Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Working on yourself

There are plenty of people out there who take up trading, with the premise of making large sums of money in return for very little work. In almost all instances, this is not the case - it takes a lot of work to get to the stage where you are able to CONSISTENTLY be profitable.

In my own case, I have been trading for about 10 years now, and while I was developing and refining my own basic methodology, I looked at the same charts, same setups, same scans, over and over, for several hours every day, in addition to reading up and researching trend following as much as possible. Even now, I am still attempting to improve my methodology - witness my research resulting in my updated rules, as detailed in the addendum to my e-book.

However, having a profitable method is only part of the story. Your system can tell you when to enter, when to exit, what markets to trade, your risk parameters, but it fails to address the one issue which can mean that, instead of profits, you end up with losses - the trader.

This all comes back to the psychology involved in trading. If you are not 100% compatible with what you are trying to do, whether it is your own approach to the markets or by following someone else's, unless you devote enough time to training and conditioning yourself, you will ultimately fail as a trader.

Ed Seykota's most famous and provocative quote from his Market Wizards interview was 'Everyone gets what they want out of the market'. Whether it be fear of becoming too successful, falling into stereotypical patterns of family or friends, or other external factors, these can all contribute towards some internal conflict which will restrict your level of profitability or maybe condemn you to losing. Similarly, those traders with their own self sabotaging issues, such as being unable to stick to their entry and exit criteria, or overriding their risk parameters, will never be able to turn themselves around from being losing trader to a winning trader. Having a mentor, or undertaking some training in this area will undoubtedly help, ONLY if you are fully 'tuned in' to the programme of improvment you are following - ultimately that can only come from within yourself. To quote Seykota again "A losing trader is not going to want to transform himself. That's the kind of thing winning traders do."

Think about it - you have a system that gives a positive expectancy, you follow the signals that generate sufficient profits to cover your losses and more, yet you are not seeing your equity increase. Why is this? Are you fearful of losing a small profit, and cut the position before it could possible reverse and turn into a loss? Do you increase your risk per trade when on a losing streak, trying to catch up and recoup those losses? Do you fail to adhere to taking a loss when your stop is hit? What is the common denominator here?

If you want to success in this business, not only do you have to find a methodology that suits you, you also have to address any conflicts that are holding you back, and work on yourself - every day, to ensure that you maximise your potential as a trader.

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