It is the holiday season, a time to spend socializing with family and friends. It’s tempting at those holiday parties to discuss how well your trading is going, but you may want to keep it quiet. Many people are interested in trading and may find you interesting as a successful trader. At first, the attention may be enjoyable, but a need to maintain this reputation may impact your trading attitude, and your ability to maintain an objective, emotion-free mindset.
It is essential that you avoid letting your reputation influence your performance. It is useful to keep your conversation at parties discreet when it comes to your trading career. The more you present yourself socially as a “successful trader,” the more psychological effort you will spend defending this reputation. Several research studies have documented that one of the biggest obstacles to sound decision-making is the need to save face in social situations.
People are so reluctant to face the adverse social consequences of having made a poor decision that they stay on a losing course of action, rather than admitting they were wrong. For example, some traders are reluctant to sell off losers in order to avoid the possible social criticism that acknowledging a failure may bring. This is such a powerful psychological process that it is worth trying to minimize it as much as possible, even if it means avoiding the topic of trading at holiday parties.
Most partygoers are looking for entertainment, and what can be more entertaining than hearing about how to make huge profits in the markets? It may be tempting to brag a little and tell everyone how you’ve bad a bundle or reveal a hot tip. In the short term, it may be fun, but in the long term, there may be a powerful desire to save face. While at a holiday party, suppose you told your friends about a large position you had been holding, but on the days leading up to Christmas, the trade went sour. At the New Year’s Eve party the next week, many of your friends will look forward to asking you how your big trade is doing.
Their expectations may colour how you handle trading decisions. If you are afraid to face the facts that you made a bad trade, you may hold onto the position so that you can claim that the trade is still in play, knowing full well that you are merely postponing the inevitable. The added pressure to perform so as to save face may lurk at the back of your mind and impact your trading decisions. It’s better to avoid getting into such a mess. Keep your trading activities to yourself. Find something else to talk about. You’ll make your life easier.
In social settings, such as a holiday party, once you announce and identify yourself as a trader, you will feel a need to defend your reputation. Trading is hard enough, why introduce additional social and psychological pressures that will adversely influence your trading results? Stay humble and quiet. There is no logical reason to discuss the specifics of your trading career socially. It’s often done just to build up your ego, and enjoy the attention of others. You’ll pay a price for this short-term gratification in the long run. But if you can just stay quiet and keep the specifics to yourself, you’ll avoid embarrassing questions and comments that will interfere with your trading.