Of course you do. Because you're human.
No matter what good intentions, you make the wrong choice.
Just one sip of beer at the party, who cares.
Just skip today's workout and have a cheeseburger, who cares.
Sometimes it's trivial, sometimes your career or marriage depends on it, sometimes it's the difference between life and death...change is hard.
I make all these bullshit trades and luckily most of them never get too far because I come to my senses and weasel my way out of it, or I enter with very low risk. And maybe enough of them actually kinda-sorta work out and I control my fees well enough that the long-run expectation of these trades that I categorize as total bullshit gets close to 0. So maybe it's not so bad, it's not costing me that much.
Or is it?
Maybe it would matter more to me if it was the difference between winning and losing. But because I'm still a profitable trader overall, I have no sense of urgency whatsoever.
A small fraction of my best days are just endless bullshit trading followed by recognizing an actual good trade and trading it on a much higher risk level, so not only can I eliminate the losses but also take home a worthwhile profit for all the stress. It's the thrill of digging your own hole and escaping to tell the tale. I admit it's terrible and that I'm terrible and consequentially, I often feel I don't deserve the money that I work so hard for.
It keeps going.
Just a few moments ago I closed out a bullshit trade for a trivial loss that I'll probably forget about in a couple hours.
I entered at a price that wasn't valid for how I want to structure my entries and I stopped out at a price that didn't make sense either. I just did it because... well, why not? what if it works and I'm not in it?
|Spoiler alert, it didn't work out.|
Now there's this nagging discomfort that's sitting with me. I try to cope with the feeling by telling myself "it's not that much money, I'm still up on the day." This is a script I've been replaying over and over for my entire trading career.
Deep down, I'm anguishing... asking myself... why... why did you do that? What was the point?
Every now and then, it boils over: you know what... fuck you. You piece of shit, what the fuck do you think you're doing? I'M OUT. Then I shut everything off and kick a wall or a bedpost like a petulant child.
This deeply unhealthy internal monologue has become normal and routine for the last 6 years of my life.
At first, I could chalk it up to ignorance and inexperience. I didn't know what change I wanted to make. Now I actually see what I really want to accomplish and what I want to avoid. I just can't execute.
This is an inability to change. And I've just quietly accepted it.
I'm still doing this shit. I just did it again.
I'm not stopping. Probably.
"Today I'll be patient", "today I'll do things right", but that's all talk and you know it and I know it.
As long as I'm still making money overall, who cares.
Here's a dirty little secret I learned awhile back: the more money I make, the unhappier I am. That nagging discomfort after every single decision I make--whether it be winning trades or losing trades--just becomes magnified 100x when trading at a high risk level. Winning does not cure all. My psyche is just permanently locked in on self-loathing mode.
I'm starting to realize you can't win this game just by making money.
I hate writing out cliches, I can't stand trading blogs and twitter trading accounts that just spew trading cliche bullshit, and this is absolutely 100% going to sound like trading cliche bullshit but here goes:
How do you really win at this game, Peter?
You win this game with the right mindset.
Ugh, let me clean out the bile from my mouth and expand...
Win or lose, no matter what, you're fine. It's not a big deal
Supreme confidence and poise, not just after a nice winning streak, but maintained every single day because you know you can make the right choices every time.
How much is it worth to me to truly be the master of my own domain? If I could just say no to a bullshit trade and accept the result every time? I can only imagine. Probably worth a lot more than the bullshit $100 trade I'm considering an entry on.
Now excuse me, I'm going to go back to trading like an asshole, thank you very much.