The outcome of a trade is never a sure thing. There’s always an element of chance. When going long, for example, all indicators may suggest a strong and solid trend, but it’s possible that an unanticipated, adverse event could ruin it all. You can never know for sure what will happen. But that’s all right. You don’t need to have everything fall into place every time you make a trade. It’s not the outcome of any single trade that matters, it’s the big picture. The bottom line is the total profits you make across a series of trades.
Thinking of the big picture helps relieve pressure. You can calmly think, “What’s there to worry about? It’s just one trade among many.” Thinking of the bigger picture is a great thinking strategy that you can use to calm down. Here’s another one: Fight like you deserve to win, but don’t focus on the outcome.
In his book “1776,” author David McCullough described how the Founding Fathers of the United States didn’t focus on whether or not they would win the Revolutionary War. In their minds, the final outcome of the war was not in their control. In the end, victory was in the control of a higher power, destiny, or fate. All they could do was gallantly fight the war to the point that they deserved to win. That isn’t to say that they just thought they should give up and assume they couldn’t win. Indeed, it was far from that. They believed in fighting persistently and gracefully so that regardless of the outcome, they could feel at peace knowing that they fought as bravely as they could.
Ever heard the phrase, “Winning is the only thing”? Winning is important, but ironically, it can’t be “the only thing.” A more apt saying for success is, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” If you trade with resolution and discipline, you’ll be more likely to achieve success. You must respect trading and the markets. You can’t impose your will on the markets. The markets will do whatever they want. You must be ready to accept what the markets have to offer you. It’s vital to enjoy the process of trading. It’s intellectually challenging.
You can use your creative abilities to identify trading opportunities and feel a sense of accomplishment by solving difficult problems. Sometimes you’ll win, but many times you will lose. But each trading opportunity has a little something to teach you about yourself, the markets, and trading. It may be just a little thing, like how you can accept taking a loss after a fluke ruined a perfectly good trade. Or maybe you will merely learn something about your current limitations. There’s always something to learn. Whatever you do, though, don’t get caught up focusing entirely on winning. You can’t completely control whether you win or lose and when you think about winning, you just get distracted.
Enjoy the process of trading. Fight hard; try to overcome every obstacle. But do it because you love it, not because you need to win. If you can step away from the idea that winning is all that matters, you’ll be able to control your emotions. When you encounter a setback, you won’t experience self-doubt or inadequacy. Instead, you will actively and creatively think about what you can do next. What is the next step you can take to bring you closer to your goals? It’s hard to do.
In modern society, we are driven to win, but ironically, the people who actually win in the long run aren’t consumed with winning. They are consumed with the process of trading, honing their skills, and gaining a sense of peace knowing that they have worked to the best of their abilities. They feel satisfied just knowing that they have put in a noble effort.