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Learning to trade through self discovery


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Learning to trade through self discovery

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  #1 (permalink)
 dc618 
Washington DC
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: OEC
Trading: 6E
 
Posts: 40 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 42 given, 47 received

I traveled to California this week to attend the wedding of a college buddy. It's been some time since the old college days, and it was great to see friends whom I had not seen in over 10 years. We reminisced about stories, asked about present situations, and congratulated each other on current lives and family. Despite all the great news, I was struck by a somewhat veiled truth about most of my friends: they were not happy in their current occupations. Maybe it was boredom, maybe the growth of familial responsibility, but I could tell that people longed for a passion toward their job.

It didn't take me long to see that I was in the same boat. I happily go to work each day, thankful to have employment that pays the bills and feeds my family, but am I passionate about my occupation? I can't say that I am. Many of my friends are more willing to discuss a crazy business idea they've concocted before talking about the details of their current position. Some are developing their ideas, and some are close to taking the business risk. It got me to think - If I were to take a shot at a new occupation, one that would excite me, one that has the possibility of providing a comfortable lifestyle, what would it be?

I would love for it to be trading.

Do I have what it takes? Am I disciplined enough? Can I sustain not only the interest in the subject, but the habits necessary to be consistently successful?

This journal can help me find that answer. I sincerely thank the others who have put themselves out in the "public eye" by writing their own journals. Thanks to Big Mike for putting together such a great site and attracting the people who post honest, high quality material. I've read many of them through futures.io (formerly BMT) and have been inspired and encouraged to write my own.

In some later posts, I plan to detail my trading goals and entry/exit method. Then I'll start a trade by trade analysis.

The journey begins. . .

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  #3 (permalink)
kamicrazy
New Zealand
 
 
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Good luck with your journey and your trading.

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  #4 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Congrats on starting the journal. Looking forward to it.

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  #5 (permalink)
 dc618 
Washington DC
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: OEC
Trading: 6E
 
Posts: 40 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 42 given, 47 received

I didn't execute any trades today. I'm still a little jet lagged from the trip out west, so I decided to put rest ahead of trading and sleep in. Believe it or not, I actually consider the decision a small win for me. In the past, I would have felt some guilt for the late wake-up, which would have led to an antsy feeling about missing some opportunities. It would have manifested itself as an anxious feeling, which could force me into some low-probability trades the next morning.

Since I don't have any trades to post, I'll go over my trading goals. . .

Short term (now): Trade well. Trade consistently.
Medium term (6-12 mos): Show consistent profit
Long term (years away): Financial independence, financial stability, comfortable lifestyle, ample time spent with family, a job in the trading industry.

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  #6 (permalink)
 dc618 
Washington DC
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: OEC
Trading: 6E
 
Posts: 40 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 42 given, 47 received

Uggghh. Today was my second-worst trading day since I began trading the 6E in March. It was a bad day in terms of my bottom line, but it also wasn't good due to the mistakes I made. I took seven trades. Five losers and two winners. And the winners were small, while a few of the losers hit my maximum loss point.

Day's result: -63 ticks

In hindsight, I fought the trend from the start. That was my biggest mistake. I also entered a trade in the 5-6am (eastern time) timeframe, which is against my own rules. (My past results show poor performance in this time range, therefore I created a rule to avoid it altogether.) Too many of the trades today were based on hunches, without well-formed patterns or volume indication.

I'd like to post my chart, however, I can't get the Open E-Cry chart to display my filled orders. I'll work look online for the manuals.

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  #7 (permalink)
 greenroomhoo 
annapolis USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: ES, NQ, Equities, Forex, Etc.
 
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please tell me that was a sim loss and not real money?

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  #8 (permalink)
 dc618 
Washington DC
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: OEC
Trading: 6E
 
Posts: 40 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 42 given, 47 received

Unfortunately, my trade from July 6th was indeed real money. I've sim traded in the past, but it never mimicked real trading enough for me. I found myself making unrealistic trades on sim; trades I wouldn't make in real life. It became a game, and built poor habits. I still sim trade when I'm testing a new method, then I pilot the method with a minimum number of contracts for a while to build confidence before I go live with real money. The July 6th trades were real money, and real losses.

Years ago, I had a little league coach who liked the quote, "The way you practice is the way you play." That saying helped me understand the importance of dress rehearsals, of preparing and practicing under an environment and conditions that are as real and game-like as possible.

As I did some post-trading analysis while on my commute this morning, I found that I'm still pulling the trigger too early on some trades. It's a form of impatience that could lead to some exciting and profitable trades, but in the long run probably leads to a slow (or not so slow) and consistent draw-down. Since I'm on the topic of sports, I remembered Steve Young, the superbowl quarterback from the San Francisco Forty Niners of the 1990s. When he filled in for the injured Joe Montana, he was still learning his craft. He didn't have confidence in his offensive line, and tended to take off running toward the end zone after taking the hike. It's was always exciting to watch him play, because he often ended up with a 15+ yard running gain, but at the same time, it was a high-risk, high-reward gamble.

Sports commentators would editorialize on Steve Young's impatience, saying that he needs to learn how to calm down and let the play develop. He needed to learn how to play quarterback, to increase his options, to wait for Jerry Rice to get open downfield and shoot for a 30-yard touchdown instead of gamble on a 15-yard quarterback scramble. It didn't take him long to learn that lesson, and he ended up having a great career with a championship ring of his own, earned as a starter.

I need to learn that lesson. Let the pattern develop, don't enter a trade too early, be patient, remove the fear of missing out on a possible big score. I need to take only the trades that I'd be happy to take again in hindsight.

Today's trading was better than yesterday's, but still an overall loser.

Day's result: -1 tick

Four trades. Two basically broke even, one was a full loser, and the last was good, although I didn't get the pullback I wanted and didn't get to scale-in with more contracts. I also left a lot of ticks on the table with that last trade. I needed to get to work, and feel most comfortable being completely flat when I leave the house. I might want to think about instituting a trailing stop on some trades, but right now I need to focus on the basics.

Don't fight the trend. Let patterns develop before entering a trade.

I don't trade on Fridays, so my account will have to sit on the sidelines until next week.

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  #9 (permalink)
kamicrazy
New Zealand
 
 
Posts: 72 since Jun 2011
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duncanhoo View Post
please tell me that was a sim loss and not real money?

I believe sim trading and practice real trading both have their place for different people with different mindsets and different circumstances.

I see sim trading as a 0 risk endeavour, so therefore personally, I often do not have the same emotional response when I am sim trading.

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  #10 (permalink)
 dc618 
Washington DC
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: OEC
Trading: 6E
 
Posts: 40 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 42 given, 47 received


I did some good trading and bad trading today. The good trading was boring, as I've heard/read it should be when it's good. After about 45 minutes of good trading, I ate breakfast, checked email, packed my lunch for my workday, checked the weather. . . and got bored. Then came some bad trading. Again, I fought the trend and paid the price.

I'll add some things to my signature line to help me remember some things. I've also added these things-to-remember on my computer's desktop. But I need to examine some things:

1. I might be too interested in 'action', therefore I take low-percentage gambles even when I know the probability of success is low.
2. I think I have an interest/urge to being right on things that are unlikely.

To address the first point, I need to understand that my trading method only produces a few (maybe 3) good signals per week, and I shouldn't overtrade this system. The second point is interesting; something I need to contemplate. I like seeing the underdog win. Is this spilling over into my trading psychology and am I taking chances, hoping that a low probability pattern leads to a big score?

Things for me to ponder.

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