When trading, you need a combination of the following elements to be present to achieve long-term success:
- A robust method with a positive expectancy;
- A strong appreciation of risk control;
- A strong mind allowing you to have the patience and discipline to trade the method as intended.
To be successful, you need ALL three elements present. Out of these, the first is the easiest, and the one that most people concentrate on. It is also the least important out of the three. There are thousands of profitable ways to trade out there.
If however you are deficient with your risk control, you will struggle, racking up losses bigger than you should and in extreme cases blowing up your account. If you had the most profitable system in the world, combined with lousy risk control, you will greatly increase the risk of suffering major drawdowns or a total loss of equity.
Finally, if you do not have the correct mindset, or have some psychological issue that doesn't allow to follow the system rules you have chosen, then again what should be a profitable method will end up generating losses instead.
The good news is that, when reviewing your performance in these areas, or discussing with with another trader or mentor, you should be able to easily identify which area out of the three is letting you down. However, from that point, it requires YOU, and you alone, to effect the changes needed. Someone can give you the tools, advise you on how to improve things, encourage you or give you a kick up the backside. In other words, they can give you the key to unlock your potential. After that, it is down to you.
Risk and mindset are totally within your control. No-one other than yourself decides how much you risk on each trade, or what overall risk you have within a portfolio. No-one other than yourself forces you to override your rules, take profits too early or too early, or tries to predict or second-guess what will happen.
The easy bit is to say "I know what the issue is, once I've corrected it I will be on the path to profits". The really difficult bit is to implement whatever changes you need to make, and stick to them - ultimately, that can only come from within.
In other words, someone can show you what awaits on the other side of the door. Someone can give you the key, and tell you how you use it to unlock the door. The question is, do you have the belief, commitment and desire to unlock and open the door, and walk through???