It can be easy to lose sight of what's most important while trading. Your job is to make money, not impress people. Sometimes, even when we're "winning", we feel like we're missing out on something better.
There's a famous meme, The Distracted Boyfriend, and it fits this scenario well.
With so many trading opportunities on a day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month basis, there will always be something bigger and better. It won't take you but a few days of trading before you miss the "most obvious trade" or the "easiest trade ever" or a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. That is until the next one comes along.
It's true, the move higher yesterday may not happen again in your lifetime, but I bet there will be plenty of stocks that have days like they did yesterday again in the future. Granted, they may not all do it on the same day, but moves will happen. And you don't need to catch a day like yesterday to ultimately be successful. Rare is it that a single day will define your entire career.
We get distracted. I'm willing to bet there are a lot of folks staring slack-jawed at the Boeing (BA) moving today, lamenting they missed the obvious bailout buy.
Any trade is only obvious in hindsight.
I have a few approaches in mind to block out the noise and preserve your emotional capital. Beating yourself up for a profitable trade or profitable day because it could have been a more profitable day isn't healthy. It will happen, and you're entitled to a pass now-and-then, but if this is a common occurrence, then consider one of the following.
- Index Only - Don't watch individual stocks at all. Populate your watchlist with a handful of broad and/or sector indexes. Trade those and only those. Block out the noise of individual names. Assuming you aren't using leverage, your highs aren't likely to be as high, but neither are your lows.
- Consistent set of stocks - Follow/trade the same group of stocks day in and day out. Keep your list consistent, swapping out a stock from time to time with something new to keep your mind fresh, but don't do it too often. I would prefer some diversity among the group. If not, then just stick with a sector ETF or broad index.
- Scans - Run nightly or weekly scans to create a list for the next day or upcoming week. This will most often be technical in nature, so don't expect to ever get to "know" a company or stock using this approach.
- News/Catalyst - Thanks to the internet, we have access to breaking news on everything from the latest political develop to what's the most popular jelly flavor in quarantine. You can use this to populate a watchlist each day based on upgrades, downgrades, pending earnings, post-earnings, or any catalyst you find appealing. Often, these are names that will be volatile, so trading opportunities should exist.
- Someone else - There are plenty of software services and traders-for-hire in the world. A good one could populate one of the above mentioned lists for you. I would still urge anyone taking this option to still have their own strategy for using the information rather than following someone blindly, however, for those with limited time, this may be a viable approach.
The most important approach is to turn off the noise. You won't catch every big move. If you make trades and end the day green, you've done your job. Yes, some days will be disappointing, but if you get hung up trying to keep up with the Jones or the person on Twitter posting 1000 wins in a row and talking about it next to a leased fancy sports car, you're bound to drive yourself insane. The only competition here is making money versus losing money in your own portfolio. Remember that, and you should be just fine.