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I can't manage to trade disciplined for a long time.


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I can't manage to trade disciplined for a long time.

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  #1 (permalink)
Cologne + Germany
 
 
Posts: 3 since Feb 2020
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My problems in my own eyes are:

- I see and know what I'm doing wrong, but i always repeat the same mistakes.

- I can't stop having my bad days where i have huge losses. 3-4 times my daily loss limit

- After having a bad day i can't stop to crumble and my next day/s are as bad.

- I take trades i should not take and are not in my playbook.

- I move my stop and over-leverage.

- I'm only disciplined for a certain amount of time. On my worst: Only for some days or hours. On my best: I managed it for almost 2 months.





About myself:

I came in touch with trading like 3 years ago and since then my dream is to be a daytrader. Always doing research and sim trading about 2-3 hours a day.

I am in my mid twenties, living in europe and since then i started to neglect university studies to make progress. Especially since last year i have done almost nothing regarding my studies, because i decided to start Sim Trading Futures from pre London Open until London Close. So about 9-10 hours a day. I thought that i needed more screen time and couldn't do both: University and trading.

My parents don't know about me neglecting my studies and i feel bad for deceiving them, especially because right now my decision is not working out at all. I'm stressed and sometimes depressed due to my continuing failure.





After i had decent results in Sim, I started 2 small Accounts which i crashed because of tilt and by not abiding by my rules. Like i had 3-4 good weeks, where i had no problems being responsible and managing my trades as planned. I managed to lose everything in 1-2 days. I doubled down on losers. I usually have stops of like 6-12 ticks, but instead i moved my stop, didn't get out of the trade and said: "The trade will move in my favor eventually" But that day happened to be a trend day in crude oil and moved almost 200 ticks against me.





My usual rules:

- Trading only 2-3 contracts. Based on volatility and stop.

- Stop should be between 6-12 ticks, also based on volatility.

- Daily loss limit should be about 750$, so about 3-5 trades based on contracts and stop.

- Trading Hours 08:00 Cet until 18:00 Cet

- Only trade Setups. I dislike Ranges and am more of a trend trader.





After that i decided to give "oneup trader" a shot, because i wanted a step between sim trading and own account. Especially losing real money hurt.

Long story short. After 3 failed attempts (always 1-2 bad days over-leveraging and not accepting my daily loss limit) , i finally managed to beat my first evaluation. Not even 3 days passed and i crashed the account. 15 days wasted again. During the evaluation i was disciplined and managed all trades according to my rules, but i took once again a dumb trade and lost everything.

The following weeks i passed the evaluation 2 more times, but ended the same way. Not even lasting a week. I thought about giving up, but someone on discord convinced me to not give up, because managing to pass the evaluation 3 times shouldn't be a fluke and i just need to work on my mental game.





Motivated by that i gave it another shot, passed at a 4 time and actually thought that i finally made it. This account lasted almost 2 months, i managed to withdraw 2000$ in that time and account was up 4500$. I had no real tilt day, accepted my losses and things looked decent.

Then one day i decided to trade natural gas outside my normal trading hours. I tried a long during the last 30 minutes before settlement. Trade went against me and instead of closing i moved my stop and added some more contracts. I thought: " During settlement i think i will get out with a winner or at least Break Even." I had several opportunities to get out with just 2-3 tick of loss, but decided to stay in. In the end it moved 60 ticks agains me with 4 contracts which was a 2400$ that should have never happened.

It was outside my trading hours and no real Setup. That day broke me again. I said to myself: " Ok that was one bad day. Tomorrow just trade like the weeks before."

And during the next day i managed to crash the account in just 3 hours after the London open. I just gambled and took like 15 trades without real setup. (huge overtrading).



That was last year in December. I gave it another try, because i made money for the first time trading and said, that i only need to be more disciplined. Managed to beat the evaluation a 5 time. 3 weeks ago i crashed the account once again in just 2 days, after being up 4000$. And also once again by violating my rules.



Since then i have been on my worst tilt trading time. I failed the evaluation counting today 7 times in 3 weeks. One day i was so tilted, that i failed it 3 times. Always resetting and going all in in the emini.

