Thursday 25 September 2008

Bad Loss - Good Lesson

Reviewing my spreadsheet, as I tend to do from time to time, I am constantly reminded of my worst day on Betfair - New Year’s Day 2007. I placed an ill-advised bet of an amount that I was not comfortable with on a football game where I had no edge, and of course the bet lost. £5k gone. Although it was money that I could afford to lose after a stellar 2006, it still wasn’t something I was happy about. I remember feeling overwhelmed with tiredness and having to take a nap - which is not something I do very often.

What possessed me to gamble like that? I think it was simply that I wanted to get the year off to a flier, and so anxious was I to do this and get some profits on the board, that I impatiently gambled instead of invested. A stupid impulse which completely backfired and which took me a little over 7 months to recover from.

Early 2007 was not good at all. Three losing months out of four, and a maximum drawdown of over £16k in mid-May before I was able to turn things around. Looking back on those days, I’m sure there was a subconscious element of chasing involved, and it was only when I fully accepted the losses that I was able to regain my focus and start clawing my way back.

But sometimes these losses can be good things, as strange as it may seem. They are a painful reminder of what works, and what doesn’t work, and of the importance of staying disciplined.

In a way I am glad that bet lost.


Unknown said...

Great entry, these bad losses can stick with us for a while, particularly if we are focused on the money rather than the process. The downswing can cost more money, but perhaps a little more in time. Saying all this, the lessons are priceless! I wouldn't be without my losing runs, the info I have learned from them is invaluable, I might have a few fewer grey hairs however..


Scott said...

If you don't learn from your mistakes in life, you don't get anywhere, whether it's punting, business or playing golf. No successful person ever got there with a perfect record. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.

Cassini said...

I'm not sure that theory worked too well for me where golf is concerned, but otherwise you are correct!