I had a fascinating day, today. At the end of yesterday, I wrote in my trade journal about a forming BO-4 and even placed an order but when it did not get filled, I cancelled because I don’t want to hold overnight as the ETFs have a tendency to gap open. I thought that if the setup was still there in the morning, I would take it.
I had ample opportunity to get in this morning. If I didn’t trade the BO-4, I had another opportunity to trade it as a BO-2. I didn’t take either. I was totally distracted for my entire trading time. The trade would have been a beauty, price moved more than 7% and I probably would have caught three to four percent.
I could feel that something was wrong and I projected that onto the trade, saying that the trade lacked a certain Je ne sais quoi. But I was the problem, not the setup. I totally lacked focus. I did everything but look for the best setups. That should be my job. I should be spending two hours a day looking for setups. In retrospect it all seems kind of funny that I didn’t know what was going on, but I was in avoidance mode.
It was absolutely because I had a big winning trade the day before. That opened the door to an energy that emotionally said, “don’t trade”. It’s strategy today was to distract me. I’m sure it has other strategies. I wasn’t me, today. Something else was taking over my psyche, and very successfully. Whoever it was, it found an effective strategy to keep me from trading.
Now, I’m not too upset about it. I had no business trading if I was distracted, so I don’t regret missing the move. If I was distracted and that wasn’t really me in my chair making decisions, then I was better off not risking capital. But I can’t let this entity get the upper hand. I’ve worked too hard and I want this too much to let unconscious energies control my actions.
Fortunately, I’ve done over 1000 hours of Jungian dream work with an analyst in Minnesota. I’ve seen these entities at work in my life. Jung called them complexes. I’ve had to deal with many of them over the last decade. I don’t know who this was visiting me today, but I’ll get to the bottom of it. I know the best response is to stand up to the complexes, to simply show them by action who is in charge and they will diminish. The first thing is to recognize them. Without recognition there’s no place to start. But once you recognize them and you have a willingness to face them, you can diminish their power by showing them that they cannot control you.
So, I need a simple ritual every morning that tells me if I am who I think I am. And I should probably repeat the ritual half-way through my trading day. Am I looking for setups? If I’m not, then I’m not doing my job. Something has distracted me. Tell the distraction that it is not welcome here and get back to business.
Now, I know I probably sound like I’m speaking some kind of Mumbo Jumbo. But when I do things, and I can’t understand why I would do such a thing, then it wasn’t me doing the thing! It helps to personify whatever it was that took me over. Something controlled me. By personifying it, I can talk to it and tell it that it is not welcome here. It does not have my best interests at heart.
I suspect that I’ll face more than one of these ‘ghosts of my past’. Fear gripped me today, but not in a way that I would have thought. I would have expected clammy hands and racing heart. But, I got it as distraction so it didn’t even look like fear.
Tomorrow, I have a beauty of a setup waiting to happen. When it sets up, I’m going to take it and with real money. It doesn’t matter if the trade is a winner or a loser, it only matters that I execute as flawlessly as possible. That’s the one thing that I need to tattoo on my brain. It’s the ultimate answer to the fear of defeat. Go ahead and lose, if that’s what’s going to happen, but lose gracefully, trading with exemplary execution of the rules.
So, today wasn’t really a failure, it was a gift. That may sound trite but I really feel that way. It showed me something important about myself. I suspect learning to trade ultimately becomes far more about learning about one’s self than learning about the market. I think the key is to keep a good attitude that looks forward. Like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb.