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.

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All I Need – Is One Look In Your Eyes…

All I need is the rhythm divine
Lost in the music
Your heart will be mine
All I need is to look in your eyes
Viva la musica
Say you’ll be mine


With due respect to Enrique Iglesias, to whom the above lyrics belong, he’s not the only one. 

We all need motivation. 

Many of us are self-motivated. 

What drives us from within?

A goal.

Sometimes, we stolper. Our drive takes a hit. Self-motivation dips. 

Reasons could be many. Sheer exhaustion, repeated failure, being a square box in a round hole for far too long, what have you and blah blah blah. 

We’re not bothered about the reason here. We’re bothered about the fact. Sometimes, we get demotivated. We stop performing. 

Who needs to step in here?

Our closest ones.

Yeah, they live closest to us, and if they possess an iota of sensitivity, well, they should sense our emotional graph going down. 

Mostly, they do. And, upon recognition, they step in. We feel wanted, loved, and our motivational levels start to go up again. 

Sometimes, our closest one is not sensitive enough, for whatever reason.

Maybe we’re too “strong” to let it show. Maybe our closest one has other, bigger issues to deal with. Whatever. That’s not the important rumination.

What’s the important question here?

Yes, how do we get it back? Without a hand to hold. This one’s big. 

No hand to hold – whoahh – it’s tough. 

Is there a way out?

Do we change our closest one?

Is it that simple?

Sometimes, children are in the equation. Changing isn’t an option we’re discussing here. 

Firstly, we need to shut down on this one want from our closest one. 

Ok, now what?

Motivations’s got to come – from within. It’s a funny thing. It just does. Wait for it. To come from within. 

It needs a catalyst – an event – a trigger – the crossing of an activation barrier – something like that. 

Wait for the catalyst to occur and have effect. 

What do you do meanwhile?

Other things. 

Chant. Meditate. Travel. Play with your child. Take up a temporary assignment elsewhere. Do stuff. Life’s big. So many things are happening. Do something – else.

The catalyst occurs. 

Motivation starts to ooze. 

You’re back in business. 

You didn’t break your sacred environment. 

Maybe your closest one will realise, and will be sensitive next time.

On the other hand, maybe he or she won’t. 

Does it bother you now? You’ve discovered a way out after all.

It probably pinches just a bit. 

Let it. Things could have been much, much worse, which they’re not, so count your blessings, and just let it flow. 

🙂

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.

Emotion in the Marketplace – Enemy or Ally?

Either or…

… choice is yours baby.

I’m not going to pretend we don’t have emotions.

We do.

We need to make these work for us.

Everyone feels exhilaration upon winning.

We’re down after a loss. 

Before you enter the marketplace again, dump all this somewhere …

… which, btw, is the most difficult thing in the world.

Didn’t anyone tell you that? What about your professor in financial college? Oh, I forgot, he or she never had his or her own money on the line, so he or she didn’t know this one. 

Arghhhhhhhhhhh@#$%^!

Don’t learn anything about finance from anyone who doesn’t have his or her own money on the line, and that too regularly on the line (((financial theory is worth mud unless it is realistic, applicable, and ultimately…profitable). 

So, what is this “line”? [More about “The Line” here – https://magicalbull.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/the-line/ ].

The line is an invisible connection between the vicissitudes of the marketplace and our emotional centres in the brain. 

The line gets activated once one is in a trade, or once one has initiated an investment. 

Once the line has been activated, we need to deal with its effects upon our systems. For optimal efficiency, we need to nullify the effects of the line on our systems. After that, we enter the marketplace again. 

So, acknowledge whatever emotion you are experiencing. Then deal with it. 

Dump the emotion of a loss in a safe place, to be nullified by a big future win. 

Dump the emotion of a big win in another safe place, lest it causes you to exit improperly and prematurely. 

How does one nullify this particular emotion? 

You see, your next activity in the marketplace can make you blow up, if there is any remnant hubris from a previous big win. 

You close your eyes, tell yourself that under no circumstances are you going to suffer the humiliation of blowing up, you centre, focus, you identify the next trade, and then you just take the next trade, as if nothing has happened. 

You have to work yourself around your own emotions. In the marketplace, emotions are your allies only if and when they are properly dealt with before the next market activity. 

Otherwise, they become your enemy. 

Loss can lead to depression and ultimate exit from the marketplace. One needs to understand and accept the concept of taking small losses. Why small? Why not small? You can define your loss. You can cut it when it’s small. Once one has understood and accepted the idea of taking small losses, these won’t bother you any more. That’s how you set yourself up to win big. Big wins, unless dealt with properly, lead to hubris, which can cause one to blow up permanently. We work ourselves around the negative potential of big wins through visualisation. 

