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Spot FX Day Trading: The Jigsaw
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Spot FX Day Trading: The Jigsaw

  #91 (permalink)
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ratfink View Post
No trader escapes the requisite torture of the mind and all traders think they have/will/can find an edge that will stop it from happening.


Adamus View Post
my guess is that there is a limited number of mistakes you can make and then you start repeating them. Once you recognise that you are repeating them, you can try to work out why and start to do something about it.

Thanks guys, very helpful and needed input. Reaching an impasse does have it's benefits. Looks like it's a spur to re-read my various journals and other records to dig into things a bit deeper. Having said that I woke this morning with a much clearer head and spotted that I could benefit from clarifying my routines, pre-trade checks, etc. (I've already started doing so).

I see this phase as teething trouble trying to 'slot in' another set-up. I identified my current set-ups are too infrequent to help me reach my goals so have been testing another. This has knocked me a bit out of balance. And I noticed I was really doing this live forward testing 'on the fly' and that attitude has perhaps crept into other areas.

Beware the crafty gremlin of ill-discipline!

know thyself

Last edited by mokodo; February 6th, 2013 at 07:17 AM.
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  #92 (permalink)
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On The Sidelines Today

Spent the morning reviewing, simplifying and refining my rules and routines. Well worth the effort. I have decided to forward test my new set-up in SIM only for the remainder of the month. Not ready to take off the stabilisers just yet. Definitely feels like the right move.

Did my morning chart mark-up and watched the days action. No signals for my other set-ups, just a couple I passed on, which was the right call.

Best things I did today:
  • Stayed out the market and got some perspective
What did I learn today:
  • What's the rush?

know thyself
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  #93 (permalink)
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2 (SIM) Winners


Nice finish to my trading week. A couple of winners on my forward test set-up. Missed the big move on the Euro, but good reading of market structure today.

Certainly pleased with my trade management, and not just because of the favorable outcomes. The EURUSD trade only bagged a dozen pips or so (against a stop loss of 20), but I closed out the winner as it was beginning to drift. I have definitely been guilty of holding non-performing trades too long - when they are in the green. I am sure I fall into the trap of hoping they are going to 'suddenly' find some momentum and get moving. So with this trade I applied the same rationale I apply to non-performing trades when they are in the red, i.e. be strict with them. And that felt like the right approach and prevented green turning to red.

The GBPJPY trade caught a news spike and I was very lucky that my 1st target was tagged (60 pips against a stop of 30). It was in the middle of the 3/10 day upper volatility band as a result of being twice the size of the stop, once I saw it was there I just left it, and it just got a fill before price came all the way back.

Even good SIM trades have the effect of boosting confidence, so I will hopefully take that into next week. But the fact these we're SIM trades tells a story - how different would the story have been if these were cash trades?

Best things I did today:
  • Trade management was sound
  • Said I would SIM this set-up and stuck to that, even though my monkey was screaming "you chicken, go with the cash"
What did I learn today:
  • Committing to breakouts is worth it (as long as they are the right kind of breakouts!)
  • Don't confuse skill for luck - and vice versa

know thyself
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  #94 (permalink)
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A (SIM) Winners

Oooh, that was a nice day's trading - probably helped by the fact I was SIMing my new set-ups. So much easier without any skin in the game. Anyhows, a 2xR winner and a 2.5xR winner. The GBPUSD trade was a picture perfect 1-leg breakout. The EURJPY trade was a case of 'right place, right time', as it caught a fortuitous news spike. Much needed confidence building day (along with last Thursday) as I attempt to put a stop to a dodgy patch.

And note to self: decent news flow has kept wind in the sails of the forex market today.

Why is the day so much easier when the first trade is a winner? I've been putting some thought to this. I initially thought it was just due to confidence, hey I can do this trading thing, in fact it's easy, etc. etc. And I do think this psychology plays a part, but I also think that getting winner under your belt allows you to just relax without performance anxiety snapping away at your heels. When I trade off a stagnant or losing run I feel that pressure to get a winner and hunt for it and as a result take trades that are honestly not really good candidates at all (and that just exacerbates the situation). Compare that with the feeling of getting a winner (even a itsy bitsy one) and then sitting back and saying 'I have no desire to trade, but if an absolutely A1 set-up screams at me I will take it, but no rushing, no searching, no pressure'.

