Patience, Preparation and Performance

Everything is difficult before it becomes easy.

With the current volatility of the financial markets, it is extremely important that each of us resolve to be patient in our decisions and not make snap judgments. These can create future disaster.

The most successful individuals around the world have a foundation of processes that they utilize consistently, no matter whether the markets are trending with clear direction or being extremely volatile.

Each of us needs to be patient and allow the trading plans that we use to provide points of execution for trades. We need to be prepared for any and all movements in the market, yet stay committed to our plan and then perform with a self-confidence that ensures that we do not stray away from the steps of our plan.

Patience, preparation and performance surrounded by a solid trading plan along with money and risk management will produce the highest probability for profitable success.

Preparation combined with Opportunity creates a new word I would like to give to you — Prepartunity. Every day provides new opportunities for us. If we are prepared then we will receive the highest results possible.

Being disciplined

This is probably the most recurrent concept mentioned in trading literature, but what does it mean exactly? “Discipline is any training intended to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour, especially training that produces moral, physical, or mental development in a particular direction”*, i.e.: to be disciplined you need a specific set of rules to follow. Without rules, discipline is an empty concept!! In order to be disciplined, a trader first needs to set the rules that he will need to follow. Here we come back to the necessity of first working out a methodology, and then applying the rules to make the most out of it. This is usually called the “Trading Plan” and it is the foundation of any successful trader. Many would-be traders find it hard to write down a specific trading plan since it is very far from the typical “easy money” illusion that many people have about trading. Being able to articulate a precise, step-by-step plan is the result of intensive (more…)

Most Common Advice is Ineffective

ADVICE FOR TRADERS“Plan the trade, and trade the plan!” is perhaps the most common advice given to traders. As far as advice goes, it’s well meaning, but unfortunately falls well short of addressing the problem most traders actually face. 

Looking at the advice, it has two parts. The first part says you need a plan. No argument there. But the second part, about executing the plan, that’s where the problems appear. Why?

The two parts to the advice ‘plan the trade’ and the ‘trade the plan’ require two very different skill sets. Without understanding the different skills required, it’s highly likely that you will continue to regularly veer from your plan.

Here’s the disconnect. Planning the trade depends on your intellect. And most of the time, the development of the plan does not occur in the heat of battle.  It’s relatively easily to let your intellect guide you, to be the primary driver when you’re not in the heat of battle. But in the heat of battle, when we have to decide right now whether to enter or exit, an entirely different situation occurs. (more…)

Two types of confidence.


Having confidence in a trade is easy. You do not know what is going to happen, blinded by opportunity. Every trade is new. Easy to convince yourself that this time it will be a winner. This takes no effort other than convincing yourself. This is what is described in  first circle. You can look at a chart and imagine you can do it. Hindsight. As a new trader I was very confident, but I was confident in myself.

Having confidence in trading is much harder. It requires you to have confidence in every trade. You have to look at a series of trades and results not just one. True confidence comes from a trading plan and process. This is what  describes in his second circle. Hindsight cannot be used. This is about execution. Execution does not lie and you cannot hide from it. As I matured I had confidence in myself as a trader after doing the work.

Mark Douglas Trading Discipline Exercise

Nothing revolutionary about it, but a lot of common sense.

Here’s the exercise with some of my personal observations added:

Pick ONE trading signal. It doesn’t matter, what signal exactly, but it’s important that it should be one you consider reliable and really intend to start your career as a consistently profitable trader with trading this signal (I will explain in some of further posts, why it is so important to start trading with minimal number of different signals). (more…)

10 Thing u should learn from Market

1. “There is no such thing as easy money”

This is so true, in the markets, in everything. Those who happen upon money where it DID come to them easily, it seems, as a witness, have had it very fleetingly. In my own case, although I am supremely confident in the profitabliity of what I am doing, in practically any market, in virtually any “regime,” doesn’t mean it’s easy. It works like clockwork and is incredibly painful and distressing. It would be so much easier to simply sell buckets of blood.”

2. It’s bad to try to make money the same way several days in a row
3. Markets that have little liquidity are almost impossible to profit from.
4. When the stock market is way down, policy makers take notice and do what they can to remedy the situation.
5. The market puts infinitely more emphasis on ephemeral announcements that it should.
6. It is good to go against the trend followers after they have become committed.
7. One should not make one’s analysis more precise than one’s actual trading could ever possibly be.

If the rational mind has not determined the parameters of a trade, then upon execution, the lizard brain will decide.

9. Never go on vacation with open trading positions.
10.  All higher forms of math and statistics are useless in uncovering regularities.

cfor Traders

1) Cut Risk – It’s that “above all else, do no harm” principle. If you don’t have a feel for the market, trade small while you regain your feel. Preserve as much of your capital as possible to lay the foundation for your recovery;

2) Focus on Your Strengths – It’s not unusual for frustrated traders to try to make all kinds of changes in their trading in a frantic effort to gain some traction. These efforts can compound difficulties by getting traders further and further from their strengths. During rebuilding periods, you want to focus on the markets and strategies that you know most about, that represent your strengths.

3) Reach Out – It’s especially helpful to reach out to traders who trade markets and strategies similar to yours. Are they also struggling? If so, this suggests that market changes, indeed, may be at the root of the problem. If the traders you contact are succeeding, try to find out what they’re doing differently from you. It may well be that a simple tweaking of execution, holding times, and risk management could turn your performance around.

4) Stay Constructive – You may well be in a rebuilding period. This happens to the best athletes and sports franchises. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost all talent and skill. Identifying the kinds of trades that are working for you is a start toward rebuilding: you want to find the common denominators behind your successful trades so that you can emphasize these going forward.

5) Work on Your Self-Talk – Hard as it is, it’s important to stay positive during a rebuilding period. The last thing you want to do is create additional interference by beating up on yourself and dampening your motivation. This is one of the areas where coaching can be helpful. Setting attainable goals and creating plans for learning new patterns and trading strategies can fuel optimism, determination, and focus.

6) Control the Budget – It very much helps to have a cash cushion to weather these rainy day periods. Living within one’s means also helps greatly. I’ve generally found that traders can adapt to shifting markets if they have enough time to make the transition. It’s when the pressures of bringing in money month to month add to the performance pressures of a drawdown period that turnarounds become difficult to sustain.

Perhaps the best advice, however, is preventive. Identify slumps early and control losses before they get out of hand. Perform regular inventories of your winning and losing trades, so that you’re always on top of what’s working for you and minimizing what’s hurting performance. During your best times, remember that markets always change and keep powder dry to weather the inevitable lean times. Ironically, the best way to master declines in trading performance is to embrace them early and turn them into prods for learning and development.

Mark Cuban’s post mortem on Facebook

His latest take on the facebook IPO is here. His points are in bold.

1. Say goodbye to the individual investor on Wall Street. Mr. Cuban argues that because the media hyped the FB IPO that Wall Street is to blame. OK, I agree the IPO was hyped. But is that Wall Streets fault? Isn’t it the media’s fault? Isn’t it the buyers fault for not doing their due diligence? Didn’t Morgan Stanley spend millions propping up the stock the first day?

No one has long term success by reading any single piece of media, especially without knowing the writers intentions.

Here is a brief explanation on how the market works. If there are more buyers than sellers it goes up or vice versa. Or more important right now, if they have the means to buy.

2. The Valuation Bubble in Silicon Valley is bursting – but not for the reasons you think. The idea of private investment seems great but the execution is far off. The value of any market is liquidity. That has to be one of the important factors when making an investment. You know why futures are gaining popularity and what will eventually lead to their demise? A central market place and the lack thereof. Their spawns will kill the market and liquidity. The less central a market place the more likely the forces within that market are able to take control.

Mark agrees with me on liquidity but my interpretation is that he makes an argument against his point not for it. Didn’t the public market do a much better job at pricing? Didn’t the private market fail more dramatically than the public is this case? (Some one that knows the details better than I, when they went public did private shares get converted 1 to 1? If it did not get converted 1 to 1 let me know and I will gladly change it)

I believe Shark Tank is a great reason why Wall Street will always exist. I do not feel bad for the euntrepreuners and or the Sharks. Each assume the other person will add value. Wall Street assumes the same thing but to more people But as Mr. Cuban already knows, not everyone can win. But would they do better if there were 10 sharks or 100 sharks? Would more companies get funded?

