Survival Basics – Building a Baseline

Who are you?

Do you really know that?

What’s your core reaction to stuff, let’s say market stuff?

How do you react to a crisis? Do you freak out? How much do you plan to avoid a crisis? How do you feel after hitting a home run? Do you get over-confident and start doing irresponsible things?

What happens to you when the scenario is dull? Do you get depressed? Can you take it?

If you’ve dealt with these and more of such questions, well, bully for you, because you’ve already gone about building your market baseline. And that’s a really proper / solid approach to Mrs. Market.

A baseline is a basic point of reference. It tells you how you normally react to a particular situation. It also lists the emotions you went through, and the consequences you had to suffer owing to your actions. As experience piles up, the number of situations you can refer for also increases.

So, let’s say something unusual happens in the markets. Hmmm, let’s say Greece officially goes bankrupt, and let’s say that you are net-net long, and have been caught unawares. What do you do with your positions? With all the mayhem around you, right, what do you do?

Basics of survival in the markets – in a crisis, refer to your baseline.

Your baseline takes you back to the Lehman default. You remember being net-net long, being caught unawares. You remember ignoring your stops, waiting for a rally. Futures wiped out your principal, didn’t they, because you answered margin calls and waited? You remember the long period of depression after that. Worth it? Naehhh.

So, after referring to your baseline, you don’t ignore your stops. Taking the immediate loss, you bail out of your positions. A large portion of your principal is still intact, living to fight another day.

What about euphoria? How do you deal with euphoria? A position turns into a winner, and you are sitting on a 25% profit in a few days. You are feeling really kicked, and are walking with a swagger. What do you do next?

Basics of prosperity in the markets – at the onset of euphoria, refer to your baseline.

Your baseline tells you, that your behaviour during your last big-winning trade was far from exemplary. In your euphoric state of mind, you were already imagining all the things you would buy with your notional profits. Then, you panicked at the thought of losing any of those notional profits, and you squared-off the trade, taking those profits home, only to see the scrip soar another 80%.

Right! You snap out of your euphoria because of your baseline memory. Then, you install a trigger-stop 8% below the scrip’s current market price. Good. In an effort to capture even more profits, you have put a small part of your existing profits at stake. That’s exemplary behaviour, because now there’s a good chance of capturing a part of the scrip’s further rise.

And boredom? What do you do when Mrs. Market bores you? As in, stops being hit both ways, going nowhere, no market strategy yielding profits? Happens, sometimes for many months in a row.

Basics of maturity in the markets – when Mrs. Market goes nowhere, refer to your baseline.

Oh how you wished you hadn’t ruined that family holiday, right, by continuing to take pot-shots at Mrs. Market the last time she went nowhere. That’s what your baseline is saying.

You switch off, go on another (this time enjoyable) family holiday, and come back refreshed to see that Mrs. Market is now trending, ready to take you for a drive in one set direction.

There’s no limit to baseline referrals.

Systematic players build a baseline, and keep referring to it.

Later, we remember them as successful players.

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