Sooner or later, it is bound to happen. The markets conspire to converge in a way that fits your optimal trading strategy. You see it, you know it and then at the same moment, the phone rings, or the boss yells or the ….. Something happens that interrupts your ability to execute as you planned and you miss the trade. In those moments, it seems that you are cursed. It seems that all of the time, energy, effort and money spent learning to read the markets is for naught. The whole endeavor is doomed.
And what do you want to do?
Dollars to donuts, the urge is to take another trade. The feeling of needing to do something… anything… is totally consuming. Chances are you have already done something before you even realized how consumed by the energy you are/were.
It so happens that a version of this is happening to me the author right at this very moment. For months, the CME Group and Trader Psyches have been working on an event in New York wherein I am the featured speaker talking about how the brain perceives uncertainty and unknowable probabilities. I have been working on reading all the latest research to put a really stellar, worthwhile talk together… and just now I get an invite from a woman who told me she would promote it, who is holding a competing event! Besides flabbergasted, I am infuriated.
And the ONE thing I know NOT to do is trade or even look at the markets!!!
See the markets are very deceiving because we can always act. We can reduce our annoyance, frustration or anger by substituting the feeling that we are doing something. And yes we are, we are taking a risk that will either make money or not. Most likely, if the trade is perceived and conceived within the feeling of wanting to reduce the frustration (DO SOMETHING god damn it!), the odds of the perception being accurate are just about zero.
What does this get us? For a moment we feel better. We took control of our situation and made something happen. Then the price starts to move. It may even tick in our direction for a minute. If we are lucky.
The next feeling is “Oh S***”, the D*** trade isn’t working!” At which point, we either stop ourselves out and feel doubly worse than we did at the beginning of the blog post (only to watch it turn back) OR we insist we have power and take the stop out altogether. “It will come back we tell ourselves.”
The hardest part about this whole scenario is it is SO natural to want to take action when we are frustrated. It is particularly natural to want to take action in the arena that frustrated us. In the markets, that never works. But knowing that intellectually won’t help you. Otherwise, Trader Psyches would never exist because everyone knows this intellectually.
Doing it is hard because it is about allowing yourself the feeling but also the capacity to think about the feeling in order to find the best course of action.
Anger always has an instructive message buried deep within. We have unfortunately been brain-washed to believe otherwise because we have confused feeling with acting. Maybe it is telling you, you need a trading bubble where people can’t get to you. Maybe it is telling you to find another way to focus.
In the meantime, punch a bag, pillow, chair, even your desk. Pound on the wall. Write a comment on this blog. Just DO NOT take a trade – at least until you know what the real lesson is.
Finding that lesson hidden within the fury is the action you need to take!