Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The source of your profits

Occasionally I come across traders who seem to take great delight in criticising or rubbishing certain elements of another trader’s approach to the markets or their trading rules, which may have formed an important part of that trader's success over a long period of time.

It is very difficult to critique anyone else's general approach or a specific rule they use, unless you know their complete trading plan, their attitude to risk, their beliefs and mindset, as well as their performance.

In some cases, a particular rule you use may be very relevant on your chosen method or timeframe, but totally irrelevant if you trade using a different method or timeframe.

Remember that having different beliefs about the markets, and differences in trading approaches, timeframes etc is what creates a market – giving YOU the opportunity to use YOUR edge to profit from it.

It should be clear there are numerous methods which can generate profits. What those other successful traders have done is find a method that works for them, and matches up with their own beliefs. Because of that, they can consistently follow their own rules.

I know that the trend following approach works for me, as do the risk controls I have implemented. Yet there are plenty of traders out there who try and pick tops or bottoms and can do it. In the same way, I know I couldn't follow a Buffett-style investment approach, yet many people can.

Different trading methods can work in different market environments - in trending phases, then those who try to pick tops or bottoms will struggle. When the markets you trade are range-bound, then those traders will become more profitable.

Whatever your beliefs, you need to keep focused on what works for you, and remember that those who may disagree with your approach may well be on the other side of your trades. And, if your approach has a positive expectancy, then those same traders may well be the source of your profits.

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