I just can't do it. I just can't bring myself to short stuff – the market, an individual stock, even something as seemingly harmless as an inverse ETF. I don't do it. I can't do it. I won't do it!
Yep, I'm a "long" through and through, but you know what? I'm proud of it. I'm comfortable in that skin, confident in that self knowledge and – most importantly – I'm a better trader/investor for it. I'm not arguing with myself and never feel conflicted about my outlook. I'm consistent in my view that up is good and bullish is better. And that consistency directly translates to better trading and smarter investments.
Before I keep going, let me pause and let you know where this is coming from. Yesterday, inspired by a tweet from my good friend David Keller (@DKellerCMT), I responded with the following:
That little line from my tweet yesterday really does capture it in the best way I know how. I don't like going to sleep with a negative outlook hoping that I wake up tomorrow to bad news that will help my short position.
Instead, I prefer going to bed saying, "This company has been doing incredible things lately, introducing services that are truly helping their customers or releasing new products that are adding value to their users, and I hope that growth is reflected positively in the price movement of the stock tomorrow so that my long position can grow with this company".
Doesn't that just sound like a cleaner conscience to trade with? A better mindset to live by? I think so.
True traders and successful investors will always tell you – mindset matters. Trading psychology and the mental side of money is the missing piece that most novices lack. Without experience in the markets, mindset is the easiest thing to write off, but it's the last one you should.
It's striking how often I see the very best among us emphasize the importance of things like emotional and behavioral controls, mindfulness, decision making and judgment. That's why I frequently put renowned psychologist Barry Schwartz's book, "The Paradox of Choice", on my list of recommended trading books. It's also why "The Investor Self" is the third of ten stages in my book, "Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages of Stock Market Mastery". It's right up there at the beginning, well before the "Buying" stage at number seven.
With respect to the long vs. short discussion, I say to each his/her own. Find what works for you and stick to it. But regardless, for all of you across both sides of the aisle, my message remains clear: #mindsetmatters.
Money In, Eyes Open.
- Grayson Roze
VP of Operations, StockCharts.com
Author, Trading for Dummies (Wiley, 2017)
Author, Tensile Trading (Wiley, 2016)