Achieving Success

Achieving SuccessIf you wish to be a successful futures or options investor, you must learn to control your losses. No talent that you develop as a trader will ever be as important to you as this. The formula for success in futures and options trading is: X (AP) – Y (AL) = SUCCESS OR FAILURE (X) is the number of profits that you have. (AP) is your average profit per trade. (Y) is the number of losses that you have. (AL) is your average loss per trade. You multiply the number of profits you have times the average of your profits to arrive at your total profits. You multiply the number of losses that you have times the average of your losses to arrive at your total losses. X (AP) equals total profits. Y (AL) equals total losses. Total profits minus total losses equals success or failure. Of this formula, the two most important letters to you are (AL). Why is the (AL) so important in your effort to achieve success. It is important because (AL) is the only element of this formula that you can control. Think about it for a while and you will see what I mean.

Patience is a virtue

Virtue -PatiencePatience is a virtue, and no place does this truism hold more water than the stock market.  When a trader allows doubt, a facet of fear, to inform his trading decision, he sets himself up for failure.  The market does not care about the wants of an individual trader, whereas when making a turn across oncoming traffic, a mistake may result only in an oncoming driver slamming on his or her brakes in order to avoid an accident.  The market will not extend such a courtesy.  It will run over anyone and anything between it and where it is going without as much as an afterthought.  It is the responsibility, not of the market to go where the trader wants it to go, but for the trader to determine the most likely course of the market and plan accordingly.  Patience, achieved by a trader monitoring his internal dialogue, makes it possible.

Building a Winning Momentum

History has recorded many great winning streaks.

Whether they were made in business, team sports, individual sports or other areas, they all had some common characteristics. They had a strong foundation, a belief in what they were doing and they took it one step at a time.

In trading, we can develop a winning streak if we decide to not always categorize winning with profits.

Success brings about more success, however if we decide we are a failure, then failure can also bring about more failure.

Are you losing more or failing more?

Losing and failure are not the same thing. No matter the outcome of the trade, I am guaranteed two things: I am paying commission and assuming my head is not up my ass, I learned something about myself, the market, and the relationship between the two. Fortunately, losing is a part of trading. Yes I said fortunately, if everyone won the best could never be rewarded. Failing on the other hand is not necessary. What is the difference between failing and losing?

Having less capital because of something I know. FAILURE
Having less capital because of something I should know. LOSS that can turn to FAILURE
Have less capital because of something I do not know. LOSS

"The Confident Trader "

Confidence overcomes fear. Confidence also overcomes greed because a component of greed is an underlying sense of scarcity. To be confident doesn’t mean that every trade or trading day will be profitable. What it does mean is that when you look to where you want to go, you know that you can figure out a strategy that will get you there. And you know you can execute that strategy in a consistent manner. A successful strategy doesn’t mean anything if you don’t or can’t or won’t employ it.

Theoretically we should be as successful at trading and investing as our trading and investing strategies. Unfortunately the vast majority of traders and investors fall far short of the results of their strategies. They trip over themselves again and again on the way to employing their methods. My work as a trading coach is to enable traders around the world to become as good as their methods.

Confidence need not waver when you have dips and troughs and plateaus in your trading. Confidence is developed when you realize you can correct mistakes and learn from failures. You don’t persist in failing. You learn and move on. You don’t fear repeating the failure either, you simply anticipate correcting it.

Self esteem is basically the sum total of all the thoughts we have about ourselves. This is quite important because we do tend to become what we think about ourselves. The noted philosopher and psychologist, William James, said, “People, in general, become what they think of themselves.” Not only did he say this but he added that this was the essence of all we had learned in psychology in the prior 100 years.

What do you think of yourself as a trader? Do you believe that your dream of excelling as a trader is possible? Do you have a set of philosophies that support your dream? Are you as good as your methods? If not, it’s time to do something about it.

Consider my coaching program. I speak for an hour on the phone each week with the traders I coach. We review your trading, beliefs, attitudes, habits, and philosophies. I help you do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t work. Through exercises, assignments, and repetitive listening to the CD’s I send, you can become as good as your methods. The money you invest in yourself—especially in difficult times—is truly the best investment you can make. It will pay you exponentially because you never leave yourself. Call me at 800-692-0080, and we’ll discuss it.

Trading Success

Great forecastTrading success is a function of possessing a statistical edge in the market and being able to exploit this edge with regularity. Trading failure is most likely to occur when you trade subjective, untested methods that possess no valid edge or when you are incapable of consistently applying edges that are available. Improving your psychology as a trader by itself will not confer an objective edge. Developing or purchasing a valid trading system will not in and of itself make you a great trader. The development of trading methods and the development of yourself as a trader thus must proceed in concert. You are only as good as the methods you implement and your ability to implement the methods.”

