Trade Like Michael Jordan

How does basketball exactly relate to golf and perhaps trading successfully? Well, you’re going to soon find out!

In this article, Michael provides 10 rules for maximizing competitiveness and if you’ve been trading for any period of time, you’ll instantly recognize their value to trading successfully. In fact, here’s my personal take on how Jordan’s rules directly relate to making us all better traders:

  • Focus on the little things.  It is true, if you focus on the little things (finding and exploiting attractive entry points, proper position sizing, sticking to stop loss levels, unbiased chart analysis, etc.) they’ll all add up to contribute to your big picture success and bottom line. When the pressure is on and tension and stress is high, traders must rely on the basic skills they’ve developed through constant practice to make the tough trades. That practice and constant dedication to improve oneself will make a world of difference when opportunities are the most plentiful.

  • Have total confidence in what you can do.  As Michael says “If you have 100 percent confidence that you can pull off a shot, most of the time you will.” I couldn’t agree more. While we all make trades based on imperfect information and conflicting data, at all times we must be 100% confident in the trades we make. There’s a good reason why so many traders say you must always “trade to win” instead of “trading not to lose.” There’s a huge difference. In addition, the only way to have confidence you really need in the trades you make is to actually do the work the leads up to making those trades in the first place.

  • Don’t think about the prize; think about the work.  Novice traders focus on how much money they stand to gain or lose from trading while great traders focus simply on the process of trading well and to their best of their ability. That’s a key difference. Sometimes a good trader will be very unhappy even if they make money in a particular trade because they didn’t trade it well or the trade violated their strategy and they got away with it whereas a novice trader will simply focus on the profits or losses no matter how and why they earned them. Money, and the rewards the flow from successful trading, are a low priority to the successful trader – instead trading well and trading even better the next time are the two top priorities. (more…)

Tony Oz Trading Wisdom – The Stock Trader

Tony Oz: ‘The Stock Trader – How I make a living trading stocks.” Page 163-164

[…] The thing that drives me crazy about traders is that they always tell you about a great pick they had, and how they have left so much money behind. It is always about how much money they leave behind. I used to participate in these conversations myself, and I would share my grief about the trades that got away from me. In fact, I would even do so unintentionally while teaching a seminar. Now, every time I am about to tell a story about a trade that got away from me, I take a deep breath, and I tell myself, “No one really cares!” As they say,”Misery loves company.” You might be in pain for letting a big winner go early, and you feel you have to tell the world about it. It is not going to get you anywhere. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It is impossible to be right all the time. When you are right and you have not capitalized on being right, you are simply wrong.

One of my dear friends bought XYZ stock at 70. The stock went up to 85, and he sold it. He never told me he was in the stock prior to him selling it, and after the stock has already declined back to 75. He was so proud of himself, because he bought it at 70 and sold it at 85, especially after the stock dropped back to 75; consequently, he did everything right. He then said to me, “keep an eye on it and buy it if it trades higher than 85. I have a stop buy order on it at 85 1/2 myself.” I never really followed XYZ stock; however, every time I spoke with my friend he would say, “did you see XYZ stock today? It went up a couple of bucks. It is my pick of the year!” A few months go by, and XYZ stock took out the 85 level. It was now at 180. My buddy is glowing. “I told you, it is my pick of the year,” he says. XYZ goes up to 240 and announces a 3 for 1 stock split. “It is my pick of the year,” my buddy says. The stock ten folds, it was a great pick. My buddy was right.

No! He was wrong! Although he made a great call, he never bought XYZ back once it hit his buy target! It was his pick of the year, and he has zero dollars to show for it. Moral of the story, put your money where your mouth is. Do not use the “I should have done…” phrase. Only speak about your actions, learn from your profits and losses.

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.

How Much does a Penny Doubled Every day for Month End up Being?

If you took a penny on the first day of the month and doubled it every day for that month (all 30 days), how much would you end up at the end of the month? One cent, two cents, four cents, 8 cents…. you end up with $5,368, 709.12 at the end of day thirty. Surprised? This is the power of compounding money over and over for staggering returns. This also shows how much money some traders on social media would quickly have if they were as good as they pretend to be. This also explains this quote from Jesse Livermore:
If a man didn’t make mistakes, he‘d own the world in a month. But if hedidn’t profit by his mistakes, he wouldn’t own a blessed thing.” ~ Jesse Livermore 

Get Out When You’re Wrong

wrong1Successful traders know that discipline is what allows them to enter their trades when the odds are in their favor and, more importantly, to get out when they’re wrong.
Being right is not the problem. What you do when you’re wrong is the crucial issue.

There are a lot of traders who buy then pray while the market goes against them, because they think that it will eventually go their way.
Most traders average down and wait for the market to turn their way.
Trading my way, I always have defined amount of money that I am willing to lose.
I let the market decide how much money I’m going to make.

