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What approach did you take to make progress in trading?


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What approach did you take to make progress in trading?

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  #1 (permalink)
Legendary Pratik_4Clover
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Recently there has been some discussion on this forum, about university degrees which may help in trading and then there is also seemingly always on going discussions for "courses/mentors/books" in some threads.

I'm just curious, what approach everyone here took to make positive progress in their own journey little by little?

Was it gathering as much information as possible? Was it trading small and often? Was it something else?

My personal thoughts/experience I will reserve for later as I'm interested to see where this discussion goes.

I understand this has potential to get hijacked by various vendors/advertisers/promoters, so keeping that in mind, I would wait for @bobwest post of approval and other members cooperation in keeping it clean

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  #2 (permalink)
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LastDino View Post
Recently there has been some discussion on this forum, about university degrees which may help in trading and then there is also seemingly always on going discussions for "courses/mentors/books" in some threads.

I'm just curious, what approach everyone here took to make positive progress in their own journey little by little?

Was it gathering as much information as possible? Was it trading small and often? Was it something else?

My personal thoughts/experience I will reserve for later as I'm interested to see where this discussion goes.

I understand this has potential to get hijacked by various vendors/advertisers/promoters, so keeping that in mind, I would wait for @bobwest post of approval and other members cooperation in keeping it clean

The only issue would be if people essentially start posting actual vendor reviews. (Example: "I learned everything from vendor x, who is so great because...." Or: "I tried vendor x, who is so terrible because....) which they might do and which would be within the original question -- but this would be the wrong place for detailed reviews. Mentions or short discussions of how they influenced a trader's development (in a good or bad way) would be fine, and more on topic.

It will not be hijacked by vendors because we will delete their posts and ban them, as always. Simple.

It's up to you what you post, but my thought is that you will probably get more takers if you start things off, instead of leaving it to others to take the first step and be the ones to reveal themselves. But that's just my thought. Post as you like. It's your thread.

I am moving this thread from the Off-Topic area (which it is not) to Traders Hideout, a general-purpose sub-forum that is still trading-related.

Bob.

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I think the key to becoming a successful trader is actually trading with real money.

Nothing else teaches as well as winning/losing real money in the markets. It is also the scariest way to learn.

Theory is nice - I've taken graduate level classes in finance, futures/options, etc.

Trading biography books are nice - Market Wizards books can teach a lot

Other trading books are nice - you can learn techniques, approaches, etc.

Trading rooms and course might help - but many are outright frauds created by paper traders who don't trade


But in the end, if you want to be a trader, you actually have to be in the game trading with real money.

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Legendary Pratik_4Clover
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Thank you, as usual prompt work there @bobwest

bobwest View Post
It's up to you what you post, but my thought is that you will probably get more takers if you start things off, instead of leaving it to others to take the first step and be the ones to reveal themselves. But that's just my thought. Post as you like. It's your thread.

Bob.

It's fine, I'll start;

1. Like most others I know from my peers in RL, I started off from some course back in 2015, in fact my first trading account was also opened through them, without getting into names of the course and companies, it was purely technical analysis course with fancy jargon's, it also worked till course subscription was still on (a year). But that was it, while it did bring me from blank slate to some kind of point, it was just typical scam to attract new lambs to chopping block. (In fact this particular parent company is in the US and recently facing legal issues, there is thread here for that )

I was still a student, so I rarely took any trades (I didn't have much money and I was also busy with lectures during market hours - thank god-), I made some money in initial year (newbie luck or maybe my willingness to hold the positions for months in bull market?). Things changed in 2017 though.

