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. 

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Does your Exit hurt you?

Good. 

Good? 

Yeah. Good. 

A proper exit – hurts. 

Huh? 

What about exiting on a high? 

Sure. 

Go ahead. 

Exit on your high.

Who’s stopping you? 

However… 

… who’s to say that the high won’t become higher? 

Exactly. 

No one knows. 

So, while the uncertainty about the high becoming higher is still out there – smarty – why are we going to not let it play out? 

Exactly. 

We are going to let it play out. 

Purpose? 

A new high might be posted. We then make more profit. 

Or, trade starts going against us, and we start to lose some of what we’ve gained. 

Hurt starts. 

When you can’t stand this hurt anymore – exit. 

That’s a proper exit. 

It’s leaving a bad taste in your mouth in the end. That’s when you know it’s a proper exit. 

You’ve stomped out the possibility of a new high. 

You’ve taken what the trade has to give. 

You’ve let the hurt set in. 

You’ve let the trade arrive at its logical conclusion. 

Now, you are exiting. 

Congratulations, you are exiting properly. 

Continue like this and you’ll become a great trader. 

What, have I let the cat out of the bag? 

Don’t worry, one can say it a million times and 99% of all traders will still continue to exit improperly. 

It’s human nature. 

Human nature works against the mindset of a winning trader.

Winning Marketplay, Anyone?

Two words. 

Psychology.

Strategy. 

That’s it. 

Prediction?

No. 

Prediction is not pivotal here. 

We’re getting psychology and strategy right. 

We want winning marketplay, right?

Prediction is for losing marketplay. Prediction might be wrong. That’s when strategy and psychology save you from big loss. A big loss can wipe you out. Thus, dependence upon sheer prediction brings a wipe-out into play. That’s why, prediction is almost always relegated to the bottom rank when one talks about winning marketplay.

We’ll travel with a hint of prediction, though. Just a hint. Doesn’t suffice for losing yet. 

For entry purposes. Only.

Even this hint of prediction is bias-giving, though. Once we enter, we need to quickly lose the bias. Yeah, once we enter, we only react to what we see. 

Our system has an edge. It helps us choose market direction. After that, psychology and strategy take over. 

Meaning, after we’ve entered, there’s no more prediction in play. 

So what’s in play then?

The raw trade. 

And you.

At this point, all your mental strength comes into play. 

Oh, and your strategy. 

You do have a strategy, right?

As in, if x happens, they y, and if a happens then b.

You need a stoploss too.

You don’t have to show it. It can be mental, provided you don’t fool yourself into not using it when the time comes.

You won’t execute your stop. 

Sure. 

Again and again. 

Till you teach yourself how to. 

Till you lose big. And are still left standing. To want to enter again. 

Learning to take a small hit, again and again and again – that’s winning marketplay. Requires huge psychological strength. You acquire this. You don’t have to be born with it. 

Now comes another punchline. 

That profit-sapling just emerging…see it? You will not nip it in the bud. 

You’ll still do it. 

And again. 

You’ll nip it in the bud. 

Again and again. 

Till you teach yourself not to. 

It’s not easy. 

95%+ of all market players continue to nip profits in the bud all their lives. 

To allow the sapling to grow into a tree is the most difficult of all market lessons. Learning to let profits run is winning market play. 

To want more profits, you have to risk some of your current profits. 

No more risk, no more gain. 

You want to quickly exit and post that 22% gain on your Excel sheet. Sure. Why can’t you let it grow into an 82% gain? God alone knows. That’s how the cookie crumbles. You nip the opportunity to make that 82%. 

What’s with 82?

Just a random number. 

Am trying to get a point across. There’s a run happening. In a direction. It’s crossing +22%. Fast. Momentum could see it to +102%, to then backtrack and settle at +82%. It’s a probable scenario. 

Anyways, there are some smarties that risk 12 of the 22% and stay in the trade. Soon the 22 can even go beyond 82. Lets say it does. What do you do?

Nip?

No. 

Not yet. 

You let it travel. Momentum is to be allowed free leeway, till it halts. Let’s say it halts at 102. You say to yourself that the winds might change if 102 goes back to 82, and tell your broker to exit if 82 is hit intraday.

That and that alone is the proper way to exit a winning trade. You exit it with the taste of loss. You let the market throw you out. For all you know, the market might be in the mood for 152. You want to give the trade that chance. Thus, a momentum target exit while the move is still on would be less lucrative for you in the long run, or so I think. 

Why?

Statistics are defined by big wins. These matter. Big-time. Allow them to happen. Again and again and again. 

Now add position-sizing into your strategy. The ideology of position-sizing has been discovered and fantastically developed by Dr. Van Tharp. 

In a nutshell, position-sizing means that an increasing trading corpus due to winning should result in an increasing level risked. Also, correspondingly, a decreasing trading corpus due to losing should result in a decreasing level risked.

With position-sizing added to your arsenal, no one will be able to hinder your progress.

Psychological strength that comes from experiencing first-hand and digesting learning from varied market scenarios, coupled with a stoploss/profitrun position-sizing strategy – that’s a winning combination.

Wishing you happy and lucrative trading!

🙂 

Dealing from a Position of Weakness 

When you’re losing… 

… you downsize your position. 

Why? 

To save your corpus. 

You lower the risk. 

Is risk quantifiable? 

You bet. 

Risk is no abstract entity without a body. 

In a trade, your risk is defined by your stop to stack-size ratio and the size of your one position. 

When you’re losing, you either lower the magnitude of your stop, or lower the quantity of your one position. 

Till when?

Till your corpus crosses par and then some. 

At par, you trade normal. 

Normal stop. 

Normal quantity. 

What is normal? 

Depends on you. 

What is normal for you? 

That’s what goes. 

