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Psychology or something else?
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Psychology or something else?

  #1 (permalink)
Elite Member
Cebu, Philippines
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
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Psychology or something else?

Hello, I have been trading for years, mostly ES, JY, CD, BP and AD. I read the forums here every day and enjoy this site.
My system fits me well, it works, I am comfortable with it and I enjoy trading. My rules are black and white and things were going really well for over a year now.
I believe in constant improvement and in doing some analysis I realized that although my rules and trading style is making me money I was leaving a great deal of money on the table, enough to take notice.
I tested some ideas and read a few books on trading psychology to try and nail down the issue. I though I found it, finished my testing and pulled the trigger to leave less money on the table.
It failed and failed big, all the money stayed on the table with about 40% of my profits. I took a deep breath, spent some time trying to fix the issue and realized I needed to go back to my original rules.
Here is where the problem is, now that I have gone back to what worked I cannot seem to find my entries, they seem to have dried up, gone, poof, I see nothing.
Now I go over the markets I trade at end of day or early the next day. I can find plenty of entries after they have passed and I am reviewing an I realize I am just not seeing them or I have developed some fear that is not allowing me to pull the trigger.
So, I know something has changed, the system is back to the one that works but now I cannot see what I could before.
Is this normal after a setback? Why cant I see what I could 6 to 7 weeks ago. Is there any exercises or adjustments to help me get back to where I was?
Frustrated,
Thanks

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
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Marketmonkey View Post
I believe in constant improvement and in doing some analysis I realized that although my rules and trading style is making me money I was leaving a great deal of money on the table, enough to take notice.
I tested some ideas and read a few books on trading psychology to try and nail down the issue. I thought I found it, finished my testing and pulled the trigger to leave less money on the table.

What kind of money were you making and for how long? What I'm trying to find out is if your system and rules were time-tested.

Maybe you believe the problem is you when the problem is actually that your system has stopped working.

I've seen many times how someone claims to have found a profitable trading style for them that goes away out of the blue.
The thing is, not all systems work all the time.

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  #4 (permalink)
Elite Member
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I see what you are saying and that may be a possibility.
My goals are modest, having retired in the Philippines I set a goal for each day, the average salary in my area is about $250 a month. For the last 14 months I have been happy with my results and by the end of the week I am usually pretty close to my goal. I trade in small increments looking for 4 to 6 ticks with a tight stop. I use a simple system of price action and my rules require I only take very specific setups.
Now that is not a long time but I had been happy until I decided I was leaving too much on the table, I made the adjustment and got wacked and came nowhere near my goal, things just fell apart.
I decided to go back to what worked originally and I cannot find entries. I should mention I trade the overnight session (Asian and beginning of Europe) and it seems to have lost a great deal of volatility, I literally see flat line charts for hours on end, it was not that way before.
To your point if I cannot find entries perhaps it is my method and I need to find something else are make adjustments.
What really irritates me is I seem to find setups after my trading day is complete and I am reviewing the charts, then they stand out.
I am not a big trader, I trade because I really enjoy it and to supplement my income but it seems I have hit a wall.
I will take a deeper look into system adjustments as I respect your posts. Perhaps I can turn things around.
Thanks

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  #5 (permalink)
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Have you thought of taking some time off -completely off- the markets? Don't trade for a while, focus on other stuff -unrelated to trading-, don't analyze anything, don't even think about it. Then, come back with a fresh mind and see how it goes.

This has worked for me a few times in the past.

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  #6 (permalink)
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Maat View Post
Have you thought of taking some time off -completely off- the markets? Don't trade for a while, focus on other stuff -unrelated to trading-, don't analyze anything, don't even think about it. Then, come back with a fresh mind and see how it goes.

This has worked for me a few times in the past.

I have been working hard to fix the issue and the answer I cannot find. Perhaps doing something else to divert my energy away from what right now seems to be wasted time may help. I have read that stuck it may be good to take some time to clear our heads.
I respect your posts and will consider just taking a break, walk away and come back.
I am spending huge amounts of time trying to figure things out. It is all I do. There is an answer but for now I cannot find it.
Is it normal with traders to walk away for awhile when stuck? I never really had that choice in my previous career. It makes sense in some ways, I just don't like not having a plan, or the answers.
Thanks Maat

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  #7 (permalink)
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Marketmonkey View Post
m spending huge amounts of time trying to figure things out. It is all I do. There is an answer but for now I cannot find it.
Is it normal with traders to walk away for awhile when stuck? I never really had that choice in my previous career. It makes sense in some ways, I just don't like not having a plan, or the answers.
Thanks Maat

I don't know if walking away is normal for traders, but if it's not, it should be.

When you work for someone else it's not easy to walk away to clear your thoughts, but this is one of the many wonders of being a trader. You decide what you do and how you spend your time based on what you need. And it seems to me that at this point you need some clarity.

This is important: you don't walk away to find the answer you're looking for. This will not work. The key is to take some time off to keep your mind busy with other stuff. Enjoy those days. Work out, go to the beach, spend time with your family, play videogames, get a hobby, etc. Whatever, but do not try to reach the answer with your logical mind.

When we try hard to figure out something, usually our neocortex tries to rationalize the problem and find a logical answer. But after a while, that's just not possible for many reasons. That's why you need to give your brain some time to cool off and come back fresh.

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  #8 (permalink)
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Maat View Post
I don't know if walking away is normal for traders, but if it's not, it should be.

When you work for someone else it's not easy to walk away to clear your thoughts, but this is one of the many wonders of being a trader. You decide what you do and how you spend your time based on what you need. And it seems to me that at this point you need some clarity.

This is important: you don't walk away to find the answer you're looking for. This will not work. The key is to take some time off to keep your mind busy with other stuff. Enjoy those days. Work out, go to the beach, spend time with your family, play videogames, get a hobby, etc. Whatever, but do not try to reach the answer with your logical mind.

When we try hard to figure out something, usually our neocortex tries to rationalize the problem and find a logical answer. But after a while, that's just not possible for many reasons. That's why you need to give your brain some time to cool off and come back fresh.

Well, looking back on the last 24 hours of trades I see that I missed the best trades and tried to force the bad ones I took. I followed my rules but still could have made better decisions.
Being that trading is a huge consumer of time for me, I am either trading, researching, studying, replaying, reading, learning and so on.
I think I will walk away for awhile, take a vacation, it makes sense, my girl would sure appreciate the attention. She jokes with me that trading is my life support.
Ill take a break and see how it goes, I need to do something.
Thanks for your suggestion.

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  #9 (permalink)
You did what?!
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Can you post some examples of your prior trades (system successful) versus some of the more recent ones where you have had trouble?

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  #10 (permalink)
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Rrrracer, sure thanks for you interest and help. I am considering taking a break as Maat suggested but any help is welcome.
Now these number are small to most of you guys, but for a disabled Veteran living in the Philippines it gives me something to do and the ability to hopefully support myself at some point. The average salary is like $250 USD a month here so if I can get this trading thing right I can live pretty well for a small amount.
After a struggle in the beginning I slowly started to make a little and as you will see it started to turn on me. The attachment will spell it out. I know my risk to reward is lousy and as I mentioned I know I leave to much money on the table but I have time to learn and slowly grow. It is literally my life and I get joy from trading.
Maybe after my break I can figure out my hang up and will leave less money on the table

The attached spells it all out in full detail except for my Fidelity account trading which is only a peak of about $3200 profit and the same equity curve at the end, sharply down.
Adding that to the other you get the idea, a sudden drop and low return per trade, inability to stick to a trade without losing. Too many bad and mediocre trades.

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