Another great topic from a highly respected member of futures.io (formerly BMT), thanks @josh .. IMO, as Big Mike posted in the threads sub-title, "The psychology and money management forum is where you learn to become a profitable day trader," but most of the threads in this section receive very few responses for some reason. One of my pet peeves when reading posts in different threads is the "we" word, trading (to me) isn't about "we" or "you" or "they" or "us" it's about "I" and "me" no one else. I feel I benefit greatly from posts written in the first person because the author is telling me He/She is, "not talking about shifting blame or responsibility to an external entity."
IMO, the rules of the game of trading are dependent upon each individual trader's method/style and market/instrument. I believe the most important thing to remember when trading is what works (what actions am I taking) when I'm on top of my game and trading successfully/profitably. If I remember this and continue to build on these actions I feel I'll be better prepared during less opportunistic market conditions.
K.I.S.S., (keep it simple stupid) I like to keep things simple. I believe I have two ways to lose money when trading, (1) Be wrong the direction of the market and (2) Make a stupid mistake. My stupid mistakes most often come from just clicking buy instead of sell or entering a 5 lot instead of a 2 lot, not while under pressure during fast market conditions but just as you said failing to, "look up for the ball." I think we all strive to build a better mouse trap, I know I do but I also believe an active trading session is not the time to initiate a newly ill prepared untested idea. It may seem like it ought to work at this very moment and maybe it will, but how do I flawlessly manage a trade I've never taken before? My point is this, if I stick with what works now and do it well I'll be profitable. If I remove my unforced errors (stupid mistakes) implementing the method I currently use I'll be more profitable.
A final thought about, "am I making this too much about me?" I know "me," I know what triggers my bad behaviors and actions and I can usually see them coming a mile away. Most are triggered by stupid mistakes, as an example; I sell a 2 lot instead of buy,,,, the market goes up (as I thought) I cover and take a 3 tick loss. I still want to get long here but now my entry point is 3, 4, 5 or 6 ticks under the current price. Do I go all in,,,, I'm looking for a 20 tick move here,, but I only wanted to risk 5 ticks on the trade (I'm down 3 already),, If my original entry was executed properly I wouldn't be going through this mental masturbation,, I'd be choosing targets NOT recalculating the risk involved in forcing a poor entry. I think of it as self made misery, Mark Douglas says it best, "I continually monitor my susceptibility for making errors."
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The "me" is, of course, a part of the picture - but the "others" are the majority.
In preparation for a trade I always analyze what the "others" are doing, and compare that to my log of past transactions.
When I see certain patterns occurring (what others are doing currently) I select my own reaction based on what action had the highest (statistical) success-rate (what I was doing in the past).
In analogy with "riding the bicycle":
If I see a large group of cyclists coming down the hill at high speed, I know it is in my own best interest to ride behind the group at moderate speed. I wouldn't try to jump into the race ahead of the crowd, because I know from past performance (of mine) that I can't keep the speed up and will eventually just be overrun by the crowd.
The "me" is very important, but only as it relates to the "others".
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