2. 2017 was the year when I was introduced to F&O, obviously still being the new blood, I thought easiest way to learn would be to join F&O course (idiots like me do same mistake twice ). That was final sem of my MBA and I was already placed (in fact, final sem I spent in my company and only on weekends I would attend lectures. My job was also market related)

Things were firing in right direction so I was getting overly confident and greedy, and here it was, following view of the course mentor, I executed a multi-leg strategy that required me to leverage my entire portfolio value which I had accumulated since 2015 by "trading/investing" little by little. There are multiple things wrong here, but to keep long story short, I was almost wiped out next morning, at one point MTM was almost 90% of my holdings, eventually when it reduced to 70% I booked the loss. This left an impression, it better as I was feeling weak in my knees for hour or two and just sat in the lobby of my office staring blankly in the air.

3. Above incident scared the shit out of me, I was now the member of those 90%+ who lost money in the market instead of making any and all that on my very first trade on F&O. Well, as any other person who is beaten and scared out of market, I decided to learn everything I could about it before I could recover my lost money. Over the next two years (From mid 2017 to mid 2019), I would go trough numerous adventures of scourging internet to best of my ability on everything under the sun, as long as it was trading related. Of course, to test ideas I would also deploy small accounts to trade every now and then, I blew couple of them, but they were really small and negligible so it really didn't make any impression. During this period I came across places that had 100's of these fancy courses available for free, I skimmed through many of them as well. But alas, trading was still not paying my bills, in fact I was lucky enough to have some sense to build fixed assets which would give me some returns to live off after leaving the job, or I would be broke long time ago.

4. On one such an adventure in Jan 2019 I had come across this forum, after lurking it for majority of 2019 I decided to start a demo journal here as well, traded it for six months and found it to not help me either. As luck would have it, I had also picked up some coding skill in pine in between, and that was the turning point.

5. Now, I was in the process of developing systems and testing them, this sped-up lot of things, in a mere year I could see lot of improvement, then I would start deploying promising strategies with real money,most of them would not work for me, some I wouldn't be able to trade and some would just fail for other reasons like market conditions changing. Nevertheless, that was the factor that turned a losing trader on to profitable road. I'm still far away from having consistency, but now trading income does compare to what I'm making on fixed assets and together I think its a sustainable life till I make more progress.

What was the point of this long rant? Its to give clarity on where I'm coming from, I feel that first 3 stages, which involved courses and information gathering were more or less very blatantly wasted. Number of things were wrong there, but two strikingly big problems were
a) I was looking for some money making magic wand and underestimated the market by big margin (till it punched me in the mouth )
b) I did not have any goals set to that journey, it was like aimless travelling and had no parameters in between

Number 4 and 5, however, were considerably different due to me having some goals and path, I might have walked on it unknowingly but now I had my own ideas, I could program and test them myself, I was also learning a lot about market and my behaviour traits as now I would spend entire days in front of screen, I also learned why would my systems fail and why certain things I wouldn't be able to do as planned. This was an enlightenment part of the journey and its still going on. lol

So, whenever I see people discussing courses here, I can't help but refer back to my experiences with them and deem it useless information dump or sometimes just blatant scams. Intent here is to not take a dump on everyone out there, but that's just my experience and opinion formed out of it.

This is making me curious as to what was other peoples journey like? Did they reach the same conclusions? Personally speaking, I found that trading small accounts and trading often along with constant battles with system developments is probably the pathway, but then again it might be just me.

Do share your journey of improving yourself here with me. Its okay if you are not detailed, I would still like to hear it.

//I took such a long time to type this that Kevin has already summed my experiences in couple of lines. I also need to learn to put my thoughts in better words. Thanks for replying

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  #5 (permalink)
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Homework. People who come into this business want a system or a setup which has proven profitable. Sorry folks, but that doesn't exist. And that's the problem. When you tell people (which I have done) that they must spend serious time in market replay analyzing their trades or just watching the price action for hours, they think that 15 minutes is serious time! It isn't.
I recently made a short video for someone who was having a problem on the NQ and ES. The guy was bleeding money - would make a few hundred bucks one day and then lose $2,500 the next (he's in one of those Combines trying to get funded). He wants to be a scalper but hasn't a clue how to do it efficiently. I analyzed one of his big losers and tried to demonstrate the proper way to use order flow in a trade. But I warned him that it would take serious time to be able to do this well.
Outcome: The guy is still making lousy trades. He has a live stream on YouTube (I'm not going to give a link because I don't want him to be embarrassed).
When asked if he watches the order flow in his live chat, his response was "Yeah, I watch it sometimes". He's also in denial of his lousy trading - doesn't upload the videos from his losing days, only the winning days. Someone caught him doing this and now he's more inclined to upload the bad days too.

