That is a good question. I think we search for entries in a lot of things.
Another question, "What's next?", seems to be instilled in our genes. It is what fuels us, from survival to procreation to career path to technology to the economy in general. And somehow the two questions are related.
I think traders search for holy grail systems in an attempt to remove uncertainty. I think we desire a certain amount of money to eliminate uncertainty. We have insurance on our possessions and our health. Uncertainty is something we attempt to tame, and from it modern civilization has emerged. "Just tell me what to do and I will do it" is the national employee motto.
And then there are the entreprenurial mindsets, which is where I started life and am drawn to that, in some ways, but it is easier the first time to feel secure with not having any idea what lies ahead. For me, my extreme desire to become a trader caused me to force myself to wait for longer targets, as I could not figure out what else to do, and that seemed to work. But it rarely feels good. I think that comes from my past losses, and the fact that I took myself off a medication that made me basically emotionless. I have considered going back onto it actually, as it helps a lot with dealing with the unknown. But the concept of requiring a prescription to be "happy" really bothers me. So I am searching for other things, like disc golf.
I was talking wiht my friend, Peter, this morning, about life in general, and how to deal with not knowing exactly what to do at any point. He said, "Think of it as driving at night. You can only see so far ahead of you, but the headlights illuminate the here and now. Stay on the course".
I countered, "But sometimes Peter, I'd rather drive during the day."
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The entry (in trading) has a context.
That context is based on market structure.
The “what next” is the present moment (tick by tick)
The “what next” is in the context of your entry/and or your stop.
Your “Just tell me what to do and I will do it" can be found by seeing your present moment position in the context of your entry/stop.
ie: use your intial stop as exit and or move to Be and or trail your stop.
Your “ I think we desire a certain amount of money to eliminate uncertainty. “ is where I see your thought process creating your confusion.
It's one of those contradictions I've often mentioned.
The money doesn't come from eliminating uncertainty but rather from accepting it.
We learn to accept uncertainty, mentally, by using stops/exits in terms of the present price (now) in the context of our entry price and /or stop and market structure.
Most of what you also mention above, imo, is from the mindset of how we function in lets say “normal life”.
Look back to @researcher247 post in which he has an article of how it doesn't work to apply those “normal life” attributes to trading.
Everything you refer to stems from how we are “motivated”.
For you (and most) it's all about goals or targets or a monitory reward for time and effort etc...
These do not apply to trading. As it's often been discussed, these are indeed the very things that invoke emotions such as need and want and fear.
There in lie the conflicts in that we are using a mind set of tools that we “believe” are necessary for success where in fact success lies in understanding that they are not the correct mind set tools.
The most useful tool for the correct mind set is the concept of the present moment.
My understanding (and I stand corrected) of what your friend Peter is saying is indeed this.
You wanting to drive in day light may well be an illusion that you believe you can find a solution to.
The head lights are our awareness (understanding) that all we have is the present moment, now.
Focusing on that, (tick by tick in the market in the context of our entry and or stop) is the solution to navigating to the destination.
And I will go so far as to say that the destination is our target only unless we encounter something along the road that we see as a valid reason to change coarse (exit).
The exit will always be the destination by definition of having ended the trade.
We move on to the next trade or rather a new context within which we start a new journey along a new road into the unknown (driving at night time) with only the requirement being that we have our head lights on, (be aware and focus in the present moment, tick by tick).
What I understand you to be doing is, perhaps, applying a mind set that is totally applicable and valid to a way of doing things and thinking about things in other aspects of life, but that are not applicable to trading.
You are already a success in trading by the definition that you make more than you lose.
You want to be “more” successful”, which imo you most certainly can be. However you are applying invalid constructs to determine this (ie time and effort) and more importantly are not applying what I mentioned above, which by doing so, will create the level of success you want.
This, imo, is where your "What's next?, seems to be instilled in our genes. It is what fuels us.”
is interfering with your ability to succeed at the level you want.
I think you see the “what next” in terms of a monitory outcome when all that “What next” is is what's here and now eluminated by those headlights.
That's as far as we need and indeed can see down the road we are on (trade we are in).
Lastly I will say in the context of my question a post ago:
“If you had an issue with the unknown then how is it that you can enter a trade ? ! “
My point was that your entry had a context based on market structure.
At the time of entry the entry price was the present moment.
If you continued to apply the same approach of focusing on the present moment (price) in the context of your entry and or stop, then you will be focused on trading rather than making money. And if you are any good at trading (which you most certainly are) then you will make money.
The extent to which you apply this will be mirrored by the monitory level of success and not the other way around (imho).
I hope @PandaWarrior doesn't mind me referring you to his thread but have a read of his excellent post @ 1120
Apologies for this lengthy reply Gary.
I can imagine it's not easy for you to explain such complicated issues and sometimes it takes a bit for me to try to put on the table any ideas that I hope might help.
You are already succeeding !
Think on the above in terms of a more appropriate perspective and the mindset tools to get and maintain that. (perhaps)
PS: as for the meds. Imo, I can't see being emotionless as creating much sense of happiness. !!
Continued best wishes
Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile...
Last edited by zt379; September 23rd, 2012 at 12:40 PM.
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I also said in my conversation earlier with a friend, "I can see what I need to do, I can write it out, I can repeat it to myself, I can practice it. but none of that makes me feel any different."
The issues I have are not trading related right now. They are related to my past, where I felt I could control nothing even though I tried.
I had a trade a month or two ago, netted positive $1k, somewhere like that, and started to tear up. I hate the fact that a part of my path has contained some much emotion, and it is embarrassing every time I put it out here. But what I saw that was so frustrating, was I closed the trade early, way early, and the only reason I could come up with was, I was "up".
I may already possess the skills of a trader beyond what I allow myself to accept. But I am missing something critical, it is something deep inside, and it has to do with uncertainty. I know uncertainty has it's place. I know to rely on structure. I have a pretty good guess at what will happen many, many times.
And then I am in the trade and it all fades away.
It matters too much to me, possibly. I am still seeking a magic bullet, not for trading, but to correct something that happened over a long period of time. My inability to come to peace with myself, to forgive myself for some things I could have done differently... my fantasy possibly, of getting another chance to go back and maneuver myself through the challenge a second time, is not as strong as last year, or the year before, but still resurfaces often enough that I consider it a normal state of being.
The problems I have in trading no longer involve bias, or structure, or trend vs consolidation, or indicators, or stops and targets even... As soon as I see I have an edge, I want to exploit it. And as soon as I try, fear comes in, and the entire concept of "trading" goes out the window. At that moment I am looking for money.
I may realize, in the head, or the heart, or somewhere else, all of the things that I should do, or should think, or what is illiusion and what is reality, or focusing on the now versus the future. But somewhere else there is conflict in me still. No amount of study, no amount of screen time, no trading method... nothing outside of me can fix what is wrong.
When I came to the conclusion of backtesting myself, I was on the right path. But have hit a point I cannot seem to optimize any better than where I am. Time may change it. Maybe my wounds are still too fresh. I keep going back to the fact that I first desired to learn to trade from desperation. It was not a love of the markets, or a fun hobby, it was not money I could afford to lose, I was not at a place where I wanted to try a new career. And so, in hindsight, I am seeing that my entire path has formed around this fight or flight approach. And fear of being wrong, and trying to maximize reward. Ironic, the fear trumps the max reward.
If backtesting myself is looked at as backtesting some programmable automated trading system, it is possible I have optimized it to the hilt, there is no further to go on this path. it produces the results it produces. In a computer strategy, we tweak, add or remove filters, etc. And then either accept it for what it is, or look for something else.
The internal system I have built uses a filter of fear, and because of that, the system itself may be faulty. Possibly I can re-write it to bypass fear, or rely more heavily on uncertainty. Or, back to the meds to get to where my deeper issues are muted away. I could allow 50 ticks to turn back on me with no problem a year ago. Today I hate to give up 10. Nothing has changed on my approach, or my indicators. The market still moves similar to how it did then. My SR levels are possibly better today than back then. I am the variable.