Next project is to invent a pill that has the early morning winning trade effect.

Best things I did today:
  • Zoned in and stayed there
What did I learn today:
  • Look at my stats and compare days with first trade winners vs first trade losers

know thyself
Attached Files
12022013_BMT.flv (39.37 MB, 21 views)

Last edited by mokodo; February 12th, 2013 at 01:18 PM.
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  #95 (permalink)
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mokodo View Post
Why is the day so much easier when the first trade is a winner? I've been putting some thought to this. I initially thought it was just due to confidence, hey I can do this trading thing, in fact it's easy, etc. etc. And I do think this psychology plays a part, but I also think that getting winner under your belt allows you to just relax without performance anxiety snapping away at your heels. When I trade off a stagnant or losing run I feel that pressure to get a winner and hunt for it and as a result take trades that are honestly not really good candidates at all (and that just exacerbates the situation). Compare that with the feeling of getting a winner (even a itsy bitsy one) and then sitting back and saying 'I have no desire to trade, but if an absolutely A1 set-up screams at me I will take it, but no rushing, no searching, no pressure'.

The yourtradingcoach guy Lance Beggs uses a bio-feedback instrument to measure his metabolic state.

As I understand it, when you make a mistake, deep in your brain your anterior cingulate cortex sets off an alarm, normally in the form of somatic changes - raised pulse rate, sweaty palms, adrenalin etc. This changes your immediate decision making approach to something more akin to fight or flight and probably makes your more susceptible to your emotions, possibly masking the little feelings you get about whether the market is currently looking good or not.

I'm still studying the psychology behind decision-making to work out what exactly goes on in the hope of mastering it quicker myself in the crucible of the market.

But so far what I learnt is that it's the anterior cingulate cortex and what it does that you have to bear in mind - we traders have to start feeling ourselves thinking.

The anterior cingulate cortex is basically an expectancy meter. If you expect to make a profit and you do, it releases a little shot of dopamine. If you don't make the expected profit, it will fire off messages all over your cerebral cortex saying "wooooah! something's wrong with my predictions". To give an example at the most primitive level, it is responsible for sea-sickness, because it is expecting rock-solid ground under your feet and on a boat, it doesn't get it, it gets instead a rolling motion and that kicks off a visceral somatic response - nausea! It takes 2 to 3 hours for it to reprogram itself in normal people and then the sea-sickness goes (but you get land-sickness when you step off the boat, if you're unlucky).

What I haven't learnt yet is whether we should seek to suppress our expectations or not. I think we don't want to suppress anything, but if you're interested, I'll let you know when I've read a bit more.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
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  #96 (permalink)
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Adamus View Post
The yourtradingcoach guy Lance Beggs uses a bio-feedback instrument to measure his metabolic state.

As I understand it, when you make a mistake, deep in your brain your anterior cingulate cortex sets off an alarm, normally in the form of somatic changes - raised pulse rate, sweaty palms, adrenalin etc. This changes your immediate decision making approach to something more akin to fight or flight and probably makes your more susceptible to your emotions, possibly masking the little feelings you get about whether the market is currently looking good or not.

I'm still studying the psychology behind decision-making to work out what exactly goes on in the hope of mastering it quicker myself in the crucible of the market.

But so far what I learnt is that it's the anterior cingulate cortex and what it does that you have to bear in mind - we traders have to start feeling ourselves thinking.

The anterior cingulate cortex is basically an expectancy meter. If you expect to make a profit and you do, it releases a little shot of dopamine. If you don't make the expected profit, it will fire off messages all over your cerebral cortex saying "wooooah! something's wrong with my predictions". To give an example at the most primitive level, it is responsible for sea-sickness, because it is expecting rock-solid ground under your feet and on a boat, it doesn't get it, it gets instead a rolling motion and that kicks off a visceral somatic response - nausea! It takes 2 to 3 hours for it to reprogram itself in normal people and then the sea-sickness goes (but you get land-sickness when you step off the boat, if you're unlucky).

