Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seeking Perfection

One of the endearing little quirks of my personality is that I am a conceptual perfectionist. I just made that term up, so be sure to think of me if you see it in print some where.

What is a conceptual perfectionist and why does it drive my wife crazy?

My sister is a perfectionist of the more traditional sort. Everything has to be perfect and she'll go to great lengths and expense to make sure that's the case. When preparing an omelet she'll want the right pan, the right cheese, the exact amount of cheese, etc. All conditions must meet a certain predefined quality level or else we're going to go to the store to buy the proper ingredients. The traditional perfectionist borders on OCD.

I differ in that I see the ideal situation, but I'll go forward with what I have all the while beating myself up about the fact that conditions aren't perfect. This omelet is good, but damn it would be better if I had more cheese, etc. My weirdness isn't as apparent to the casual observer, but for people that know me well, it can be maddening. I don't accept the fact that the perfect omelet can't be obtained, which if I did it would disqualify me completely as a perfectionist.

I'm completely delusional and I think that the perfect omelet must be around the next corner. However, I'm not going to make a gigantic effort to make the perfect omelet, the conditions must occur naturally. Maybe I'm just lazy....

So a conceptual perfectionist tends to have a highly addictive personality. Yeah, that would be me again. Because that ideal situation is always just around the corner, we'll try over and over and over again until we reach that wonderful moment of zen or until our wives's tolerance level is reached and we abandon our efforts in hopes of continuing our marriage.

Well my conceptual perfectionism is coming out in my little stock game. It's driving me crazy that I'm not hitting every single money opportunity. I could have sold high and bought low. I could have made 3% more if I had just stayed in one more day. These thoughts occupy my brain way more often then they should and ultimately could cause a lot of trouble if I don't deal with them.

In poker, we call it "going on tilt". A player will become obsessed with missing a huge pot or throwing away a great hand and will go on tilt. They'll go crazy and start betting all of their money at once or chasing cards that they shouldn't because statistically it'll almost never happen. But once on tilt all you can do is focus on the 1% chance of it happening, not the 99% chance that it won't.

How does one get off of tilt? Usually one of three ways.
  1. You lose all of your money.
  2. You win a crapload.
  3. You get up from the table and take a walk.
Obviously trading stocks is not like poker, but I could go on tilt with thoughts of missing opportunities. The biggest thing that I have going for me is that I'm staying in a cash account and I have to sit out 3 days each time I sell. I could get around this in many ways, but I'm making myself get up from the game each time to keep my conceptual perfectionism in check.

1 comment:

Wifetastic said...

please dont let me be poor