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Starting All Over - Finding My Trading Niche
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Starting All Over - Finding My Trading Niche

  #101 (permalink)
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xiaosi View Post
You are making progress Graham, it is an uptrend. Well done, keep up the great effort!

XS

uptrend? looks choppy to me.

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  #102 (permalink)
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grahamg View Post
At the end of the day we are pulling up a chair to a boxing match.. trying to consistently throw punches between taking them, in such a manner that you can make enough ticks / $ to justify all the bruises. Yep.. it is indeed a chore, like most other computer based disciplines.

This reminded me of something I read recently in Steenbarger's "The Psychology of Trading." From page 18 under the "Playing Loose" title:


Brett Steenbarger
It is when I am tense and take things far too seriously that I am apt to freeze up and compound a situation that has gone sour. One of my trading colleagues, Henry Carstens, frequently marvels over what a great "game" trading is. It is not surprising to me that he is successful. ... Another trading colleague consistently describes trading as a battlefield. It is not surprising that he seems to experience post-traumatic stress with each loss, setting him--and his equity curve--back for considerable periods.


grahamg View Post
So its now been 7 months of full time dedication to the cause I say again... What I wrote in my previous post still stands.. I feel like I know what I'm doing. There is just such a fine line between reaching my trading goal each session and having a losing session. It is usually a function of concentration and how many mistakes made.

I know exactly how you feel--that feeling that success is just around the corner, and is yet still elusive. That if only one or two things had gone your way, it would have been a great day instead of a bad day. Trust me, I know the feeling, and I'm sure most can relate.

You probably do 'know what you're doing.' So, likely the issue is not so much one of knowing, but one of actions affected by your attitude. When you take a loss, how do you feel? And how do you then respond? Do you really care whether you get into a trade that you want to take, or do you really want/need it to work out? If so, this will probably manifest itself in execution errors.

Congratulations on keeping things going and much success to you in the near future!!

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  #103 (permalink)
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cory View Post
uptrend? looks choppy to me.




Choppy with a slight uptrend.

This is pure discretionary trading with no stop losses or take profit stops etc so pretty much looking at a chart of skill.. of which is currently at -7 level.

The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk
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  #104 (permalink)
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josh View Post

..

So, likely the issue is not so much one of knowing, but one of actions affected by your attitude. When you take a loss, how do you feel? And how do you then respond? Do you really care whether you get into a trade that you want to take, or do you really want/need it to work out? If so, this will probably manifest itself in execution errors.

Congratulations on keeping things going and much success to you in the near future!!

Thanks Josh for this post, great read to start the day!

My routine for the last 2 months of the 3 month course was work on something particular each trading session as well as try reaching my target 10 ticks each session. Then each morning review with coachman (for sometimes a couple of hours) the tape and the one minute chart working backwards to figure out why I didn't reach my goal. It was pretty much 2 months of undoing everything I thought I knew about trading and myself in regards to what I was trading for. One of the most important lessons was how to handle a loss.. and that is don't.. make sure its managed correctly in that I don't bail out without reason while within my 3 tick mental stop (5 tick max)... then if it doesn't work out move on to the next trade. I'm going to be wrong on about 50% of them anyway. Took some time to shake the ego hit of not being right. I spent 3 years studying market prediction which taught me bad habits on wanting to be right all the time.

There are sequences to avoid after taking a loss.. as in getting back in at a worst price then I was shaken out.. or getting back in straight away period because I still think I was right. That one took some practice to move beyond. Finally it nearly became mechanical. I have weeks and weeks of charts that show I am taking discretionary (SIM) trades at great places. The way I managed the trades was the weakest link.. the management involves reading the Bund / Bobl / Schatz / Motion / Squawk etc to make good rational decisions to click the mouse if something has changed from original reason for getting into the market.. and sometimes gambling on not clicking the mouse when I know I can still take a good profit on the trade, but wanna see if it can break to a big winner. (Another really hard thing for me to learn to do.. sit on my hands).

Having said all that I now know how to respond in most situations, and that my discretion is good at picking the places that provide good risk reward opportunities. It is now a process of merging the real money trading into the mechanical discretionary behavior ie behave like a robot with the edge of discretion.

Steenbarger is a legend and that is one of the finest examples that you posted of what it takes to have a good trading session for me. I have one day in particular I will remember for a while, when times were looking dark about a month in. I couldn't take a winning simulator trade according to my variables for the life of me. I would still be in good locations more or less, but just getting out for no reason and watching it run.. or engaging in a few rookie sequences. This one session I took 7 ticks on a loss, biggest yet, trying to play the open. I bounced back and forth, then reached 10 ticks down about 2 hours in, and my head was a mess, and it was like I reached the tipping point. I didn't want to explain my actions to coach in the morning cause it was like I had wasted both our time the last month or two. But in a weird way.. I suddenly stopped caring, but without going on tilt. I calmly took one trade that looked like a good one, from a very dissociated perspective and it was +5. OK... watched it come back to a similar location and volume transfer about twenty minutes later.. bagged another 6 ticks.. then bagged another 7 ticks.. still completely dissociated. It was a weird experience hard to express.. but after that I kind of felt I was at least on the corner in process of turning. Looking at that chart you can see it as the spike bottom fwiw. Now I hope I don't have to go through as tough a tipping point on the one lots, but going to have to push the threshold one way or another to progress. Hopefully its not at the bottom of that chart.

