Three Keys to Trading Success

The successful trader is creative. I think it’s fair to say that his approach is a short-term trend-following method. His way of evaluating the market trend, however, is unique. He is definitely not just looking at the same old 14-period oscillator that comes pre-programmed in most charting applications. Similarly, he has clear stop points and price targets, but these are defined in a unique way, based upon the market conditions he’s observing. This “out-of-the-box” thinking style is common to successful traders, I’ve found. They look at markets in unique ways that help them capture shifts in supply and demand. to find a way of trading that you can make your own. You’re more likely to stick with a method that fits with how you think (and that fits with your skills) than if it’s something you’ve blindly copied from others. Our trader believes in his method, and that gives him the brass ones to hang in there during relatively lean periods.

2) The successful trader is always seeking improvement. If our trader is already successful, why does he need to talk with Henry? He knew that, by sharing his ideas, he would learn a great deal about the strengths and weaknesses of his trading. Sure enough, Henry found that the average size of the trader’s losers was larger than it needed to be. A simple modification of stop-loss rules improved the system’s performance meaningfully. Similarly, by putting a filter on the system–only taking trades if certain conditions were met–the average profit per trade went up significantly. That could aid position sizing. The trader knew he had something good, but good wasn’t good enough. He wanted better.

3) The successful trader is persistent. One thing I want to stress: the trader’s methods were very sound–and Henry found ways to make them better–but they were not perfect. Out of about sixty months analyzed, fourteen were losers. The drawdowns were not hellacious, but there were periods of flat performance and drawdown. What that means is that a successful trader needs to have the confidence to ride out these periods of poorer performance to get to the periods of success. That is one reason why it’s so important

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