What I haven't learnt yet is whether we should seek to suppress our expectations or not. I think we don't want to suppress anything, but if you're interested, I'll let you know when I've read a bit more.

Many many thanks for the input. Understanding what is going 'in there' (my head) is becoming as important a skill as the practical and tactical side of trading. I can go along with this explanation, but as you say the skill is in being objective about the 'feeling' and doing something about it before the inevitable sabotage.

I am working through a great little book by Dr. Steve Peters right now - The Chimp Paradox. There is much in here which can be directly applied to trading. His premise is there are two entities in your head, you (human) and your chimp and it's your (human) responsibility to nurture, manage and tame your chimp. I have stopped exploring other 'psycho' perspectives as I am getting some good results by applying a modified version of this mind model. Sounds like there may be much cross-over in these two approaches.

know thyself
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  #97 (permalink)
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Let us know what to do about the chimp in your difficulty with first trade losers - sounds like a great book although the idea is not new (Plato described the human mind as a charioteer (the rational mind) with two horses that he must seek to control (the emotions))

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
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  #98 (permalink)
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A Scratch & A Loser (both SIM)

A scratch and a loser (both SIM). Not the sort of day that suits me. But the full stop-out on the set-up I’m testing held valuable information so plenty of upside to the day and no damage to the trading account. Amen to that.

I’m slowly getting to feel more secure about my little family of set-ups, they sometimes argue, but are looking like they may get along fine. I think, once I can refine the (looking like three new) set-ups and put them with my existing two I will be well on my way to making a goal I set some months back – find more good opportunities, and ones which will complement each other. This brings me one step closer to my overall goal of being able to make a living as a trader.

Slightly larger step is to become formidably excellent with them = practice, practice, practice.

I feel confident to take the new breakout set-up live with a tiny bit of real cash and will mull that over before next week.

Best things I did today:
  • Passed on opportunities with poor risk:reward profile
What did I learn today:
  • Why a test set-up is just not right for me - and tearfully said farewell, we could have been so good together

know thyself
Attached Files
13022013_BMT.flv (38.90 MB, 21 views)

Last edited by mokodo; February 13th, 2013 at 01:46 PM.
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  #99 (permalink)
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A Scratch & A Winner (SIM)

A scratch and a winner (both SIM). Felt in the groove today and got a nice result on EURJPY in the morning, then pretty quiet. Took in a couple of futures.io (formerly BMT) webinars in the afternoon and found them extremely troubling. First I watched Trevor's @t123knight webinar (Webinar: The Wyckoff Speculator (Trevor - t123knight) )on his Wyckoff method, which then led me on to one of Dr Gary Daytons.

Troubling because I could see good chunks of what I am currently doing in this approach -trend channels, yesterday's high, low, etc. (OK so maybe not the volume) - and now of course I am going to have to study it. I had made a commitment not to change anything, I was going to sink or swim with the method I am developing myself. There's nothing original in what I am trying to do, l I just realised I must focus in on one approach and stick with it. This Wyckoff thing seems too close a fit not to have a good look at. So that is what I will do, although it does feel extremely unsettling. Ummm.

Best things I did today:
  • Timed an exit pretty darn well (by putting my greedy monkey back in its box)
  • Stopped myself jumping into a poor opportunity late afternoon
What did I learn today:
  • Perhaps I'm slowly coming to rest on market structure and price action, perhaps?

know thyself
Attached Files
14022013_BMT.flv (37.67 MB, 26 views)

Last edited by mokodo; February 14th, 2013 at 05:49 PM.
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  #100 (permalink)
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Screech - Trading Halted


Neck-deep in my other business for the near future. Foiled again! Might be time just to go for it full time trading? We'll see....

know thyself
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