BTW it is worth nothing that I have gone back to the one lots in the middle of holiday season and FOMC week. Probably not great timing and reason to trade cautiously.

The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk

Last edited by grahamg; July 30th, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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  #105 (permalink)
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Sept Update

Markets have been pretty quiet the last few months, probably leading into FOMC next week where the fate of the world financial markets could lie on a few words spoken. Regardless its now been 8 months of going through the motions, watching the DOMs of Bund / Bobl / Schatz, learning to manage discretionary trade executions, and the usual stats. At this stage I can cover my expenses only, with my account staying reasonably stable despite being chopped up a bit during these quiet times. The biggest realisation so far is that you don't have to trade on any single day. If Bund is trading thick in a 20 tick range - no point trying to make ticks if the game is not being played. I have recently been tempted by the US treasuries after crushing a session on the sim. Those markets are alive.. and everything I strain to see in the Eurex is out in broad daylight, Bids pumping, games being played etc. Someone wiser than me though stressed to pick a market still and stick with it. You'll be through thick and thin with that market regardless. Instead of taking 15+ ticks on a good day risking 3-5 in the bunds, I'd just be taking 10+ in the Tnote risking 1-2.... so I will stick with the Eurex putting my 100% focus for a 3-4 hours a day into it still and see where that leads me by years end.

With financial commitments of a wedding and electricity creeping up on me I am considering getting some more $$ to play with. The obvious choices are the local prop firm here Propex. My x-housemate seems to be doing quite well with them trading a few dozen contracts, however they are more comfortable taking on spreaders, and despite getting more size he is on close parallels to me as far as profitability (comms hurt apparently). The other option is the 'ol Topstep program that seems to be the mainstream retail trader trend lately. Now wouldn't that be something.. trade Bund for my usual session, have a few hours break, login into the Topstep sim and try pass a combine as step one to get some size to trade with in TSYS... hmmm

The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk
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  #106 (permalink)
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2013 - Did I crush it?

Well no but I definitely Can now. This year was pretty much 100% dedicated to day trading with few interruptions. I took a leap of faith that all you need to do is watch the prints in the DOM, and learn the skill of recognizing opportunities and stick with the one market which I managed to do for 10 months with the Bund before switching to the T-Note. I was armed with the great material from No BS Day Trading, the knowledge and tools of Jigsaw Trading, and very lucky to have a prop trader coach daily for a few months mid year, as well as a close friend going through the same bullshit in a prop shop in parallel to my experiences.

If I was to summarize this whole experience, it was mainly an undoing of all the crap I had learnt about markets over the years. That drawing lines on a chart is a creative exercise in market entertainment, and that while technical analysis, elliott wave, charts in general can be used to form an opinion, they really don't have much to do with the underlying forces of the market.. ie BSDs. You can observe these underlying forces in the way the market prints, and you can build skills in recognizing opportunities based on the flow of volume trading, and how the prints play out.

BUT while you might be able to guess short term direction 80% of the time, managing risk in a logical way means it is realistic that only 50% of the opportunities result in a profit.. 55% even better. So then you have to make sure that your avg win is greater then your average loss which is a learned skill again in trade management. All common sense stuff, but all in all, there is a process to go through to really learn what it takes to have consistent profitable statistics, and to maintain them through constantly removing mistakes in your trading.

99% of my mistakes were not in trade selection, but in trade management and execution. The likes of chasing, reversing, not taking ticks presented etc, losing your shit and trading 'rookie sequences'. If you remove these from trading then it really just becomes a chore of working trades in logical places, and learning the skill of where those logical places are, and letting trades play out if you get a good fill, and cutting them at the right moment when something has changed in the prints that means you are likely to be wrong.. or accepting the being wrong bit, taking a hit and getting in at a better price later. Something like that Zen proverb on mountains (Zen masters say "Don't seek the truth - just drop your opinions) .. note I am no Zen monk when it comes to trading.

Pretty much I think the learning curve is a process that I had to go through to get back to square one and learn to buy low and sell high and vice versa without self sabotage. If I have a good few days or weeks without over thinking market conditions I can definitely bank ticks, and that is a good feeling and has a snowball effect. If i have an interruption from trading I seem to go back a few steps, and make some rookie errors and give most them ticks back. The critical process is at least 15 minutes reviewing my chart of fills each day and a bit of tape to remind myself what I was doing wrong in the moment, and focus on not doing that in the next session. Now one year later consistently grinding ticks is certainly a reality, and trading size is the way to convert this into

I have managed to stay afloat and get on a positive profit trend in the last quarter of the year though certainly ended the year in the red. The coming few months I plan to up the size until I am trading with a 10 lot comfortably. This whole year I have not worked and can only imagine how tough it would be pulling off the focus required with a day job, though it is possible.

