The Stock Trader's Steps to Success

Mark Douglas, in his classic book on trading behavior entitled THE DISCIPLINED TRADER: DEVELOPING WINNING ATTITUDES, describes what he believes are the three steps to a trader’s ultimate, long term success.  The following steps have very little to do with technical anaysis and everything to do with the trader’s mental resources.  Douglas explains that the “more sophisticated you become as a trader, the more you will realize that trading is completely mental.  It isn’t you against the markets, it’s just you” (204).  So, if it is just you what are the steps?

1.  STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN.  The trader needs to stay focused on mastering the steps to achieving his goals and not the end result, knowing that the end result, money, will be a by-product of what he knows and how well he can act on what he knows.   A big part of what the trader needs to learn is how to accept missed opportunities.  “Except for the inability to accept a loss, there isn’t anything that has the potential to cause more psychological damage than a belief in missed opportunities.  When you release the energy out of the belief that it is possible to miss anything, you will no longer feel compelled to do something, like getting into trades too early or too late.” (205).

2.  LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH LOSSES:  Douglas outlines two trading rules for dealing with losses both of which are designed to help the trader deal with any threat of pain and confront, head on, the inevitability of a loss.  The first is to predefine what a loss is in every potential trade.  By predefine Douglas means “determine what the market has to look like or do, to tell you that the trade no longer represents an opportunity” (206).   Secondly, “execute your losing trades immediately upon perception that they exist.  When losses are predefined and executed without hesitation, there is nothing to consider, weigh, or judge and consequently nothing to tempt yourself with” (207). 

3.  BECOME AN EXPERT AT ONE MARKET BEHAVIOR: Simplicity and focus is the mother of success.  “You need to start as small as possible and then gradually allow yourself to grow into greater and greater amounts of market information.  What you want to do is become an expert at just one particular type of behavior pattern that repeats itself with some degree of frequency. To become an expert, choose one simple traing system that identifies a pattern.  Your objective is to understand completely every aspect of the system.  In the meantime, it is important to avoid all other possibilities and information” (209).

Three simple steps yet ironically it is in the simplicity that traders find the most difficulty.  Trading is not difficult, we make it so.  Remember this the next time you enter a trade. 

Dear Readers & Traders………..Don’t miss to read this Book !!101% it should be in your Library.-Technically Yours ,Anirudh Sethi

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