if we were to trade with the assumption that it was to
be the last trade of our lives? The trade that
we would be remembered for? By Vijay Bhambwani*
Wall street and by extension all streets
in life are dotted with clichés and quotations.
One of the more common ones is, "winners don't do
different things; they do the same things differently".
Come to think of it, the thought has a very deep meaning
Circa 1988, yours truly was a gawky trader on the BSE,
finding my feet, learning to trade and seeking to master
some "hidden" strategy that would make me rich
beyond the frontiers of avarice. I was backed by my father's
money and I thought I was (a) invincible and (b) I could
The markets proved me wrong invariably and barring sometimes
when I was lucky, hardly any trading profits accrued.
Even if I did make some money, it promptly vanished in
the next few trades. Obviously, something was not right
somewhere. I tried to seek better-informed market gossip
providers, more advanced technical analysts and investment
"gurus" who could salvage my trading blueprint.
Reading an article by Arnold Schwarzenegger (in those
days just a famous body builder and a rising Hollywood
star ), I learnt that the process of self-improvement
meant that one had to detach one's mind from the physical
being and critically judge one's own actions. Over time,
we learn to be objective and efficient critics of our
Provided that analysis is neutral, one can find answers
to some of the most annoying problems that we face. The
answer lay in judging ones own self objectively. I started
noting my own modus operandi in trading. I was horrified!
I bet money on other peoples recommendations as convincingly
as I did on my own "recos" and waited with eyes
tightly shut. I left it to fate to determine my success
or failure. As you would know, there are three steps to
trading the first is researching a trade;
the next is initiating a trade, and finally;
managing a trade.
According to most market masters, the difference between
a loser and winner invariably depended on the third and
then the first of the 3-step game plan. Risk management
and damage control was more important than profits made
I was now deeply interested in reading further and started
buying books on technical analysis and market players'
biographies. A chilling observation emerged.
Trading is a mind-over-matter activity and involved
a great deal of intellectual muscle rather than financial
muscle. Because we do not stock physical goods (like in
other businesses), and only give or take cheques when
we make or lose money, we tend to succumb to a lulled
state of mind where our losing strategies are concerned.
Reading further I realised that all players actors,
politicians and businessmen gave it their best
shot when they were in their twilight of their career.
Watch a cricketer or tennis player during the last match
of his or her life. They want to have the best game of
their career before hanging their boots.
What if we were to trade with the assumption that it
was to be the last trade of our lives? The trade
that we would be remembered for? A "crowning glory"
trade, rather than trade like a novice rookie who bumbles
along. Pay great attention to detail, tie up all the loose
ends and emphasise the 3-step game plan listed above.
It's a thought worth entertaining. You will no more have
to rely on
external inputs and "tips". You will not be
swayed by the markets and become a more successful trader
over time. This is my personal assurance to you.
Still want to play the stock market? Then go ahead and
give it your best shot.
author is an investment consultant.