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David_R's Trading Journey Journal (Pls comment)
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David_R's Trading Journey Journal (Pls comment)

  #71 (permalink)
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FuturesTrader99 View Post
Hi David,

Been there done that, I can totally relate. There's billions upon billions of dollars sloshing around in this market, moving back and forth like there's no tomorrow, and all we can manage to capture is a few pennies here and there ..... if we're lucky.
Would you believe me if I told you I used to make around 50 trades per day trying to chase those elusive institutional money ? The only one who got rich was my broker.
I still fight the urge to overtrade to this very day. I never gave the idea of journalling any serious consideration until I came across this forum. It's tedious, time consuming, and a lot of work for what I previously thought was little reward. But I've come to the realization that all paths do lead to Rome. In other words, consistency is the holy grail. Chasing is reactive. Planning is proactive. Sounds cliche, but you really do have make it a habit to begin with the end in mind. What do you really want, and how serious are you to committing to attaining it?
I believe everyone's journey towards becoming a successful trader must go through what it personally means to them to be consistent. Day in, day out. For some, it comes easy to them, for they have a natural talent for this vocation. For myself, I need to work at it not because I don't have the skill set, but because I have all this other "stuff". That is how the light bulb clicked with me, which motivated me enough to start the journalling, so I can shine the scope on what baggage I am carrying and how do deal with it. Those problems will never go away until I figure out how to deal with them.
We are competing with black boxes on the other side of the trade. The least we can do is execute consistently, almost like the machines........

Sorry if I've sounded too preachy......

FT,

You didn't sound preachy at all. If your willing to take the time to give feedback, advice, criticism, encouragement or any other communication on my Journal it greatly appreciated. I do appreciate the comments.

David

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  #72 (permalink)
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No chart today. Took a mental day off from trading.

D

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  #73 (permalink)
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I do not know what others will tell you, but I have days I can not trade. Read my journal, it will be obvious why. I am planning on taking a few hours and running replay before the market opens again this weekend. Pick a day a while back, one you do not remember, load a time you know that instrument is active and sim trade it.

I know it is not the same but it should be. Mike and I had this discussion in the skype room the other day. See what you would do if there is not the pressure to be right all the time.

Understand your decisions and what setups you are using work, and what % of the time they do work. Real money is different, but that does not mean you don't have to practice.

R.I.P. Andy Zektzer (ZTR), 1960-2010.
Please visit this thread for more information.
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  #74 (permalink)
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Taking Friday off plus the weekend helped me to calm down and try and focus.

I think it was a page or two back in this thread, I think, but someone made the comment that being an over-trader, or a trader that lacks discipline and does revenge trades is very much like a a recovering alcoholic. A a recovering alcoholic is always in recovery and has to take it one day at a time. One drink can destroy weeks, months or even years of work to stay sober. I'm not an alcoholic, but I certainly feel that way when it comes to trading. It is a struggle and a challenge to sit and wait and do nothing while the market moves 10 tics in 3 hours. Its like having two little characters, one on each shoulder, telling you opposite things to do. The bad one that is a trouble maker and says.."...go ahead, take a trade. you can make up some sort of setup here and justify it. Just get in." The other one is the nice one and is the one that helps write the trading plan and says..."..you don't have a setup here. Your not at one of your levels from your home work nor are you at a VWAP band, and the market is stagnant. Sit on your hands and wait."

No, I'm not nuts. :-)

Today was a good day. 2 trades that were both part of my plan. I'm only using 2 contracts for now with a target of 7-10 tics for one and trying to just hold the second. Not sure if that concept is good or not, but that is what I was trying to do today. I feel very good about today, but since things are still a work in progress I give myself a B for each trade and a B+ for the day as a whole.

There is a bonus chart of the CL for something I was watching/testing. It follows my methodology of trading AMT using the market profile. Very nice setup in the CL. The CL chart is also posted in the CL Market Profile Thread.

David

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David_R's Trading Journey Journal (Pls comment)-trade_1_041210.jpg   David_R's Trading Journey Journal (Pls comment)-trade_2_041210.jpg   David_R's Trading Journey Journal (Pls comment)-041210_cl_test.jpg  

Last edited by David_R; April 12th, 2010 at 06:44 PM. Reason: added pics
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  #75 (permalink)
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David,

That's a bold post and hopefully a breakthrough as well.

