Are you Saying These are Small Losses, Mr. Nath?

No. 

Everything is taking a hit. 

Sure. 

Hit’s actually in the “Wealth” segment…

…and not as such in the “Income” segment.

Would you like to elaborate on this one, sounds pivotal?

Yes it is exactly that, pivotal. Because of this one fact, I’m talking to you with a straight face.

I see.

Auto-pilot income-creating avenues are still doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e. creating income. Nothing has changed there, yet.

You mean something could change there?

Sure, if companies start going bust, their bonds won’t create income. Instead, principal will take a hit. It’s not come to that yet, at least in India. You have an odd company going bust here and there now and then, but nothing major as of now. Income is intact, for now. If were done with CoVID in two months, this factor might not change. Let’s focus on this scenario. 

Right. 

Secondly, we’re highly liquid. We try and become as liquid as possible during good times, ideally aiming to be 80% in cash before a crisis appears. 

How do you know a crisis is going to appear?

This is the age of crises. A six sigma event has now become the norm. After Corona it will be something else. This has been going on from the time the stock market started. It’s nothing new. Come good times, we start liquidating all the stuff we don’t want. 

Don’t want?

Ya, one changes one’s mind about an underlying down the line. At this point, one shifts this underlying mentally into the “Don’t Want” category. Come good times, one makes the market exit oneself from this entity on a high.

Makes the market exit oneself?

Yes, through trigger-entry of sell order.

Why not just exit on limit?

Then you’ll just sell on the high of that particular day at best. However, through trigger-exit, your sell order will be triggered after a high has been made and the price starts to fall. It won’t be triggered if the underlying closes on a high. That way, if you’re closing on a high, you might get a good run the next day, and then you try the same strategy again, and again. In market frenzies, you might get a five to seven day run, bettering your exit by 15-20%, for example. Who wouldn’t like that?

You talk of market frenzies at a time like this, my dear Sir…

The market is like a rubber band. What were witnessing currently is the opposite pole of a market frenzy. Humans beings are bipolar. If they’re reacting like this, they sure as hell will react like the opposite pole when conditions reverse. Especially in India. We’re brimming with emotions. 

Which brings us back to the initial question…

Yes, these notional losses look huge. But, who’s translating them into actual losses? Not us. We’re busy enhancing our portfolios as multiples get more and more lucrative for purchase. That’s entirely where our focus is. We are numb to pain from the hit because our focus is so shifted. 

And there’s no worry?

With such high levels of liquidity, shift of focus, income tap on, dividend tap on – yeah, please don’t ignore the extra big incoming dividends, underlyings taking a hit currently are paying out stellar dividends, and these big amounts are entering our accounts, because we’ve bought such quality – – – we’re ok.

Stellar would be?

Many underlying have shared double digit dividend yields with their shareholders! That’s huge!

So no worries?

No! We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, i.e. buying quality. We’ll keep getting extraordinary entries as the fall deepens. 

What if that takes a long-long time?

Well, the year is 2020. We’re all on speed-dial. 18 months in 2020 is like 15 years in 1929. Because we follow the small entry quantum strategy, our liquidity should hold out over such period, providing us entries through and through. 

And what if it’s a four digit bottom on the main benchmark, still no worries?

NO! Look at the STELLAR entry over there. A bluechip bought at that level of the benchmark can be held for life without worries. So yes, NO WORRIES.

Thanks Mr. Nath.

One more thing.

Yes, what’s that?

What’s my maximum downside in an underlying?

100%.

Correct. Now what’s my maximum upside in an underlying?

Ummm, don’t know exactly.

Unlimited. 

Unlimited?

Yes, unlimited. Entries at lucrative levels eventually translate into unreal multiples. Looking at things from this perspective, now, the size of these notional losses pales in comparison to potential return multiples. It’s a combination of psychology, fundamentals, mathematics and what have you. In comparison, these are still small losses. If we can’t take these swings in our side, we shouldn’t be in the markets in the first place, focusing our energies on avenues we’re good at instead.

Right, got it. 

Cheers, here’s wishing you safe and lucrative investing. 

🙂

Dealing with Demotivation

Every now and then…

…we don’t feel like working. 

This…

…happens. 

Let’s not PhD over it. 

