Difficulty pulling the trigger/ performance anxiety
I have burnt the family savings between the internet bubble burst and 9/11 events swing trading equities very traumatic to me as I watched paralyzed by fear one by one all my positions got a margin call right after the market reopened following 9/11 ..the last one on that down gap that marked the end of that downturn ( very predictable I came to learn later)
In 2008 opened a futures account after a few months I realized I wasn't ready an closed the account
Never stopped studying and learning.. about 3 years ago I decided it was time to take trading seriously and into the next level also I realized there's this little thing called sim account which I was too naive to consider before
Slowly but surely I developed my trading methodology found BMT a couple years ago which helped me some and about 6 months ago I started seeing consistency in my trading for the past 3 months I've been profitable every single week on sim so about 4 weeks ago I decided it was time to go live.
First week was marginally profitable second week I had a melt down.. one day started with 2 losers and I realized I took one by mistake the set up wasn't there.. as my 3rd trade gone bad stopped by the tick I started to question my methodology and lost it.. never had three losers in a row on sim my trading plan was thrown out the window ..revenge trading and a few other mistakes that I promised myself I would never do again was what followed ..when I was down 8% on my account I woke up from the trance like "what you're doing" You need money to come back tomorrow.
Took the rest of the week off to analyse and work on those issues went back to sim had 2 great weeks of 20+ ES pts each
This week I went back to live and just couldn't pull the trigger I have normally 2 to 6 set ups a day I had several set ups with great (would be) outcome but I would always find an excuse not to enter the trade, today I took a trade which was a winner but my heartbeat went up for the 4 mins duration of the trade.
Basically I Buy/Sell pullbacks within the trend ..the mother of all simplicity and reliability.. right? Well this week I was like "is it a pullback or reversal? When my research and sim trading thought me not to question and just take the trade.
I've been reading about scared money these past few weeks and have identified my problem as performance anxiety
I could lose this small account money and life would go on normally I would just have to expand my business again which is fairly easy trough advertising (pool maintenance an repair, I did not advertise for the past 6 months as I wanted more time for trading) but the thought of failing again and probably have to give up trading altogether disturbs me
Yes I journal I'm confident in my methodology I risk roughly 1%/trade if it's over 1.5% I don't take the trade I only trade 1 contract I don't need that money for other means, the way I see is just the thought of failure that separates me from being successful
I started meditation yesterday next week I'll try some relaxation techniques it was suggested on a video I watched yesterday (by steenbarger I guess, I watched like 5 videos on the subject lol)
Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone who overcame this what was your approach to the issue?
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It doesn't matter how great you trade in SIM. It is not the same as live. You can not duplicate the results in SIM live. You don't believe in your method and you don't believe in yourself. That is why you have a hard time pulling the trigger.
Odds are you are also undercapitalized in your account and also mentally undercapitalized. Previous loss clouds your trading and can be hard to overcome.
You need to find a market cheap enough to trade live to learn how you react and learn how to correct those issues. Some may not be fixable. Not everyone can play in the NBA and not everyone can trade.
BEST OF LUCK!
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Legendary trader Ed Seykota said some people like to win by losing and this honestly sounds like you. Why are you even bringing up stuff that happened 14 years ago like it was just recent? You should've moved past that by now and whatever problems were going on then in your trading should have been long since corrected. I agree with tturner that if you're going to be serious about this you need to make some fundamental changes.
Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.
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difference is mainly mental state I'm not deluded I could duplicate sim results I just need to work on taking the correct action most of the time live as I do on sim
I do believe in the method but like you said previous loss clouds my trading... and I should believe more in myself after all I did the research and tested it.
Mentally for sure that's where I need work, Not ideal but I think I'm ok on the account was left with 15.2k in the account down from 17k most of my trades requires 3 pts or $150 stop and We're having big range days lately over $225 and I skip the trade.
I'm not afraid of losing money I'm afraid of being wrong even on sim I felt some anxiety those 2 weeks after my melt down.
Not fixable.. ouch I know I have what it takes to make it I had overcome every barrier over the years trading plan money management etc slowly as I did it on my spare time all barriers but psychology perhaps the most important one and I know I'll eventually overcome that one as well
BEST OF LUCK
Thanks I appreciated your honesty
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You're right I haven't dealt correctly with that loss at the time I just swept under the rug and it stayed on the back of my mind I don't even know exactly how much I lost I didn't wanted to know exactly why I lost I didn't want to see my bad trades and learn from them the tuition money was too big and painful for me to face it I blamed it all on leverage at that time I just called the broker and asked him to close my account and wire whatever was left to my personal account didn't talk much about it to my wife didn't want to whine or look like a failure to her I just wanted to turn that page and move on, guess my recent melt down brought that back from my unconscious to the conscious mind as I felt the same feelings I felt back then
Guess I need to have a talk with my wife perhaps I'm just afraid of failing her again I just got her approval after explaining her I would only go live after figuring out on sim, maybe I just need to make sure She understands failure is actually an option
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1. Switch to a higher timeframe or have fewer setups. Instead of having 2-6 setups a day, focus on only one. The one that you are most confident in. Trade only that setup if it shows up, otherwise no trade that day. You need wins more than anything. Each win generates a lot of confidence but this process takes a long time. You need to figure out ways of building confidence in your trading. Having less actionable decisions in the beginning helps and as confidence builds, add one more, then another one etc.
