When people get nervous they embrace many unhealthy remedies. They do all they can to avoid feeling nervous.
In the markets, a popular remedy is talking. People like to talk and talk and talk. And talk and talk and talk. When positions are going against them, people construct a story of why they bought XYZ in the first place, why it doesn’t make sense to sell it now even though the trend is down and at risk of declining further. They even talk themselves into thinking that losses are a good thing! Most of financial media is devoted to medicating feelings of risk.
The markets are a dangerous place, in general. They are dangerous now.
Saying, “Boy I wrong on this one. I’ve got to get out.” is a necessary skill to survive. Most people cannot do it. Instead, they prefer to construct a future fantasy where everything works out fine; where all they have to do is buy more of their declining stock and wait for inevitable rally to new highs. Man, how good does that feel!?
Investors’ egos, whether they realize it or not, takes precedent over their money. Avoiding looking stupid by selling out near the bottom is what they’re concerned about. Eventually, after enough pain and losses though, they sell out…typically near the bottom. All of that talking for naught. It happens all the time.
Mass self-deception and medication is one of the major components that creates market trends. Below is a mock-up of how it typically goes.
Keep talking. Have a blast. But the words will not save you. Words don’t eliminate risk no matter how fantastical of a future you dream up.
Adapting. Respecting the trend. Respecting risk. Buying and selling. These are the skills that successful investors possess.
Scouring CNBC and Wall Street Journal for what you want to hear makes you a sitting duck. Risk is out there waiting for you — waiting to teach you that the more you try to avoid it, the harder she’s gonna hit you.