Trading Educators Blog
More About Losses
How should you feel about losses? I once read somewhere that you are supposed to love losses. Does that make sense to you? It doesn't to me.
The worst aspect of losing is that it tends to create pessimism. Traders should feel bad when they lose money only if they fought the market trend, or violated their own trading strategies. The best traders have a healthy "so what, big deal!" attitude that maintains a sense of humor about losses. There is no reason to feel bad about losses if the trading discipline was correctly used. On the other hand, there is no reason to learn to love them either.
Analyze losses, learn from them, and then let them go; move on, that's the best thing to do.
Understanding man's relationship to time is one of life's most important challenges. When man becomes free of time's constraints, he lives life to the fullest and achieves goals on his own terms. Pessimism traps traders in the past, destroys their present, and robs them of the future. Imagine a world without time where the thought of death is not a finality of existence. If money were not the reason for your work-related behavior, then who are you? Where are you and what are you doing? Who shares this existence with you? In the philosophical sense, man creates himself and his existence when he takes responsibility for his actions and his time. Think how any individuals create order, structure, and discipline in their lives. How will you allow a trading loss today affect your life five years from today?
Thinking the wrong way can become self-fulfilling. The trouble with self-fulfillment is that many people have a self-destructive streak. Accident-prone drivers keep destroying their cars, and self-destructive traders keep destroying their accounts. Markets offer unlimited opportunities for self-sabotage, as well as for self-fulfillment. Acting out your internal conflicts in the marketplace is a very expensive proposition.
Traders who are not at peace with themselves often try to fulfill their contradictory wishes in the market. If you do not know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere you never wanted to be.
Every business has losses. I cannot think of any that don't. Shoplifting, embezzlement, internal pilferage, lawsuits, bad debts, spoilage, etc., I'm sure you can think of even more. You name it and businesses have one or more of the many ways to experience losses. Most businesses expect and accept such losses as part of doing business. Why, then, is it such a big deal when you have a loss in trading? If you know the answer to that, please let me know.
The way I handle a loss is this: I examine it, make every attempt to learn from it, and ascertain whether I had the loss by straying from my trading plan. If I have strayed, I reinforce my resolve to stick with my plan. If I have not strayed, then I learn from it what I can, and shrug it off as a cost of business. It is not an expense, it is a cost, and if you don't know the difference you need to take a course or read a book on the basics of accounting.