Taking a Loss – It Only Hurts for a Little While

In bull markets everyone suddenly becomes an expert when their investments appreciate. What a marvelous turn of events. It is however that small segment of traders who have traded both sides of the divide using an informed trading procedure that will appreciate the irony of having the Midas touch.

The kind of protégés the bull market produces are deluded into believing in their rapidly acquired expertise, while engaging in the rampant growth investing demanded by Efficient Markets Theory. They are deprived of any opportunity to undertake any fundamental analysis to speak of, and a rarely called upon to exercise any discipline. Their clearly profitable trading process will most likely avoid review.

Security of property and resources is fundamental to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and in the pursuit of self interest, a human being will rarely find anything remotely attractive about a loss. Still, the inability to appreciate something ought not to be determinant of its existence, and a small loss will most definitely endure to be preferred over a large one.

Ultimately, no one participant is bigger than the market however, some individuals such as Warren Buffet standout with alarmingly consistent success. In response to how he became so wealthy A.J. Rockefeller merely replied ‘I guess I took my profits too soon’. The premise that traders such as these are simply lucky is ludicrous.

Integral to a trader’s systemic process is self realization. Unless traders can identify Maslow’s Hierarchy at work in themselves, they will be at continual risk of the inherent emotion that the Market feeds upon. For this reason, a non-reflective person will provide an easy target in the routine short covering rally, or the institutional sell-off that triggers all but the Governor’s stop loss order. Greed will cause such a person to watch a profitable position dissolve and crystallize into a loss; a traumatizing experience. Similarly, when looking into the abyss of capital loss, rather than finding character, such a person finds the fortitude to demand their preferred exit price. In the face of a disastrous inflation figure or even a war, this is the kind of stuff that nightmares are made off.

When a trader knows themselves, and caters for their idiosyncratic limitations within a considered trading process, they will find that taking responsibility for that process and the decisions therein, actually sets one free – free to trade again with undivided attention. When taking a loss, take it all at once, it only hurts for a little while.

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