After accepting the onset of periodical demotivation, let’s focus on dealing with it. 

Nullify the cause. Let’s at least try.

Hungry? Eat.

Fight? Resolve.

Losing streak? Review, tweak, test, re-implement.

Unhappy? Chant. Then work. 

Let’s say one is not able to nullify the cause. 

Let’s take a stock. It’s down. You hold it. There’s nothing wrong with it. 

If you’re demotivated here, aha, please rewire your psychology. 

When something fundamentally and technically sound is down, we buy more of it. 

However, every bone in our body feels deflated upon an accrued notional loss. 

That’s how we humans are wired. We hate losing. We want to win all the time. The best time to buy good stocks is, though, when they’re losing. 

Therefore, …

… rewire,…

…if you want to survive in the markets. 

Once you’re done rewiring, get back to your desk, and buy more of that something fundamentally and technically sound offering margin of safety. 

Lazy?

Market will finish you. Cut it out. Back to your desk.

Wish to get away from your desk? Fine, take your laptop, ipad and smartphone to your easy-chair. Work.

Nothing’s working? Take a small break. Watch an episode of “Billions”, or of whatever gets you going. 

Done?

Let’s go.

We’ve got stamina.

Nadir Non-Focus

Scared to enter?

Things look gloomy?

Forever?

NO.

Look at History.

Markets are where they are despite what’s happened. 

Governments, scams, frauds, bribes, wars, disasters – the list is endless. 

In the end, we are still where we are.

Is that good news?

YES.

What does it mean?

Growth – reflects in the corresponding market – eventually. 

Sure – we might not be growing at 7%+.

We definitely are growing at 5%+, perhaps at 5.5%+.

In a few years, growth could well accelerate.

Why?

Earning hands are growing.

So are aspirations. 

The consumption story in India is alive and kicking. 

What we’re seeing currently is a result of eighteen months of bad news. 

Such a long spate of negative stuff churning out gets the morale down. 

People start letting go of their holdings in despair. 

Maybe there’s another eighteen months of negativity left – who knows. 

That’s not the right question.

Don’t worry yourself about the bottom and when and where it is going to come. 

Why?

Please answer something far more fundamental first.

If you don’t have the courage to go in at this level (with small quanta of course, we do follow the small entry quantum strategy)…

…do you really thing…

…that you will muster up…

…anything remotely resembling courage…

…at a number that is let’s say 20% below current levels?

Gotcha there?

What’s bothering you today?

Get it out of the way.

Why?

Bother takes a toll. 

Focus goes away. 

You don’t wish to see your trade. 

That’s a pathetic condition to be in…

…as a trader. 

When you’re in a trade…

…you need to monitor the trade. 

How will you monitor a trade…

…if you don’t feel like looking at your screen?

What’s causing your indifference?

Bio-chemistry. 

Resulting from?

The spot of bother.

That’s why, get it out of the way.

Trade gone wrong?

Kill it.

Spouse problem?

Address it.

Child matter.

Deal with it.

Bring your environment to an immediate logical conclusion…

…if you can.

Why?

You’ll trade like a king…

…or a queen…

… whatever title you prefer. 

You’ll see clearly. 

You’ll want to open your terminal. 

Your ideology will be aligned with your trade. 

You’ll be making money. 

That’s why. 

Going for the Multiple 

Relax. 

We’re not going for the jugular. 

Or are we? 

The jugular has the most copious flow. 

Maybe we are then… 

… going for the jugular. 

However, there’s no stabbing happening. 

We do everything from the inside of our comfort-zone.

We act with harmony. 

Balance. 

Focus. 

Intelligence. 

Common-sense. 

We try and be non-violent about it. 

What are we doing? 

We’re looking to create wealth. 

What makes us look? 

Security. Our basic income secures us. 

Boredom. Adding to our basic income has become boring. 

Overflow. As basic income starts to overflow, it needs a long-term avenue in which it doesn’t demand our constant attention. 

Fine. 

What’s the best way… 

… to go about it?

Where there’s honey, there are bees. 

Finance-people find you. You have money. They have investments. For finance-people, you are bread and butter. 

So, you sit. 

You wait. 

You let them come. 

You’ve got discriminatory-ability. 

You sift. 99% of what comes goes into the bin. 

You like 1%. 

You invest in that 1%.

