By Adrienne Toghraie
Everything bad that has ever happened in our lives has a loss associated with it. This is why a loss in trading can be so painful. It is not only the loss that is immediately at hand, but it is also the accumulation of all the losses that are in a dark place in your neurology.
In your life you have experienced various intensities of loss. It is how a person recovers from a loss that makes the difference in the way he or she will interpret other losses the rest of their life.
Here are examples of the way you can experience the aftermath of a trading loss:
* You might experience the five levels of grieving – shock, disbelief, anger, acceptance, and recovery. This is a good thing, because those who do go through this process will less likely endure that loss as part of the accumulation of other losses.
* You can put yourself in a loop of re-experiencing several of the loss feelings. When you are in a loop, it builds the intensity of that loss and can make it a permanent scar.
* You can bury the feelings leaving those feelings to be reborn in other future experiences of loss.
* You can go through the pain and decide to do good things to benefit others as a way of recovering from it. In doing so, the feeling transforms into a good feeling about the benefits you are giving to others.
Yes, I understand that you can name horrible, devastating losses that seem insurmountable, and I would empathise with you that from having that experience it would be difficult to carry on, but what are the alternatives? You can make it worse, do the best with what you have, or decide that you will survive and thrive.
Could it get any worse?
Lenny lived a difficult life on a farm with both parents being alcoholics. Lenny was fortunate to have a basketball coach who was tough, but gave him the guidance that would eventually be his salvation.
Coach Bob liked to dabble in the commodities market and invited several of the boys to his home to teach them how they could hedge their crops. Lenny was the only one of his group who carried on to learn the markets. He thought of the time he spent with Coach Bob and his wife as his real home. They unofficially adopted him as their son.
Things at Lenny’s parent’s farm started a downward spiral when there was a major storm that flooded the crops. Lenny’s family lost the farm, his father died of a heart attack and his mother had to accept welfare.
Lenny became exceptionally good at his ability in the markets and Coach Bob set up an account for him of 10 thousand to trade. The profits would be split, which would give some financial relief to Lenny and his mother. Coach Bob set up a scholarship fund to supplement the living expenses that Lenny needed even with the scholarship that Lenny received from playing basketball.
Coach Bob picked up Lenny on a holiday from college when he was in his last year. Lenny took over the wheel of the car and there was a head-on collision. Coach Bob died, and Lenny became paraplegic.
I met Lenny recently on the phone after he attended one of my webinars. His voice was vibrant. His Evaluation was dramatic. What he was looking for was more consistency in his trading. He earned a good living as a trader and married his physical therapist who had two children. What he could not understand was why losses were so painful, even the small ones.
The more you interpret a negative feeling as being a loss, the more you have to allow yourself to go through the stages of grief. If you do not, then your profits will suffer from the sabotage that you incur in your trading. At the other side of that loss there can be a healing that takes you to a higher place if you can find a way to make that loss have a positive outcome for your overall life.
Adrienne Toghraie coaches traders and investors to their next level of success by helping them overcome their self-imposed limitations. She has been a keynote speaker since 1989, author of 13 books, and owner of TradingOnTarget.com