Sunday, December 21, 2014

Trading needs commitment

If you want to achieve success as a trader, you need to be committed to the process. Trading is something that you cannot go into half-heartedly. It is your hard-earned money that is on the line. It is you that makes the buying and selling decisions. It is you who determines how much you risk on each trade. It is you who decides how to react or respond to things that have occurred in the markets and your own trading.

If you have read interviews with people such as those featured in Market Wizards, those individuals became so engrossed in trading that it took over their whole life, and ultimately became a lifetime's endeavour. Yes, that is a big price to pay, but then the potential rewards are huge as well.

I am constantly thinking about trading - both when awake and asleep! I'm sure most traders who you may follow on social media are similar. One or two who I follow are seemingly posting or interacting with other traders at all hours.

These people are successful for a reason - they have been prepared to put the hard yards in. They've made a commitment to become the best trader they can be. Approaching it with a lackadaisical attitude won't work - if they did, the bottom line is that they would lose money.

There is an important distinction to make here - as a trend follower, the actual act of trading takes a matter of minutes each day. I have leveraged my time by using scans to identify potential trading candidates, and my decision making process is very straightforward, based on the rules I have adopted. But there is an awful lot of time spent thinking about trading, of risk and psychology,  and how I can improve, as well as trying to help others to improve.

The markets will find your weak spot, and will do something to show you the error of your ways. The good traders will accept this, and do something about it. Those who don't, but just curse and blame someone (or something) else, will never become successful.

I was speaking recently to a trader who, I believe, is on the cusp of becoming a profitable trader. He is using a robust approach. He has good risk control. he identifies good set ups to trade. He is able to accept losing and cuts his losses quickly. However, I found out that, for a number of reasons, most mornings he wasn't able to watch the markets when they opened! Because of this, he missed entering some of those setups he had been waiting to trigger. I know that this meant he missed some decent trends this year which would have transformed his results.

We caught up recently, and while I didn't exactly give him the hairdryer treatment, I told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to do something about it - now. To be fair to him, he knew what the issue was - he had taken responsibility for his own actions, and also accepted the need to make the necessary changes. If he didn't, he was wasting his own time - and money.

In his own words, he was treating trading as a hobby, not a business, and had not devoted the required time to attain the results he desired.  Having spoken to him a couple of nights ago, I was pleased to hear that yes, he has followed through on his new commitment, and had made the required changes. 

Different people learn all the elements to successful trading at different times, in a different order. The markets have no regard to any issues which hold you back. Some people may be able to help or advise you on what needs changing so that you can improve, but there is only one person who can make those changes. If they don't, then there will always be the question hanging in the air of what might have been...

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