Stock Exchange: Are You Trying To Win Every Trade?

Sep. 08, 2017 6:15 AM ETElectronic Arts Inc. (EA), HP, RH, SOXX26 Comments
Jeff Miller profile picture
Jeff Miller


  • Trying to “win” on every trade is not realistic, and it can cause a lot of frustration as well as detract from your overall success.
  • The sooner you learn to deal with not winning every trade, the sooner you can focus on achieving attractive net gains.
  • Having a process in place to deal with losses is important, and sticking to that process is challenging but can also be very rewarding.
  • Our regular participants have trading ideas reflecting contrasting styles.

The Stock Exchange is all about trading. Each week we do the following:

  • Discuss an important issue for traders,
  • highlight several technical trading methods, including current ideas,
  • feature advice from top traders and writers, and
  • provide a few (minority) reactions from fundamental analysts.

We also have some fun. We welcome comments, links, and ideas to help us improve this resource for traders. If you have some ideas, please join in!


Our previous Stock Exchange considered a couple of the biggest causes of trading failure (hint: position sizing and psychology). If you missed it, a glance at your news will show that the key points remain relevant.

This Week – Are You Trying To Win Every Trade?

This week we build on last week’s theme by offering another cause of trading failure: perfectionism. Trying to win every trade is not only unrealistic, but it’ll drive you crazy. According to Dr. Brett Steenbarger:

“There is nothing constructive about perfectionism. It's self-abusive; it doesn't move us forward. It's a dumping of anger, not an effort to learn from mistakes.”

In reality, you don’t need to win every trade. You don’t even need to win more than 50% of your trades, as long as your net gains are strong compared to net losses. This means having a process in place to deal with your losing trades. According to Irrational Investors:

“A strong investment process is easy to describe, challenging to implement, and rewarding when done well.”

For example, it’s easy to describe a process for dealing with losing trades, challenging to actually stick to that process, but it’s ultimately rewarding in the sense that it will help you achieve strong net gains, and it’ll help you avoid the psychological pitfalls of striving for perfection.

For reference, Nial Fuller explains why you need

This article was written by

Jeff Miller profile picture
Seeking Alpha mourns the passing of Jeff Miller, on May 7, 2021. During his time at Seeking Alpha, Jeff attracted a following of close to 40,000 readers and published more than 1,500 articles. He was a portfolio manager at Incline Investment Advisors, LLC. Jeff also was President of NewArc Investments, Inc., and served as a university professor.....................................................................................................................................Jeff is Portfolio Manager for Incline Investment Advisors, LLC.,manager of both individual and institutional investments. A registered investment advisor, he was formerly President of NewArc Investments, Inc. Jeff is a former college professor with a hands-on, real world attitude. His quantitative modeling helped inform state and local officials in Wisconsin for more than a decade. A Public Policy analyst, he taught advanced research methods at the University of Wisconsin, and analyzed many issues related to state tax policy. Jeff began in the financial business as Research Director for a trading firm at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He investigated anomalies in the standard option pricing models, taught classes for beginning options traders, and developed new forecasting techniques. In 1991 he established a general research consultancy, working with professional traders at all of the Chicago financial exchanges. In 1998 he started NewArc Investments, Inc. Jeff has a commitment to the specific needs of individual investors. It is not a one-size-fits all approach, but one that emphasizes the unique circumstances of each client. Jeff also serves on the board of a small technology company. He occasionally serves as an expert witness in legal cases involving financial markets and hedging.

Disclosure: I am/we are long EA, HP, RH. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Recommended For You

Comments (26)

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.