Profile Of The Successful Trader

Trading is being young, imperfect, and human – not old, exacting, and scientific. It is not a set of techniques, but a commitment. You are to be an information processor. Not a swami. Not a guru. An information processor.

Participating in the markets can only develop your trading skills. You need to become a part of the markets, to know the state of the markets at any given time, and most importantly, to know yourself. You need to be patient, confident, and mentally tough.

Good traders offer no excuses, make no complaints. They live willingly with the vagaries of life and the markets.

In the early stages of your trading career, pay attention not only to whether you should buy or sell but also to how you have executed your trading ideas. You will learn more from your trades this way.

Never assume that the unreasonable or the unexpected cannot happen. It can. It does. It will.

Remember, you can learn a lot about trading from your mistakes. When you make a mistake – and you will – do not dwell on the negatives. Learn from the mistake and keep going.

Never forget that markets are made up of people. Think constantly about what others are doing, what they might do in the current circumstances, or what they might do when those circumstances change. Remember that, whenever you buy and hope to sell higher, the person you sell to will have to see the same opportunity at that higher price to be induced to buy.

Traders who lose follow one of several typical patterns. Some repeatedly suffer individual large losses that wipe out earlier gains or greatly increase a small loss. Others experience brief periods during which their trading wheels fall off: they lose discipline and control and make a series of bad trades as a result.
Wise traders make many small trades, remain involved, and constantly maintain and sharpen their feel for he market. For all of their work, they hope to receive some profit, even if it is small in terms of dollars. In addition, continual participation allows them to sense and recognize the few real opportunities when they arise. These generate large rewards that make the effort of trading truly worthwhile.

At the end of the chapter he lists specific observations that have a high enough probability of reoccurring he considers them rules:

  • If you find yourself holding a winning position, adding up your profits, and confidently projecting larger gains on the horizon, you are probably better off exiting the trade. The odds are that the trade has run its course.
  • When entering a trade with a market order and your fill is clearly better than expected, odds are it will end up being a losing trade. Good fill, bad trade. Get out!
  • If all your ‘trading buddies’ agree with your expectations regarding the next big move, it probably will not work out. If everyone’s conviction level is as strong as the consensus, do the opposite.

10 Trading Rules

  1. Always wait for the setup: no setup – no trade. Agree. If your strategy doesn’t provide you a good risk/reward trade to make, then your job is to be patient until it does. Ironically, this often requires you to sit out some very good moves in the market and be inactive at the very same times you want to be aggressive.

  2. The best trades work almost right away. Agree, but with one important caveat – this rule greatly depends upon your strategy. Some strategies will require greater patience than others. If trading short-term, this rule is almost always correct, but if your time frames are longer, then you also have time on your side which requires more patience but that patience can pay off if your analysis is correct.
  3. Never take a big loss. If it doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Remove it! Disagree. Sometimes you have to take a big loss to prevent the risk of an even greater loss. Refusing to take a big loss when a mistake has been made can be very costly. I also disagree with the view that “If it doesn’t feel right, remove it.” Actually, some of the best trades you will ever make in your career are those trades that feel wrong and about as far from “right” as you can make it. Don’t believe me? Think over the last month or so about the trades you missed because they didn’t feel right but your strategy told you to hold or buy them anyway! It is also interesting to me that this rule says to trade by feel and at the same time advises in another rule not to trade by emotion. You can’t do one without the other!
  4. Always perfect your craft and sharpen your skills – good traders are constantly learning. Agree. No matter how skilled, intelligent, and successful you have been, there is always room for improvement. Moreover, because of the ever-growing changing nature of the market, what you do now to trade successfully won’t always work in every situation and the next market environment. Only experience and constant dedication to your job will provide you with the weapons for enduring market success.
  5. Be patient with winning trades – impatient with trades that fight back. Agree. Another good ways of saying – let your winners run and cut your losers short. The truth is that most individual traders and investors do the exact opposite – they sell winners too quickly and they hold losers far too long letting trades that went awry become long-term “trapped” investments. (more…)

