Vijayadashmi: Defeating the Ego Within

Apurva Sheth
Two days back, we celebrated Vijayadashmi or Dussehra, one of the most popular Hindu festivals. It commemorates Lord Ram's defeat of Ravana and the rescue of his wife, Sita. The festival is much more than just revenge or burning effigies of Ravana.

The real essence of the festival is the victory of good over evil, truth over deception, knowledge over ignorance, and light over dark. This festival is more about fighting the evils within us than outside us.

Ravana was replete with admirable qualities we would love to see in others and in ourselves. He was a benevolent ruler (loved by people of Lanka), knowledgeable (learned all four Vedas), powerful (command over six shastras).

Despite these good qualities, he also had bad ones. Ravana prayed to Lord Brahma for several years. Brahma, pleased by Ravan's austerity, offered Ravana a boon. Ravana asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, demons, serpents, and wild beasts. He purposely omitted humans thinking that humans do not stand a chance against him.

Ravana's ego made him believe humans can't harm him. Rather than Ram, Ravana's ego was his worst enemy and ultimately led to his death and the destruction of his family and Lanka.

Like Ravana, we have ego. Like him, we also construct an image of ourselves that may be false. We all know the harm ego can do in our personal lives.

Our egos are a part of our personalities. They go everywhere we go. But one place where we must control our egos is trading.

When you trade, you take a position with a certain view of the market and a stock. When you trade, along with the money, your pride is also at stake. The problem is when you are more concerned about your ego than the money on the table.

When you trade, you want the market to respect your opinion. You want it to respect your knowledge and the efforts you have taken to reach your conclusion regarding the trade.

But let me put it as bluntly as I can: Markets do not care about your view or your efforts. It has a mind of its own and it will do what it wants to do. You do not have any control over it. The sooner you accept this fact, the better. Else your trading career may face the same fate Ravana did.

The market may not respect you. But you must respect the market.

Traders often don't place stoplosses because they hate to be proven wrong. They prefer to lose money on a position than accept their mistake. This obviously comes at the expense of trading capital.

Many traders even add to a losing position when stuck in a trade. The trader's ego doesn't want to be proven wrong. They are so emotionally attached to a particular position that they hold it forever. Some would even go to an extent of adding on to a losing position just to get out at breakeven from the trade.

On the other end, most traders tend to book profits too early. They argue that markets are too volatile and can turn anytime - a bird in the hand is better than two in bush or such things. But really, under the guise of prudence, the trader's ego wants a pat on the back for making this trade.

Closing a trade at profit does give the ego a boost, but a trade should only be closed on its own merit.

The ego can manifest itself in many ways during a trader's life. Let the festival of Vijayadashmi be a reminder that a trader's success is largely determined by the extent to which they can remove their ego from a trade.

How does ego play a role in a trader's life? Share your views in the Club or share your comments here.

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4 Responses to "Vijayadashmi: Defeating the Ego Within"
J.k.Mendiratta
25 Oct, 2015
Eexcellent explaination & corelation between Ravana & human egi. Thanks Apporva ji. MENDIRATTALike 
Bharatt
24 Oct, 2015
Excellent analogy and a very important point which was nicely presented in this article.Like 
RAJKUMAR S D
24 Oct, 2015
100% validated with reference to my trading style at present. Since I have lost heavy amount for last 4 months after buying put option in nifty and bank nifty with the solid belief that market will come down but the same is going up up up and up hurting my ego and capital as I never put stop loss due to my egoitic decision. I hope that Since now only God Ram can help me in dissolving my ego and facilitate the further losing of my money in trading with prudent decision and minimise my losses with proper stop losses. Thanks and God Ram bless you in your life. Like 
NAVNEET CHAUHAN
24 Oct, 2015
VERY GOOD ARTICLE. INDEPTH PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS. KEEP IT UP. BYE NAVNEETLike 
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