How much? 

Whatever you pre-define as your per-annum outflow into wealth-creation. 

Only that much. 

What then? 

What’s the bottom-line? 

What’s your holding strategy? 

Nothing. 

You sit. 

The biggest money is made…

…while sitting.”

You’re not even looking at your long-term investment more than once a month. 

You’re not interested in daily quotes.

The daily quote can say zero. You don’t care. You know that you are in the process of creating wealth, and that it’s going to take long, and within that period you don’t care if the world thinks your holding is zero, because you know it isn’t. 

Why? 

Due-diligence. 

Ability to think differently. 

Ability to see wealth in its nascent stage, and to recognize it. 

You have these things. 

They didn’t come for free. 

You took some solid hits to earn them. 

Yeah, you have what it takes, and that’s why… 

… you’re going for the multiple. 

Anyone up for a Quereinstieg?

Yeah, another German word.

And it’s loaded. 

I love the German language for it’s ability to combine words so that they can deliver a fistful!

So, what does it mean?

Quer means at an angle

Einstieg means entry

If you bang with something head-on, you’re likely to rebound. 

If you chisel into something at an angle with great force, you are likely to enter that something. 

That’s the logic. 

And it works. 

Albert Schweitzer, was it?

The multiply famous nobel-laureate who proposed and demonstrated Quereinstieg into fluency with a foreign language?

The formula was, for weeks in a row, to read texts, delve into media, the whole works, all in the foreign language, without really understanding what’s happening at first, and then getting a hold of the language’s structure through Sprachgefuehl, or feeling for language

Within a month or so, one would be speaking the language. One’s skills would be enough to get by on the streets. Works. 

Sprachgefuehl in action is a prime example of Quereinstieg

These are fast times. 

Almost the whole day, one is multitasking. 

And then, something new comes along. 

A new problem. 

One has to find a solution fast. 

There is no time to start from scratch. 

All other matters must be pulled along. Many people’s daily lives and routines hang upon you pulling your load. 

So, where does that leave you?

Cut to Quereinstieg.

You delve into the new matter, fast, at an angle, without bothering how you’ll fare.

You keep all your faculties open.

Your senses are on high alert.

You use your common-sense.

You learn from the play.

As you keep playing, on and on, you master technique.

The matter is not a problem anymore.

You incorporate the new asset into your repertoire as you attack your daily routine with renewed vigour and an arsenal boasting your latest Quereinstieg conquest. 

The Thing with Focus

Depth. 

Confidence. 

Proper entry. 

Decent exit, if required. 

Understanding. 

Lack of panic. 

Overall picture. 

These are some of the things that focus is capable of giving. 

Swagger? 

One-basket attitude. 

Over-depth. 

Narrow-mindedness. 

Loss of overall picture due to over-chewing one subject. 

Robotic mindset leading to freeze. 

Yeah, these too. Within the capabilities of focus. 

We want the former qualities. 

We’re discarding the latter ones. If they come knocking at our doorstep, we’re shooing them away. 

We spoke about diversified focus. 

Whatever we do in life, let’s do it well. 

We’ll have our many baskets. Why should we take the risk of having just one basket? 

And, into our many baskets, we’ll delve deep-deep-deep. 

Period. 

What is an Antifragile approach to Equity?

Taleb’s term “antifragile” is here to stay.

If my understanding is correct, an asset class that shows more upside than downside upon the onset of shock in this age of shocks – is termed as antifragile.

So what’s going to happen to us Equity people?

Is Equity a fragile asset class?

Let’s turn above question upon its head.

What about our approach?

Yes, our approach can make Equity antifragile for us.

We don’t need to pack our bags and switch to another asset class.

We just approach Equity in an antifragile fashion. Period.

Well, aren’t we already? Margin of safety and all that.

Sure. We’ll just refine what we’ve already got, add a bit of stuff, and come out with the antifragile strategy.

So, quality.

Management.

Applicability to the times.

Scalability.

Value.

Fundamentals.

Blah blah blah.

You’ve done all your research.

You’ve found a plum stock.

You’re getting margin of safety.

Lovely.

What’s missing?

Entry.

Right.

You don’t enter with a bang.

You enter at various times, again and again, in small quanta.

What are these times?

You enter in the aftermath of shocks.

