How Trading Stocks Almost Killed Me

Trading stocks at times has been the most psychologically, emotionally, stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve dealt with some hard things in life but what stock trading has done, it has completely changed me. I created this site for people to learn and follow me. So I have to be honest about all aspects of my life not just trading stocks. There is so much more to it.

It should be no surprise that I’ve experienced the good and the bad. All learning lessons in my opinion but they have all taken a toll on me in all aspects of my life, at times causing depression, anxiety and worse of all fear. I’ve had so many reasons to just quit and walk away, but something always brings me back. Some would say its greed or that trading stocks is like gambling and you get addicited. For me though, it wasn’t about any of that. All I want to be is successful and be able to do this for a long time. I’ve left the “workforce” and the longer I’m out of it the more scared I get, which leads to more stress and anxiety when I think I’m failing at trading. Even on days where I made a profit I would still have those same feelings.

I “quit” trading at least 4 times over the summer of ’15 and each time it was for different reasons but mostly from trying different strategies or through frustration breaking my own rules (Add to that the day I “quit” when I sold at a profit for $50, and if I held less than a minute longer it would have been $4,000, no joke!). Compounding losses do just that, compound. Now many who quit, don’t actually quit. They usually run out of money and they have no other option but to quit. I will not let that happen, which is why I walked away many times. At some point, everyone should know when enough is enough and just risking all of your money till it’s gone is plain stupid.

the struggle today is strength tomorrow

The reason I put quit in quotations is because I knew that I wasn’t actually done. I couldn’t be, not after all the hours and time I’ve invested over the last couple years. The feeling of failure, regret and lost time is something I don’t want to deal with. Once again my failure to succeed and frustration of missing out on big profits was making everything in my life worse, effecting my 10 year relationship, hiding away from family and friends. I was not dealing with anything going on around me because I was so invested in trading that I was destroying my life. So my only option was to step away and heed my own advice as I wrote in a blog post “Working from Home Advice” and it helped me deal with a lot of personal issues that were effecting my trading.

I found my #1 issue effecting me was REGRET. I have a lot of it, who doesn’t? It effects everyone and it was really tearing me up inside. What if I really fail? What if I can’t pay my bills? It was slowly killing me inside. I came across an amazing article by James Altucher called “20 Ways to Deal with Regrets“. I suggest everyone read it at some point but it helped me immensely. The most profound simple thing I learned from reading James top 20 was #1 Ask yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?”. It knocked the wind out of me. Every time I repeated it to myself, I felt better and better. I forgot about all my mistakes, my losses, my “failures”(I quote that because my failures are only failures till I give up, I look at them more as my lessons to becoming better) and it even gets me over a bad trade that I take so that I can jump right into looking for something else.

All the stress and anxiety just went away and I have to thank James for that great article. I hope that many of you don’t deal with what I have, hence why you read my blog! We are all alone in this business. We are 100% responsible for our decisions in managing risk and we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. That is a really hard thing to learn to deal with.

I just want everyone to avoid getting to this point as much as possible because its just setting yourself up for failure. I’ve come back to trading with a very fresh look with very little expectations and I’ve been more successful than ever.

Here’s what I want everyone to take away:

  • Take what the market gives you. Then walk away. Even if that means a loss. Statistically, everytime I start the day with a loss, it almost always gets larger as I try to make it back! If I would have just walked away all those times, I tell you I would be way farther ahead than I am today! But forget about those bad days, remember to look forward and say “What am I doing TODAY!?”
  • Anytime I make money its usually much smaller in comparison to when I take a loss. Does this sound familiar? I know I’m not alone! Those times are over because you walked away!
  • My livelihood is no longer connected to my success in trading. When I wake up in the morning I’m no longer stressed like I was. I no longer beat myself up over 1 bad trade, because I kept the loss small and I know over time small losses aren’t a big deal (Click Here to see how I’m currently managing my expectations and goal setting).
  • Either up or down I walk away and work on other ventures, exercise, walk the dogs, etc.
  • There is no room for emotion. Remove it! If your heart is racing when you’re about to enter a trade, WALK AWAY and check yourself. You’re probably above your risk threshold.

Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into placeLastly I just want to say I love trading stocks. But I think I fell too much in love with it, to the point of obsessing, overthinking, losing sleep at night and connecting my livelihood to my trading. I think this is a reminder to many that you need to start every day with a clean plate. No baggage. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t trade that day. I actually took almost 3 months off (Traded very seldom) last fall to focus on my other business’s and worked on fixing everything that I wasn’t paying attention to for so long. It was the best thing I ever did and now I’m looking at my most profitable year so far and its only March! Hope this helps anyone who is struggling. Stop what you’re doing, find a solid ground and then get back to the basics.