Why do alcoholics drink? Well, not speaking from experience I can only hypothesize that they drink to eliminate or reduce the pains and burdens of life.

Why do they drink to excess or why are they unable to stop drinking? Because it felt better to drink than it felt to not drink.

You can make the same argument for cigarette smokers, right? Why do people smoke? Why do they keep smoking even with overwhelming information in front of them about the risks? Why are they unable to stop smoking?

You've heard people say "it's a bad habit" in a shrugged-off response to some question they receive about why they do something that they shouldn't. The person knows its a habit, they know it's bad, but they keep doing it.

I think that there are many parallels in trading. Maybe a trader has averaged down in the past and been rewarded for it. This is like the alcoholic having another drink or the smoker having another cigarette. By averaging down, they've lessened the pain and/or completely not faced the pain at all of taking a stop. For the drinker, that extra drink keeps them feeling good. Without the extra drink, they would start to return to a state where they feel pain. I think the same is true of smoking, although I think the addictiveness of smoking is much different than alcoholism.

I can't speak from experience either way, as I'm not an alcoholic and I don't smoke. But, I can speak from experience with trading.

Your analogy of a recovering alcoholic vs. a revenge trader is a good one. It's also an exercise in proper risk/money/trade management. When the recovering alcoholic takes a drink, they've destroyed all that hard work they fought for. When a trader enters a position they shouldn't have, they destroy the profits for the day/week/month.

Then there is risk for adding to the losing position, right? The thinking of "well, I've completely fallen off the ladder, I'm a drunk, there is no hope for me, why stop at just one drink? Let's go full tilt." The same is true of trading -- "well f@#$ I just made this incredibly stupid trade and taken a stop, I just need a quick trade to get back to even". Naturally that doesn't work because every impulsive decision you make after the initial mistake will just lead to more loss and more pain, and more impulsive decisions.

It's these actions that describe a trader on tilt, because emotions take over and you are no longer making educated, planned decisions but instead are reacting to things that have no place in trading.

That is why journaling is such a crucial process and important step for the successful trader. It doesn't matter if you are Bob trying to make $100 a day, or Joe running a billion dollar fund. Bob may have a tiny scrap piece of paper or an Excel workbook, and Joe may have an entire floor of statisticians and analysts. In both cases, however, Bob and Joe must equally learn from their past trades and performance in order to make better trades in the future.

Without such a process traders get lost in the maze and never break the cycle. They never come to the realization that they, themselves, are to blame for their losses. Instead they keep searching for that "filter" to add to their chart to keep them out of losing trades, or they keep searching for a new instrument to trade because their old one isn't moving well, or they keep changing time frames because the bigger time frame is too much risk but the smaller time frame is too fast.

Notice the pattern: they always seek change elsewhere, never within. And it is this pattern that you must seek to identify then stop in order to be successful.

Mike

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  #76 (permalink)
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Then there is risk for adding to the losing position, right? The thinking of "well, I've completely fallen off the ladder, I'm a drunk, there is no hope for me, why stop at just one drink? Let's go full tilt." The same is true of trading -- "well f@#$ I just made this incredibly stupid trade and taken a stop, I just need a quick trade to get back to even". Naturally that doesn't work because every impulsive decision you make after the initial mistake will just lead to more loss and more pain, and more impulsive decisions.

Me to a T. I have done this more than once. Its almost like that attitude of "I'll show you. I'll put on another trade right now with more size..." Works like a charm. ;-)

Mike, I didn't consider the post as being bold, but I know what you mean. With your advice and support I'm trying to be transparent with my postings. No embarrassment and no holding back. It seems necessary to make the progress I want.

I think the analogy of revenge trading and the recovering alcoholic is a good one as well. I can't take credit for it because someone else made the reference. It kind of hit home with me because their comments made sense. I'm not an alcoholic either, but I feel I have similar patterns with my trading. Its my understanding that alcoholism has a genetic component to it, so it can be beyond difficult to quit. It is very interesting how ones demons manifest themselves, or come to the surface. From alcoholism, drugs and gambling, many have issues with these things. Many have issues with trading and maybe its because it brings out all the baggage. The use of alcohol and drugs are used to mask the demons and it snowballs into a big problem. Not sure how gambling fits in, but I guess one can get a high from that as well.