Today was the last time i failed. I was in my 8 day out of 15 in the evaluation and so far i was disciplined. I was up 80% of the evaluation target and then i decided to go long in the S&P 500 with my sole reasoning being: " I think it is down to much and we have the payrolls later on, so the market shouldn't move that much. After entering with 2 contracts at first, i added 2 more and later on 2 more, so six contracts in total and managed to once again crash the account.



This stupid behaviour can't go on forever. That's why i decided post on this forum and ask for some help. (Couldn't post on reddit due to new account) I always tried to manage things on my own, but now i have to admit, that it is not working out and maybe others can help me. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like shit after failing so many times.

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  #3 (permalink)
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Time to get controversial. In my opinion, One Up and most if not all of the other companies like it, are setting people up for failure. There I said it. Does that mean you cannot be successful as a prop trader? Nope. You just have to set up some additional rules for yourself. The reason I feel this way is that they allow you to trade during the evaluation in a way that isn't acceptable as a funded trader. So, if you do another eval, trade it exactly as a funded trader must. Scaling plan, flat for certain news events, etc. People lose at their games because they don't want the eval to go longer than the 15 days so they risk far too much in an attempt to finish "on time" and not have to pay another monthly fee. Anyway, I digress.

Ok, now back to your problem. Obviously you have a good system otherwise you wouldn't keep passing these evals. If there was one thing I would have to say really helps me is to specialize. Meaning only pick one instrument to trade. Doesn't matter which one. People seem to think they need to be a master of all things in order to make money trading. You really don't. At $50 USD per point on ES per contract it really doesn't take that many points to be successful. I only have NQ on my screens. Nothing else. Not even in the background. This keeps me from being distracted.

Stay small for a long time. 1 contract. This gives you far more leeway when it comes to being wrong. Just because you can trade 10-15 or more contracts doesn't mean you should. Sure you can trade a bunch of contracts and it really feels great when it goes your way but when it doesn't it literally is game over. When you are trading for real money, this goes a long way in helping with the psychological side of trading. So what I lost $100 is far easier to say than so what I lost $500 or 1,000.

Losing is a part of learning. Unfortunately in trading it can be expensive. Everybody sucks at being a trader in the beginning.

No sure what platform you are using but if you can have some indicators built that will alert you as a trade set up is building. Not necessarily telling you exactly when to enter but just that a proper trade is setting up and that you should pay attention to it. No alert, no trade. This can help you to not trade set ups that aren't in your playbook.

You have already identified the problem. Now you need to work out a plan on how to fix the problem.

And, by the way, I am not bashing prop firms. In fact, I am taking evals from two different companies right now. I like the idea of for the most part risking other peoples money when trading.

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I read myself in this post to some extent.

It's scientifically proven that the more stressed out you are, the less likely it is for you to be able to control yourself and "do the right thing." Stress can lead to lapses in discipline, and lack of discipline can cause more stress. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Assuming you have an edge.. Your problem could be the result of poor stress management and poor emotional regulation, particularly while live trading, and most likely outside of trading too. Maybe your inner-critic is too strong?

More details would help. In the mean time, I wish you peace..

There's nothing to think about.

- Mark Douglas
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  #5 (permalink)
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It’s a good first step to know what you’re doing wrong. If you want to be a disciplined trader, then you have to be a disciplined trader.

Try doing everything you’re supposed to do for week and see how goes. There’s nothing better than making money, and we start making money with the discipline system you’re not going to want to go back to doing things the wrong way.

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I agree at least in part with most of what has been said, including most of what you have said.

Here's something that stood out for me:


Slade9 View Post
I am in my mid twenties, living in europe and since then i started to neglect university studies to make progress. Especially since last year i have done almost nothing regarding my studies, because i decided to start Sim Trading Futures from pre London Open until London Close. So about 9-10 hours a day. I thought that i needed more screen time and couldn't do both: University and trading.

My parents don't know about me neglecting my studies and i feel bad for deceiving them, especially because right now my decision is not working out at all. I'm stressed and sometimes depressed due to my continuing failure.

Perhaps you have a discipline issue, but you also have a practicality issue. It is not practical to be at a University -- which someone else is paying for, I assume -- and not work at your classes. I'm not lecturing you (yet ), I'm just pointing out that this is crazy. Even if there is no tuition to pay for, somehow you are able to eat and sleep indoors, and that is costing something.