There will be many shocks.

This is the age of shocks.

You enter when the stock is at its antifragile-most. For that time period. It is showing maximal upside. Minimal downside. Fundamentals are plum. Shock’s beaten it down. You enter, slightly. Put yourself in a position to enter many, many times, over many years, upon shock after shock. This automatically means that entry quantum is small. This also means you’re doing an SIP where the S stands for your own system (with the I being for investment and the P for plan).

Now let’s fine-fine-tune.

Don’t put more than 0.5% of your networth into any one stock, ever. Adjust this figure for yourself. Then adjust entry quantum for yourself.

Don’t enter into more than 20-30 stocks. Again, adjust to comfort level.

Remain doable.

If you’re full up, and something comes along which you need to enter at all costs, discard a stock you’re liking the least.

Have your focus-diversified portfolio (FDP) going on the side, apart from Equity.

Congratulations, you just made Equity antifragile for yourself.

🙂

Focused Diversification : Mantra for all Times

I’m more into focus.

One can focus on one thing at a time.

Agreed.

What if after that one thing starts running, it doesn’t require any more focus?

Wow.

Then I focus on another thing.

Get it running.

Then another.

Till my focus window is full.

Let me tell you about my focus window.

I focus on cash, debt, equity, forex, gold, real-estate, arbitrage, and options.

With that, my professional focus in finance is full full full.

I get something running.

That’s it.

Then I don’t need to be with it. Mostly.

Let me run you through.

1). Cash – Bind it in a worry-free and accessible manner. Done.

2). Debt – Study the underlying very thoroughly. Reject 10 underlyings. Take up the 11th which passes all criteria. Be happy with a slightly better than FD-return. Done.

3). Equity – Invest for life. Study till you drop the stock or take it up. Only invest in what meets all criteria and offers margin of safety at time of investing. On top of that – SIP (systematic investment plan). Done.

4). Forex – Get a software robot to trade it for you. Or some human-capital. All available online. Requires a bit of fine-tuning. Keep tuning till you start making a return. Done.

5). Gold – Buy physical gold. Research your source. Needs to be impeccable. Bullion. Coins. SIP. Accessible. No jewellery. Done.

6). Real-estate – Make your real-estate yield you an income. Regular income? Done.

7). Arbitrage – Understand what this is, and why it gives you a tax benefit. Get an online MF account going with Kotak MF or DWS. Divert some funds into their arbitrage MF, either or. I prefer Kotak. Monthly dividend payout option. Done.

8). Options – Get the option-strategy going. You don’t require a desktop. Mobile is sufficient. All you now need to do is take care of square-off. On mobile. This means a slightly higher level of engagement than the above avenues. Only slightly. Are you ok with that? Fine. Done.

In a flow, it’s all doable.

And, you remain focused.

Why all this?

Times demand it. You never know what might come in handy, and when.

Yeah, times are tough.

However, you are tougher.

To use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, you are antifragile.

What to do in the Age of Shocks?

Wait for a shock.

That’s it.

Then go in… a bit.

Sound simple?

Ain’t.

Why?

Firstly, patience.

Who has patience, today?

Few.

Secondly, psychology.

Shock brings pessimism.

You don’t want to go in, not even a bit.

That is the whole thing.

Punchline. Understand it, and you’ve won already.

Thirdly, funds.

Who has funds, when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

Barely anyone knows how to SIT on funds.

I didn’t either.

Self-taught.

Through mistakes and pain.

By putting money on the line… losing it.

Took eleven years.

Now I know.

So don’t tell me that one is only born with the ability to sit.

Don’t waste your funds. Save them. They are your soldiers.

Fourthly, energy reserves.

Who has energy reserves when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

We’re too busy doing this doing that, always, forever. We don’t know how to conserve energy and build up reserves. Those who do then use their reserves to carry forward their strategies upon the arrival of a shock.

Fifthly, focus.

The hallmark of a big winner is focus.

Who has focus?

Few.

We’re too busy diversifying. It’s safer. Investing in the wake of shocks requires pinpointed focus.

Sixthly, courage.

Who has courage?

Few.

Why?

We’ve been taught to avoid, and move on. Life’s too full of BS that needs to be avoided. However, coming out during shocks needs courage. Face the enemy, and fight.

