I've often wondered whether I should be putting myself through this day after day. I had a bad day yesterday, the first really bad day I've had this year. When I say 'bad', I mean that my losses were completely avoidable and I let one in particular, run way out of control. It annoyed me because I'd done so well this season and now a chunk of my bank has been bitten off. I went to bed in a nasty mood but as I write this, I'm more philosophical about things. I know I won't go on tilt and start chasing (haven't done that for a few months now) and I know the major error I made is unlikely to happen again. Some days, I just wake up in a strange mood and it affects my trading. It's not a bad mood; I don't feel anxious or worried or tired or unfocused. It's more like I'm too casual, like I'm not emotionally sharp enough to be dealing with large sums of money. Because I can't quite put my finger on this emotion and why I'm feeling it, I sometimes don't catch it until mid-trade - and by then, it's often too late.
Although my confidence isn't knocked, my spirit has been somewhat deflated. I always believe that I will come out the other end of the tunnel one day but on days like today, I need to draw inspiration from those who have succeeded. I would urge anyone to read back through Cassini's 'Green All Over' blog and Mark Iverson's blog, from the very beginning, as I have done. Nothing can give you greater inspiration than your own peers. Those blogs, as well as books written by successful financial traders such as Curtis Faith and stories from rich business-men such as Richard Branson, Simon Cowell and Alan Sugar, also are good reminders that even those who succeed go through rough patches.
Branson's 'Virgin' almost went under in the early years and he was fortunate not to end up in prison during an early fraudulent venture as a teenager. Alan Sugar pulled himself back from the brink of financial ruin. Simon Cowell's early record label went bust and he was forced to move back in with his parents in his 30s. But what they all had in common was tenacity and positivity - they never gave up and they learnt from their mistakes. Those are qualities that I believe I possess, although that tenacity can easily be mistaken for stubbornness. It is this stubbornness which I believe can hold many traders back and maybe held me back for months if not years. A refusal to change and try new ways, or a refusal to accept you might be wrong or worst of all, a refusal to accept any form of help or advice, will probably lead to the demise of most sports traders. Giving up too soon is obviously quite weak and a sign of impatience or lack of work ethic but similarly, not knowing when to stop and get help or to ignore what others are saying, is just as destructive.
I'm constantly amazed whenever I see a trader say that they just want to pick up trading from scratch by themselves or go against what experienced traders are saying. For many years, there was practically no help at all available online about trading. Now, it's everywhere and it's not difficult to find forums, books, guides, videos and blogs that will impart valuable knowledge. Why turn all that down just so you can muddle around for months in trial and error? I'd have killed for just a fraction of this readily available knowledge when I started on the exchanges 5 years ago. Everything I find these days only reinforces what I already know but even so, that's very good for morale. To know that you are on the right path and have it confirmed by those who have been there and done that, is a great motivator.
One thing that makes trading unique as a job, is that there are no qualifications, no definitive guide book to follow, no 'right way' pinpointed as the road to success and no mentors, management or award winners to look up to. Most of us don't have anyone to guide us and so we have to motivate and assess ourselves, which requires us to be objective about our performance - a very difficult thing to do. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this trading lark is hard enough as it is without making things harder for yourself by shutting yourself off to other's ideas. Especially when inspiration is out there, if you just look hard enough.
OFF-COURT BEAUTY: World number 1, Caroline Wozniacki of Pol......er, I mean, Denmark: