I have a theory about why the small sums we talk about learning to trade give us more stress than the millions we risked in real estate....
The time factor for the feed back loop.
In real estate, we took a big risk and the reward or the oh shit moment happens months or years into the future and we are ok with that......its a calculated risk but we dont have to deal with it for a really long time...
The feedback loop in trading at least intra day is seconds, minutes or hours...we find out if we are good decision makers right away...and we can't blame anyone but ourselves if we screw up..
Real estate has the wonderful ability to blame something else for the failure...the economy, the builder, the banker, the marketing people, the title people, whatever, there is always some one to shift partial blame to.
No need to self analyze to discover why we took such a large risk....everyone was doing it and everyone got killed....in trading, its only us......
I am sure there are deeper issues we all bring to trading that do not play out in real estate but this is my premise....
I'm glad mine was only 4M and not 10.8M......
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci
Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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But that is what I mean. WHY do we even feel the need to watch a trade decision by the second? Are they that intense, really? Are great trades that hard to find, really?
I was one-stop shopping. My wife is a broker, I was a GC, I got the loans, I did the marketing material, I drew the floorplans, site plans, and front eleveations in AutoCAD, I found the dirt, I ran the numbers, I managed the accounts... For some reason I wanted to be autonomous and if there was something needed, I just learned how to do it. It was me and only me who was responsible in real estate. The fact that the storm hit is not my fault, nor yours. But I can't even throw blame at anyone else other than "banks". And really, to get to the true soruce of evil, it was math, statistics and probability that took real estate down. That and greed.
And is it any wonder I am struggling to break out in a world of nothing but? Is it possibly the most sane thing I can do, is question why I don't look for that added advantage of feeling and experience and synergy? I can always use better odds.
Either way, size is relative, and more to your risk vs. equity than anything. Some rules never change.
But liquidity does.
Last edited by GaryD; April 4th, 2012 at 09:32 PM.
You like the freedom of being a small 'artist' (scalping) throughout the day with a blend of your instincts and TA. You are being productive and if you 'cap' either the number of trades your plan calls for either each day or each a.m./p.m. session or even in any given hour then you probably should keeping getting good intraday results in your trading.
Longer-term trades take more of your left-brained style (like with your real estate). Everything lines up and you make a 'proposal' (trade) and then let it do what it should do.
I believe you are overly thinking for 'sizing' up by concentrating on $$$ (absolute terms). It would be good to internalize that you are using your 'edge' throughout the day and KNOW it works; so schedule your size increases according to your plan and stick with it.
You need 21 days to solidify trading at another scale up; it really is true.
A post from a Darvas Trading advocate. If you can really internalize what he is writing you are 75% of the way there; then you just have to have a repeatable/sustainable 'edge' methodolog(y)ies for your preferred trading style(s).
Why Most People Fail as Traders
by DARRIN DONNELLY on APRIL 3, 2012
Why do people who are hugely successful in one career end up failing miserably as traders?
My trading hero, Nicolas Darvas, succeeded in several other fields besides trading, but his case is an extremely rare exception. The much more likely scenario is for someone to confidently enter the trading world after finding success in other areas, only to whittle away at the fortune they made.
Why is that? After all, there are universal principles that make one successful and we therefore tend to assume that success in one area will more than likely translate to success in another area. But in trading, this logical assumption fails much more often than it proves right.
I think the reason for this is due to a fundamental difference in what it takes to succeed in trading compared to other professions.
To be a successful in almost any field, you have to be extremely productive.
Whether you’re a writer, athlete, teacher, salesman, doctor, entrepreneur, CEO, just about any career you can think of, the level of your success is dependent on how productive you are; how much value you add to the finished product. Your goal is simply to produce more of something or a better version of something.
However, for a trader, there is no product to produce. Our finished “product” is the amount of money in our account at the end of the day and we make that money by making smarter decisions, period.
The inability to truly comprehend this simple fact (and its implications) is why so many people fail at trading.
People enter the trading world eager to multiply the money they’ve earned from their other career. However, the crucial skill (productivity) that helped them earn all that money outside of trading doesn’t translate to success as a trader.
The reasons are obvious. You can’t force a winning trade the way you can force yourself to finish a task. You can’t create more winning trades the way you create more widgets for your company. You can’t fix or improve a trade the way you fix or improve the product or person you were hired to fix.
New traders rarely adapt well to this fundamental difference. The most common response to a dwindling trading account is to change the trading system.
It’s easy to see why this is such a common response. In other careers, where all success hinges on production, if something isn’t working, we continuously make changes until the final product is working the way we want it to.
But in trading, constantly tweaking our strategies is a recipe for disaster because we’re not building a final product. Put another way, we can’t force the market to behave exactly the way we want it to.
Successful trading is about reading and reacting, not changing and creating. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that we have very little control – actually, none whatsoever – over what opportunities the market will give us on any given day.
And that brings us to perhaps the biggest problem of them all: most people CAN’T STAND the idea of not being able to control something.
In our technology-obsessed world, we hate the idea of not having control so much that we often delude ourselves into thinking that we do have control over things we don’t. (Come to think of it, that may be why The Secret, a book that promised to reveal how you can control every single aspect of your life with the power of your thoughts, recently sold more than 20 million copies.)
The sooner you accept the fact that you can’t control the market and change it to your will, the sooner you will be on the path to successful trading.
Ultimately, successful trading is all about substituting one fundamental key to success – that is, productivity – for a different one: DISCIPLINE.
Last edited by researcher247; April 4th, 2012 at 10:47 PM.
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I understand exactly what you are going through here. The good news is that you obviously have an "Edge" and a system that is profitable. Jumping to a higher trading size is psychologically and physiologicaly stressful. There is no need to over analyze why it is more difficult for you at the higher size. It is simply uncomfortable because you are not used to it. This will cause you to hesitate on your entries and exit trades too soon. The only solution is to de-sensitize yourself by continuing to trade 2 contracts . After a while it will feel no different than 1 contract. So, assuming you won't have to withstand to large a drawdown from decreased performance, I think it would best not to worry too much about how profitable you are the next two weeks or so. Be more concerned with the mere act of following your system..and conditioning your brain and nervous system to adjust to the larger size. I am doing this right now myself. The only way to overcome this is for you to continue to take action. This will require a lot of courage and fortitude. So does accomplishing anything difficult. But from your posts I know you can achieve this . I wish you all the best.
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This is a good observation, and one that I encounter in wealth management.
The single largest purchase an individual ussually makes in their lifetime is their personal residence. You have to live somehwere, but lets look at the investment side only.
If the price of your valuable asset was listed in the newspaper every day, how would you feel? If it was up, ywould you feel elated, if its down 3 consecutive days in a row, well you might consider selling.
You know you cant sell real fast, so you hold onto it, and dont worry about the short term volatility.
But trading, we can pull the pin in seconds, and knowing that, forces us to self regulate. As a trader, we have far more control over buying and selling, and therefore, we make those decisions on a much shorter time frame. And like a goaltender in hockey you see your mistakes on the scoreboard. Its the most difficult postiion in hockey for that reason. The feedback is instantaneous, and if you cant handle that kind of pressure, you are going to have a problem being successful.
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I am working through it. Had a down day yesterday, but a good day today and Monday. I take a 2 contract trade, then after tha will trade 1 for a scalp here and there, getting back into my comfort zone. Then 2 contract again, back and forth.
On a higher timeframe this area at 103 is resistance, and the ABC target was nailed this morning. The leg down could be sizeable, but today is like a Friday, so it is a tough call from here out.
Increasing contract size on a percentage basis may be the hardest to do at step one. The only place to go from 1, is 2. It isn't that I have never traded 5,10,20 contracts. It is that to get my trading to where it is today, I had to get the money out of my head. Now that the thought has re-surfaced, I see it in my trading. I managed to make the week up net $880.00 in NT, but found my in-an-out style of taking a trade was greatly increased in frequency, having a hard time getting committed to a trade at double size of 2-4 contracts. That ate up my winnings in commissions.
The 2 contract part was not really that uncomfortable, it was the add-on to 4, and then not handling the trade as I would from 1 to 2 and back.
And, while I did have "up" days 3 of 4, one was not significant enough for me to want to count. So the end result this week was a near breakeven account balance, and two pennys in the bank. Not even the nickel for the week, as the $880 gain was not real.
Had I traded 1-2, occasionally a 3rd, my guess is I would have performed much better all around. But, today I noticed less focus on the trade size and a re-focus on trade target analysis. So, week one is over, and no real gain but no damage done. However, nothing lost may be something gained.
I appreciate all of the discussion lately from everyone.