Reverse insights – Emotions hanging on every tick

When I am away from trading, I enjoy looking for insights that may carry over to the field of speculation. These can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Recently, however, I’ve had a few thoughts that run the other way, from market experience to other venues in life:

I currently have a small short position on the FTSE. I chose an entry point, and a stop loss. As the position moves against me, my mind thinks of negative thoughts associated with losing. Nobody like losing. When the position moves in my favour, my emotions also swing toward the positive.

But the more I think about the trade, the more I realise that letting my emotions hang on every tick is meaningless in the grander scheme of things. Indeed, whether the trade closes in a profit or a loss is also of little value. I have no control over the market. What matters is the decision process and whether I tried my best given the situation. It is from here that I find my assurance and sense of self, losing trades and their effect on my mentality be damned.

Likewise, when it comes to performing in other venues in life, much is within our control and much isn’t. In sports for example, we often have limited influence over our competition. What we do have control over, however, is ourselves. I believe it is important to draw the distinction. I know it is a simple thought, but it does ask questions of the meaning of a score-line, and it also raises the possibility for one to recognise that some of the best performances in a man’s life may be associated with a negative end result. What is the better achievement in a man’s life, winning a competition with a lucky draw that pits you against a series of weak opponents and never forces you to bring out your best game, or getting a tough draw, playing your absolute best, against the very best opponents out there, and losing? Give me the latter.

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