Once you’ve sorted out the emotional angle…well, just take the next trade. Don’t wait. Just take it. 

Are You a Juggler?

No?

Why not?

You don’t need juggling balls to juggle.

Life in a country like India is enough.

India teaches you to juggle your way through.

You keep improvising… till something fits.

In the marketplace, a fit is big news. One struggles towards a system that fits.

Once there is a fit, you follow the system, till it continues to fit.

As the fit experiences turbulence, you struggle, tweak and juggle towards a renewed fit.

What does a fit mean?

Success.

Balance.

Harmony.

Health.

Happiness.

Peace.

What more could one want?

At times, a system collapses.

Accept the collapse.

Work out a new system.

Fine-tune it into fitting.

You’re a juggler, remember?

How Does One Position-Size?

What is the singular most lucrative aspect of trading?

Any ideas?

Want a hint?

Ok, here’s the hint. It is also the safest aspect of trading.

Give up?

Here’s the answer. It’s called position-sizing. (The pioneer of position-sizing is Dr. Van K. Tharp, @ www.iitm.com, and I have learnt this concept through him).

Surprised? I would be surprised if you weren’t surprised.

Yeah, trade selection is important too, but other things are more important while trading.

For example, trade management is more important than trade selection. So is exit. Entry might be paramount to an investor, but to the trader, entry is run of the mill. It happens day in, day out. The trader … just enters a selected trade. There’s no deep thinking involved. The trader knows this. Crux issues are to follow. The trader is saving his or her energies for the crux issues.

So far, we’ve spoken about the chronology of a trade, i.e. entry – management – exit.

Before entry, you decide how much you want to trade with, and how much you want to risk. That’s the size of your position, or your position-size. Remember, for the concept of position-sizing to make any sense, your stop-loss percentage must remain constant from trade to trade. Only your traded value goes up or down.

What does the level of your traded value depend upon?

It depends upon HOW WELL YOU ARE DOING.

If you’re on a roll, your traded value for the next trade goes up. The increment is proportional to the profits you are sitting on. Since the stop is a constant percentage, the amount risked is also higher. Return is proportional to the amount at risk, and the long-term net return of such a trade will also be higher. All this means, that the more you make, the more you set yourself up to make even more…!

Take a coin. Flip it millions of times. There will be a stretch, where you’ll flip tails 5 times in a row, or six times in a row, or maybe even ten times in a row. The 50:50 trade called “coin flip” can well result in a series of back to back losses. You are an experienced trader. Your trade selection ratio could be 60 winning trades to 40 losing trades, or perhaps a little better, let’s say 65:35. Even a trade selection ratio of 65:35 will result in back to back losses. As a trader, you need to take large drawdowns in your stride, as long as you are confident, that in the long run,  your system is working. What’s working in your favour during the large drawdown?

Your position-size is.

You see, as trade after trade goes against you, and your losses pile up, your position-size KEEPS GOING DOWN. Your stop percentage remains constant. This means, that the more you lose, the more you set yourself up to lose lesser and lesser, trade after trade. Yeah, position-sizing gives you the safety of losing less. Nevertheless, because of this safety assurance from your position-sizing strategy, you keep yourself in the market by just taking the next trade without too much deep thinking (and with no melancholy whatsoever), because your next trade could be the one decent trade that you are looking for. Yeah, your very next trade could cover all losses and then some. TAKE IT.

Now, two things can happen.

Firstly, if you keep losing, and hit your loss cut-off level for the month, well, then, you just stop trading for the rest of your month. You then spend the rest of the month reviewing your losses and your system. You tweak at whatever needs tweaking, and come back fresh and rested the following month. Position-sizing kept you in the market, ready to take the next opportunity to earn big. The auto-cut takes you out of the market for a while. That’s why, in my opinion, while position-size is still activated, it provides more safety, because it keeps you in the market to recover everything and then some, starting with your VERY NEXT trade. Having said that, auto-cut is auto-cut. It overrides position-sizing.

The second thing that can happen is that your losing streak ends before your month’s cut-off is reached. Yayyy, position-sizing is still activated! You’ve lost lesser and lesser on each losing trade as long as you were in the losing streak, and now that you are winning again, each win sets you up to win more in the trade that follows.

After many, many trades, just cast a glance at your trading corpus. It will boggle your mind!

Your position-sizing strategy has kept raising your corpus, because your system is 60:40+, and you win more than you lose. Ultimately, your corpus has become substantial. Its size exceeds your expectations BY FAR.

All thanks to position-sizing.