Don’t Let a Trade Define You

As traders and investors we often judge ourselves by the wins/losses in our buying/selling activities.  Yet, the results – while they do matter – are only a small part of the overall success you will achieve.  Many are destined to succeed based on their account growth, yet others (like myself) consider success as it relates to longevity.  Regardless, one should not let their net worth equate to their self worth.  What do I mean here?  Don’t let your bottom line, or even your last trade define who you are as a person.

It is said that ‘you are only as good as your last trade’, and for those who need to be humbled – well, that is certainly the case.  However, I prefer to look at an entire body of work to judge the success of an investor or trader.  While we certainly need to rack up more wins than losses, the extent of a trader/investor career is far more important in my book.  Though we may have losses in the trade they are simply a result of the environment.

There will always be losses along with wins in trading, but that doesn’t mean you are inadequate nor does it mean your are a failure.   Yet, how we manage our own minds in crucial situations makes the difference for handling setbacks – big or small.  In option trading, one can still be successful with a negative win/loss rate.  Much like a baseball player (who is considered a success making outs 7 of 10 at bats), an options trader can fail 60-70% of the time (on individual trades) and still positively grow an account.

Recently, a subscriber in our chat room was going to give up trading entirely after a bad trade result.  A newbie trader, this young man saw his account move up nicely until a recent drawdown pulled him back, and then he started to over-size trades, something we talk about often as the wrong thing to do.  He was really upset, bothered and felt like a loser,  feeling bad enough that his trading results affected his attitude at home.

When I probed further about the issue it seemed he made some mistakes that were correctable, and as I pointed this out to him this trader started to feel much better about himself.  He made some changes to his approach and in fact the next trade he made was a positive result, yet he didn’t feel invincible.  You see the highs and lows with trading results but if you can manage the emotions and just focus on the task at hand, you will find yourself moving forward and feeling much better about yourself.  BL , Senior Market Strategist, Explosive Options.