Let profits ride until price action dictates otherwise.

jessePerhaps the most famous quote attributed to Livermore is, “It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.” Traders are wired to be “doing something,” and this can cause churning, over-trading, getting out of positions too soon, and making your broker the wealthy one. The famous Turtle Traders were trend traders who made few trades and had learned the importance of staying in a winning trade.

For today’s traders, there are multiple variations to keep you in a trade. It’s not so important which method you implement, but that you do recognize when to hold a winner for maximum potential, and when a trend has changed character and it’s time to ring the register.

One method that satisfies the desire for profit and subdues the fear of a losing trade is to take one half of your profit off at a predetermined level, put a stop at breakeven on the rest, and let it play out without micromanaging the position. Even day and swing traders will benefit from letting a partial position play out when all indicators hint that more upside might be in the cards. Always remember this rule is letting a profitable position run, but it’s not a license to bury one’s head on a losing position

Warp Speed or Turtle Speed?

A lot of statistics are published about the number of traders that are ’successful’ even though we don’t always receive their definition of successful.

Whether it is 70% or 95% of new traders that are said to lose all of their capital in the first 30-60 days, the real question is WHY??

In almost every case that I hear about when a person states that they quit trading because they lost all of their money in the first 30-60 days so they got discouraged and said that trading was not for them, these individuals attempted to move too fast when they started. They had acquired very little, if any, type of training and then jumped into a live account without any direction or plan.

Anyone who steps into the trading world (or any endeavor) without training to acquire the skills needed to approach the new program is setting themselves up for a very challenging situation and generally more failures than successes.

You can approach a new situation in life at warp speed and take the consequences or at the speed of a turtle and build your skills and experience so as to eventually acquire warp speed movement, but with turtle-like results, which is what the turtle always experienced when he raced the rabbit….. Success!!

Trading From Your Gut, by Curtis Faith


The Power of the Gut

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
—Albert Einstein

George Soros, one of the greatest traders alive, trades from the gut. He has widely remarked on the correlation between his backaches and trading choices. In the autobiographical Soros on Soros, he wrote:

 I rely a great deal on animal instincts. When I was actively running the fund, I suffered from backache. I used the onset of acute pain as a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio. The backache didn’t tell me what was wrong—you know, lower back for short positions, left shoulder for currencies—but it did prompt me to look for something amiss when I might not have done so otherwise.

Some traders might scoff at the idea of making decisions based on “feelings” or intuition. They see the trader’s role as one who remains calm and collected, rationally choosing the right course while those around them are tossed about by their emotions. They believe that Soros is either lying or fooling himself. They don’t see how gut instinct can help. Yet many successful traders feel otherwise. Who is right? Is one approach better than the other?

If you are one of those traders who doesn’t believe that gut instinct or intuition has any place in trading, I invite you to keep an open mind. I, too, once felt as you did. After all, I was trained to take a very systematic and logical approach to trading as a Turtle. I believed that it was important to keep your emotions in check. I ­didn’t believe in trading from the gut.

Trading from your gut is a way of tapping into the extra power of the right hemisphere of the brain.

What I didn’t realize at the time, however, is that there is a big difference between trading emotionally and trading from your gut. Trading emotionally means reacting to fear and hope, which can destroy your trading decisions. Trading from your gut is different. It is a way of tapping into the extra power of the right hemisphere of the brain, which can be a powerful, effective, and entirely rational addition to any trader’s repertoire. (more…)

The Way of The Turtle- 17 Quotes


I like to collect quotes from books I read, and here you have some good quotes from the book:

  1. …we were taught how to think in terms of the long run whan trading and we were given a system with an edge. (page 34)
  2. The Turtle Way views losses in the same manner: they are the cost of doing business rather than an indication of a trading error or a bad decision. ……In fact, we were taught that periods of losses usually precede periods of good trading (page 37)
  3. The secret of trading and of the Turtles’ success is that you can trade successfully by using ideas and concepts that are well known and have been around for years. But you have to follow those rules consistently (page 39)
  4. Over the years I kept finding evidence that emotional and psychological strength are the most important ingredients in successful trading. This was my first exposure to that idea and the first time I had seen it in action (page 44).
  5. Good trading is not about being right, it’s about trading right. If you want to be successful, you need to think of the long run and ignore the outcomes of individual trades (page 44).
  6. ….It takes a lot of time and study before one realizes just how simple trading is, but it takes many years of failure before most traders come to grips with how hard it can be to keep things simple and not lose sight of the basics (page 115).
  7. Keep it simple. Simple time tested methods that are well executed will beat fancy complicated methods every time (page 131).
  8. In a similar manner, simple rules make systems more robust because those rules work in a greater variety of circumstances (page 212).
  9. People have a tendency to believe that complicated ideas are better than simple ones….Some of us thought that trading successfully couldn’t possibly be that simple; that there must be something else to it (page 224).
  10. The primary goal of trading should be to stay in the game (page 116). (more…)

King of Turtle Traders

I’m currently rereading “Complete Turtle Traders“ and if you’re not familiar with the story, I highly recommend this book. There aren’t many books that I reference often and this is one of them due to the psychological insight of trading and it’s impact on your performance. And what you’re going to read below is just a snippet from the first 27 pages of the book.