Seventhly, and perhaps this should have been on the top of the list, common-sense.

Who has common-sense?

Almost no one.

Why?

We’re too busy being complicated and sophisticated. We want to portray falsehood. We miss the forest for the trees. However, shocks are tackled with common-sense. Simplicity in thinking is paramount. The simplest ideas making the most sense are also the most successful ones.

Eighthly, long-term vision.

Who has vision?

Handful of people.

Why?

We’re too near-sighted. We want instant gratification. However, a shock presents excellent ground to root yourself in for the long-term. Understand this, and you’ll have understood a lot.

I could go on.

That’s quite enough though.

Above are eight points to think about,  to be seen as eight weapons that need sharpening, to come out fighting in the age of shocks.

Be patient, optimistic, fund-heavy, energy-heavy, focused and brave. Use your common-sense. Have long-term vision. BASICS.

Wishing you successful investing, in an age riddled with shocks.

🙂

Not in the Mood?

Right, good.

You don’t have to be. And good that you’ve recognized it.

Mood sets the tone for success… or failure.

For example, just now, I’m not in the mood to conduct due-diligence. There’s one company which has sparked my interest, a few days ago. Work needs to be done, to decide whether I’m investing or am out. Quality of work needs to be of the highest order. Otherwise I might take a wrong decision, meaning that I might invest in a dud, or might reject a multibagger. And what happens? I’m not in the mood to conduct any kind of due diligence. For whatever reason. What’s to be done?

Nothing.

I just don’t conduct it.

Period.

What if the opportunity goes away?

So be it. Another will come along. When? Whenever. World is full of opportunities.

Why am I so pricy about my behaviour?

Well why not? It’s called being in the sweet spot. You call all the shots. Including working when in the right frame of mind. Such a condition enhances the probability of success.

When will I be conducting the due due-diligence?

When would that be?

Whenever it happens naturally, without artificial pressure.

Am I just born lucky, to be in a position to work when I want?

Well, I’ve definitely had my share of great luck, and continue to have it, by the grace of Nature. On the other hand, and to put things in perspective, I also have, over the last twelve years, worked hard to create a situation for myself where I only invest when I wish to. There’s no pressure on me to invest. My bread and butter isn’t dependent on it. I call it being in the sweet spot.

Work towards your sweet spot.

Now.

Making it Count

You’re playing a big one.

What’s foremost?

Make it count. For heaven’s sake.

Why?

Big plays don’t come too often. When they do, you have to catch them. You need to have energy left, to play. Then you just go all the way. Till the play plays itself out.

Life is an accumulation of knicks and knacks.

At first, you don’t know what you’re good for.

When you do know it, you start out as a net-net loser in whatever you’re good for, because every rookie needs to pay tuition fees. These are the costs of your mistakes.

Then you start getting the hang of something you’re naturally good at. Tricks of the trade – you learn them. You succeed in making your activity applicable, perhaps even financially viable.

Next step is to scale up.

You need to make your successful model count. Period.

Tired? Want to do other things? Need to borrow? Too big a pain? Time-issues? Overdose? Bureaucracy?

Whatever.

Don’t lessen the flow. Hold on. Ask the Universe for reserves. See the play through.

One life can mean just a few big plays.

When you’ve latched onto one, and have set it up so beautifully, now’s the time make it count.

Best of luck!

🙂

Core-System Discovery

You look.

Perhaps without success.

You look again.

And again.

So on and forth.

Till you find.

What?

An addition to your core-system.

What’s a core-system?

The better question here would be – what’s your core-system?

Now, fortunately or unfortunately, that’s for you to find.

In a nutshell, your core-system is that something which makes you tick. It has as many facets as you wish it to have. Each facet needs to be discovered, attached, fine-tuned, tried, tested and finally welcomed to or rejected from your core-system.

Facets are not limited to your professional life. Your core-system makes you tick on an all-round basis.

For example, brewing and savouring that perfect cup of tea could be an important facet. Finding, fine-tuning and enjoying your favorite media-source could be another. Blogging could be one. Sport. Hobbies. Family time. People skills. Yeah, now we’re getting professional. You can fill in your professional blanks.

Discovery costs. Time, effort, funds, nerve, sweat. It’s worth it many times over when you find a fit. Please believe me.