Without such a process traders get lost in the maze and never break the cycle. They never come to the realization that they, themselves, are to blame for their losses. Instead they keep searching for that "filter" to add to their chart to keep them out of losing trades, or they keep searching for a new instrument to trade because their old one isn't moving well, or they keep changing time frames because the bigger time frame is too much risk but the smaller time frame is too fast.

Notice the pattern: they always seek change elsewhere, never within. And it is this pattern that you must seek to identify then stop in order to be successful.


Do I notice the pattern? I've done just what you've described. Lets try forex. Lets add a keltner channel. Lets at a fast and slow stochastic. Opps, need one more moving average. Screw forex, how about oil.

Thanks for your comments and support, Mike. I hope I am breaking through as well.

David

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  #77 (permalink)
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The reason to point out recovering addicts is to show that you need to be cognizant of your weaknesses and to control them , thats all . An addict is always an addict no matter what for the rest of their lives but can function perfectly well despite it . This analogy relates to trading ( my trading ) because my addiction is - lack of consistency . I couldnt stick to one regime for more than one day EVEN IF IT WAS PROFITABLE and I had no way to measure if anything I applied to the market had a statistical edge . After I confronted this and just picked one plain vanilla , average joe , run of the mill method with defined rules and variables that I could repeat over and over again I felt calm and focused trading . So like the addict , which is what someone that switches methods regularly without a clear reason to do so is , I know that I need to be extremely careful when I feel the need to change my approach and I make changes according to what works and what I can make work for me because I have samples to measure and proof of why I should change something .

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  #78 (permalink)
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Took only one trade today. Unfortunately it wasn't when the market was screaming lower or higher. I was up kind of late, so didn't get up for the early morning. I decided to try the last hour or two. I took the one trade off the VWAP and after moving my stop to B/E +1 it stopped me out. Instead of forcing it I decided to stop for the day.

D

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Last edited by David_R; April 13th, 2010 at 08:25 PM. Reason: add pic
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  #79 (permalink)
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Trades for 4/14/2010.

I wasn't feeling 100% this morning, but not bad enough that i couldn't get up. There isint anything in my plan about being sick or not feeling well, so i didn't break any rules, but maybe there should be something in there. Excluding profit and loss, today was a good day. I took two trades that are in my plan and lost on both. They were basically the same set up at the same location only minutes a part. the second attempt was made because I thought the pullback decided just to go a bit deeper than it had the first time. I was pretty disappointed that both trades went against me and fairly quickly and I was already down enough to be done for the day, so I stopped. Plus mentally after that I really didn't have the desire to continue. Its funny how things work out though because the next setup was at a level I had predefined and turned out to be a great level. But it went without me. The other funny thing that peaked my spirits is that it turned out I had my Ninja DOM on SIM, so the two losing trades were not real money.

Today raised a question for me and that is do I want to have the VWAP trades as part of my plan, or should I just stick to the Market Profile levels, or only take VWAP trades if one of the bands is coincident with a MP level. The tade around 7:15 am pacific was coincident with the prior days high and a predefined level of 10980.

I believe my patience to wait for good setups is still something that I need to work on. I am trading less often now, but still seem to eager to get in.

I also posted on the CL market profile thread and the Market Delta thread a CL trade that I almost took. It is not part of my plan to trade CL, so I had to talk myself out of pulling the trigger. I had the mouse on the buy level and almost did it, but stopped. Even though it moved 200 ticks in my favor, its better that I followed my plan.

David

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One chart of trades today. A frustrating day. Too many trades was one problem and I seem to have the direction correct, but my stop placement took me out of several good trades. Hind sight is a wonderful thing because I can see how nice the trade would have worked if I'd only had a stop 5 tics more. I'm speechless...

After a conversation with Ben B., and per his suggestion, I went and marked up another chart that shows what I did that was counter to my plan. I skipped trades that were part of my plan and took trades that are not. Big mistakes on my part. The trades that were per plan that didn't work were basically poorly managed on my part. Upon entering a trade I put my stop just below the current low at the time which in most cases was about a 6 tic stop. Doing this doesn't allow for any wiggle room in price. If I had followed my plan and used a reasonable stop of 15 YM points I would have done my by following my rules that are in my plan and would have been rewarded with a profitable day.

I have feel that i have struggled for so long that I fear taking a loss and even the potential loss. Its ironic that I end up losing even when correct in my decisions due to the tight, unrealistic stop.

D

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Last edited by David_R; April 16th, 2010 at 02:29 AM. Reason: added second chart with my errors
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