Eventually I turned my PC off and walked around with a beating heart and a tight chest. My wife could tell something was wrong. I told her. She listened. She has absolutely no idea what a day trader does, but it made me feel better. She didn’t judge me. She didn’t question me. She just listened. That conversation allowed me some perspective that I hadn’t afforded myself before because I had nobody to speak with about it.
To be clear, this wasn’t the first big loss I had taken. I had many of them before. The difference being that this time I had somebody to tell. All the previous times I had nobody. The people that I could tell wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t want to understand so I would just bottle it up and keep churning over the losses again and again.
The feeling of almost instant financial loss is like getting punched in the gut whilst a girlfriend (who you are still love madly) runs off with your best friend. What makes it worse is you never saw it coming, or if you did, it happened so quickly you had no time to react. Every time you then think about her you get that sick feeling in your stomach. For me this was the same feeling I carried around after harvesting a big loss.
With nobody to openly discuss what just happened, means you only have yourself, and you are not always the best listener of you!
Prepare for some dark days ahead
What has this got to do with lining up family and friends as your support network? More than you think. During your trading career, you will have a Black Monday moment. It happens to every trader at some point in their career, whether it is self-inflicted through lack of discipline, a mad rush of blood to the head or the market experiences a Flash Crash. It is an unavoidable rite of passage. I am not saying it should be worn as a badge of honor, but you will know when it happens to you.
In addition you will probably experience many mini Black Monday moments too. These are the “dammit” moments, where you just did something wrong or you get blindsided. They are not show stopping losses to your account, but they are frustrating episodes, nonetheless. And too many of these moments strung together is death by a thousand cuts for your trading account.
You might be thinking (now you are aware of it) you can make sure you avoid it from happening altogether. The thing is, you won’t be able to stop it. It will happen, and when it does if you don’t have the unconditional support from your family and friends during these dark times, they can manifest and become much more challenging waters to navigate than they need to be.
Your support network doesn’t even have to know what futures trading or day trading is, or even understand your error, but you need to know they will support you every step of the way.
Let me give you an example. It was a regular trading day many years ago. So regular in fact that I can’t even remember when it was. There was nothing special going on in the markets at the time, apart from a few trades here and there, but from out of nowhere I had strung multiple losing trades together and was $3,000 down in the space of a few minutes. I had completely lost my focus and discipline and I subsequently wanted the market to pay for my mistakes! Ultimately, I paid the market.
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