So, as a first step, consider how you will support yourself as you trade, assuming you do. I am actually not saying anything about what you should do regarding your studies, except to point out that you really can't, as a purely practical matter, keep ignoring your classes, have no source of income, maintain reasonable relations with your parents, and also trade.

The discipline issue is a problem for every trader, and it comes when you can make decisions rationally -- which is not as simple a matter as it seems, as we have all found out. It becomes a very difficult matter when you have too many things that you are involved with at once, and that all depend on the trading working out profitably.

You won't become profitable, consistently, unless and until you don't really care how the trade you are in works out. If you can say, "Well, that didn't work," and not have anything bad happen because of it, and you can say, "Well, that trade was a great success," and not have it matter too much either, then you can develop the detachment to trade. But not if there are other, practical matters that depend on your trading.

So my suggestion is to put trading last right now, just for now. Decide whether you want to finish at your University or not, and if you want to pursue whatever job or career it would be a preparation for, or not. Decide what you will do regarding your parents -- if you ask them to continue to support you at school (if they do), then that's one decision, but only make it if you really want to continue seriously in school. (If they are not supporting you financially, you still have to decide what to say to them.) If you don't want to continue at school, decide what else you want to do. If all you want to do is trade, that's fine. But then you have to find a way to keep the bills paid until you can live from trading alone. So make some kind of decisions about that. Having a plan would be a good idea.

Basically, I'm saying that your current plan is something like, "i'll make a pile of money from trading in the next x number of weeks, and then everything will be wonderful after that." I had a plan like that once, but when the rent had to be paid I had to find someone to borrow it from.

Your trading method looks reasonable enough, as you outlined it. But you are not yet prepared to execute it in a way that will sustain you. The problem likely is (partially) the discipline issue you identified, but it is also partly that you are just not conducting the business of trading as if it were a business that you were serious about. At present, you're actually in the business of learning to trade, and you're not going about it in a practical, serious and above all sustainable way. You're playing at it.

So that's where my advice is leading: work things out so they are moving in a direction that has a chance of succeeding. Don't just imagine you will be pulling in large amounts of money in a sustainable way. Look at the actual, real and practical issues you have, arrange things in a way that gives you the mental and financial room to learn to trade, and go about it just as if you really meant to succeed at it.

And good luck. None of this is easy. I hope it works out well for you.

Bob.

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-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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TradingOgre View Post
The reason I feel this way is that they allow you to trade during the evaluation in a way that isn't acceptable as a funded trader. So, if you do another eval, trade it exactly as a funded trader must. Scaling plan, flat for certain news events, etc. People lose at their games because they don't want the eval to go longer than the 15 days so they risk far too much in an attempt to finish "on time" and not have to pay another monthly fee. Anyway, I digress.

I think this part especially sounds right. Like the last evaluation I failed, I wanted to reach the evaluation target as soon as possible. I was about 80% of the evaluation target and just wanted to reach it with my next trade. I doubled down and said: "The trade just needs to work in my favor for a few points and I'm done."

I lost my cool, my patience and got greedy.
End of story, the market does not care what i want and stopped me out before going long. So i wasted 8 days again.


Regarding the other things on your post:
I trade Crude Oil, Gold and the S&P 500 and if I'm not stupid only 2 contracts. Seldom 3.

@bobwest

I got money from an insurance my grandparents made years ago. When it got payed out, i decided to use that money to cover my living and pay for anything trading related. My idea at that time was, that after 2-3 years i would start to be a bit profitable.
Which of course isn't working out right now. The money will last more likely 6-8 more months.

Honestly after i managed to get my first 2000$ payout, i thought i finally made it.


Regarding my parents: I try to play it cool, as if everything regarding university is working as intended. They probably would not approve my decision to focus on daytrading. And honestly after my first 3 years I could not blame them.


I also can't disagree what you are saying about my execution. I mean the results speak for themselves. Everytime i have a really bad day, I start to gamble and hope to catch a lucky trade that erases my past losses and usually risk the entire account for that play.

