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Experience at Live Trading Rooms

  #218 (permalink)

Trading Experience: Advanced
Platform: Ninja
Broker/Data: Optimus Futures- Rithmic
Favorite Futures: CL, 6E
Posts: 236 since Nov 2009
Thanks: 11 given, 1,270 received

What poor students need to know

I remember myself as I was starting out with the desire to learn to trade. Slowly it dawned on me what a monumental task this was becoming, and an expensive one! I went through the process of visiting many trade rooms, reviewing many trading tool-sets, many indicators, systems and methods; and of trying this, that and the other. Most of my early expenses were the purchases of educational programs and tools, and the occasional attempt at trading cash with each of these. One day I lost $3k in about 3 minutes trading the TF! I lost my first cash account of $10k with one month. I lost a lot more after that. One time I was given the opportunity to trade a large account and found out the hard way that my style of trading was not conducive for trading too many contracts on that particular instrument. I lost $15k in 3 days! Most of what I have learned came the hard way and expensively. Do you really want to go through this too? You don't have to, but if you do not stop and start thinking for yourself and what you need to know and ignore everyone else, then chances are you will.

With time I began to realize it was not the tools or the systems that were at fault for my poor results. It was the education I was acquiring. All those concepts about patience, discipline, control, consistency of action, were still just words thrown into the courses at various times. I began to realize that most emphasis in those education courses I bought and was going through was on learning how to trade that system, not the real important stuff I really had to learn. What I really needed to learn was how to control myself, how to place my expectation in line with my ability. I needed to find out what my patience level was. I needed to know what kind of discipline I had and for how long I could maintain it in the live market before I fell pray to the illusions. I needed to know how to track my trading and myself in a way that told me productive things. I needed to know what capitol preservation was and how to apply it in the live market. I needed to know how to cut losers short, how and when to let winners run, and how and what all this stuff looked like in real time. I needed to watch it applied by someone. I needed to learn it over time and for myself. I needed to do my push ups. Problem was I did not know what a push up really was. I had my butt in the air, my feet were too wide, and my head was down, and a lot of other things wrong that I was not even aware of.

I now know that learning the systems and tools is not very difficult. I now know that most are pretty good, and most work well enough to make money with. The reason for so many is that we all have different personalities and will gravitate toward whatever suits our inclinations. In the beginning, as we go through the selection process, most of our decisions are based on inclination and visual intuitive responses. We may like the way the system is presented or packaged. We may like the verbiage and language used. We may just like the moderators voice, or the marketing style. We may be attracted to higher priced systems thinking they are better, and this may just be part of our personality. Bottom line: it really does not matter. Believe me, most systems, whether $1000 or $10,000 work well enough for you to be able to make money with. The best system will probably be the one you come up with. This will probably be just a hodgepodge goulash of all the tools, methods, and systems you have been exposed to, readjusted just the way you can digest them to profitability.

So, I am thinking back again on those courses and trading systems and methods education I took. Some of them had some of those things I really needed to learn stated in their materials and some of them had decent moderators who I could follow. Some of them had a weekly webinar or weekly education session and review. Some of them even let me email a person on their staff with questions. However, very few had any real one on one training. Very few of them had any live trading where I could see the trades on the chart or dom. Few had the trades listed in detail, time stamped in real time for me to examine and learn from. Even fewer had any emphasis on reviewing me and my trading in particular; looking at my journal or going over my trades on my charts. None of them held me accountable in live trading sessions for what I was doing, and none of them spent more than an hour with me doing anything related to my personal struggles as a trader. So I did what most others were doing...I drifted and went about this mostly all on my own.

You need learn the following. How to control yourself. How to place your expectation in line with your ability. What your patience level is. How focused your concentration level is. What kind of discipline you have and for how long you can maintain it. How to track your trading and yourself in a productive way. You need to find some accountable qualifier in real time for your own trading and you need to see yourself in a very obvious and honest way in the live market. You need to do this as inexpensively as possible; or risk spending too much time losing.

You need to have some kind of statistical track record you can rely on for the long haul before you go to cash so you can reliably say it is you - not the system or method - that is failing. Or maybe it is not you because you really are doing exactly what you were doing before to achieve those same statistical performance stats. You need this information now, before you lose too much money and before the dog takes too many bites out of your butt (psyche); making fixing and recovery a lifetime task, and making money a far away prospect.

So, how do you do all this? First, you need to find a complete step by step education course that gives you as many opportunities to learn these things as possible. Somewhere that the trader is good, but not perfect. Somewhere that the trader does not know it all; makes mistakes you can watch and learn by. Somewhere that the trading is in real time in the live market. Somewhere that you can watch someone Else's discipline, patience, concentration and trade tracking. Somewhere you can be held accountable. Somewhere you can practice yourself in real time under direct guidance. Somewhere that you can have one on one periodic reviews of your own trading. Where you can make mistakes in real time and have them pointed out to you in real time while lots of people watch you screw up. Believe me, your mistake producing percentage will reduce itself pretty quickly.

Humble pie is a tough thing to eat on a daily basis. You need to find somewhere that the work required of you is spelled out and quantifiable; where you have to meet statistical improvement milestones, and where your performance and trading in real time is gone over with a fine tooth comb. Somewhere that your frustrations will become apparent and glaring; and where the instructor will get pissed off at you when you make the same mistakes over and over again. I wish I could have found some place like that. Maybe I did, but I did not recognize it. Maybe I just resented it.

There is nothing wrong with going it alone. Most of us did. Most of us failed for a long time. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I had deep pockets to throw at this.

The best way to get the most out of any education course you take is to become the best student you can. As I look back now, I realize I was a very poor student.

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