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In Trading, the Perfect Moment Is Always Now


Every minute in the markets is unique; anything can happen at any time.

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, and find your eternity in each moment."
-- Henry David Thoreau

How do we create our best life? How do we find that longed-for balance of fulfillment, serenity, financial stability, and comforting relationships? When do we achieve these things? How do we do when they are real?

There are thousands of so-called experts on this subject. They claim to know more about what's good for us than we do ourselves. They bombard us with a continual flood of information and incentives about how to improve our health, our income, our looks, and just about every aspect of our lives. Vulnerable and needy individuals are thirsting for their advice. The "perfect life gurus" are selling something we want. They're selling the hope of an outcome, and we're buying -- to the tune of billions of dollars a year!

How is this working out for us? Is it actually working out? Or are we getting stuck in hope and not moving beyond it? For most of us, it seems we're neither achieving the outcome and, perhaps more unsettling, we seem to have lost our way.

Hope and outcome aren't bad in and of themselves. Great achievements started with hope, but they needed action to implement them. Hope without action is just that. Outcome? We can't know what we don't know and no one knows the future. As a trader, one of my daily affirmations is: Detach from the outcome of each trade.

Even after the carnage of 2008, there are traders that refuse to sell short because they're attached to the outcome of being long. "It's anti-American, disloyal to short," say those who hold on to stocks far longer than they should. "You're turning your back on a long-time friend! Winners never quit and quitters never win," and so on. They're attached to the outcome, thinking that letting go of their unproductive stock picks would prove disastrous ("They will come back -- I just know it!"). Many are still in the buy and cry mode, despite suffering enormous losses to their portfolios. They've stepped out of the present moment into the hands of some unknown future where they've relinquished their personal power to an unknown future.

This is similar to people who stay in bad relationships. Even though the hurtful behaviors never change, some days are better than others -- enough to create the slim hope that he or she will one day wake up and everything will be just wonderful. Meanwhile, the relationship is like a roller coaster ride with breathtaking dips, pitches, jolts, bumps, and curves. What might have been fun and enjoyable becomes painful, unpredictable, and out of control. A couple with that sort of yo-yo pattern is attached to the outcome that things will be better -- tomorrow. So they don't live in "today," staying instead in the rut of hope -- day after day, tomorrow after tomorrow. Eventually they wake up and realize nothing they'd hoped for came true for them. What a sad day that is! It doesn't have to be yours.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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