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In trying to see in amongst this tangled web I can't help thinking that you aren't actually trading to become a better trader.
You are a good trader for various reasons and up to the plateau you've reached.
Some time ago I mentioned that your motivation is in conflict with your desired outcome and the film clip about having “the wrong dream” was my lame attempt to say the same.
Imo for as long as you are trading for the wrong reason then this conflict will always be present.
Namely that to use trading and the money it creates to change the past, or rather, to change how your feel about yourself in relation to that past.
I've also mentioned how the present changes the past, but this is in terms of what we do now for present reasons.
Those present reasons, for trading, ought to be to become a better trader, which for you was, I thought, to be able to a) increase size and b) hold your position or at least not exit just because your were “up”.
It confuses me when you say “The issues I have are not trading related right now. “
I understand that you're not confused about what you know to do, however, you can't do what you say you know because of the past (unrelated to trading).
So I think you're saying you're issues are not trading related but are related to your trading.
It might seem odd but all that emotional upheaval ends up being the source of understanding.
It's those very experiences that give us perspective. Sure we might prefer not to have had them.
But at the end of the day, you are here trading because of those experiences and these will be perspectives to relate to with each new plateau we reach in trading. Imo.
"I can see what I need to do, I can write it out, I can repeat it to myself, I can practice it. but none of that makes me feel any different."
Perhaps again you're using trading as a vehicle for the wrong journey.
At a very basic level it's the ability to trade through or in spite of “feeling” that is a measure of better trading.
I'm not sure what it is you think you want or expect to feel ?
If it's pride and lets say satisfaction, which to a degree is understandable, then those ought to be in relation to executing your trades in terms of your plan.
Any other “feelings” borders to closely on trading for the wrong reasons, which we all know about.
“And then I am in the trade and it all fades away.”
“As soon as I see I have an edge, I want to exploit it. And as soon as I try, fear comes in, and the entire concept of "trading" goes out the window. At that moment I am looking for money.”
Again, imo the motivation is in conflict with the outcome.
However well we suppress or mask the reasons for what we do (trade) they will at some point surface.
I would suggest that not until you are clear within yourself as to why you are trading, will much of a solution be found.
And imo, it doesn't matter what the reason is so long as we are clear about it.
If so, we can actually trade in terms of that reason.
Ie: if you want to correct your past via a monitory amount made today then structure your trading in order to achieve that figure.
However, from what you say about wanting to exploit an edge, at which point all trading goes out the window because of fear, again this is because you don't, imo want to exploit an edge to make you a better trader, but to patch up the past. And this is why you both have fear and are unable to trade through it because you're not trading to trade well and better but in terms of the past.
Ok this is another long post, much of which you may read as circular conversation.
I'm not here to tell you anything.
I have been where you are and I have my own equivalent experiences of loss etc..
Quite frankly who gives a damn, I don't, (about mine) of which I am certain.
I can only say in closing that for as much effort and work that you've put into trading,
only what we have to deal with now is what and where the work always starts.
It's a moving target and as I think Mark Douglous said, we don't know what we have to overcome until we meet it.
I do understand you are trying to do the work to move beyond this particular plateau.
But for as much as we think we understand something we still need the effort required to apply it.
My ramblings may help now or in hindsight or not at all.
Again I'm not here to tell you anything but just as a fellow trader, and just as a person, as we all are and that it's all about life.
We'd be na´ve to think in terms of perfection.
We'd be unaware to think in terms of right and wrong.
Perhaps in the many wondrous ways that life and serendipidy reveal to us that things aren't always as we think or wish them to be, but that ultimately we are not so na´ve and more aware to see the truth of what they and we are, and to that end everything was actually worth having experienced.
Such that we come to see the illusions that fear and ego were, once we see them for what they are.
PS: I recently watched an interesting (hollywood) Al Pacino film "2 For The Money"
Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile...
Last edited by zt379; September 24th, 2012 at 04:12 AM.
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