Being a good trader means you can solve problems. That's why people with a background in number manipulation i.e. mathematics are usually better at this game. You also have to commit to hundreds of hours studying the market live and in market replay. I go over all my trades in market replay at the end of every week.

Here's a link to the video I made for this guy - there's no audio - I just briefly described the problem with his trade in an email. But it's fairly self evident why the trade was a big loser.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r03OFbNtIRE&feature=youtu.be

One more thing: Be honest with yourself. Get help if you need it. There's plenty right here on this forum.

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I wrote a trading plan. Actually put words on paper.

I started with a goal and worked my way back to how I was going to be able to achieve that goal.

What I hoped to accomplish was to have a document that would accomplish two things. Firstly something I could take to a bank or a financial backer and convince them to fund me. A business plan.

Secondly an operators manual. Something I could give to anyone spelling out how to operate my system. An if/then set of rules. If price does this then the trader does this.

I also measure success by whether I followed my plan or not. A trade that lost money is considered a success if I followed the plan. A good trade with a bad outcome.

I was amazed at the difference writing things down made.

"The days when I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days" RW Hubbard
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My approach of course evolved, but here is where I settled.

I avoid descretionary trading, I survived at best doing so. I now system trade using technical analysis and light fundamentals.

A lot of peeps will say there is no strategies that hold an edge very long and markets change. True the markets change, but believe me there are edges that have lasted for years and some even over a decade...I have found some and trade them.

My First step was learning how to backtest properly.

My Second step was learning it helps to diversify.

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- Trading with real money as mentioned already.
- Acknowledging the need for psychological changes and that they will happen only gradually. More specifically, thinking long term big picture versus short term. My monkey will disagree with this during trading and my goal is to tame it every session.
- Staying in the game for a long time to eventually make it by eliminating the possibility of big losses.

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99% of the modest success (in terms of P/L) I have had thus far in my trading journey has been a result of systematic trading.

Similar to @WoodyFox, learning how to properly backtest was very much a pivotal moment for my trading. I was exposed to systematic trading by Oddmund Grotte's blog - a tremendous resource that I can't recommend enough. Learning how to code saved me countless hours of manual backtesting - these hours were more productively spent generating strategy ideas. Upon learning how to code, I was able to backtest technical indicators and quickly concluded that the vast majority are incapable of generating a meaningful edge. With this hurdle out of the way I focused my efforts on less talked about areas of study such as intramarket correlations where I was able to find the edge that my primary model is built on.

As far as discretionary trading goes, the biggest turning point for me has occurred recently in finding a fantastic mentor. He has challenged many of my beliefs (a good thing!), and guided me through the preliminary learning process of swing trading momentum stocks in the style of Mark Minervini/William O'Neill. I've been net profitable for the past 1.5 months while the indexes have been more or less sideways, which is the best discretionary trading performance I've had to date!

Cheers,
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I made a lot of money in my first few trades, very earlry on. This was a terribly unfortunate experience that taught me a lot of things I had to take years to unlearn.

I also lost a lot of money fairly early. This could have been a good learning experience, but it also took years to learn from it correctly. In the meantime, it also gave me a lot of things to unlearn.

I discovered sim trading, to my relief and delight. This also taught me many things to unlearn.

I finally started to learn from actually looking at my mistakes. I fixed a few, found ways to get around some others.

I am still doing this. I expect it to continue.



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