The Ten Things Profitable Traders Do Differently

The following 10 reasons may be why the 10% of long term profitable traders take the money from the 90% that are unprofitable. I see these differences in real life all the time. There is a big difference between profitable and unprofitable traders that usually comes down to homework, mental discipline, and risk management.10NUMBER

  1. Winning traders let winning trades get as big as possible before exiting. They have the really big winners to pay for all the losers.
  2. Winning traders have no patience for losing trades, they keep losses small. They know how not to give back their profits with big losing trades.
  3. They are focusing on trading actual price action not their own opinions or beliefs.
  4. They are experts on the trading vehicles that they trade.
  5. The trade with the trend in their time frame.
  6. Good traders know that their trailing stops are smarter than they are.
  7. Profitable traders know that it is their robust methodology that makes them profitable not any one trade.
  8. Winning traders are great risk managers. Their #1 concern is how much they can lose, their #2 concern is how much they can make.
  9. Profitable traders have put in the time, usually years and thousands of hours to learn what really makes money in the markets.
  10. Profitably traders have studied historical price data, chart patterns, trends, and price action.


Art of Trading-10 Rules

1. Always wait for the setup: No Setup-No Trade.
2. THE BEST trades work almost right away.
3. Never take a big loss. If it doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Remove it!
4. Always perfect your craft and sharpen your skills(good traders are constantly learning)
5. Be patient with winning trades: Impatient with trades that fight back.
6. DISCIPLINE is the key to winning at everything!
7. Never get emotionally attached to trades, trading, losses or profits.
8. Always trade with the size that makes you unemotional(emotional trading is the quickest way out of this game).
9. Keeps things simple and do not over-think or over-complicate your trading. LESS IS ALWAYS MORE.
10. Stay humble at all times.

Good Traders & Bad Traders

Good Traders

  1. The good traders that I have met are generous with their time and knowledge.
  2. Good traders are flexible in their trades and opinions they follow where the market takes them.
  3. The majority of good traders have simple charts that focus on price action. They focus on the simplicity of what works.
  4. A good trader will admit a loss and share what happened.
  5. Good traders are first and foremost traders, any service or product they offer is secondary.
  6. Good traders are humble and respect the market and the reality of trading.
  7. Good traders at times will call real trades and post entries and exits.
  8. Good traders are on social media not for show but for teaching and friendships and having fun.
  9. Good traders go with the current market trend.
  10. Those who make a comfortable living trading are playful, joking and happy .

 Bad Traders

  1. Many bad traders try to tear down others to make themselves feel superior. Good traders have no need to do this they have highly self esteems already. (more…)

Trading wisdom and strategies

Trading System – According to Howard Abell: The trading system gives the trader the ability to control his or her emotional states rather than allowing them to control him. A system is a disciplined method for organizing dynamic, ever-changing market phenomena.

Risk Control – According to Paul Tudor Jones: If I have positions going against me, I get right out; if they are going for me, I keep them… Risk control is the most important thing in trading. If you have a losing position that is making you uncomfortable, the solution is very simple: Get out, because you can always get back in.

Psychological Makeup – According to Leo Melamed: You learn to distinguish the good traders from the bad, the successful techniques from the unsuccessful, and the good habits from the faulty. You also learn to distinguish the lover from the fighter, the winners from the losers, the serious from the frivolous, the cerebral from the superficial, and the friend from the foe. But above all, you learn that the psychological makeup of the trader is the single most critical element of success.

The Easy Middle – According to Randy McKay: The beginning of a price move is usually hard to trade because you are not sure whether you are right about the direction of the trend. The end is hard because people start taking profits and the market gets very choppy. The middle of the move is what I call the easy part.

Cut Back Trading Size When Losing – According to Bill Lipschutz: When you are in a losing streak, your ability to properly assimilate and analyze information starts to become distorted because of the impairment of the confidence factor, which is a by-product of a losing streak. You have to work very hard to restore that confidence, and cutting back trading helps achieve that goal.

