Children attend school for 12 to 16 years, and it is often reinforced that the instructor is always correct. For example, as a student, you are required to take tests. You learned that if you get fewer than 70% of the questions correct, you are a failure. “Why didn’t you receive 100?” your father asks when you show it to him. So, your father expected you to be correct as well. As a result, we have a strong desire to be correct. If you don’t get it correctly at least 70% of the time, you’re labeled a failure. However, you want to be correct 100% of the time so that your father does not criticize you. As a result, you begin to criticize yourself first in order to solve the problem before your dad does.
Let’s take that and apply it to the stock market, market, or any other investment you could make. You want to be correct, and that to you means making money. Let’s assume you buy a stock for $100 and know how to establish a stop loss: if it drops below $95 per share, you’ll sell.
Let’s assume the price falls to $95 per share. You really want to be right, so you’d be wrong if you got out, or at least feel like you were. Your mind races with ideas such as, “It’s simply a temporary setback.” “Analysts expect a significant boost in this quarter; I’m reluctant to sell at this time.” “What if a few traders are manipulating the downturn?”
So you hang onto the stock and watch it fall even further. It drops to $90. Now you have a 2R loss. If it was hard to take a 1R loss, it’s even harder to take a 2R loss. And all the same, arguments apply. Thus, you hold onto your stock. Now the stock drops to $85 and you have a 3R loss. You know you really should get out, but now your portfolio is down $4k and you can really write off $3k in losses, so you’d better keep this stock. You know it will turn around.
Now you know why a psychologist and an economist won the Nobel Prize in economics for basically showing that it was very hard for people to take losses. People according to those Nobel prize winners become much more “tolerant of risk” when they are behind. The Nobel winners also showed that people tend to tolerate little risk when they are ahead, making it difficult to let profits run.
People tolerate risk more when they are behind (i.e won’t cut their losses) and tolerate risk less when they are ahead (i.e they won’t let their profits run).
So what can you do about your need to be right?
Instead of focusing on being right, focus on not making any mistakes, whereas a mistake occurs when you don’t follow your rules. Your rules should be the golden rules of trading (previous article material).
If you consider breaking these rules as being wrong (i.e., making a mistake), you’ll find that suddenly you can make money in the stock market or any other investment field.
In short, you must think in terms of probabilities and statistics. As a result, you can pay attention to just following your system, and making as few mistakes as possible, because when you do that, you “know” what your results will be in the long run (knowing the expectancy of your system).
Trade with care.
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