Events outside the markets taught me another important trading lesson this week…
I’m currently away skiing, and as I write, the sun is lighting up a mountain peak that towers over the village…
My children are merrily sledging away on a slope at the back of the apartment, and the fresh mountain air has given us all a healthy glow. Perfect.
But the journey here… oh my goodness!
And there it was…
The Lesson: No matter how carefully you have made your plans, something can ALWAYS go wrong
It’s no use getting frustrated… wasting time figuring out what you could have, should have, or would have done. Sometimes you just have to accept things don’t go as you’d expect.
And it’s not always easy to do. I must admit, it took a while before I could shrug off this journey from hell…
Our bags were packed well in advance, boarding passes and passports all present and correct, Swiss rail tickets booked and confirmed, and friends had arranged to collect us from the train station once we arrived.
All we had to do was catch the plane.
So I’m sure you can guess where this is heading!
We set off to the airport in plenty of time. The children were excited but on best behaviour (you probably know it takes three times longer to accomplish any task with children in tow, but on this occasion they were faultless).
By the time we’d battled through the early morning motorway traffic, things were looking tight. We only had fifteen minutes to make check-in.
Parked the car, sprinted to the check-in desks (dragging the children along at full speed) and I thought we’d just made it…
Not so fast!
“Sorry Sir, the Geneva flight closed three minutes ago.”
I felt the colour drain from my face.
To be fair, the airline was very good. They let us run with our cases straight down to the gate. But by the time we’d cleared security we were just in time to see the steps being pulled away from the plane.
After lots of sobbing and wailing about missed holidays, a couple of frantic phone calls (and a large dent in my credit card) got us onto the evening flight.
We drove home to get a few hours sleep only to find workmen doing emergency repairs on the water pipes in the road. We couldn’t get the car up the drive and had to wade through a muddy trench to get to the house.
(And even then we couldn’t make a cup of tea – no water!)
But just to top it off…
By the time we’d eventually flown, landed, and caught the late night train out of Geneva, we fell under the watchful eye of a shifty gang pacing up and down the carriages.
Do you ever get bad vibes off certain people or places?
You know there’s a good chance of bad things happening?
I was suddenly very aware of our young family members asleep in their seats, iPads left in full view on the tables and luggage strewn throughout the carriage in the overhead racks.
To an opportunistic bag-snatcher (or worse)we must have looked like a dream come true.
So with eyes rolling around in their sockets through sheer tiredness, I spent the next 2 hours trying to maintain a kind of special-forces style observation drill as these unsavory characters moved in and out of the seats around us.
They ended up getting thrown off the train for not having tickets – much to my relief. But sure enough, one of our party travelling the next day, on the same night train, had his wallet stolen from his coat pocket.
It’s probably this gang’s regular little jaunt.
So what’s all that got to do with trading?
Well, next time you feel frustrated that your previously flawless system has taken a couple of unexpected losses, don’t worry. These things happen.
Did that economic report drive the market against your position? Even though it was OBVIOUS how the big players were teeing themselves up?
Again, don’t sweat it. This isn’t a perfect world and there will always be pieces of information – rumours, conspiracies and collusions – you simply will never know about in advance.
You just have to grin and bear it.
Did that textbook trade stop you out only to reverse and continue exactly as you originally anticipated?
Accept it. You acted in your best interests, according to the information you had at your disposal at the time.
You can’t go back and do anything about it now, so shake yourself free of negative thoughts and move right on to the next opportunity.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time discussing this with my beta-testers recently… do you think can you get yourself to accept the fact you don’t need to be perfectly accurate with your trades?
Seriously, it can be so liberating to actually ENJOY taking losing trades safe in the knowledge your long-term expected outcome shows a positive edge… a profit!
The result of each individual trade should be meaningless to you… easier said than done, I know.
Especially since the markets do have a weird way of testing your mettle.
They’ll very often bowl you a googly two or three times in quick succession – just as in everyday life, you often get strings of ‘bad luck’ with one thing coming straight after another.
I suppose it is easy to be philosophical – especially when you’re not feeling this kind of pressure directly, but do keep these words of wisdom in mind next time you are working your way through a temporary sticky patch…
They come from a man who has first-hand experience of keeping the right mindset in place under the most testing circumstances. Here they are:
“If you are going through hell, keep going”
Be Prepared: Market Moving Data Coming This Week (London Time):
Tuesday 25th February:
15:00 USD CB Consumer Confidence
Wednesday 26th February:
09:30 GBP Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
15:00 USD New Home Sales
17:00 USD FOMC Rosengren Speaks
Thursday 27th February:
13:30 USD Durable Goods
15:00 USD Fed Chair Yellen testifies
15:30 USD FOMC Fisher speaks
Friday 28th February:
10:00 EUR Consumer Price Index
13:30 USD Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
15:00 USD Pending Home Sales
15:30 GBP BOE Gov Carney speaks
Monday 3rd March:
08:53 EUR German Manufacturing PMI
09:28 GBP Manufacturing PMI
15:00 USD ISM Manufacturing PMI
Tuesday 4th March:
03:30 AUD Interest Rate Decision
I’m back on home soil by the end of the week (hoping the journey home runs a bit smoother!) and I’ll be working on an article contrasting Forex trading against Futures trading ready for next week’s issue. This one comes on special request from a reader.
Don’t forget – If you do have any particular topics or questions you’d like me to cover please do drop me a line.
I’ll try my very best to cover all requests I think will be of benefit and interest. (And if I can’t cover your question in a full-blown article, I’ll always get back to you privately with my thoughts and suggestions).