Welcome back. Happy New Year, New Decade, New Me. The start of a new year often brings about a bit of anxiousness and added pressure. At least for me, the fresh start that comes with the new year adds emphasis on perfection. Perfect diet and workout regimen, perfectly clean house, perfectly organized email inbox, etc. Type A personalities struggle with the perfectionist attitude all year long, but it seems to rear its ugly head, especially in the early going.

In markets we know there is no such thing as perfection. Rather it’s controlled chaos manifesting itself via the animal spirits of all who come to participate. In markets the fear of missing a trade, the fear of losing money, and the fear of selling something too early can and will lead to ruin. The agony of having to make these hard decisions separates those traders who are successful from those who are not.

I make decisions and I am wrong pretty often. You probably notice since I blog about a lot of things I buy publicly. It’s okay because I care about being right only to the extent that it makes me money. When I am wrong I use it to my advantage. Whether it’s a stock pick that went awry or a trade that lined up perfectly I overlooked, I write it down. I only journal my losses now. While it might seem counterintuitive to write down only the losers or the negatives, these are the ones I learn the most from. Look at your losses as lessons you paid a price for. They are only a complete loss if you didn’t take anything away from them.

So if you are worried about making mistakes at the outset of the new year, don’t be. Whether it’s your first trades of 2020 or first meals of your new diet plan, perfection isn’t attainable for any length of time. Revel in your mistakes and put them to work for you.

I’ll be back (soon I’m sure) to post my first loss and what I learned from it.

I wish all you all much success in 2020!

Trent J. Smalley, CMT