If you allow people to be stupid, they will continue to be stupid. Howard Lindzon wrote a post as well that I disagreed with on the basis of access. They are both a lot more successful than I so I could be wrong. Also both of those guys should know that you are more likely to get screwed privately than publicly. I think this might be changing but it hasn’t yet. Open is not bad, closed is not bad, bad is bad. Liquidity and cash is always king, deeper markets should lead to better pricing. (more…)

7 More Trading Lessons for Traders

  1. You don’t choose the stock market; it chooses you.  A little bit of early trading success can have a profound effect on a person’s soul.  If it does choose you, you’ll have to accept that your life and investing will become forever connected.
  2. Your methodology must provide an unshakeable foundation that you believe in totally, and you must have the conviction to trade based upon it.   If your belief is tentative or if you don’t have complete faith in your methodology, then a few bad trades will destabilize and erode your confidence. 
  3. A calm mindset that can focus on the execution and not on the outcome is what produces profits.  It takes total emotional control.  You must maintain your balance, rhythm and patience.  You need all three to stay in the game.
  4. The markets are always conniving with ingenious techniques to get you to lose your patience, to get you frustrated or mad, to bait you to do the wrong thing when you know you shouldn’t.  A champion doesn’t allow the markets to get under his skin and take him out of his game.
  5. Like a great painting, all good trades start with a blank canvas.  Winning traders first paint the trade in their mind’s eye so that their emotional selves can reproduce it accurately with clarity and consistency, void of emotions as they play it out in the markets.
  6. The “here and now” is all that matters.  You can’t think about the last trade or the last shot or worry about the future.  You need to put on your “amnesia hat” in order to remain completely unfazed by what came before.  Only by doing so can you be totally absorbed in executing your present trade.
  7. Being prepared and having put in the work results in the bringing together of your intuition and confidence.  The two go hand in hand.  Extraordinary results can be expected when you are able to see it, feel it and trust it. 

Probabilities vs. expectations

I expect to wake up tomorrow morning and not die during the night.

I expect that I will be able to get out of bed and know how to walk to the kitchen.
I expect my car will start.
I expect the other person will stop at the red light.
I expect that I won’t get hit by lightning.
Seeing that expectations are what normal everyday life is founded on, is it natural to think that you can expect a stock to trade in a particular direction? Only if you want to become a loser.
The markets and stocks are not everyday life. They have the ability to do anything at any time. The only thing 100% certain is that they are 100% unpredictable.
If you have expectations, it means you have an emotional attachment or interest in an event outcome. Do you expect to make money, have a winning trade, make a right decision? When they happen are you giddy with excitement, gushing to all who will listen that you are so smart. What happens when you are wrong? How about wrong ten times in a row? If you live the highs you will be living the lows. Your expectations will destroy your confidence and thus your account. Your ego will take you back to childhood where you will throw tantrums and stomp your feet looking for a sympathetic ear. “The markets aren’t fair” you say. Well the markets don’t give a shit what your want or when you want it.
Now if instead you trade the probability of a outcome to an event, you can put a wall up between yourself as a person who is on autopilot accepting everyday expectations and you as a successful trader who is ruthless in the execution of your plan. Thinking, trusting and truly believing in probabilities will save the day for you. When you think that “based on my experience, seeing a very similiar situation before, odds are that the near future direction of this stock is this way. However since this event is unrelated in every way to my past memories, I must choose the point at which my decision will be proven wrong and set a protective stop here.”
When you think this way, it doesn’t matter whether you are right or wrong. You are simply carrying out your trading plan based on your experience/edge. Playing the averages. You don’t get hurt by losing trades. You don’t get happy over winning trades. Whatever happens, happens. Being cold and calculating brings you as a trader closer to the machines that are running the show these days. (more…)
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