Some things don’t fit. You think you want them badly, but the harder you try, the more they refuse to fit. After trying your hardest, you need to conserve your life-force to look for another fit. What didn’t fit didn’t fit for a reason. It’s not mandatory for Nature to reveal that reason to you. Move on.

Keep looking for fits. Eventually, you’ll have a robust core-system, which will make you tick exceptionally.

Happy Findings!

🙂

It’s Boiling Down to Getting Your Basics Right Smartie

Yeah, everything else is following.

We’re in flow. 

World moves. 

Decisions are taken as a matter of course. 

It’s the build-up where stuff happens. 

You’re nailing the build-up dear. 

Million dollar question – how?

It’s all about systems. 

Systems, systems, systems. 

Get your systems in place. 

Be cumulative.

Also, seamless. 

Minimum overheads. Low-maintenance. 

And, don’t stop flowing. 

No, this is not very vague. It’s all happening. I describe it as it happens. Words used are for lack of better ones. These words describe the situation more than adequately. Don’t want more from them. 

You’re in circulation. You can last. Very soon, something will stick. Your systems will start flashing. They’ll alert you to the next action zone. Engage where they’re telling you. It’s as simple as that. 

Don’t ignore the flash of your systems once it happens. Ignoring would be the opposite of flowing. Don’t stop flowing. 

You’re seamless, so you can expound upon something, anytime, anyplace. Good show. You can decide anytime, anyplace, whether you’re going with something. Need of the hour. 

You’re cumulative. Next time you tackle the same situation, you have that much more hit-power, because the learning from the past encounter is at your fingertips (because you’re seamless, remember). 

What’s gone into your systems?

Hit and trial. 

Chopping off loser ideas. Letting winning ideas grow. Models. Winning models. You’re full of them. Something will start flashing, sometime, someplace. Follow it. 

That’s how you flow, man. 

The rest, as they say, will be History. 

Whose Game Are You Playing?

Are you playing your game?

No?

Why not?

Why do you play someone else’s game?

Do you think that’s going to make you happy?

Just for the record, working for someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing that someone’s game. You’re walking a common path with someone. Could be your boss. Spouse. Parent. Sibling. Whosoever. You could still be playing your game.

Life’s a game too.

A game doesn’t mean you have to rule over someone, or something. Wherever there’s a lesson to be learnt, a game is on. When we talk about your life-lessons, we talk about your game.

If I’m not mistaken, life is about learning. For some of us. There are souls who come to spend surplus Karma. Once this is exhausted, their game changes by default, since the lessons start again.

We come face to face with people and situations… to learn. The same people and / or situations keep reappearing till some learning is fully learnt. They can appear in an overbearing role, but you’re still playing your game. You’re learning your lesson. Or not. These people and / or situations cause you to behave as per a groove which has encompassed your life. The lesson is to learn how to break out of the groove. If you’re learning the lesson, you’re playing your game. If not, you’re playing someone else’s.

Play the market. Play your game with the market. Someone else’s successful market game might lure you. It won’t give you lasting succes. Why?

Someone else’s successful market game caters to someone else’s psychology. In crux situations, you will falter in that game. You will lose it all. That someone will succeed. He or she has spent years devising a game which caters fully and totally to his or her psychology and risk profile. Not to yours. He or she cannot know as much about your own psychology and risk profile as you do. Therefore, devise your own market-play. Then, play it.

It takes years or perhaps a decade to discover and understand your behaviour, psychology and reactions to varied market situations. Be there. In the market. Make small mistakes. Learn your lessons. Understand your grooves. Devise a comprehensive strategy around this.
That’s your game.

What are you waiting for?

Play it.

🙂

Less is More

Fill your plate.

Work.

Go all out.

Nobody’s asking you to work less.

Research.

Hit it with your best shot.

Do quality work.

Work with the best tools.

Enjoy your work…

…so much so, that time ceases to exist.

Yeah, that means you’ve found your calling.

However, connect less to live Mrs. Market.

Here, less is more.

Keep her away as much as possible when she’s live.

Only connect live when you really, really have to.

What are you achieving?

Minimal bogging down live market forces.

You’re away from the pandemonium, the confusion.

You’ve set your self up brilliantly, to think clearly.

Now, gather your thoughts, gather your research.

