I look at each day of trading as being a finite period, and I renew the ritual each session with fresh eyes, a clear head and a keen awareness of what is around me. We'll see success and failure and some in between, but each time I get back into the cockpit, ready to fly, there is always an opportunity in front of me.
We see good days and bad days. The emotions are always triggered -- I don't care if you trade an high-frequency trading program, draw charts by hand or just read the tape.
But ups and downs are part of the game, so winning or losing each day is not my focus. Rather, survival over time is my ultimate achievement -- though, of course, that means more winning days. On the other hand, investors with a long-term horizon can get in and buy the dips with confidence, taking advantage of mistakes and mispricings.
But how do we know when it's time to get in or get out, and deal with the day-to-day gyrations that move our emotions? We try hard to disconnect our feelings from the trade, but it's nearly impossible. Prior to my current position, I managed several fund managers and sought out many others in my search for the best performers for my own pension and 401k fund. It was a grind trying to find the best ones for me -- but it was worth all the due diligence.
A colleague of mine who runs a fund is one of the best stock-pickers I have ever seen. She is a tireless worker, always trying to get an edge and to compete in a world dominated by men. She reads, listens, watches and learns new things. She belongs, and not just because of her performance -- which is outstanding --but because of sheer persistence, dedication and the fight to win.
Still, she is not so naïve as to believe every day has to be perfect. You deal with the good and the bad, keep a level head, focus and do the right thing. In this way, you win -- plain and simple.
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