For anyone starting over it might help to put on the record my own situation. I have pretty much lived off my life savings and once that went about 10k now into the credit card .. which is as small price to pay to get things rolling with trading I think. 500 bucks a week rent added even more pressure. But why not? As I just got reminded by Michael Covel in a podcast "You are going to die!..." If going to give trading a shot get on with it, don't waste time with half your attention. BUT If you can earn a good living through some other creative, rewarding and self managed business do that cause trading is pretty much a chore. IF you are young enough to get into a prop shop do that also cause then you don't have to risk your own capital and you WILL NOT be allowed to focus on what doesn't matter. Might sound like some big statements from someone who has been day trading for just over a year, but I have dedicated most of my time over the last 4 years to 'trading'.. of which most of it was learning what I didn't need to know and now unlearning it. The resources I think at No BS Day Trading and Jigsaw are priceless and a big tip of the hat to Coach. Bring it on 2014 - I want to double my size 5 times, my account 10 times, and spend 3 hours a day trading and 15 minutes reviewing each day. WTFN


The Year At A Glance

Jan to Feb - Sim Traded / Watched the prints in the Bund 3-4 hours per trading day No BS style. Could easily crush 10 ticks a session by mid Feb on the sim but didn't really know what I was doing.

Feb - May - One lot traded the Eurex by watching the prints, No BS style. Trading one lots scared the shit out of me for some obscure reason cause its only 30 euros risk worst case. March I made net profit. April i battled. May I was caught in a bad cycle.

June - July - Back on Sim 2-3 hours a day with Bund. Got talking with Coach who offered kindly to take some of my money in exchange for guaranteed improvement in trading ... This was the biggest risk I took all year after years of paying thousands for false education and swearing no more.... But I finally got lucky as coach actually turned out to be a well trained prop trader and was between gigs. Training exercises to do followed by daily one on one coaching 1-3 hours in which we reviewed the exercise and trade logic.

Aug - Back on one lots w/ daily coaching still focusing on Eurex. Had sessions where could crush it. Had some interruptions and Bund was not trading as it has been.

Sep - Oct - Watched the prints each day, trading one lots on Eurex with every other day coaching. My trading was pretty ok and it actually was the market for once not playing ball.. just wasn't great conditions for my trading.

Nov - Dec - Bit the bullet and switched to US Treasuries. 3 hours (8am to 11am) session from my 11pm - 2am. Had some killer sessions. Enough days to realise I knew what I was doing. December TSYs slowed up a fair bit but ended on a good note for the year mid Dec.

The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk
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  #107 (permalink)
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The financial stress you are under will be your undoing.

I would highly recommend you halt all trading related exercises and return to the normal work force to earn a steady paycheck.

Once you are in a financial position to trade with money you are OK losing, while having a steady income on the side, you could resume trading.

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Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
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2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
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  #108 (permalink)
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Cheers for the advice BM. I myself am under minimal financial stress despite my lack of $.. I used my savings as part of the plan to do the screen time. Point is that the capital to burn thing is an ideal scenario that stops most folks from giving it a 100% shot and keeps them in the salary cycle. Whether it is trading or some other business, I have not heard of many great success stories where they didnt put it all on the line, or lose it all at least once. Prop shops make sure new recruits can support themselves for a year or so WITHOUT jobs even though most recruits are young and have minimal savings... THAT is pressure. So what if you risk all your coin as long as noone is relying on you to be fed. One can always make some money the main stream way as a last resort right? If someone has the courage to day trade they most likely can make $ in some other business pursuit without resorting to a 9-5.

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The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk
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  #109 (permalink)
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Using credit cards... ?

Sent from my LG Optimus G Pro

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

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  #110 (permalink)
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A credit card provides convenient liquidity when you need it. I have not had a nine to five for four years and am used to the CC filling in the gaps. Most aspiring traders have the ability to slap 10k of credit card debt with a bit of profitable business on the outside if necessary. My friend in the prop shop redraws on a home loan to support himself with no negative effects on trading performance. Its a given - don't trade with scared money. But don't waste too much time counting pennies to realise goals either.

EDIT: The alternative for aspiring 'day traders' is to spend 5 years saving up disposable $$ so they can have a shot at trading. If you want to make money day trading, or even have a chance I am a believer that you have to commit the equivalent effort of a fulltime job to it.. prop shops certainly agree. You can't work fulltime and consistently compete with the thousands of guys who day trade as a job. You have to chose one or the other. AT that juncture with your 5 years savings and added responsibilities, as the savings dwindle away during the learning curve you will probably be under even more pressure than the bolder younger you who took 10k to the markets and gave it a shot. If you want to have a cruizy transition into making money from the markets with a fulltime job to support your lifestyle and some 'risk capital' to grow, then don't chose day trading period. Become a medium to long term investor.

The leap into freedom is the exchanging of risk for reward. This can be done only by shifting from tension to ease, and that can be done only when one perceives the reward and not the risk. That you won't win all the time has nothing to do with it - that's life, that's the [stock] market. The trying itself is freeing. And being free has its own reward - Justin Mamis, The Nature of Risk

Last edited by grahamg; December 29th, 2013 at 05:00 AM. Reason: After thought
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