Day Trading: Smart Or Stupid?

Yes, it is possible to make money in stock trading. Some people have actually made millions trading in markets day in day out.

Eg : Jessie Livingston, George Soros, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala etc

But there is a catch! Only a few people will be able to make it! The number of successful trader will always remain low irrespective of how much wisdom knowledge you gain! You will lose one day or the other. What most successful traders do is they follow a system :

1. Never over trade
2. Always have a stop loss and target
3. Trade only when you understand and can fully comprehend the situation and act accordingly with immediate action
4. Understand the market psyche

But the above is not enough, one needs knowledge of technical analysis (charts, data ) and fundamental analysis. And also add to it historical perspective which one builds over time. Experienced traders over time realize where they are wrong and only trade when all indicators and knowledge align to their view or course of action. If anything backfires they stop out.


In Gambling, this thing is called Beginner’s Luck. More often than not the first gamble makes you money. Gamble of any kind. I tried Horse Racing too. It applies everywhere. Why does that happen ? Why does God hate his children ? I think God has a lot of work to do. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So God gives you the first profit. He gets bored so he wants to spice things up and see how you cry and dance at the same time.

My dance had just begun. Crying would come much later.


Imagine playing Super Mario on your computer. Now imagine playing Level 9 where Mario gets to the princess. To make matters exciting, let Mario run at 10 times the normal speed. When Mario is on the run, switch off the screen at random intervals. Just for fun. That is day trading in a nutshell.

But it’ not all that bad. There are a few advantages of Day Trading ;


Over the period, as you capital erodes you develop acting skills. Obviously you can’t tell your partner or your friend that you are sick addictive gambler who lost money and time both over the last few days or months. You learn to make the poker face. You get so good at lying that a Lie Detector is scared of you. It doesn’t want to lose its job. Better yet, you learn to smile even if you are bleeding inside. It makes you a tough guy. Bankrupt, but tough


You will lose on most days. You will make the same mistakes over and over. But you can’t say that to yourself. So you make up stories. One day, you will blame the Fed. One day, you will blame the RBI. Then the PIGS, the Fed ( again ), IIP, Inflation, Freak Trade, unexpected results…blah blah blah. This is how you get creative. You keep doing this long enough, you can be a fiction writer. Since all fiction is lies anyway.


No MBA course can teach you this. As you capital erodes, you will seek more and more margin from the Risk Management guy to trade more . He will say no. One day he will start swearing too. But you will persist. You will beg, plead, fall on the floor and start crying, but you will get the job done. You won’t take No for an answer. That’s a good skill to have. Also, sometimes you will delay the cheque, switch off the phone and go underground. They can use you in Infrastructure companies  when the bank calls for money.

Now let’s look at the downside.


Some Yogic guru said, life is counted in breaths. In day trading your emotions will swing 20000 times a day like a yoyo. You will scream and you will panic alternatively. Your breath will jump from slow to fast like a drunkard walks. That’s the birth of cardiovascular diseases – Unstable breathing pattern.


On bad days, you will eat chocolate or something fatty loaded with butter. That kind of food makes people happy. On good days, you will eat all of that plus you will drink beer. Sometimes you will also take your friend along to tell him how rocking your life is. So net result is you will get FAT.


People start smoking to handle stress. Then smoking causes more stress. Then more smoke. This goes on till your breath starts smelling like a cigarette ashtray. One fine day you will get tested and your doctor will hold your cardiogram in his hands and say – Haha, it’s a miracle you are still alive.


When you lose money ( which will be often )  you will fight with your wife and your kids. You will make them miserable.

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