Like that Natural Gas Trade i mentioned above. I think I was even up that day and decided to take a Trade out of my comfort zone, a Trade i had no research, no real edge about. I just thought: " The natural gas storage number where bullish and this is a support. It is also close to the settlement, so i will just go for a Bounce and they wont move it during the last 30 minutes." Which in the end halved my Account. Eventhough I said to myself, that everything is going to be okay and I just need to play what I am good at, I wanted to make the money back I lost the day before and took stupid gambles and overtraded.

I was thinking like: "Yesterday your idea was unlucky. So with a bit of Luck you catch a Trade and erase the loss and then you can trade like the weeks before and be disciplined again." During this time I also traded above the 2-3 contracts I mentioned. Usually maximizing the amount of contracts I was allowed to trade.

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@Slade9, just so you know, the experience of blowing up accounts is nearly universal. Think of it as tuition.

If you haven't seen this thread, it may help get some perspective: https://futures.io/psychology-money-management/35267-account-blown-up.html .

Different people handle it different ways, but it comes around a lot.

Give that thread a read. It may help to know how you are not alone.

Bob.

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Hey @Slade9! Thanks for sharing your endeavors. I bet almost all traders can relate. I know for sure I can relate! I have a pattern that is similar to yours. I have a little bit of consistency and then the big-loss day happens. I like to call them Epic Disaster Days, for obvious reasons. I don't have them often, but at the same time, I still have them often enough to make them very problematic.

In my own experience, these type of days will occur when a small mistake becomes exacerbated by an ensuing slew of mistakes that are made in an attempt to correct the first mistake. Similarly to you, I will take trades that were outside the scope of what I normally would do. Sometimes this would pay off and I would get back to break even, other times I come away with profit. Other times...epic disaster. This behavior lead me to take a real look at how I respond to adversity while trading. Basically I've found that the initial mistake somehow justified abandoning my plan. I become more impulsive when faced with adversity. And the real root cause of this...my intense loathing of the dreaded down day. I am now attempting to get comfortable with the idea of a normal-sized-loss-day...spaced at an appropriate frequency.

One area where it seems like you differ from me, is the stress. When I lose I'm frustrated and sometimes I want to kick a hole through my monitor. . But I have no stress because I have nothing riding on this, other than a few dollars and some hopes and dreams. In this regard, I would really consider @bobwest's posts. That dude is wise AF! Haha! (Sorry bob. ). IMO, he is right that you are (and I am) in the business of learning to trade. I think he's spot on with the whole post and I can't add anything to it. But I'll try my .00000002...It's hard to perform well at anything with stress. Get rid of it. I vote no on stress! Be Well!

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@Slade9 while people can give you all kinds of tips on trading, all I am reading is that you quit school and you are lying to your parents. This behavior isn't outstanding.

You have the privilege of going to school, earning a profession, and along the way, learn to be competitive, punctual, handle pressure and stress, meet deadlines, etc. These are also characteristics that are necessary for trading. Do you think you can skip the line?

As for your parents, either be honest or go back to school. Although honesty is not a prerequisite for trading, I do believe that all successful individuals have a sound value system. Success is not only measured in money. Ray Dalio, the world's biggest hedge fund (Bridgewater), wrote a book called Principles. Pay attention to the name. Principles.

I do believe that trading requires maturity, and reading your post, and the decisions you took so far were not the best. I think and hope that in the years to come, you will see that your choices now were erratic and desperate.

My mentors were though guys and did not want to give me comforting news. They always said what they truly felt.

I have no desire to criticize you, nor do I enjoy opening your eyes to what you do. I sincerely wish to help you before you accumulate a series of mistakes, whether financial or time-wise, where it will be irreversible.

Matt Z
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Gave me a lot to think about and also sort of a wake up call that things can't continue like that forever.

I think i will give it one more shot on monday, because this university term is almost over and I can't catch up with everything i missed this whole time.



But I will try to maintain following changes:


1. I will treat it like the funded Account. So following the scaling plan and so on. And if it takes more than 15 days to reach the evaluation target, so what? Better than crashing it once again.


2. I will always trade the same contract size no matter what. 2 contracts and not a single one more.


Someone on reddit wrote this and this sums up my "rules" perfectly:
"Start treating rules like rules. You very obviously think your own rules don't apply to you. There's no reason for you to call them rules if you constantly ignore them. You don't have rules, you have "light suggestions"."


