I have grown up around titans of the ultimate man’s game. The commodities and futures traders of legend are simple names to me. Dad, for one. And Paully and Bruce… Individuals who are as much myth as man to most people on Wall Street are very much just flesh and blood. But it was not until I had a turn with my very own stake that I realized why these men were legends. It is because they have found a way to master the two most dangerous aspects of the human psyche: Fear and Greed.
When you see the market reverse a few handles before your exit point, shooting sharply in the other direction, risking everything you have battled for in a hard fought month and threatening to send you spiraling into the negative… Fear takes over. I know. It starts in your balls, which tuck into your gut like tiny marsupials, and continues to your throat where some invisible specter is giving you the rape choke of a lifetime. But that is exactly what the market is looking for–To take out the weak, collect their profits (and possibly their souls!) before returning to its business, leaving you emasculated, naked and shivering like a metro-sexual in a prison shower.
But how do you get to a point where you are risking everything on one days turn? Greed; The left hand of the devil that causes you to pull out your calculator and play little games with yourself. “What if my position was this big…Ooooh, that’s nice.” And then as soon as you start thinking insanely, you lose sight of what is a strong and reasonable gain. When 5-10% gain in a month seems like you are moving too slow, you know Greed has you on the ropes and is gonna treat you like Evander Holyfield in a gospel inspired pugnacious fervor. After a few rounds of being softened up with those hooks to the body, Fear comes in with the knockout punch. You exit your positions early, and are left taking a loss when you were right all along.
I have observed these mechanisms at work in myself over the past month. I turned a huge profit into a small loss, while being completely 100% correct about the general direction of the market. If I would have just held my small position from the beginning, not been greedy, I would be off to an amazing start. But instead I was whipped around by the turbulence and beaten to a pulp, drained of sleep and spirit, distracted from my purpose, and ended up losing money! Amazing!
Like the Enzyte commercials have been telling us all along… Size Matters. If you are too big you are gonna get into trouble and wind up at the clinic. If you are too small you are gonna be pissed off that you don’t get to plunge into the depth of that sweet stuff. (Victory that is the fight continues on, and I’ll keep you posted.
My score as it stands is 45 points. Lets see if my lessons learned in Fear and Greed can get me back to 50 points in time for part 2.
To be continued in part II: “Follow Your Own Light.”