Have A Predetermined Stop – According to Bruce Kovner: Whenever I enter a position, I have a predetermined stop. That is the only way I can sleep. I know where I am getting out before I get in. The position size on a trade is determined by the stop, and the stop is determined on a technical basis.

Accept the Risk – According to Mark Douglas: To whatever degree you haven’t accepted the risk, is the same degree to which you will avoid the risk. Trying to avoid something that is unavoidable will have disastrous effects on your ability to trade successfully.

Making Mistakes Is Part of Business – According to Bruce Kovner: Michael Marcus [another top trader] taught me one other thing that is absolutely critical: You have to be willing to make mistakes regularly; there is nothing wrong with it. Michael taught me about making your best judgement, being wrong, making your next best judgement, being wrong, making your third best judgement, and then doubling your money.

Are You a Gambler or a Trader?

Here is a quick checklist to see if you are a bad gambler or a good trader:

  • Gamblers have a disadvantage to the house, good traders have a  system that gives them an advantage over other traders.
  • Gamblers always leave the casino broke no matter how much money they are up at any given time, good traders make money consistently.
  • Gamblers risk money randomly, good traders risk preset amounts of money on each trade.
  • Gamblers do not understand the odds against them, good traders understand the risk/reward ratio in every trade.
  • Gamblers enter a casino with no understanding of their risk of ruin, good traders manage their risk of ruin so it is close to zero.
  • Gamblers use emotions to make decisions, good traders use a trading plan for each decision.
  • Gamblers have ego problems when they are winning, good traders are humble while winning.
  • Gamblers go all in to win big, good traders trade just big enough to make a meaningful profit.

Good Vs. Great Trading

Good traders are able to identify opportunities in the market, plan trades, execute trades, and manage trades at a reasonable level. A good trader identifies the opportunity, plans the trade, and executes the trade. He takes his losses with discipline. One might think that great traders are similar to good traders but just better. The reality is that great traders are distinctly different from good traders. The difference is not merely a difference in measure but a difference in kind.

Great trading is actually much closer to gambling. One of the key differences between great trading and good trading is that great traders don’t just play the odds: great traders play the unknown. The market simply isn’t predictable enough – enough of the time — to allow for the type of returns that great traders seek. So, great traders are much more likely to be going out into that unknown space. This seeking out the unknown always involves a cost. The cost for greatness is the potential for loss, even significant loss. A great trader will typically take more risks. The risks could involve taking trades with higher uncertainties (less confirmation), higher risk per trade (giving a trade more room), and in general just a higher level of risk. This increased level of risk taking is balanced by increased trading skill.

The problem with trading just trading well is that the game, the trading game, is really close to a zero sum game, even when played perfectly. The focus on limiting risk tends to ignore the reality that every business has to make a profit to survive. The problem with trying to avoid risks is that it tends to push the game to such a competitive level such that the trader must trade at a near perfect level just to break even and nobody can trade perfectly forever. Eventually mistakes are made and losses occur. Great traders are more creative. They move laterally and find creative solutions. Great traders don’t really compete against others. It is more of a dance. Instead of playing the games against others, they make up their own game. (more…)

A Dozen Observations on Life and Markets

Trading is the most difficult of sports: nowhere else does one begin a career by opposing the world’s most accomplished professionals.
Extreme trading size produces extreme emotional outcomes, leaving traders with certain trauma or addiction.
A universal trade setup: Hope, then despair.
Fidelity to purpose: the mark of good trades and great traders.
Mentors cannot achieve more for you than they have accomplished for themselves. (more…)

Anyone can get lucky in the short term, only good traders succeed in the long term

Don’t confuse making money in the stock market with knowing what you are doing. It is easy to get lucky on a stock or on a sector and enjoy gains that give credence to your analysis method. However, short term winners often give back all of their gains because they fail to recognize their success as luck.
Go to top