3. Therefore I will start the daily loss limit on Sierra Chart to automatically flatten my positions once I reach 750$. Maybe I will still do some stupid "Revenge trades", but at least I can't lose 4000-5000$ in 2 days like before.
So it would take me 5-7 losing days to reach the amount I managed to lose in just 2. Which should definitely be an improvement.


4. Following my rules means I can't continue entering trades that are not in my playbook and don't fit my style. I need to sit on my hands more. Taking trades that are not on my playbook, like the emini long I took yesterday, end in failure 90% of the time and only 10% go in my favor.



Things I might change, still thinking about that:

A: I might change my trading hours. Maybe I will start when the American Markets Open instead of the London Open. Maybe this makes me more concentrated. Still not certain about that one, because now I will try to be more selective with my Trades and there are some really good opportunities during the overnight Session. I remember some days where my only Trades where during that session and none during the US Session.


B: I have seen, that there are several trading discords. Maybe I will join one of them and keep posting each Trade. With other people watching it might help me be more disciplined.

@Salao
"In my own experience, these type of days will occur when a small mistake becomes exacerbated by an ensuing slew of mistakes that are made in an attempt to correct the first mistake. Similarly to you, I will take trades that were outside the scope of what I normally would do. Sometimes this would pay off and I would get back to break even, other times I come away with profit. Other times...epic disaster. This behavior lead me to take a real look at how I respond to adversity while trading. Basically I've found that the initial mistake somehow justified abandoning my plan. I become more impulsive when faced with adversity. And the real root cause of this...my intense loathing of the dreaded down day. I am now attempting to get comfortable with the idea of a normal-sized-loss-day...spaced at an appropriate frequency."

That almost sound 99,9% like my reasoning. When I take a dumb trade I usually don't try to take a normal trade to correct it, no I go for another trade which is not in my playbook and try to correct the first mystake. Because minus times minus results in plus right? That's what happened that day i managed to take 15 trades in Oil during the first 3 hours. First one was a stupid small loss and I asked myself: "Why did you take that trade? There was no reason to take it. Let's see if I can try another trade to at least erase the previous loss." Which ended in another loss and it got out of control.

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Slade9 View Post
Thanks for all the replies so far. Gave me a lot to think about and also sort of a wake up call that things can't continue like that forever.



I think i will give it one more shot on monday, because this university term is almost over and I can't catch up with everything i missed this whole time.







But I will try to maintain following changes:





1. I will treat it like the funded Account. So following the scaling plan and so on. And if it takes more than 15 days to reach the evaluation target, so what? Better than crashing it once again.





2. I will always trade the same contract size no matter what. 2 contracts and not a single one more.





Someone on reddit wrote this and this sums up my "rules" perfectly:

"Start treating rules like rules. You very obviously think your own rules don't apply to you. There's no reason for you to call them rules if you constantly ignore them. You don't have rules, you have "light suggestions"."





3. Therefore I will start the daily loss limit on Sierra Chart to automatically flatten my positions once I reach 750$. Maybe I will still do some stupid "Revenge trades", but at least I can't lose 4000-5000$ in 2 days like before.

So it would take me 5-7 losing days to reach the amount I managed to lose in just 2. Which should definitely be an improvement.





4. Following my rules means I can't continue entering trades that are not in my playbook and don't fit my style. I need to sit on my hands more. Taking trades that are not on my playbook, like the emini long I took yesterday, end in failure 90% of the time and only 10% go in my favor.







Things I might change, still thinking about that:



A: I might change my trading hours. Maybe I will start when the American Markets Open instead of the London Open. Maybe this makes me more concentrated. Still not certain about that one, because now I will try to be more selective with my Trades and there are some really good opportunities during the overnight Session. I remember some days where my only Trades where during that session and none during the US Session.





B: I have seen, that there are several trading discords. Maybe I will join one of them and keep posting each Trade. With other people watching it might help me be more disciplined.


