Trading Not To Lose vs. Trading To Win

"We had so many last-minute goals in my time that IT WASN'T AN ACCIDENT. If you're 1-0 or 2-0 down, there's no point in seeing out the game and saying: 'Well, we played well'. YOU MAY AS WELL GAMBLE YOUR LIFE AWAY, BECAUSE IT'S WORTH IT." (Alex Ferguson reveals the tactical change he made to win the 1999 Champions League final)

(By Cory Mitchell, CMT)

Ultimately, great traders, athletes, poker players, or anyone at the top of their field share one similar trait– They Aren’t Afraid to Lose. They go after it, have a killer instinct and want to take every opportunity they can to implement what they have practiced and studied.

Trading not to lose causes major problems for traders. Trading not to lose is a product of focusing on whether we win or whether we lose. But winning or losing actually shouldn’t be our focus. As traders it is our job to come up with (or learn) a strategy or strategies, develop a trading plan and then rigorously test that plan for profitability and our ability to personally implement the plan. Once we have a plan our goal is to trade according to that proven plan. Wins and losses take care of themselves.

The bottom line is that traders need to adopt the “casino owner mindset,” realizing the result of each trade is unpredictable and therefore every valid trade (within the context of the trading plan) must be traded. Also know that trades are independent of each other. While you may have a string of losses, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong. Allow your edge to play out over many trades. Trust your edge, as the casino does, that over the course of a week, month and year your edge–if adequately tested–will produce a profit.

No single trade matters to a pro trader; whether it is a win or loss it makes no difference. The only thing that matters is exploiting the edge and taking valid trades, because over the long run all those losses and wins will make the edge (profit) materialize. And the nice thing about trading is that traders can create a much larger edge than the casino has.

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