?!@_**#!, from Victor Niederhoffer

September 21, 2012 |

 One finds it very dysfunctional to lose my temper on all occasions, but especially when trading or with the children. It could even lead to tilt. So forgive me if I don't mount the high horse in my disapproval of talk about Fibonacci and Elliott wave and Gann waves on the spec list as our raison d'etre is almost as antithetical to such things as it is to politics, religion, and honeys (may they never meet).

Scott Brooks writes: 

Losing one's temper is among the worst decisions you can make. Emotions supplant logic and all is lost.

I coach my oldest son's high school age baseball team. On that team we have a few hotheads. Those kids are the bane of my existence. They cause us more problems and are the source of 99.99% of the drama on the team.

Their inability to control their emotions only makes the situation worse. And even when I am able to calm them down, get them to reasonably understand that getting emotional was a bad choice, they still get emotional the next time something doesn't go their way.

They boys that have the most trouble when it comes to controlling themselves will likely, IMHO, have a very difficult life.

anonymous writes: 

This recent book by John Coates, "The Hour Between Dog and Wolf" is certainly relevant to the topic of controlling one's emotions, though I disagree with some of the author's conclusions. He documents how our biological changes under conditions of risk and uncertainty impact our processing of information, often for the worst. His conclusion that markets would be less volatile if we populate the trading world with more females and older men strikes me as simplistic…some of the greater episodes of tilt that I've noticed have come from members of the fairer sex and those long past their biological primes! 

Jeff Watson writes:

Jim Lackey writes:

A lack of emotion in sports or trading can be very dangerous due to lack of focus. If there was certainty, there wouldn't be an emotion. The most uncertain outcome and the greatest risk is quite often the best opportunity. The fight or flight emotions should not be ignored.

We will make mistakes following our emotions and that experience will teach us when to ignore the fear response. The best trades or moves on the race track are when we are fearful, yet we attack. The best saves are when we begin an attack with confidence, slip, then quickly withdraw. Learning by making mistakes in real time is the only way to gain the experience to overcome.

Deception is a funny thing as it's difficult to call someone on it, unless they are a friend. If you're wrong and call someone out, you make enemies. Which is part of the reason deceptions work on the inexperienced.

At the race track there is always someone mad as Hades. On the track he is as cool and smooth as can be. There is always some one sick, wounded or coming off an injury. On the track he is as strong as an ox. Every year a new pro says after the races, "I thought they were going to fist fight! or Wow! That was an amazing performance for a guy that was sick or coming off injury". The old pros burst out laughing, "ride your own race, kid".





Speak your mind

5 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous on September 22, 2012 12:07 am

    AGREED ..

  2. Bruce La on September 22, 2012 12:46 am

    Mr. Niederhoffer,

    I was curious to know how you delt with some of your issues after your financial falters. I am sure you would have been mad, depressed.

    How does one go about getting in contact with you?

  3. Gangineni Dhananjhay on September 22, 2012 9:51 am

    Losing temper definitely leads to tilt as I have experienced myself trading Indian equity futures.My anger obliterated my trading account and I grew stubborn in a losing position. The result is one that is ” guaranteed to happen “. The intra day trader is such a delicate animal that he should be guarded from destructive emotions engendered by not only the market but also the fellow traders and risk managers whose unintentional comments may trigger destructive emotions.

  4. russell thomas on September 24, 2012 3:23 pm

    on the subject of dogs, wolfs and emotion. Have just watched an episode of Ice Dogs where explorer Benedict Allen naively attempts to cross the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska alone with just his dog pack. While on the frozen sea he seperates from his dog pack to try and find a route forward through the twisted ice. Inexiblicably he got lost and spent a whole night on his own, eventually finding the dogs the next day. On his return you might think that they would be glad to see him? not a single pack dog wagged its tail or showed any interest in his return, in fairness it was bloody cold and windy!. However Benedict explained that the dogs showed no emotion as this wasted vital energy !

  5. steve on September 25, 2012 1:09 pm

    This suubject is very complex as are most that concern themselves with the human psyche. However ………..

    A) I find it interesting in the recent presidential race how the pundits are suggesting Gov Romney should display more emotion in his speeches. My view is that passion should be displayed if it is sincere. If not, the public will see through this and find discomfort through this. The may not overtly notice it but they will “feel it in their gut”. Others such as President Obama can give very impassioned speeches and with him it seems natural. Presidents who were comfortable in making passionate speeches in recent history are Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton. Those who were not were Calvin Coolidge, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson and George HW Bush. Ronald Reagan was an excellent communicator of ideas due to his extensive background in film and politics. The point is the message these men presented was consistent with their personalities.

    Coaches in sports who displayed great passion and vibrance:

    Vince Lombardi
    Bill Cowher
    Jimmy Johnson
    Bo Schembechler
    Woody Hayes
    Pete Carroll

    Those who are much more calm, stoic and or phlegmatic:

    Tony Dungy
    Bill Belichick
    Tom Landry
    Urban Meyer
    Jim Tressel
    Tom Osborne

    The point I am making is that which works for one man does not necessarily work for another.

    Perhaps the most dramatic contrast in styles in a sport is that displayed by John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. McEnroe would explode on the court and scream out invectives and profanity with enthusiam and go on to win consistently. Lendl on the other hand won with calculating efficiency and coldness like that of communistic Czechoslovakia which was his birthplace.

    One note: I am watching the World Series of Poker final event and I am amazed as to the vast number of youthful faces who are consistently making it to their final table. Along the way, I note that most of them are extremely composed and collected through such a strenuous ordeal.



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