Friday, May 15, 2015

Turning Your Defeats Into Your Development

One of the interesting commonalities among the Market Wizards interviewed by Jack Schwager is that many suffered blow ups early in their careers.  Those implosions turned into important lessons that shaped their future success.  Their success came, not just from winning, but from turning the downs in their trading into ups.  Without the failures, they would not have achieved their successes.

I find this is true in relationships as well.  It sometimes takes a seriously failed relationship to teach a person what they truly need in a good relationship.  Many a happy marriage has been preceded by an unhappy prior relationship.  The same is often found in career development.  One doesn't find the right direction until pursuing some wrong ones.  The downs in life provide fuel for the ups.  That is part of being alive.

Here's a great exercise for your trading journal.  Divide the page into three columns:

In the first column of the journal entry, identify your greatest trading failure during the past week.  Was it a missed opportunity that your process should have picked up?  Was it a trade taken that truly lacked an edge?  Was it poor implementation of a good idea or an idea that you simply took from the crowd?  

In the second column, assess the consequences of that trading failure?  How much did that failure cost you?  In actual losses?  In lost opportunity?  In your mood or focus?  In subsequent bad trading?  We don't change our patterns unless we sustain awareness of their costs.  When we emotionally recognize the consequences of our actions, we find the motivation to make changes.

In the third column, clearly formulate a plan of action for correcting that trading failure over the coming week.  This becomes your mandate, your overarching goal for the week.  You will assess the success of the week based upon your ability to turn trading defeats into your development as a trader.

Imagine sustaining such a journal project for an entire year.

Imagine a parallel project for improving yourself as a spouse, as a parent, or as a professional in your work.

Turning failure into success fuels growth.  Continuously turning failure into success fuels resilience.  This journal exercise, over time, builds the spirit as well as the performance.

Further Reading:  Five Features of Great Traders