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Learn How to Lose and You Will Win

samseiden
Sam Seiden
Online Trading Academy, Chief Education, Products, and Services Officer

I like to win

My whole life, I have been very involved in sports. Ice Hockey, Soccer, Golf and Tennis are the sports I love to compete in. Playing hockey at such a high level, I learned how to win consistently, but I didn’t learn how to lose. There were always teams in the league that would win consistently and others that would lose. When we would play a team that had a bad record, sometimes they would be leading the game for a while but I never worried. It was almost like we could be down by a few goals and we still knew we were going to win. This is because of our confidence and positive attitude. Sure enough, most of the time no matter what the score was during much of the game, we would come back and win.

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The winning attitude almost always beats the losing attitude and always will. The winning teams play with one thought, that’s “to win”. The losing teams also play with one thought, “not to lose”. The latter equates to fear and a lack of confidence which is a recipe for consistent failure, losing. The winner is used to winning so attitude and actions become ingrained which then applies to just about anything that person takes on. The loser doesn’t like to lose but they lose often so their natural thought is, I don’t want to lose, I hope I don’t lose. That accompanying attitude and action gets ingrained as well which is why the losing typically continues. Strangely enough, they don’t know how to lose either, at least not how to lose with a winning attitude.

Like many of you, I love the game of golf. I have a childhood friend whom I play with sometimes. While our skill levels are near equal, I almost always beat him. What happens is that as soon as he hits a bad shot, he typically can’t recover mentally. He allows this shot to have such a big impact on his game that the rest of the round of golf is a disaster for him. I too have a bad shot once and a while, we all do. The difference is that I don’t let it have anything to do with my next shot. I know the bad shot will happen sometimes which means it’s actually a part of winning the game. As soon as my friend hits a bad shot, he is finished, I win, game over. Like the game of life itself, the most amazing life will always have bumps in the road and setbacks.

I hate to lose

Having so much success in a sport growing up, you feel like there is nothing in life you can’t do. No matter what the task, not succeeding is never an option or thought. So, you can imagine how shocked I was when I entered the trading world and was told that you have to be a good loser in order to win. HA!! That had to be a joke, I thought… There is no way I am going to lose because I hate losing; I hardly ever lose at anything. It didn’t take long to realize that it was 100% true, I had losses and that didn’t sit well with me. I tried to eliminate them, but as I did I also eliminated the winning trades as well. This was not good, I hated losing but it was time I learned how to lose with a winning attitude. In a short period of time though, with some experience and help from a friend, I figured out the secret to trading. It all depends on your definition of losing. In my early trading days I had the wrong definition of the word “loss”.Tweet: In my early trading days I had the wrong definition of the word “loss”. http://ctt.ec/_B0b3+

Perception is everything

Think about all the setbacks and losses you have had in other parts of your life; financial, relationships, job promotions and more. Haven’t they always made you stronger and led to something “better”? Losing is a very necessary part of winning in my humble opinion. So many things in life are all about perception. The key is to categorize. If I perceive each trading loss as a loss or losing, it’s not going to sit right with me, I can’t stand losing! However, if I put each trading loss in its proper place, which is in the “winning” category, all of a sudden a trading loss is a must for winning and the winning attitude that comes with winning.

July 1st Active Trading:

    • DAX Futures – Profit: $520
    • S&P Futures – Profit: $354
    • Yen Futures – Loss: $337

All successful traders lose once in a while

Had I focused on the Yen loss being a losing activity and felt bad about it, the gains on the other two trades never would have happened because of a fear of being wrong. Taking a small loss in trading is not wrong at all, it’s the right thing to do and a MUST if you are ever to enjoy gains.

Like a company that takes a chance on a marketing campaign, I don’t care at all that I won’t make money on every ad (or trade as the case may be). I know that as long as I stick to my rules, I am running a strategy that is very profitable because the risk is low, the reward is high and the odds are stacked in my favor. I know that I will only achieve profits if I include and accept losses. When you shift your attitude and understand this, the word “loss” all of a sudden means the same thing as the word “win”. On this day, the Yen was a trade that lost money. If you go and beat yourself up over a loss or think you did something wrong and become paralyzed by fear and failure, you will stop executing your plan and never see the gains.

From my experience, the rules that truly stack the odds in your favor are not that difficult. I go over these rules each week in the Extended Learning Track (XLT), our live online trading program. This is the easy part of my job in the program. The hard part is teaching people how to lose, helping them shift perception of losses to the win category.  I meet people often that actually think I and other instructors hardly ever lose. They want to take our classes because they think they will learn to never lose and only have winning trades all the time. We may have a high winning percentage, but we certainly have losses.

None of us like to lose, I know firsthand from competing in sports. Just like in sports however, falling down in practice is a must if you are going to skate faster. Striking out from faster pitches is a must if you are going to make it to the big leagues, swinging your driver harder and slicing the ball 100 times is a must if you are ever going to hit a 300 yard drive, straight. Imagine what would happen to a business if they quit spending money on marketing. Their sales would certainly go down and they would possibly even go out of business. Losing in trading is great so long as it’s proper losing. To become a professional winner, you have to first become a professional loser. This is a road block that many people never overcome, which is why many people fail at market speculating. It’s the few market speculators with the proper perception that get paid from those with the wrong perception, the transfer of accounts. If you want to change, change your perception of loss.

Hope this was helpful, have a great day.

Sam Seiden – sseiden@tradingacademy.com

Disclaimer
This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.