Allergy Hell, Lapse of Judgement and Value of Time

By Lawrence

imageI have not had a food allergy episode for many years. These things are bounded to happen though and I have lived through one this week. It is a good reminder than I need to be much more careful when I dine out. More importantly, I have relearned my lessons about lapse of judgement and the value of time.

Allergy Hell

It all started from eating at small boutique restaurant. The food is great and it is packed all evening. I enjoyed the night much and did not feel anything unusual until after the meal was over. The first few hives showing up looks like mosquito bites hence I ignored them. Only until later into the night that hives showing up everywhere that I have to take Benadryl to keep it under control.

Since then it was continuous high dosage of Benadryl for days now that the allergic reaction finally calm down but not over yet. Hopefully this bout of allergy hell will be over soon. I can assure you that it is not funny having hives all over. It is also not nice taking Benadryl which destroy one’s ability to focus among many other side effects.

Lapse of Judgement

When I was younger I was very careful when I dine out. I have a routine to go through when I go to eat at some place I am not familiar with. If I cannot tell if the food is processed separately I will go for the safe choices on the menu. Food allergy is a life long threat and if the reaction is strong enough, it can kill someone in a very short period of time. Yet, I have completely forgotten to do my part. How can this happen?

It is the change of routines over this past year making me doing all kinds of new decisions that wiped out my old routines. The busy schedule played a role too as I have to travel a lot. Going for safe choices most of the time led me dropping my safety routine and have forgotten about it all together. So when I venture out for something different, I have forgotten to play safe and paid for my lapse of judgement dearly.

This reminds me of a common mistake traders, both beginners and even professionals, often make. After a winning streak based on careful actions and analysis, human tends to forget about the safeguards that was not needed at the time. As the trading condition changes, those safeguards that are critical in taking care of the bottom line will be needed again. Yet, without discipline and a carefully written trading plan to follow. many traders would lose most if not all the money they made during the winning streak simply due to lapse of judgement.

For both traders and people with allergy, we cannot depend on our ability to maintain our best judgement. We must follow our routine that protect us from ourselves.

Value of Time

Taking medications to control allergy is simply using medications to control our immune system from reacting to external threats. Allergy reaction, most of the time, is over reaction by our bodies to allergens that may not be as harmful as our body determine. Numbing our immune system also reduce our response to our five senses and of course, our ability to focus.

I have been working hard on several advanced course like materials on trading. It takes a lot of focus to do the research and write with clarity. The past few days of Benadryl knocked me out at least a day and a half. I have to double up on my coffee intake to counter the effect. At the end, coffee only keeps me awake but not able to focus much. Frustration with myself flares up. If I had been more careful, time would not be wasted this way.

One of my mentors, an old gentleman who was a market maker at the time I first traded at the floor, asked me an interesting question one day. And I wrote down the conversation in my first trading journal that I am still keeping today.

“Why are you staring at the screen all day?”

(Note: At the time, there are no charts on the trading floor, just big fat monitors with quotes flashing all the time.)

“To keep an eye on my position.”

“Do you know what is the most valuable thing in the world?”

“What do you mean? Gold, diamond or whatever?!”

“It is time. Everyday, everyone has  the same amount of time yet people waste it away. How do you spend your time determine what you will become or process in the future. You are wasting your time here, son.”

“Why am I wasting my time? I am trying to protect my position here.”

“If your position needs your full attention everyday to manage, it is not worth your time. You are not protecting your position, you are just letting your emotion controlling you. Your time is better spent by learning how to manage your positions without watching them all day!”

Managing oneself better can improve our lives in all areas. For me, it all started from my understanding of the value of time.


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