As you already know, I am not a slave to conventional wisdom. It is my belief that most popular beliefs held by the masses are not wise at all. This applies to all walks of life, not just the stock market.
The latest bit of unwise conventional wisdom is the idea that one must “focus on not losing money in order to make money”. Play it safe and protect your capital has been a popular mantra over the past month. What a load of crap.
You know what happens when you focus on not losing money? You lose it. Either that or you make meager gains (all hail consistency, as in consistently average!). It’s akin to an athlete playing not to get injured. That is when you get hurt. The team that plays not to lose rarely wins.
In trading, playing not to lose will cause you to pass up on good trades and scare you out of trading volatile, yet lucrative markets. If you have put in the blood, sweat and tears that accompany hard work and dedication, know what you are doing, and have a sound methodology and edge, don’t ever play not to lose.
Note that this doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind. On the contrary, a trader must be vigilant about managing risk, position size and ones emotions. These three factors, along with having an edge, allow one to play to win, rather than lose, and put on winning trades.