One of the hardest lessons to learn in your quest to become a true trader is to suspend your beliefs and to trade that which you have learned through hours of observation.
How many times have you stated that company x is overvalued only to watch it go higher? Or undervalued only to watch it continue lower? How many times have you thought that the “market” can’t go any higher and yet it did day after day? Or lower? How many times have you been scratching your head because the “market” is rising on such low volume? When is the last time you were in disbelief because company y has closed higher for 10 days in a row (after shorting it on the third day)? And have you ever acted on a recommendation from Jim Cramer only to watch in disbelief because as soon as you entered it reversed course?
Bottom line – trading what “you” believe is a recipe for disaster.
Eventually most folks figure out that the market is so chaotic that they are lost and admit they don’t know how to trade. Many quit in disgust. A few of you press on and begin a journey of real study. Continue reading »
#1 Trading is not about winning percentage, being right all the time, or predicting the future. What it is about is having bigger winners than losers. If you are profitable after each long string of trades then you are a winning trader in that time frame. You can make money through winning percentage as long as you keep losers small and you can make money through huge wins even with lots of losses. The key is not how many times you are right but the size of your winners versus your losers. That is the magic elixir of profitability.
#2 Trading is first and foremost about surviving, the vast majority of traders not only don’t make money but they lose most of their trading capital. The only way to have a long profitable trading career is to manage risk and survive a string of losses. If your trading losses are more than 1% to 2% of total trading capital per losing trade you are in danger of blowing up your account with a string of losing trades or one big loss. To make the journey from new trader to successful trader you have to survive losing streaks and completely unexpected market action. Trading and betting big will eventually take you out of the game, it is only a question of when.
#3 Trading is one of the roughest things a person can do mentally and emotionally. Even if you win in the markets you have to keep up a large amount of personal human capital in perseverance, passion, dedication, focus, and faith in self and system. If you are missing one of these six psychological elements the odds will be against you. You have to cultivate your goals and drive into a vision of success that you are willing to pursue until you get it and pay the price as you go to have the prize you seek.
Day trading requires patience. One of the only things better than really nailing a trade is the satisfying sound of the ball cracking into the back of the plexiglass of an indoor soccer goal. I am not a prolific goal scorer, but I recently scored a goal that was hailed as the “Goal of the Match” in a 5-1 win. What made this goal so perfect is the same thing that is often responsible for my best trades – patience. So picture this; the field is about the size of a hockey rink, complete with wooden sideboards.