Get Out When You’re Wrong

wrongSuccessful traders know that discipline is what allows them to enter their trades when the odds are in their favor and, more importantly, to get out when they’re wrong.
Being right is not the problem. What you do when you’re wrong is the crucial issue.

There are a lot of traders who buy then pray while the market goes against them, because they think that it will eventually go their way.
Most traders average down and wait for the market to turn their way.
Trading my way, I always have defined amount of money that I am willing to lose.
I let the market decide how much money I’m going to make.

Independent Trading: Pros & Cons

In fact, there’s probably no better time than the present to talk briefly about the pros and cons of being an “independent trader.”

As someone who has worked independently for most of my professional career, you can say I place a tremendous value on “doing my own thing.” As I’ve often said, at least for me it has been a combination of personal choice (what I want in both life and career) and also necessity (as I don’t play well with others). Indeed, there are some tremendous positives for trading independently. After all, I wouldn’t be doing this if there were not some significant advantages from doing so!

Here are a few things that first come to mind:

  • As an independent trader, I set my goals and I’m in charge of my own destiny. I don’t rely on any other person for how much money I make or how I make it. Other people’s opinions of me are irrelevant to my own destiny. At the end of the day, bottom line trading results (not office politics) are all that matters.

  • Most people in “normal jobs” don’t have the opportunity to set out on their own and do something they really want and love to do and also make plenty of money doing it.

  • I spend most of my time every day doing things I really like to do (trading, reading, researching, running screens & mentoring others). These are things I would do even if I were not paid to do them because it is what I like to do the most! Every day I plan my work on things I want to work on, not what others want me to work on. That level of professional autonomy is rare.

  • The sense of accomplishment when you achieve success in the markets independently is unparalleled. There’s nothing like finding and taking a good trade that produces lots of upside gain. This is especially true when that trade is unpopular and unforeseen by the herd.

  • Through my research I’ve been able to learn about many things, many industries, many countries, and many people. At this point, I can have a conversation with just about anyone no matter what they do for a living or where they live because I know something we can probably talk about based on what I’ve learned and know about others.

  • It is always interesting and I’m NEVER bored. It is so true there is no better drama on Earth than following and being a participant in the markets daily.

  • Trading independently offers level of personal freedom that isn’t present in most jobs. If I want a day off to play golf, help a friend, visit with family, I do it. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission! However, offering a paid members-only website places some severe limitations on that freedom!

  • So, now I’ve talked about the positives, what are the downsides to trading independently? (more…)

On Losses (and Profits).

  • ‘Tradings only real secret is… The best loser is the long-term winner’ – Phantom
  • “Trading is a losing game, the best loser is the long-term winner” – Anonymous.
  • ‘Losses can either be lost money, or tuition in the school of trading’ – Courtesy of Mark Moskowitz.
  • ‘The worst advice I use to get was. – ‘No one went broke taking a profit’’. – Courtesy of John Berra.
  • “It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.” – Abraham Maslow
  • ‘“Learn to like your losses”. Why? Because they are small!’ – Courtesy of Stuart A.Brown.
  • “One common adage…that is completely wrongheaded is: You can’t go broke taking profits. That’s precisely how many traders do go broke. While amateurs go broke by taking large losses, professionals go broke by taking small profits.” – William Eckhardt.
  • “Its not about being right or wrong, rather, its about how much money you make when you’re right and how much you don’t lose when you’re wrong.” – George Soros.
  • “The first loss is the best loss.” – Jim Rogers.
  • “Losers average Losers”…Paul Tudor Jones.
  • “You learn nothing from your winners and everything from your losers.” – Courtesy of Jeff Horn.
  • ·“To become a Master Trader, you must first be a successful loser.” – Jeff Horn.

Great Quotes of Mark Douglas

“I know it may sound strange to many readers, but there is an inverse relationship between analysis and trading results. More analysis or being able to make distinctions in the market’s behavior will not produce better trading results. There are many traders who find themselves caught in this exasperating loop, thinking that more or better analysis is going to give them the confidence they need to do what needs to be done to achieve success. It’s what I call a trading paradox that most traders find difficult, if not impossible to reconcile, until they realize you can’t use analysis to overcome fear of being wrong or losing money. It just doesn’t work!”
-Mark Douglas

“There is a random distribution between wins and losses for any given set of variables that defines an edge. In other words, based on the past performance of your edge, you may know that out of the next 20 trades, 12 will be winners and 8 will be losers. What you don’t know is the sequence of wins and losses or how much money the market is going to make available on the winning trades. This truth makes trading a probability or numbers game. When you really believe that trading is simply a probability game, concepts like “right” and “wrong” or “win” and “lose” no longer have the same significance. As a result, your expectations will be in harmony with the possibilities.”
-Mark Douglas (more…)

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