might as well wait…

Now you’re building up patience. This is a foundation that leads to a little magic further down the track, when you get to the point where you see that you could take any system and trade it properly to discover its true potential. All those millions of methods you tried for 3 days and abandoned in disgust now sit there like a pile of spare parts in the bike shed. You become interested in them again – there could actually be a few decent ideas amongst that lot.

So learn to lose.
Then learn to wait to lose.

You will be building risk tollerance and patience. There are more steps after that, but there is no way to skip this process, it has to be gone through by all.

The Psychology Of Speculation – The Disconcerting Effect Of Sudden Losses And Gains

Henry Howard Harper: ‘The Psychology of Speculation – The Human Element in Stock Market Transactions’

The Disconcerting Effect of Sudden Losses and Gains, page 17 – 19

There are but few things more unbalancing to the mind than the act of suddenly winning or losing large sums of money. A few years ago at Monte Carlo I was in company with a friend, a well known man of affairs who while there played at roulette nearly every day, merely as pastime. He was of mature age, naturally methodical, conservative, temperate and cool-headed. He made it an unalterable rule to limit his losses to $200 at any one sitting, and on losing his amount he always stopped playing. His bets were usually limited to two dollars on the numbers, and never doubled except for one turn of the wheel when his number won. He generally played three numbers at a time; never more than four. For ten consecutive sittings luck was against him and each time he had lost his stake of $200. I saw him get up and leave the room, apparently in a state of disgust. An hour or so later I discovered him at a roulette table in another room stacking his chips in piles on a dozen or more numbers. (more…)

Deception Theory

Deception theory often refers to the eight basic emotions communicated through facial expressions: anger, fear, sadness, joy, disgust, curiosity, surprise, acceptance. Are these emotions manifested in markets? Are they predictive? Do they change? Is the theory of deception useful for studying, understanding and predicting markets?

Why Does Trend Following Work?

  • It is a statistically valid concept to have a “bias” in the otherwise random drift or a series of numbers.
  • It is as simple as Newton’s Law of Physics, a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. A trend is nothing more than a momentum in a series of price movements.’
  • The markets only allow a few people to make money, and the majority of traders, regardless of what they might think, or say, do not know how to do it correctly (trend following). 
  • The markets exhibit maximum perversity. This means that the trends will only come about after most of the people have lost most of their money and have already given up in disgust. Then, when they do come, and nobody believes it anymore, eventually these people have to start chasing the market, and that’s what makes the trend continue.
  • Trade what you Observe – Not what you Believe

    One of the hardest lessons to learn in your quest to become a true trader is to susobservationpend your beliefs and to trade that which you have learned through hours of observation.

    How many times have you stated that company x is overvalued only to watch it go higher? Or undervalued only to watch it continue lower? How many times have you thought that the “market” can’t go any higher and yet it did day after day? Or lower? How many times have you been scratching your head because the “market” is rising on such low volume? When is the last time you were in disbelief because company y has closed higher for 10 days in a row (after shorting it on the third day)? And have you ever acted on a recommendation from Jim Cramer only to watch in disbelief because as soon as you entered it reversed course?

    Bottom line – trading what “you” believe is a recipe for disaster.

    Eventually most folks figure out that the market is so chaotic that they are lost and admit they don’t know how to trade. Many quit in disgust. A few of you press on and begin a journey of real study. (more…)

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