Richard Dennis is fast becoming one of my trading icons as I learn more about his attitude and methodology on trading and life. Here are a few quotes from the book that will offer some insight into what type of person and trader he was at that time:

His emotional attachment to dollars and cents appeared nonexistent.

He thought in terms of leverage.

You’re much better off going into the market on a shoestring, feeling that you can’t afford to lose.

Reacting to opportunities that others never saw was how he marched through life.

….you had to be able to accept losses both psychologically and physiologically.

I’m an empiricist through and through.

….the majority is wrong a lot of the time. The vast majority is wrong even more of the time.

He was an anti-establishment guy making a fortune leveraging the establishment.

Dennis read Psychology Today to keep his emotions in check and to remind him of how overrated intuition was in trading.

I think it’s far more important to know what Freud thinks about death wishes than what
Milton Friedman thinks about deficit spending.

You have to have mentally gone through the process of failure.

He has the ability under tremendous pressure to stand there with his own money and pull the trigger when other people wilted.

When he was wrong, he could turn on a dime.

One man’s volatility is another man’s profit.

SUBJECT: What makes a frustrating market?

I wanted to end with a quote from one of the most famous Turtle Traders of all, Curtis Faith, that very much resonates with my methodology of zentrading. This comes from “Inside the Mind of the Turtles”which is another book I recommend. Do not buy his second book “Way of the Turtle”. It was absolutely horrible and very poorly written. I’m still reading his new book (very promising) and I’ll let you know how that one goes. Anyhow…here’s the quote and pay special attention to the phase in italics and if you found this post especially useful please retweet and share with your networks. I look forward to reading your comments and any particular insight you may have.

Winning traders think in the present and avoid thinking too much in the future. They look at the future as unknowable in specifics, but foreseeable in character. To win you need to free yourself and your thinking of outcome bias. It does not matter what happens with any particular trade.

10 losing trades + sticking to your plan = bad luck.

Trading Quotes for Traders

Human emotion is both the source of opportunity in trading and the greatest challenge.
Master it and you will succeed.
Ignore it at your peril.

Trade with an edge, manage risk, be consistent, and keep it simple.
The entire Turtle training, and indeed the basis of all successful trading, can be summed up in these four core principles.

Good trading is not about being right, it’s about trading right.
If you want to be successful, you need to think of the long run and ignore the outcomes of individual trades.

Trading with an edge is what separates the professionals from amateurs.
Ignore this and you will be eaten by those who don’t.

Edges are found in the places between the battleground between buyers and sellers.
Your task as a trader is to find those places and wait to see who wins and who loses.

Mature understanding of and respect of risk is the hallmark of the best traders.
They know if you don’t keep an eye of risk, it will set its eye on you.

Ruin is the risk you should be concerned with the most.
It can come like a thief in the night and steal everything if you’re not watching carefully.

Don’t spent all your time admiring the fancy tools in the magazine.
First learn how to use the basic ones well. It’s not the size of your tools that counts but how you use them.

Keep it simple. Simple time-tested methods that are well executed will beat fancy complicated method every time.

Trading with poor methods is like learning to juggle while standing in a rowboat during the storm. Sure, it can be done, but it is much easier to juggle when one is standing on a solid ground.

Trading is not a sprint; it is boxing. The market will beat you up, screw with your head, and do anything it can to defeat you. But when the bell sounds at the end of the twelfth round, you must be standing in the ring in order to win.

The market does not care how you feel. It will not prop up your ego or console you when you are down.
Therefore, trading is not for everyone. If you are unwilling to face the truth about the markets and the truth about your own limitations, fears and failures, you will not succeed.

The Legendary Turtle Traders

Have you ever heard of the legendary Turtle traders? Millionaire trader Richard Dennis set off to find out if traders were just born to trade, or if they could be trained to be successful in the markets from scratch. The answer? If they could follow rules they could be successful.

“I always say that you could publish my trading rules in the newspaper and no one would follow them. The key is consistency and discipline. Almost anybody can make up a list of rules that are 80% as good as what we taught our people. What they couldn’t do is give them the confidence to stick to those rules even when things are going bad.” –Richard Dennis: Founder of the ‘Turtle Traders’ quoted from the book Market Wizards:

The Turtle system proved that the traders that followed the rules went on to be millionaires and to manage money professionally.

Markets – What to buy or sell

  • The Turtles traded all major futures contracts, metals, currencies, and commodities.
  • The turtles traded multiple markets to diversify risk.

Position Sizing – How much to buy or sell

  • Turtle position sizing was based on a markets volatility using the 20 day exponential moving average of the true range.
  • The Turtles were taught to trade in increments of 1% of total account equity,

Entries – When to buy or sell (more…)

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