There are very few things worse to a diver than missing an opportunity to go somewhere new or see something few people have ever seen before. In 2005, I received an email that a project was organized to recover a B-25 bomber from the bottom of Lake Murray, South Carolina. The plane had been ditched during a training exercise in April of 1943 and the team needed divers to recover the aircraft from where they located it.
I immediately called my wife (for permission), responded to the email that I would be there and called my dive buddy. Brian had already notified them of his availability as well and we began to make plans for what we would need to pack for the trip. Over the next several weeks we learned details about the dive site as well as the logistical considerations like breathing gas availability and housing for the team. The closer we came to our start date the more excited I was.
The first night we arrived we had a meeting to break down the tasks needed to prepare the plane for lifting. After that we made a plan to meet the riggers building our dive platform the following morning at the dock. Watching the first team pull away and not knowing when we would get our turn left us with the feeling like we “missed the boat”. You know other opportunities will come but it still sucks to have missed this one.
In the last several years, life has been getting in the way of my diving. I am still diving but shallow river dives to look for fossils are a far cry recovering a unique plane that will end up in a museum. In the mean time, social media has grown into an awesome way to communicate information like new publications we have added to the Rubicon Research Repository (#RubiconRR). In addition it has been an amazing way keep up with friends that I have not been in contact with regularly. For me it has also left me with that same “missed the boat” feeling on several occasions as friends plan and then execute cool projects around the globe then post about them online.
The last couple of days trading have reminded me a lot of diving. As part of our risk management strategy for following Anne-Marie on DittoTrade, we decided not to trade unless there is a trend to the overall market. By waiting until there is a trending market we are increasing the probability that our trades will be successful.
We are waiting because the priority we assigned to experiment has been to preserving our capital by only executing when very specific criteria are met. That does not mean that trades are not or should not be executed. In fact, I have watched Anne-Marie’s DittoTrade alerts hit Rubicon’s inbox this week and each time wished that we were following. There are plenty of opportunities to come but that “missed the boat” feeling is present.
A significant portion of trading is working within our own psychology.* The things I have learned about myself with trading and the discipline I have had to refine for my own trades as well as to plan this experiment have allowed me to grow significantly as an individual. Even if I feel like I “missed the boat” on any given dive expedition or trading plan, the fact remains that I have learned something by being able to prioritize and in some cases “sit on my hands”.
* If you want to know more about trading psychology you should find a great mentor like Anne-Marie (StockTwits link). You could also consider following Dr. Brett Steenbarger on StockTwits. I also found TradeSmartU’s Trader Conditioning Bootcamp a huge help as well.
Gene Hobbs is a technical diver and founding board member of the non-profit Rubicon Foundation. Hobbs has served as medical officer for the Woodville Karst Plain Project since 2004 and was named the 2010 Divers Alert Network/ Rolex Diver of the year. Hobbs is the medical simulation coordinator for a simulation and patient safety laboratory at a major university medical center.