You get into the Zone.

You have a purpose.

It can be anything. A market instruction. An instrument alteration. A structural change. A query. A test. A probe. A check. Something small. Something big.

With your purpose right before your eyes, connect live.

Solve your purpose.

Disconnect.

Relax.

Let remnant market forces leave you, yeah, let them dissipate.

Do some other stuff for a while.

Then, when you’re ready, get back to your research.

If you’re not ready after a while, call it a day.

Go for a swim. Or something.

Who are You?

Who am I?

Do I know?

Am I trying to know?

Is this an important question for me?

What’s my path?

Where am I on this path?

What are my basic goals in life?

What are my weaknesses?

What am I doing to make these my strengths?

What motivates me to perform?

Does my environment enhance my performance?

Or does it hamper me?

If it does, what am I doing about it?

Am I tweaking my environment?

Yeah, am I manipulative enough?

Am I content with the hampering?

Why should I be content with the hampering?

Because it makes me grow, as in evolve?

Maybe.

Who are you?

What are your defining questions?

How do you unravel?

Ultimately, what is your risk profile?

Who are you… sure… very valid question.

Why?

It’s the basic precursor question with regard to another important question.

Who are you as far as finance is concerned?

In the field of finance, you need to know your risk-profile, and you need to have a defined meta-game-plan.

Defined as per who you are.

Uniquely, for yourself.

Bye 🙂

The Womb in which One’s A-Game is Born

Simple situations don’t challenge you, and if a human being doesn’t feel challenged, he or she doesn’t grow. 

What would you like your A-Game to be?

Simple? Bread-winning? No surprises in store? Straight-forward? 

Fine.

If you don’t wish to feel challenged by it, that is your right. What ? You want to enjoy your A-Game, though? And you want to keep enjoying it for life?

Let me tell you a secret. If you master something, it becomes boring after a while. Where’s the challenge? You probably won’t enjoy something like that for life…just an opinion.

It’s taken me ten years in finance to actually discover what my A-Game is.

I’ve had a choice all along, I won’t hide that from you.

I’ve chosen two market niche-segments. I find both intriguing. Both fully absorb me. I keep asking questions. My mind feels that it meets its match. I enjoy both segments. 

It doesn’t matter which segments I’m talking about. They are my A-Game, and that’s what counts for this discussion. How did I know this was my A-Game?

Over the last ten years, I’ve tried all market segments. Got knocked around, made mistakes. Lost money. Tuition fees. You can’t really study the markets in college. You really need to study the markets in the marketplace itself. Eventually, an area of specialisation will speak to you. It will exercise a magnetism which will envelope you. Wait for this moment before going all-in. Even after identifying your A-Game, play it small for a long time, and only scale up slowly, according to strict money-management rules. 

The womb in which your A-Game is born can be really complicated. You can be left feeling confused for years about what your calling is. Life does remain a bit boring till you get there. You feel that that something is missing in life. While playing your A-Game, that very feeling is gone. That’s how you know it’s your A-Game. 

If you have a choice, secure yourself and your family financially before your A-Game unfolds. That way, your A-Game won’t necessarily have to yield you money in the beginning. Eventually , it will do that also, and of this there is no doubt in my mind, since complete engrossment into something will make you excel at that something. Treat the money as a bonus as it starts to come along. Focus on the monetary angle alone, forced perhaps by necessity, can make you lose sight of the enjoyment angle, or it can make you choose the more monetarily lucrative but less enjoyable activity. It all depends on your life-situation at that moment. 

Actually, come to think of it, whatever one does in life can be approached from a commercial angle only, blocking the enjoyment angle out totally. If your bread and butter depends upon it, I fully understand your choice, but if you’re already financially secure, then … go for growth, challenge, enjoyment… and money will follow too. 

The Art of Emotional Recycling

Taken a hit?

If yes, at least admit it… to yourself and for your own sake.

People take hits at various times in their lives.
That’s the way of the market.

That’s how it teaches us to make money next time.

Think of your loss as tuition fees.

In my opinion, the best way forward is to take lots of small hits in the first seven years.

Then, in nine cases out of ten, you won’t fall for the big ones.

Big hits can decapacitate a player, especially when they come late, since there is no time for full recovery. Besides, emotional breakdown at a late stage is very difficult to get out of.

