The Difference between Winning and Losing

It’s a whisker. 

You’re doing everything right. 

You’re following a proven strategy. 

You’ve adapted. 

You’ve removed many mistakes from your resumé.

Your strategy has undergone refinement. 

Why haven’t you started winning yet?

Yeah, we’re used to asking million dollar questions by now. 

In fact, such questions are all we ever ask. 

What do you think is the answer?

The answer is you. 

Yes. 

There’s something about you. 

It’s not fitting. 

You’ve got two options. 

Either make your strategy fit to this something, or …

… make yourself fit to the strategy. 

Both options can work, and you can start winning. 

Which option is easier to implement?

I think the more relevant question here is a different one. 

Which option befits the situation?

I’ll give you an example. 

I’ve got time issues. 

I make my market strategies fit my time issues. 

I can’t change my time issues, for something or someone will fall short then. Like everyone, I have many commitments too. 

Therefore, I fit my market strategy around me. 

I keep fitting, fitting, fitting, till the strategy either works, or is discarded for want of a win. 

Yeah, that’s me. 

Maybe your situation is different. 

Maybe you need to cater to the public. 

You’re not expecting the public to change to your whims and fancies, are you?

Not as a newbie, no no, that would be a cardinal sin. 

After all, the public is your paymaster, right?

Customer is your king, or queen. 

It becomes different when you turn into a celeb. 

Then you can dictate fashion. 

However, till you become a celeb, fit to the public, if you want to win. 

Behave in a manner that people want to pay for what you have to offer, again and again and again.

Maybe there’s a slight whisker of a trait in your behaviour that people don’t like. 

Change it. 

Whether you’re changing yourself, or fitting your strategy to meet your unchangeable nature or schedule, sometimes it’s only a whisker that makes the difference between winning and losing. 

People have lost olympic medals by one-hundredth of a second. 

What’s that millisecond lag in your own life that you need to get rid of?

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The Next Step Rumination

This happens to me. 

Often.

Most of the time, I don’t know the answer. 

So, what is it that happens?

This question pops up : “What is the next step?”

When does it pop up?

When a preceding step has come to its logical conclusion. 

Step, by step, remember? That’s how you build your castle.

Ok, how do I react?

It’s a very normal question by now. 

It’s popped up thousands of times. 

I’ve gotten used to it. 

I think hard. 

Is something coming?

No?

I let it go and delve into some recreational activity. 

Am learning French nowadays, btw. Am blown over by the availability of learning materials. 

Is something coming?

Yes?

What is coming?

Does it sound logical?

Meaning, is it the next logical step?

I think hard. 

And again. 

Till I either discard the idea, or…

… till I take this new next and logical step. 

That is how the cookie crumbles. 

This happens to you too. 

If not, you are missing a trick. 

If so, have you recognised and acknowledged the phenomenon?

Do you have a response?

Yes?

Great.

No?

Perhaps my own response to the phenomenon can give you a hint or two.

Control

Longevity.

We look for it in the markets too. 

It’s natural.

Our first instinct is to survive. 

Our second instinct is to survive well. 

In the markets, both these instincts are addressed by our definition and understanding of control. 

Are we control-freaks? 

There’s no harm in admitting it, it’ll save us from losses. 

Well, if we are, we’re better off seeking another career where control-freaking is an asset.

In the markets, it’s not.

Yeah, surprise surprise, Mrs. Market is gonna keep hitting our stops again and again and again, till we get tired of second-guessing her and just sheer quit.

Or, if we’re adamant too, she’ll just drive us bankrupt. 

Are we giving her complete leeway?

Well, then she’ll drive us bankrupt anyways, with no stops in place.

Mrs. Market works against us when we exhibit extreme behaviour wrt control.

Let’s fine-tune control.

We’ll find the median for stop-size.

Something that’s workable.

We then move with her.

If she moves in our direction of the trade, we keep raising our stop with her, from a distance, quietly.

Control, mild, unadvertised.

She’ll stop us out eventually, perhaps after some profit.

Good. 

As in, workable. 

When she goes berserk in our direction of the trade, we’ll ignore her and just let her do her thing.

Minimum control.

No definition of targets.

Stop is far away. It’s deep in profits, and being raised quietly. She’ll need to stop us out with a big swing against us. Yeah, deep in profit, we’ve kept a large leeway between stop and CMP.

We’re not micromanaging her.

Motive?

We wish to allow her to go even more berserk in our direction of the trade.

We’re daring her too, as in “come and get our stop, if you have the guts to fall this far”.

Control.

Very subtle.

We’re controlling our environment, while simultaneously ignoring her.

Very workable. 

We’ll live long in the markets. 

MP vs MoS : the lowdown on Trade-Entry

Margin of Safety (MoS)… 

… hmmm… 

… wasn’t that in investing? 

Well – surprise – it’s in trading too. 

You can enter a trade with MoS. 

How? 

Ok.

ID the trend. 

Wait for a minor reversal.

Let the reversal continue towards a pivot, or a support or a what have you. 

During this reversal, whenever you feel that you have considerable MoS, well – enter. 

Why shouldn’t you wait for the pivot to get touched? 

Things happen real fast at a pivot. Upon a pivot-touch, you can lose your comfort-zone even within minutes. 

Two vital things can happen at a pivot. 