2. If you can, trade someone else's money.
3. This point was going to be about trading a slower market but ES is slow enough. Trading a slower market reduces the chances of a fast move that will make you panic and do crazy things that you cannot explain later. It also gives you enough time to reassure yourself whether the trade is still valid or if it is time to get out.
4. Have someone you have to explain yourself to. Find a friend, maybe a member here on the forum, someone that can play this role seriously. Remind yourself when you are executing your setups that you will have to explain yourself to this someone and when you do that, would your actions come off as being right or wrong. This is what you get when you trade someone else's money and this helps me a lot.
5. Consciously work on pulling the trigger. Make yourself do it. This is like learning how to ride a bike or drive a car. You have to initially put in the effort to remember when to change gears, where is the brake pedal, how much to turn the steering, how much body weight to shift so that you can make the turn etc. Eventually, you dont think about these things as they get programmed into your subconsciousness but initially it is a conscious effort. There is no one way to make this happen. You have to find a way of pulling the trigger every time without fail.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by Hulk; October 10th, 2015 at 01:18 PM.
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1- I use 5 and 15 min for trend and 2 min for entry I try to capture swings, I've tried scalping and long term day trade and didn't work for me.
2 and 4- after leaving this thread yesterday I stumble on another thread about how ego sabotage your best efforts, well performance anxiety seems to be my ego not accepting being wrong which paralyses me, a trade not taken can not be wrong..or right. I had consider Topsteptrader but Trading someone else's money would just add to my anxiety as I would have yet another person(s) judging my performance what I know equate as success, my problem is over controlling not under controlling my trading
5- According to a trading psychology video I watched recently You need to do 100 trades without damaging your account to overcome hesitation by 500 trades it becomes second nature. Guess I'll work on that, acknowledging my ego will try to prevent me from taking risk but bypassing it.
@tturner86 took the words right out of my mouth. The only reason you would hesitate is because of fear. The only reason you would have fear is if you do not truly accept the risk you are taking ( both economically and mentally). You must be in a state of " let's see what happens" or you will get knocked around really quickly. Sometimes I get " tight" and not accepting of even a tiny risk mid to late afternoon-when it happens I simply close or reduce my position and walk away for a while. I have never been able to explain it to myself or just say oh same feeling and move on, so I walk away.
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Hulk suggested some actions to take to help relieve your anxiety. I'd like to suggest some I have learned and follow in the year I have been a futures trading student (paper money). While am still paying my dues, and don't have the experience some of the others in this thread have, I have seen improvement in my trading by taking these actions:
1. You have a method; so I will assume you have rules for when a trade setup fits your entry rules, and how you can enter a trade without breaking any of the rules. I will also assume you have another list of rules for tempting trade setups that you would NOT take the trade. I have memorized the my methods rules with flash cards, and drill myself daily on both sets of rules. I visualize trade setups that have been successful (using screen grabs if necessary), and trade setups that I've walked away from because they fit rules of when to NOT take a setup. Finally, Never change a rule in the heat of a trade, only on Saturdays when the market is closed, and you are fresh.
2. Have confidence in your trade method, follow it, and pull the trigger when it fits your rules (BOTH kinds).
3. Limit your risk to $150. If you cannot put your stop at a price that exposes you to more than $150 of loss, do not take the trade. Always place your stop when you enter the trade, always, always, always... When you have paid your dues with a satisfactory winning record, you can up the anti. For now, keep it small.
4. If you discover you make a mistake in an entry (in your rules compliance, or risk exposure), flatten immediately- do not wait hoping it will go your way. (I know this is easier said than done!)
5. Review the winning and loosing trades at the end of each day to see if you broke any rules. Focus on those you may have broken. Question your rules if there are losers, and you made no mistakes; maybe they need to be modified to fit the market or your personality. Remember, rules are changed only weekly.
6. After each trade is complete, take at least 1/2 hour off for physical exercise to make your mind leave the trading mindset for a rest. This is supposed to help you to avoid greed trades after a winner, and revenge trades after a loser.
7. After entry, and after verifying your rules for that entry, use manual trailing stops; if the price moves in your favor, move you stop according your rules. Move to breakeven at the earliest opportunity. Figure out which stops work the best for you.
These have helped me as I pay my dues.
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