Imagine having a man who works for you whose only job is to say “No” to things.
There is nothing else this man would do for you. He wouldn’t answer your phone, or help you with spreadsheets, or offer you assistance of any kind.
If you asked for the slightest bit of help outside his job description he would just say “no” again — the only thing he was good at. Meanwhile, when he wasn’t saying “no” to something, he would mainly sit around reading the newspaper.
You might think this man’s services aren’t worth very much. Until you discovered that, as an investor, he was very good at saying “no” to your bad investment calls.
Tempted to buy a junky penny stock on a hot tip?
He would clear his throat and say “no” before you had time to put the order in.
Tempted to sell out a winning position in a strong, steady uptrend, just to have the feeling of ringing the cash register but without good reason to sell?
He would say “no” again, with a bit of firmness, and keep you in the position.
Daytrading? No. Averaging down on a loss? No. Buying without a plan, buying with too large a position size, selling for no good reason? No, no, no.
If you were investing a large enough sum, and made a high enough frequency of investment decisions, you might find this man’s services were worth a fortune.
His two-letter word input, never changing in its length or substance, could be worth $5,000, $50,000, or even $500,000 a year, depending on the size, scope, and frequency of bad decisions he kept you out of with a “no” at just the right moment.
If he saved you enough money, and you were well-aware of how much you saved, you might come to like having him around. You might even come to appreciate his silence, and to appreciate the sound of nothing at all — as opposed to a loud harrumphing “NO” wafting over the pages of the comics section.
“The man who always says ‘no’” is a thought experiment.
Such a man could not exist and would have to be a mind reader if he did. But it’s an appealing idea, at least for some, because the man represents an externalized form of discipline.
You wouldn’t need willpower or thought — or could at minimum use far less of both — if his clear and steady “no” was always there to help.
Compared to the man who always says “no,” investment software could be the next best thing. (Or a far better thing, depending on how much you like privacy.)
It’s possible to embed rules and systems into software — or to use preexisting templates in that same software — to get a “no” decision almost instantly (in matters where “no” is appropriate). And when it comes to investing, “no” actually means freedom in this case — the freedom to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing.
The funny thing about the man who always says “no” is that, as odd as the thought experiment is, most everyone gets the appeal of the idea.
It would be nice to have an external discipline source — even a man reading a newspaper if need be — that carries its own source of willpower, is always reliable, and filters bad decisions out of the mix.
But guess what? You can have something just like this, or something far better from a privacy perspective, that can help you externalize the discipline of “no” while finding more things to say “yes” to besides.
The bridge to cross here is learning to use investment software in a systematic way, observing the best practices of investing as a matter of subconscious habit.
The man who always said “no” can be software that simplifies your investment life, and gives you a nice big “Yes!” every once in a while besides.
TradeSmith Research Team