Should Trading and Investing Really Not Be Fun?

09/08/2014 6:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Gregory Harmon, CMT

Founder and President, Dragonfly Capital Management

Is it absolutely impossible to have fun while trading or investing? Technician Greg Harmon of Dragonfly Capital doesn’t think so and shares some habits to help you enjoy the process of trading from initial preparation to the trade plan and straight on through execution.

How often have you read from some trading or markets guru that “if you are having fun trading then you are not doing it right.” Seriously? Does a process need to be painful or just dry to work? Should you be excited after your weekly review and preparation for Monday if you feel like you want to cry or need to take a Valium to get to sleep? That is just insane. I have always been of the opinion if you cannot have fun doing what you do then look to do something else.

Their message may not be intended to be so coarse. The point usually is that you need to be persistent, mechanical, and thorough in your process. That is from the initial prep to the trade plan through the execution. Like a robot. Everything thought out that can be and then some extras that could be wild scenarios. There is nothing wrong with that at all. But when did it happen that we decided being prepared means that you cannot be having fun? Step out of trading for a minute and look at other places where you see successful people. CEO’s almost always look like they are having fun. Most travel more than half of the year and work 80+ hour weeks but they still manage to smile and enjoy life.

So is trading or investing just different? I do not think so. I also work at least parts of seven days a week and upwards of 70 hours to be prepared. But I try to find outside sources that make me laugh or bring enjoyment as well. If you follow me on twitter you might see be making a joke or going back and forth with a friend in a jovial way that seems like a lack of focus. Not so. You need to be happy and feel good to be able to train your mind to be positive. Read Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow. Here is a Nobel Prize winning behavioral economist/psychologist describing how the brain works and how to train it. In one example, he shows how smiling before you start an activity improves your positive view of it. And if you cannot smile, then even biting a pencil to make yourself smile works too. That is crazy. Why not get your brain primed naturally? Bring some enjoyment and happiness into your trading and investing process. Being a robot works for machines not humans.

By Greg Harmon of Dragonfly Capital

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