The Peril Of Celebrating Wins

February 12, 2016 | David Starr

One of the most memorable characters from my business school days was an organizational behavior professor who loved to call BS on common business platitudes. Anyone who suggested that the solution to any tough problem was to first get “buy in” would immediately hear, “buy in? BUY IN!?!? You want to furlough half the department [or whatever was to be accomplished]. How the ^%$# do you expect to get buy in?”

He would also bristle at any suggestion that managers could set the company culture. Culture, he insisted, grew organically. However, even if it couldn’t be dictated from above, he advised that wise leaders could help to shape it. Leaders can choose what a company celebrates and that tends to permeate the business.

Trading may be solitary business where the only culture is our own. But we can still impact how we go about our work by choosing what to celebrate. It is natural to want to revel in a big windfall from a giant win, or boast about entering or exiting a trade at the dead high or dead low. We often want to celebrate when these things happen. We use it as an excuse to give ourselves gifts, or simply congratulate ourselves.

The problem with celebrating our results is that we cannot control them. All we can control is how trade. On two different days one can trade identical setups the identical way and get two different results.

So consider other trading accomplishments to celebrate such as:

  • * Not chasing a move that had already run away;
  • * Cutting loose a small loss before it became a big loss; or
  • * Following your plan.

These are things which are actually your accomplishments.

I find that if I let myself get too excited about the big financial wins then I become too wrapped up in trying to recreate that high. However, if I give myself little treats for doing things the right way then it reinforces good behaviors and the financial side takes care of itself.

You can see more from David Starr in the Simpler Options Live Trading Room.