Manual has a Tendency to Enslave

There is something about things by rote.

They create a groove.

We enter the groove on a repeated basis.

Entering becomes a given.

Our system has aligned itself to entering.

Our system gets comfortable.

It wants to stay there.

It wants more.

How does one extract oneself from this vicious cycle?

Firstly, why do we wish to extract ourselves?

We wish to control Manual, and we don’t want to let Manual control us.

If there’s too much of Manual, our day is gone, and we are not able to attend to more important things in life, like family, extra-curricular activities and all the jazz.

How to go about it is a question of awareness and setting limits.

Thus, you find yourself saying that you will engage to this particular level, and no more, and once this level of engagement is reached, you will put the strategy on auto, and disengage, and remain disengaged till the next screening is due.

Easier said than done, sure.

How is one able to stick to this plan?

If the day is busy, with multiple engagements, one forgets about the activity of the morning by afternoon, because the afternoon has brought with itself a whole new set of activities. Stay busy.

Learn to take small losses in stride. That’ll line you up for the big wins. Strategies left on auto till next screening can incur losses and then get stopped out. That’s part of the deal. Have faith in your stop. You have placed it at a strategic location, where it can not be reached so easily. For your stop to be reached, the market will have to go out of its way. If the market is doing that, you don’t wish to be in the trade anyways. You’re stopped out, and that’s good. That saves you from big losses. Have faith in this philosophy.

So, you’re busy, and you have faith in your philosophy.

You engage, disengage and move on.

You don’t look behind.

That’s how you keep Manual from enslaving you.

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Bifurcation Ability – Do you have it?

No?

Develop it asap, please.

Otherwise, don’t be in more than one market. 

However, who is satisfied with just one market?

That would leave one with a lot of time on one’s hands, wouldn’t it?

Time on hands means looking for another market, and another, and another, till one’s time is fully occupied, and one’s thirst for market activity quenched. 

With multiple markets on one’s radar, one needs to bifurcate. 

As in time and mind compartmentalisation…

…which basically translates as…

…that when you’re working on the one market, you’re not letting any overhang from another market bother you. 

If an overhang is bothering you, take two, or take ten, or take however long it takes to kill the overhang. 

Loss, depression, profit, jubilation, exuberation, whatever cause or emotion is prevailing, let its effect come and let it go. Wait for it to go. Then open the next market. The last thing you want is for the other market to be observed and analysed while there’s emotional bias from a former market. 

Therefore…market done…market closed…next market. There’s no other formula here. 

Most market people are both traders and investors. 

This is the area where they really, really need to bifurcate and compartmentalise. 

Why?

Trading and investing involve diametrically opposite implementation strategies, that is why. 

If you’re making changes within your investment portfolio, but are still in the trading mindset, you are going to make major mistakes, which will most definitely disturb whatever balance you have managed to instill within your investment portfolio. 

Similarly, if you’re looking to open a trade and are still in the investing frame of mind, you are optimally poised to botch up your trade big time. 

This is how I approach the matter. 

I do a first half – second half thing. 

The first half during which the markets are open are for investment decisions. 

Then there’s lunch.

By lunch, I forget how the first half of the day has been spent. At least, I try and forget. 

I let the scrumptious lunch help me drown my memory. 

After lunch, the second half starts, which is dedicated to trading decisions.

Strategies used after lunch are diametrically opposite to the ones used before lunch. 

This works for me. 

There comes a time when there are no more investment decisions to be taken, at least for a while. Markets become expensive, and margin of safety vanishes. One is not thinking of entries. Exits are far, far away, as this is long-term investing. Here is when one can dedicate oneself to one’s trading. One’s got the whole day for it. It’s a great situation, because the need for bifurcation between trading and investing is gone. 

Then there comes a time where no trades are developing. Lovely.

Right, pack up, take a break, let’s go for a short and sweet holiday!