Never Stop - 3 The Mind Game
The first few months seriously tested my patience and made me doubt my decision to go full time. There was no way back though, I had made the decision to make the jump and I wasn't ready to chicken out now. One source of stress was the fact that I needed to get used to not having a constant income. I was eating into my cash reserve whilst not making any money, and I didn't have a contingency plan for my contingency plan … if that makes sense?
My strategy hadn't factored in was market conditions. It may have worked in certain conditions, but when the wind was blowing from a different direction I was too slow to re-adjust the sail. I re-assessed my positions, trading strategy and analysed what was missing. I had to re-calibrate and go with the flow. I was overexposed and therefore susceptible to turbulence. Thankfully the re-adjustment was only a matter of position sizing, scaling in and out at different levels. It was all dependent on long-term prospects and short-term movement. I slowly re-adjusted my trading pot position depending on risk reward, SP move and charts.
Finally the wheel of fortune turned in my favour. Aided by the return of the bulls to town and some good positions in stocks that had massive upside and very limited downside. I was able to get myself back in the game. I learnt the importance of timing, picking the right shares at the right price and at the right time is a key to success.
Most of the gains I made were through buying solid quality stocks and holding on to them until they multiplied in value. It took time but overall it was paying off. I didn't focus on stocks that I wasn't in and didn’t wish I was. I focused on the stocks I had a position in, or was keen to load into. I avoided getting distracted by the list of risers so I wouldn’t make foolish and irrational moves to chase them. The key was not to get in a rush to see my PF increase, but instead focus on calibrating my positions so that when the wind blew my way, I was ready to make the most of that momentum.
Four years after I took the plunge full time, and about 5 years since I took the conscious decision to make this whole AIM investment thing work, the £4,500 pot I had in my ISA went a long way. With the grace of God my PF reached a level that enabled me to achieve many of the goals that I had written down. Including the main goal of buying my parents a new home in a wonderful area in Algiers. So, regardless where you are starting from, how small your PF is, or how many times you might have failed in the past, have faith. Your past failures don't define who you are. Break free from the chains of the past and the shackles that are holding you back. I have no doubt that others can replicate the modest success I have seen.
Having said that, my path is still long and I’m not out of the woods. I have many more goals, objectives and other things I want to achieve. They are not all material things, but being able to trade my time this way so I can reach them is a blessing in itself. I consider myself blessed and lucky to be able to do what I love. That is why I will strive to work even harder to achieve my goals. I still have a lot to learn and many areas I want to venture into, but also to offer.
Despite the modest success I have seen over recent years, I still had some serious setbacks and tests. My PF took hits that could have been avoided. Many times I got too complacent and put my guard down which ended in me falling short and making bad judgment calls. I took hit after hit in quick succession. I simply cut my losses short, moved on and focused on bouncing back. I could have started slagging off the CEOs, the share or whinge about the money I lost, wished I never held that share, cry and surrender to the negativity, pain and fear and let them dictate my destiny. That wouldn't have resolved the problem, doing so was counterproductive. It was better to spend time, energy and effort focusing on why I slipped up, how it could be avoided and make sensible moves forward. Re-adjust the sail if needed and get going again.
I will not pretend it was easy, at first I found it hard to control the pain of losing and making bad calls. It was hard to remain positive amid the disparity and calamities of the market, let alone all the negative energy that floats about in the forums and on twitter at times. It wasn't easy to remain motivated when everyone around me was winning, seeing their shares multibag and their portfolios reaching new highs whilst my portfolio was red and money was flying away from my account. But I came to the conclusion that if I didn't control the pain, it would control me. If I didn't control the fear of losing it would control my trading decisions. It was paramount to focus on my goals, remind myself why I'm doing it and why I need to succeed. I had to constantly watch my thoughts and try to make the conscious decisions to not give in to my worries or fears.
To be continued....