Why the caution when below par? 

Lots works against you at this time. 

Sheer math for example. Downsizing sets this right. 

Emotions. 

Whoever’s got a remedy for those is king already. 

You. 

Your body-chemistry is affected. You’re sluggish. More prone to error. Nobody’s got a remedy for you, except you. Wait for your body to heal before trying out that perfect cover-drive, or what have you. 

Winning or losing in the markets depends a lot upon psychology, chronology, systems, strategy, application and adaptation of style. 

I like to call this “getting one’s meta-game together”. 

Let’s go people. 

Let’s get our meta-games together. 

Then we can scale it up. 

🙂 

The Pinch of Minuscule Loss

Did I drop the 200 bucks this morning?

Hmmmm…

…naehhh.

I don’t drop cash.

It was probably nicked from my rucksack.

You know what, this incident is pinching me.

I’m trying to brush it off.

Was I careless?

Yes.

Why?

God knows.

Over-confidence?

Maybe.

Do you see?

Even minuscule loss has it’s thought-process-baggage.

Minuscule loss pinches too.

Where does that leave us?

We’re market-people.

We’re faced with minuscule losses everyday.

Hopefully miniscule.

Meaning, hopefully everyone has by now graduated to putting stops.

Don’t underestimate the business of stops.

The human mind gets used to stops very slowly indeed.

Society teaches us to win at all costs. It doesn’t teach us to take a small loss and get out.

Trading works differently, however.

You can’t will a losing trade to win.

Society teaches us to book a winner and post it on social media immediately.

Again, trading is so different.

A small winner needs to be left alone, so that it can grow into a multibagger.

When we enter into the world of trading, we have to first swear to ourselves that we will start to program our minds from day one.

Otherwise, we’re dead-meat.

We need to teach our minds to let winners win some more.

And, we need to programme our minds to cut many, many small losers while they are still small, simultaneously and slowly getting immune to the pinch of minuscule losses by taking these in stride, one, after another after another…

…, till, the rest, as they say, is recorded as successful trading by History.

I Don’t Want the Cancer

Are you hurt?

A.

Do you want the cancer?

B.

I do get hurt. Yeah, things hurt me. I’m an emotionally penetrable human being.

Fine. That’s me.

What I definitely don’t want is option B.

Who wants option B?

Can’t think of anyone.

Who gets option B?

Many.

But who?

Those who can’t forget the hurt. Yeah, people who’re unable to move on.

To forget the hurt and move on, simultaneously saving ourselves from the cancer, we need to forgive.

Someone’s misbehaved. Hurt you. Are you going to ruin your future days? No.

Forgive. Forget. Move on.

Just remove the mould in which cancer can potentially set in.

What makes you think it’s different in the markets?

A loss is a hurt.

Need I say more?

You can do the math.

Dealing with “Situation Change”

When does a situation change?

For example, one could move on to a new field in finance.

Or, a particular goal could have been achieved. Now, one’s approach is supposed to incorporate predefined changes for financial strategy post goal-accomplishment.

Family dynamics could be responsible for situation changes too.

Sure, health. Never underestimate the power of health. It can make you, and it can break you.

Emotion. Fell in love? Going crazy? Outbursts? Hot flashes? Preggers?

Logistics? Moving? New girl-friend in New York?

Night duty?

Looking after your parents in their old age?

Wife wants to party all the time? Lack of sleep?

Promotion? Demotion? Fired? Jobless? Suddenly self-employed?

Gone single? Date-circuit? Got married? Had a kid?

Situation changes come to all. Not once, but many times in life.

Why are we talking about them?

They have an effect on our financial strategy. That’s suffices.

I’ll tell you how I deal with situation change. You can then BODMAS your way to your own approach, using my approach as a broad outline.

My first approach is to put on auto-pilot as many of my financial activity as possible. Going paper-less helps. Trusted auto-bill-pay channels are assets. Fixed-income generators with auto annual-alerts give financial security with zero involvement. SIPs and dividend pay-ins are further examples of having gone auto.

Then I look at what is left. What has not yet gone on auto-pilot? Can it? Ever? If there’s a chance, I go for it. For example, I’m currently developing a software robot to automate my forex trading.

Lastly, I size up what is not pushable into auto-mode. Do I want to keep it? Can I do without it? Weigh, weigh, weigh, scrap A, scrap B, C is something I just have to do, manually, period, so keep C. Eventually, C, G, P, X and Z are five manual financial activities I keep, having scrapped the others (that refused to go on auto) out of my life, since I didn’t consider them burningly essential. C, G, P, X and Z are the ones that’ll weigh me down when my situation changes. I’ve kept them on doable levels. Some are on semi-auto but do require manual intervention. The others are fully manual.

My situation changes.

My auto-pilot activities continue their smooth run. They are my assets, my stars.

P, X and Z are on semi-auto. I barely gather the energy to look into their manual aspects, just about managing to keep them going with reasonable results.

C and G are bogging me down. Can’t keep up. No energy. No motivation. Situation change has drained me. Relentlessly, I try. C has turned a loser. Beginning to feel sick. I shut down C. Losses.

G is sucking me out. Emotionally. It’s a winner, though. Can’t keep up. Can I turn it into semi-auto? It required constant monitoring till it started winning big. I’ll still need to feed in my stop daily. That’s the manual part. I stop looking at G. Problem with equity orders is that your stop has little technical value overnight. A new day requires renewed stop-considerations. Ok, five minutes daily for G. Open terminal, set trigger-stop 9.99% below opening price, close terminal, don’t look left or right, done.

Phew.

Save health. Don’t fall sick.

If sick, rest.

Recuperate.

Regain health.

Get used to new situation.

Normalize.

Gear up for next situation change, whatever it is, whenever it comes.

Gear up now.