Either there’s a quick bounce-back, or the pivot gets broken. 

Bounce-back means your trade is now in the money, and that you can go about managing your trade as per your trade-management rules. Wonderful. 

Pivot-break is not a worry for you. 

Why? 

Because you’ve placed your stop slightly below pivot, after the noise. 

Upon pivot-break, you get stopped out. You take the small hit and move on to your next trade. 

Eventually, things heat up. 

There is movement. 

Tops get taken out. 

Fast money can be made. 

How do you enter here? (Needless to say, for shorts, everything is to be understood reversed). 

Momentum play (MP)… 

… is the weapon of choice. 

You set up a trigger entry after a top or a resistance or a what have you, and wait for price to pierce, and for your entry to get triggered. Then you place your stop, below top or resistance or what have you. 

MP vs MoS is a matter of style. 

If you’re not comfortable changing your trading style to adapt to times, that’s fine too. Stick to one style.

If you’re conservative, stick to MoS. 

In a frenzy, however, MoS might almost never happen. 

In a frenzy, entry will be triggered exclusively through MP.

Take your pick. Adapt. Do both. Or don’t. Do one.

You call the shots. 

This is about you.

Adding No-Action to your Repertoire

Action with positive outcome vs…

… no action vs…

…action with negative outcome…

…hmmmm.

Sometimes we become oblivious to actions with negative outcomes.

Society preaches to be active.

We listen.

We feel that doing something means a step forward.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so.

Many times, and especially in the markets, it actually pays to do nothing.

The most successful investors in the world will tell you, that the biggest money is made while sitting. They’ll also tell you, that almost no one has learnt how to sit.

They’re right.

Meanwhile, I’m telling you, right here and right now, that you can sit comfortably upon your investment without jumping only if you’ve bought with margin of safety. Think about it.

Also, the most successful traders in the world will tell you that the number one action that saves money in the markets is no action. Yeah, when markets move sideways, which is about 60%+ of the time, trades tend to get stopped out both ways, and the trader loses money repeatedly. At such times, it’s better not to trade.

What’s vital here?

Recognition.

Recognize that it’s a time for no action.

Then, do something else.

For this to be practical, make trading and investing your bonus activities.

Meaning, that if your bread and butter depends upon another mainstream activity, you can easily switch off from trading and investing for a while, at will, and without any negative impact upon your basics.

Also, you need to be versatile enough to have fall-back activities lined up, which switch on where trading and / or investing switch off. These need to take over then, and keep the mind occupied.

The danger of not going into no-action mode is the continuous committing of actions with negative outcomes.

That’s precisely where we don’t want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you invite the f-word?

The next trade… 
… yeah… 
… take it. 
What? 
Can’t? 
Why?  
Afraid of what might happen. 
That’s the whole thing. 
You see a setup – you trade the setup.
When you see a setup, there are no more what-ifs, supposings or anything. Then, it’s just you and the trade. Take the trade. 
No room for f-(ear). It’s the new f-word.  
How do you drive fear out of the equation? 
Risk a miniscule fraction of your networth per trade. 
Don’t make trading your bread and butter. Make it your bonus. 
Don’t allow anyone else’s negativity to creep in. Don’t talk to people. Trade on your own. No room for tips. 
Don’t listen to your broker. Tell him what to do.
Don’t trade under compulsion. 
Enjoy your trading. 
Once in the trade, lose the mini-bias that got you in. Now, just manage the trade. 
Stop hit? You’re out. 
Run? 
Raise stop. 
Running? 
Keep raising stop. 
Losing some of your notional profits? Market throws you out?
Good. That’s a proper exit. 
See, fear wasn’t allowed to the party. 
Look for next setup. 
Position-size your entry. 
Take the next trade. 
And so on and so forth. 
Not upto trading?
Ok. Don’t trade. Till you’re up to it.
 
Demons out of the way? 
 
Up to trading again? 
 
See the next setup?
 
Take it.

Building Your Own

You do. 

In the process, you learn. 

More experienced ones advise. 

Fine. 

You listen to their advice. 

Ok. 

Stop. 

Think. 

What experience are we talking about?

Their experience.

It’s great for them.

It might be good for you. 

To a point. 

To learn the ropes. 

You need to take it from there. 

Markets are such. 

They give each player a unique experience. 

Why? 

Because each human has a unique psyche. 

You are you. 

You should play like you.

That’ll ultimately teach you how YOU can win. 

Winning is also about implementing adapted systems that suit you and your curriculum in every small and large detail. 

Proper winning might take years to manifest after you’ve ironed out all the niggles in your character that pertain to the market. 

I’ll give you some examples. 

It’s taken me twelve years to tune my multi-faceted life towards the markets in such a manner that I now trade regularly. 

It took me ten years to discard all the tech-overload and work with the bare-required-minimum.

Seven years was what I needed to realize that I was my best friend and my worst enemy in the markets. 

Now, if I need to learn something new, I go it on my own. If it’s still out of reach, I get an instructor. Only to the point I can walk alone again. 

When you’re walking alone, you learn to listen to your common-sense. 

Your systems develop inside you. 

As you keep acting, these keep fine-tuning. 

Soon, because you’re persistent, these develop winning ways. 

Wishing you a successful market-foray, whatever market you are in! 

🙂