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Leave the ego at the door

Let go my Ego.  
There's an old Eggo waffle commercial where the waffle pops up from the toaster two people grab on to it and one says Let go my Eggo. Well believe it or not that commercial can be a lesson for our trading.  Everyone wants to win in the stock market.  It is only natural to feel good when we have done our homework and end the day with a profit to reward our efforts. 

However our ego is not a good thing to let get in the way of our trading. When we let our egos get involved with our trading we start getting emotional. If a trade is green we feel good about ourselves; if the trade goes into the red we feel diminished.  That places tremendous pressure on our trading over time.  Not only do we have the burden and challenge of reading complex market patterns; now we also have a psychological gun pointed to our head ready to go off any time our pattern recognition fails us. 

Most traders are aware of the dangers of trading with too much on the line in any one position.  Ego traders can get in trouble quickly when they get on a winning streak.  They start increasing the size of their positions thinking they can make a bigger profit. 

The minute they start doing that they are going to have problems because emotion really kicks in when position size increases. For example a trader accustomed to trading 1000 shares where each tick in the stock is worth $100 will feel overwhelmed jumping to 10000 shares where each tick now moves the account $1000.  With the stakes raised to such a degree the same trade would no longer feel the same. 

It would be hard to let a position go against you by a point ($10000 instead of $1000) and it would be difficult to let a profit run.  This greater position size will inevitably affect decisions about cutting losses letting profits run and entering/exiting in a timely fashion.  The successful trader WANTS their trades to be profitable; the egoinvolved trader NEEDS their trades to be profitable. There is a big difference between wanting and needing and when someone takes off more than they can chew with an enormous position size they are letting their ego get the best of them.  

Emotional Rescue
We know that ego threatens our trading when we find ourselves needing to trade just to make back some recently lost dollars; when we feel a desire to advertise our positions to our friends; and when we find ourselves riding an emotional roller coaster.  Egoinvolved traders go from euphoria to depression very quickly. They ride the emotional roller coaster almost daily when instead they need emotional rescue. 

The Antidote
The only antidote for egoinvolved trading that I know of is to place our selfesteem eggs in many baskets. This includes other activities aside from trading like recreational interests other work involvements relationships and our spiritual lives.  Many times we pour our selfesteem into trading because those other facets of our lives are not properly developed.  A balanced life makes for balanced trading.  We can take some of the ego out of trading by learning from others by becoming a candle that lights other candles and by using a portion of market profits to help others make a wish come true.  If our good feelings in life come from good relationships and worthy achievements we will not need the markets for our happiness.  Market success can be the icing on the cake of our successful life but rarely can it be a substitute for the cake itself.

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