@Salao

"In my own experience, these type of days will occur when a small mistake becomes exacerbated by an ensuing slew of mistakes that are made in an attempt to correct the first mistake. Similarly to you, I will take trades that were outside the scope of what I normally would do. Sometimes this would pay off and I would get back to break even, other times I come away with profit. Other times...epic disaster. This behavior lead me to take a real look at how I respond to adversity while trading. Basically I've found that the initial mistake somehow justified abandoning my plan. I become more impulsive when faced with adversity. And the real root cause of this...my intense loathing of the dreaded down day. I am now attempting to get comfortable with the idea of a normal-sized-loss-day...spaced at an appropriate frequency."



That almost sound 99,9% like my reasoning. When I take a dumb trade I usually don't try to take a normal trade to correct it, no I go for another trade which is not in my playbook and try to correct the first mystake. Because minus times minus results in plus right? That's what happened that day i managed to take 15 trades in Oil during the first 3 hours. First one was a stupid small loss and I asked myself: "Why did you take that trade? There was no reason to take it. Let's see if I can try another trade to at least erase the previous loss." Which ended in another loss and it got out of control.



I share similar experience and have blown up accounts exactly the way you’ve described. I used be more like you but after a few months of trading I have gotten better. I still do the same exact mistakes but less often.
I started with TopStep Trader and got funded after a few resets. I was even able to withdraw $1000 but blew up the account in less than a month because of some stupid mistakes, taking less than ideal trades and doubling down hoping to break even, even worse, not closing the trade when break even reaches only to see NQ move 40 points against me.
I then set up a rule to stop trading when half of daily loss limit is hit. But guess what, I wouldn’t stop trading when that happened. Making our own rules is easy but adhering to them is extremely hard.
I see guys like you and I have some edge when it comes to day trading futures but inability to control risk defeats us.
What’s important for us is to come back and be able to sit and watch the chart until it screams to take the trade. But we wouldn’t, we would wait even more and take the next trade, the ideal trade.

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  #13 (permalink)
New York, NY
 
 
Posts: 5 since May 2017
Thanks: 0 given, 5 received

You currently have an opportunity to get a good education that'll help you in life, whether you end up trading for a career or not. While some of the specifics you learn in university may not help with trading, the discipline and learning to learn is critical for success. Furthermore, if trading doesn't pan out you want to have other options.

When I hear about how much time you're spending trading instead of going to class and the problems you're having staying on track, I don't think "gee, this kid is giving it all he's got" but rather that you're effectively suffering from a gambling addiction, where you spend all your time doing it, you engage in behaviors you *know* are destructive by violating your own rules and you're letting it get in the way of the rest of your life.

Why do I call it gambling? Because it appears you don't have an edge and are letting it disrupt your life. Seriously, read up on gambling addiction and see if the signs sound familiar.

I strongly disagree with all the guys saying "just stare at the screen more and trade less." Yes, you need discipline and yes, you need to follow the rules but you've got an opportunity to make something of yourself, to become a more rounded human being, to learn things in university which give you an option at a career or just intellectual satisfaction. You don't need to stare at the screen for 10 hours a day; if anything trading for only 1-2 hours a day will help with the impatience problem while still giving you a chance to engage in the rest of your life.

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  #14 (permalink)
Toronto Canada
 
 
Posts: 51 since Jan 2017
Thanks: 4 given, 103 received

You need to reset yr priorities
First stop lying to yr parents and stop trading and focus on school be cause until you do you.wont be.in the right mindset and your setting up for failure mentally. Second systemize yr program mathematically on excel. Blowups can occur.from bad money management not a bad strategy. Three ignore topstep. You can't afford to pay fees to learn at this stage. Finally graduate first and get some.income... use yr summers to learn with sim before u spend any more money. Best of luck we have all been there.

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  #15 (permalink)
Singapore
 
 
Posts: 11 since Jul 2017
Thanks: 8 given, 11 received

Build up your capital, then trade. It's hard to remain cool if capital size is too small.

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  #16 (permalink)
San Francisco CA USA
 
 
Posts: 40 since Jan 2020
Thanks: 2 given, 16 received

If you don't trade smart you won't be successful.

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  #17 (permalink)
Cuernavaca, Mexico
 
 
Posts: 10 since Feb 2021
Thanks: 4 given, 4 received

Specialize in trading only one instrument

Sent using the futures.io mobile app

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