Make it a point never to take a big hit.

That’s only possible, if at any given time, the capital that is risked is within reasonable limits.

Let’s say you risk not more than 1% of your networth at any given time. What’s the maximum hit you will take at one time? Right, 1%.

That’s bearable.

That’s something you can shake yourself out of, and move on.

Moving on is a huge quality to possess in the markets.

Taken a hit?

Move on and make your next trade.

All this while, you are putting any remnant emotional hurt in cold storage.

Yeah, there’s a certain portion of emotional hurt that won’t be nullified by family time, vacations, hobbies etc. We’re talking about the hurt to your ego. Only a big win will wash that away. Only then is your emotional recycling complete.

Put yourself in line for that win.

After a hit, rest, recuperate, grab your wits, focus, and…

… put on the next trade.

And How Are You This 20k?

20k’s knocking on our sensory index.

How are you feeling, this 20k?

I remember my trading screen, the first time 20k came. Lots of blue till it came, and when it came, the screen just turned into a sea of red.

Sell orders hit their auto-triggers, as if it were raining sell orders along with cats and dogs.

What is it about round numbers?

Why do they engulf us in their roundness?

I don’t think I am making a mistake in stating that the first person to recognize the significance of round numbers in the game was Jesse Livermore, the legendary trader. Jesse developed a round number strategy that he pulled off repeatedly, with enormous success. It is because of Jesse Livermore that a trader takes round numbers … seriously.

So, what is it about the roundness of 20k?

Plain and simple. The 0s engulf the 2. You don’t see the 2 anymore, and the 0s scare you. Or, they might excite you. Round numbers make the human being emotional.

Big question for me, to understand my own mindset – how am I reacting to 20k?

I would like to share my reaction with you, because it could help you understand your own reaction.

Also, writing about it makes me understand my own reaction better. Thoughts get assimilated.

Yeah, it’s not all social service here, there’s some selfish element involved too.

Besides, I have a bit of a guilty conscience about the amount of research the internet allows me to do, free of cost. I mean, I can get into the skin of any listed company with a few button-clicks. All this writing – is a give-back. You’ll get your calling soon enough. Nature will tell you where you need to give back. When that happens, don’t hold back – give freely. It’s a million dollar feeling!

Back to the topic.

I’ve seen 20k twice before, I think, perhaps thrice. Oh right, between late September and December ’10, it came, was broken, then it came back, to be again broken on the downside, all within a few months.

The aftermath of the first time I saw it (in November ’07) hammered me, though, and taught me my biggest market lessons. I’m glad all this happened in my early market years, because one doesn’t normally recover from huge hammerings at an advanced stage in one’s market career.

The second / third time I saw 20k, I was profiting from it to a small extent. A vague kind of strategy was developing in my mind, and I was trying all kinds of new trading ideas so as to formulate a general strategy for big round numbers.

This morning, I saw 20k for the fourth time, for a few minutes.

By now, I was on auto-pilot.

A human being will have emotions. A successful market player will know how to deal with these emotions.

I bifurcated my emotions into two streams.

One was the fear stream.

The other was the exuberance stream.

The former helped me decide my future investment strategy.

The latter helped me decide my future trading strategy.

In my opinion, a good investment strategy in times of market exuberance would be to not look for fresh investments anymore. This morning, I decided to stop looking for fresh investments, till further notice.

Sometimes, when you’re not looking for an investment, you might still chance upon a company that sparks your investment interest.

If that happened, I would still scrutinize such a company very, very thoroughly, before going ahead. After all, these were times of exuberance.

Yeah, fresh investments would be on the backburner till margins of safety were restored.

Now let’s speak about the exuberance stream.

Market looked ripe for trading. Fresh market activity would take the shape of trading.

Trading is far more active an activity, when compared to investing. We’ve spoken a lot about the difference between trading and investing, in previous posts. Investors enter the market when stocks are undervalued, because the general market is unable to see their intrinsic value. Traders take centre-stage when stocks are overvalued, because the general market is repeatedly attributing more and more value to stocks, much more than should be there. Traders ride the market up, and then short it to ride it down.

Yeah, till further notice, I would be spending my energies trading. After a while, I would re-evaluate market conditions.

That’s what I thought to myself this morning.