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The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within 
Your emotions are your greatest enemy. One of the most difficult aspects of trading in today's market is handling your emotions. For many months we have struggled through a market and an economy that has been difficult to say the least and frankly it has been very emotional for many.  To say do not get emotional is pointless. Everyone is emotional about money and is one of the most significant obstacles to trading success.  Large losses manifest as fear and large gains manifest as greed. Both are equally destructive to further success in trading. 

The memories of the large losses or large wins stay with us and cause an inability to move forward.  Our challenge is to learn from those trades and not make the same mistakes as well as duplicate what we did that was successful.  In the case of a loss yes remember what went wrong but forget about the trade.  It is a fine line but the best traders forget about a loss the minute they take it and move on. They are confident in their system and their ability to execute it. It is not about the money for these people. It is about finding a system that will bring them more profits than losses. The best traders know how to take losses and not become depressed angry jealous disgusted or defeated. They know how to take gains without gloating boasting or becoming outrageously happy. They only see the trade that they are about to enter not the trade that just ended. All past trades are out of sight and out of mind. Refer to your trading journal to review your trades to find out what worked and what did not but do not dwell on any particular trade. 

Fear is a learned response to a particular event or probability. In the case of trading when you have a trade that goes bad the regret and frustration can carry over into the next trade. Or worse the fear is so consuming that you do not enter your next trade. Of course Murphy's Law dictates that the trade you do not enter turns out to be the stock that has the big gain and is the one that you should have entered which only compounds your frustration and adds to your greed. This particular problem is fueled by the expectation that every trade you enter should be profitable and we all know that not every trade will be profitable. 

Greed creates the opposite problem. With a couple of consecutive winning trades the ego can enlarge and feeling invincible overcomes logic. This will ultimately lead you to trades that you normally would not have entered. Finding good trades is hard enough while finding poor trades seems to get much easier after a couple of winners. Never mistake genius for a little luck. 

Fear blinds us to opportunity; greed blinds us to danger.  Emotions cause perceptual distortion and get in the way of logical thinking.  It is important to recognize your emotions and more importantly how they affect your investing and trading approach.  Emotions cannot be eliminated but they can be controlled.  You must be under control when you trade. Somebody sold KOSP today at $50.71.  They lost control; do not let this happen to you.  Keep your stops in place and take the emotion out of the trade.

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