Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Only one thing brought me any pleasure from today's trading session - Dinara Safina was battered, bullied and embarrassed by Maria Sharapova. It was gone 4am again but unlike yesterday, I allowed a thin smile of malice to cross my lips as I slipped under the duvet. Aside from that, today was an absolute shambles.
Right from the word go, my mindset was wrong. The inside of my head felt like a tumble dryer on full-spin. I still hadn't decided exactly what my plan of action was; did I stick to my old strategy alone, phase in the new one, keep paper-trading or switch to the new one entirely? I'd thought about it all day but when the time came, I couldn't decide and so ended up in a complete mess. I was following 3 or 4 games at the same time, my eyes flicking from scoreboard to stream constantly. I barely looked up from my laptop for the first couple of hours. My mind was racing with thoughts, trying to keep up with the action and assessing which strategy could possibly be used in which game at which point. I began by using my original strategy on the Jankovic v Ivanovic game but had to red-up. Later on, I tried the new strategy and it worked - back in the green. I then used the new strategy again and was looking good for a big green but became anxious and reverted to the old get-out point. This cost me a good green and I ended up frustrated and with little to show for my efforts.
I followed this up with an insanely bad trade on Azarenka v Radwanska, which I only did because I had paper-traded the start of the game and would have profited instantly. The frustration at yet another missed win, led to me getting involved too soon and I redded-out. I started to feel really uncomfortable and was not enjoying the session at all. I once again, got involved at the wrong point in the Schiavone v Peer game, trying to force things too early. I switched and did the opposite only for the market to turn and leave me facing a big red within seconds. I couldn't contain my emotions anymore. I was hot, flustered and on the verge of tears. My muscles ached, forehead pulsed and my eyes were as dry as Ghandi's sandal. I was all ready to either do something very stupid or just give up altogether. The stress was overwhelming.
But then I did something very unusual, something I'd never done before. Instead of doing my usual head-slapping, wall-punching, self-berating, I suddenly just stopped, mid-breakdown. I stood up and with one sharp movement of my hands downwards, I ordered myself to end this madness. Immediately, I talked myself into being almost insanely positive! Even though I didn't feel like it at all, I forced myself to smile, look forward to the next game, push-aside any anxiety and stress and act as if I had no worries. I didn't even take a break, I just sat straight back down, opened up the Gasquet v Melzer stream and acted as if the last couple of hours had never happened. I pretended that I had a full bank, was looking forward to watching an entertaining match and that I had the best job in the world, with no financial pressure on the outcome. And it worked!! Any time I felt just a smidgen of negativity appear or any thought about the previous losses, I would eliminate it instantly and force myself to concentrate on ENJOYING the match and saying positive things to myself. The profit speaks for itself. I was absolutely 100% in the zone during this game. I wasn't cautious in the slightest and went for it, using both strategies.
Things quietened down after this and opportunities were thin on the ground. It didn't help that my paper-trades were again, vastly more profitable. I would have made over £200 today. TWO HUNDRED POUNDS!!! A total of 6 wins and 1 loss. The one loss was, you guessed it, the only game I decided to use real money on (Roddick v Isner). So instead I have £1.95.
So there are two major things to come out of today. Firstly, I must make sure I control my emotions before EVERY trade. It doesn't matter how fake it appears, it seems to focus me and it seems to work. Secondly, I'm definitely changing my system. I will spend tomorrow smoothing out any rough edges and shaping the strategy. I will gradually phase out the old strategy. It is still usable and elements of it I will still keep, but for the most part, I just can't be bothered with it. I've struggled for a whole year trying to make it work and during that whole time, I've thought to myself 'I wish I could find something more suitable to my personality'. Well, I think I have now. After 3 days where I've missed out on hundreds of pounds of profit (and several weeks of monitoring it without looking at how much I would've won), I can't paper-trade any longer. Tomorrow marks a new chapter in my trading life.