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I think you would agree that most traders are risk averse. We don't like losses, and we'll do almost anything to avoid taking them. Losses are painful, and there's a strong need to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. It is easier to avoid admitting a loss, and traders tend to come up with many ways of denying they have a loss, such as holding on to a losing trade and hoping it will turn around, or keeping losses on paper to avoid acknowledging them.

But in the end, you will trade more efficiently and profitably if you can take losses as quickly as possible, move on, and make a new trade. For example, in his book "The Disciplined Trader," Mark Douglas suggests that you close out losing trades immediately, the instant you perceive that a trade is a loser. The best way to do this is to have a clearly defined trading plan in which you predefine where you will enter and exit a trade. Once you have a clearly defined plan, you can execute the trade without hesitation. There is nothing to consider, weigh, or judge, and consequently nothing to tempt you to hesitate and be consumed with self-doubt. You'll be able to focus on monitoring the trade, and if you can follow your plan, you will be able to trade effortlessly.

The best way to take a loss is to anticipate it. Don't be caught off guard. If you go into a trade expecting that it may be a loser, you won't be as bothered should the trade go against your expectations. If, on the other hand, you try to avoid considering the possibility, you'll become extremely frustrated when you are in the midst of a losing trade. It is much more useful to accept the fact that losses are the norm rather than the exception.

It is important to define your potential losses before you enter any trade. Define your possible loss, or risk, in comparison with your possible reward, or profit. And make sure you don't take losing personally. Traders who put their self-esteem on the line with their money are especially vulnerable to strong, unpleasant emotions when they lose. But if you take a more carefree approach, and think, "It is not personal; it isn't a big deal in the end," then you will be able to accept a loss and take quick, decisive action.

Taking a loss is a fact of trading. If you trade to make profits, you may, depending on your trading style, face many more losing trades than winners. But just because you lose more times than you win, doesn't mean that you won't trade profitably in the long run. The fact that you lose trades is not an issue. The issue is how you cope with losses. If you view them as nothing more than a minor setback, you'll get back up and trade again in order to come out of it. But if you are stunned and disappointed, you'll actually give the losing trade more significance than is necessary, and you could end up losing money over the long haul.

Practice taking losses. You'll end up trading more profitably over all.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

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