I have to start by declaring my genius. This is no place for false modesty. I am the bee’s knees. The caterpillar’s spats. I was long 30 year Bonds last Wednesday before the Fed spoke, from 124/13, and exited the second half of my trade at 131/16.5, lower than I intended, because my charts locked up after the Fed belched the latest piece of news on to the world’s financial stage provoking a reaction like a teenager overdosing on speed and Viagra. And I got pretty much the whole monstrous day’s range.
Of course, you, my dear readers, want to know my secret. Well, it all started with a weekly chart, that looked promising above 127/11, and somehow didn’t seem to want to make new lows to me. But we were far from that level last Wednesday morning. The 60 minute chart was bobbing about doing nothing, but that prickly feeling in my upper arms told me, along with something close to my normal setup, that a break upwards was worth holding for the longer term. A cheeky little bar popped up and teased me into action, along with the tickling up the back of my neck and the slight increase in heart rate as I leant towards my screens, sat straighter, visualising the blood of those on the other side of my trade dripping from my trading knife, and I was in, expecting to hold for a week or so. I was prepared to stalk the kill for a while, but it was quite a surprise to be gutting the great beast in front of the fire a couple of hours later.
More than a surprise: my euphoria was overwhelming: I immediately celebrated by looking at what my other markets were doing. The pain a glance at Euro futures inflicted on me was at least as great as the pleasure of the Bond trade: I should have been long from 1.2653; as I write, that trade is just over at 1.3514, over $10k per contract. I was in the trade at the start, and with the help of a migraine and a sleepless night, I over-managed it and stopped myself out for a nice little loss right at the beginning and quite senselessly ? fear, and a feeling of vulnerability and inadequacy brought on by my headache, made me quite incapable of staring at the possibility of a modest loss: I took a certain, smaller loss and a huge lost opportunity instead. About the same time I should have been long ES and missed it for the same reason.
So how was I to celebrate? The Euro upset me so much I took a quick impulse long at the high of the day that cost me a few points. At last I had the sense to turn everything off, and share the tale of my extraordinary deeds with my wife. Used to bringing back rabbits and the odd antelope to the family cave, I had dragged a full size woolly mammoth home to feed the family. I encouraged her to spend as much as she could on clothes the next day while I stayed off the charts, drank beer and generally basked in my astonishing prowess. And yet, the Euro still gnawed away at me?
Denise has written persuasively about the fear of missing out being the worst fear of all. Having missed out in a big way last week due to physical feebleness and incompetence, at the same time as getting rewarded massively for a mixture of intuition, timing and an awful lot of luck, I am struck by the longevity of the pain of the former set against the ephemeral nature of the pleasure afforded by the latter. Coming up for a week later every glance at a daily Euro chart is torture: I need at least five minutes with a punch bag to overcome the urge to revenge trade again whenever I look at it. The glow from the Bonds is fading, but I am still mourning my lost Euro trade.
The fact is, every day there is a new opportunity to experience fear, disappointment and elation. How to deal with it all? From one day to the next I’m still not really sure, but I know that sooner or later, if I acknowledge my own weakness and frailties, keep sharpening my spears, and ensure that when I enter battle I am prepared mentally and physically for anything, most of all my own limitations, that prickly feeling will come again, the blood of my adversaries will flow once more, and another great beast will meet its end at my hands.