Getting over a hangover

Have you ever been through a bad patch in your trading? Of course you have. If you trade, you must surely be used to considerable periods of frustration, anxiety, times when every trade you take seems doomed, and every trade you are too afraid to execute is a winner.

Well, for the last few weeks, I’ve been busy with other things, my mind has not been on the job of trading, and I found that I had grown fearful, clumsy, sloppy, and slow to act. I failed to take trades, or failed to execute properly, and was worn out by the effort of managing them. I needed a break. When trading is not a pleasure, when it starts to feel like work to me, I know this as a sure and fatal sign of a real and present danger. I looked at charts but saw and felt nothing. Euro’s curves and Swiss Franc’s cheeky smile left me cold. We used to dance to the same tune, I knew their every move, we read each other and throbbed with one passion, but now they woke before me and had left before I had finished breakfast: I didn’t even miss them. And as for the American twins, YM and ES, they seemed to have gone off backpacking somewhere in the north without consulting me at all, while I was sure we’d agreed they’d meet me much further south to gaze at the blood-red dawn.…

So I stopped looking at the charts. I found their siren song no longer tempted me. I heard numbers on the news, but only the faintest frisson of desire passed through my body. Would my passion return? Was I just worn out by the excesses of the spring, or did I need some kind of Viagra for traders, and if so, what was it? For weeks I stayed away, scarcely caring what the answer was.

Rest is a wonderful thing. I felt that quickening of the pulse that heralds the pleasure of the chase return this week, and turned the charts back on. On Monday, I missed a long Corn trade: still a little afraid, but at least I was interested. On Tuesday, I didn’t see anything that grabbed my attention. Today, I had a brief break-even tussle with the Euro, which I think refreshed us both and brought colour to her pretty cheeks as she rushed off again while I was having lunch. Then the ES, who has been a stubborn little thing for some time now, finally rolled over into my arms where she belongs. I caught her at 1091.50, and just don’t ever want to let her go. At least, not tonight…

So Denise, as ever, is right. Take a break. The biggest part of trading is not trading, staying away from the markets when your psychological capital is low, when you are incapable of seeing who is giving you a real green light and who is just teasing. Of course there was lots of fun to be had when I was out of the market, but had I been there, it would have been like going to a party with a stinking hangover and expecting to have fun. Go home! Have an aspirin and get some sleep. There’s always another party…