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The One Time Turning the PC Off, Then On Didn't

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12/03 2015

I work with a guy who in not so many words, can be volatile. Brilliant analyst, makes a ton of money for the fund, but can erupt faster than Eyjafjallajökull (the only thing more famous than Bjork in Iceland). Every morning without fail, he comes in like the TGV on crack and starts beating on his keyboard and shouting at the computer to log-in faster. The market opens and the F-bombs are dropping faster than a Dr. Dre beat as his positions aren’t behaving as he expected...cue IT:

"I'm having trouble with my computer screen, can someone help?" Ermmmm...in any event, there are lessons here. First, wear the appropriate safety equipment when working, especially protective eyewear and gloves. Second, never get emotional about stocks, it clouds your judgement. Those words should resonate with you and form one of many bricks in the foundation of any trading style. It's also one of the most famous lines in one of the greatest movies of all time. No, not "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" (although some would argue Keanu Reeves' performance was Oscar worthy http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096928/). It's "Wall Street", one of the greatest movies ever made and the bible for any aspiring trader, broker or finance professional.

Yes, "Wolf of Wall Street" was fantastic, but I'll stick with old skool Douglas and Sheen over DiCaprio (I can hear the global Jihad declared against me by every woman on the planet). "Wall Street" is a must watch for anyone who craves O.G. Wall Street (Original Gangsta for
all you born after 1990). Anyhow, I digress. I refer back to my esteemed colleague who did a Tony Soprano on his PC and how emotional he gets while trading. Stocks move against him, he thinks he is bigger than the market, gets angry and over-emotional and doubles up on positions. What happens next is not hard to figure out; the losses get bigger, his face gets redder, creating more work for the IT department and sometimes the telephone repair team. Emotional responses or said another way, trading with your heart and not your head, will always over time compound the losses. In life, not just trading, it's all about discipline. A great team  (work, sport, etc) is not just made up of Oxbridge grads with a First in Economics or Physics, but also your street savvy, gutsy gun slingers who aren't afraid to take risk and who also have a discipline about what they do and how they behave when things go wrong. For me, it's not about how people react when things are going good; anyone can trade around the winners. It's how you behave when the "ol' proverbial" hits the fan, that's what I am interested in. Remember that the next time you encounter a situation when a decision has to be made under difficult circumstances; are you thinking with your head? What is the smart thing to do? Did you even step up or did you let someone else stand in the firing line? It's not just about how much money you make, but also how much you didn’t lose which unfortunately is lost in the performance stats. No one at my place of employment will recognise nor is it quantified exactly how much money I SAVE the fund for doing my job.

But does that stop me from doing my job? Absolutely not!

If you can take anything away from my ramblings about old crusty-ass actors and the merits of our fine IT department, I would ask that you remember to have discipline and leave the emotions at home in everything you do. I guarantee over the long run, you will be livin' large on Wall Street instead of redecorating your high rise cardboard box on Benefits Street.

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FinanceInterns

Our FinanceInterns team all currently work in the markets and are sharing their realtime insights with you via our Blog. Some are funny, most are educational whilst others are simply the ventings of some frustrated City folk! We've also go contributions from you out there, our interns. If you'd like to write something then get in touch via our Contact Us page