Are You A Professional Trader?

Going Pro, means leaving the amateur life behind. It means showing up on time and doing the work. No excuses. No calling in sick. No blue flu.

In fact, Pressfield has a list of 20 things that a professional life entails. Here they are…

  1. The professional shows up every day
  2. The professional stays on the job all day
  3. The professional is committed over the long haul
  4. For the professional, the stakes are high and real
  5. The professional is patient
  6. The professional seeks order
  7. The professional demystifies
  8. The professional acts in the face of fear
  9. The professional accepts no excuses
  10. The professional plays it as it lays
  11. The professional is prepared
  12. The professional does not show off
  13. The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique
  14. The professional does not hesitate to ask for help
  15. The professional does not take failure or success personally
  16. The professional does not identify with his or her instrument
  17. The professional endures adversity
  18. The professional self-validates
  19. The professional reinvents herself
  20. The professional is recognized by other professionals (more…)

A Dozen Reflections on Life and Markets

reflectiononlifeI’ve never seen a trader succeed whose explicit or implicit goal was to not lose. The trader who trades to not lose is like the person who lives to avoid death: both become
spiritual hypochondriacs.

No union was ever destroyed by a failure of romance. It is the loss of respect, not love, which ends a relationship.

Love, once present, never dies. It must be killed.

Sometimes we select markets–and trading styles–much as we choose romantic partners: by their ability to validate our deepest-held images of ourselves. Our choices generally succeed, for better or for worse.

Many a trader fears boredom more than loss, thereby experiencing the two in sequence. (more…)

Trading Notes for Traders

Traders should work on replacing subjectivity with cut and dry analysis.

Keep yourself in a box and stick with what you know.

The markets are complicated enough without our tendency to over analyze.  All a trader needs is to learn how to read a small number of indicators and trade them well.  Find a niche; your own niche. Simplification not complication makes a successful trader.

When contemplating a trade think first and foremost about how much you are willing to lose before you attempt to calculate your expected gain.

A stock is, at any given time, in the process of testing a specific price level.

Questions that make a trading decision valid:  WHY are you considering a trade? WHEN will you enter it? WHERE do you see it going?

Multiple time frame correlation is important for high probability trades.

Let the chart tell you its story.

OBEY your rules of engagement…ALWAYS.

Be well paid to be a follower.

Loss of mental capital (drive, will, confidence) is greater than loss of monetary capital.

Let the price action CONFIRM your trade analysis.  Example: let a break-out test the break-out first.

Trading Errors:  The “Fudge” Factor

1. Trying to catch a falling knife.

2. Picking Tops

3. Failure to wait for confirmation.

4. Lack of patience.

5.  Lack of a clear strategy.

6. Failure to assume responsibility.

7.  Failure to quantify risk.

Trading and Tennis

The accompanying comments  were inspired from Brad Gilbert‘s book,  Winning  Ugly, which was written about tennis. There are many parallels between tennis and trading, both being individual performance disciplines. 

And on that last note, remember that ATTITUDE is everything. How you frame out an individual experience or event will affect your success in the long run. Do you see a trading loss or bad drawdown period as a major setback, or do you see it as a learning experience from which you can figure out how to be on the RIGHT 

The accompanying comments (see sidebar) were inspired from Brad Gilbert‘s book,  Winning  Ugly, which was written about tennis. There are many parallels between tennis and trading, both being individual performance disciplines.



And on that last note, remember that ATTITUDE is everything. How you frame out an individual experience or event will affect your success in the long run. Do you see a trading loss or bad drawdown period as a major setback, or do you see it as a learning experience from which you can figure out how to be on the RIGHT

●     Desire. The most successful players are the ones who have a burning desire to win.

●     Defy Failure! Don’t check out of the game. Never give up!

●     Consistency. Improve your consistency. Stay active, stay involved, and keep your feet moving.

●     Patience. Be patient. Do not force a trade that isn’t there. Wait for the play to set up.

●     Management. When you get a good trade, go for it.

Manage it. Trail a stop. Don’t be too eager to get out.

●     Flexibility. Be flexible – if what you are doing isn’t working, change what you are doing!

●     Confidence. When down, get a little rhythm and confidence going. Don’t worry about being too ambitious.

●     Concentration. Stay with your game. Don’t let outside distractions bother you. They take energy and break your concentration.

●     Know Yourself. Match your particular strengths to the type of market conditions.

●     Clean Up Your Act. Hate making stupid mistakes and unforced errors. This includes not getting out of a bad trade when you know you are wrong.

●     Stay Positive. Many players will play their best game when they are coming from behind.

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