Day Trading and the Eight Worldly Thoughts

While my first sell and buy of Ethereum in May (mentioned in my Dorena does Day Trading post) got me thinking about day trading, I still thought like a long-term investor.  I could see the prices going up and I just wanted to use the proceeds from my house to buy a chunk and sit on it.

However, I was thwarted by daily and weekly purchase limits imposed by Coinbase.  I purchased all I could at the end of May and even considered making a credit card purchase with a 12% fee. (Which I regret not having done – since the overall price would have been $190 and within two weeks Ethererum was over $400.)

At some point, my partner turned me on to GDAX.  The fees were a fraction of Coinbase, the limits were higher and I could place buy and sell orders at speculative but set prices instead of being forced to place an instant purchase.  However, by the time I got the account funded, the price of Ethereum was up another $100.

I bought my last few Ethereum with the long-term investor mentality when the price was maxed at $400 on June 12th.  Then the prices started to drop with lots of daily fluctuations.  This is when I started considering day trading.  Buying 10 ETH and then selling when it was $20 higher would make $200.  The market was so volatile it almost seemed predictable that it would fluctuate that much. Since, I was already keeping my eye on the price, why not play around with buying at the daily low and selling at the high?

On June 21st I decided to give it a try.  Setting aside the majority of my ETH, I picked a safe number I wouldn’t feel bad to lose, to play with.  I bought at a low and sold when the value went up $10.  I made $99 the first time I did this.  For the next three days I bought modest amounts, but the price kept dropping and I just held.  Then on the 25th I bought a chunk, got scared and sold it as soon as it went up a fraction and made $20.

I was an anxious wreck.  And, I was curious.  What underlying belief was keeping me so nervous.  I had already decided what I was willing to lose.  I could sense a lot of different programs pushing at me.

  • The need to be right
  • The need to not make a mistake
  • Shame at looking bad
  • My mother’s ideas that you don’t lose money unless you sell
  • My attachment to the outcome
  • The volatility of the market, requiring hypervigilance
  • My attachment to my plan

I thought it was stupid to continue, but I was intrigued if I could actually learn how to day trade without attachment.  My mind kept thinking about two of the Eight Worldly Thoughts:

Being happy when things go your way.

and

Being unhappy when things don’t go your way.

This totally described my situation.  Could I learn to be detached in the face of rising and falling prices?

 

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