A colleague of mine just returned from a scuba diving trip in Cozumel, which just happens to be one of my favorite places to dive. Anyway, she was telling me about an unexpected difficulty she encountered while swimming around the corral reef down about 85 feet. It wasn't anything serious but her story reminded me of something my scuba instructor used to say over and over again. "Plan your dive, and dive your plan".
When you're down about 90 or 100 feet the nitrogen acts on your body in a way that's not too dissimilar to having one dry martini on an empty stomach. It's called Nitrogen Narcosis, Rapture of the Depths, or Martini's Law. So the thing to do is get your planning done while you have a clear head, (i.e. on the surface). And then when you're deep into it, and you're feeling a bit euphoric, or nervous, you don't have to make any decisions about 'what' to do. You just follow your plan.
This holds true for trading as well. When you're feeling the euphoria or nervousness set in, remember to follow your plan. And, uhm yeah,, also have a plan to follow. Clear heads will prevail.
Years ago I had the good fortune of talking with a trading guru for several hours. This individual is world renowned for his trading saavy and skill. What he elaborated in that conversation had a tremendous impact on me. HE said that when he learned how to trade that his family enforced only one rule that he had to follow. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO GET OUT BEFORE YOU GET IN. He felt that the problem that most traders had was that they felt that this simplicity did not apply to them. I remember sitting and speaking with him and thinking about my own mistakes, primarily letting hope take over in my decision making.
Many traders think that crying "UNCLE" on a trade and taking a loss is unacceptable. Since that conversation I have taken numerous losses on trades but it's funny how they don't have the STING that they used to because I PLAN MY DIVE and DIVED MY PLAN.
This is really simple and incredibly workable. Apply it to your own trading and investing.
Harald Anderson is the founder and Chief Analyst of eOptionsTrader.com a leading online resource of Options Trading Information. He writes regularly for financial publications on Risk Management and Trading Strategies. His goal in life is to become the kind of person that his dog already thinks he is. http://www.eOptionsTrader.com.