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The Way of the AttitudeTrader


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The Way of the AttitudeTrader

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  #81 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader, T4
Broker: IQFeed
Trading: 6E
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
Thanks: 6,868 given, 867 received

Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:25 T-Minus 5...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #198
08:32 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:39 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #199
08:47 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:48 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

****! Missed an entry
I was quite sure price was going to head higher so I was looking for a long setup (while my chart was still showing me that shorts were valid). I was also messing with another timeframe chart. Would have hit both my hard target as well as my new target. Aggravated. Get over it! This isn't about being perfect! Get your head back in the game and apply the mission plan!

Trade #200
09:12 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
****! At 2.00 pts MAE! Within 1 tick of my stop. Is this really the way I'm going to end another day?! HEY!! Where the **** is your head?! Focus on the mission plan and stop your whining!! This is about the bigger picture, not your ****ing pride!
09:18 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.

Report due...
09:24 Had another valid short signal, but I can't take it within 10 minutes of a report.

09:25 No Joy on trade #200 lot #2. -0 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
09:34 My trade management for lot #2 (b/e stop after T1 is hit) kept me from a winner here.

Trade #201
09:37 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:45 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Ugh! Stopped out to the tick.

Trade #202
09:54 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:57 Objectives achieved. +13 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Realized that I made a mistake on this trade. My order should have been 1 tick higher. If it had been, I wouldn't have been filled though.

Trade #203
10:01 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:01 Objectives achieved. +14 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

After this morning, I can't believe I'm still in the game today.

Trade #204
11:19 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:42 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #205
12:04 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:16 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #206
13:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
13:16 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stopped out to the tick again.

Enemy forces too strong. RTB.
13:20 Dynamic/rolling loss limit reached. Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Today was pretty rough mentally. Missing a valid trade, having my trade management keep me from a winner, having 2 trades stopped out to the tick, and just getting chopped around again, put me in a less-than-good mood.
  • Observations: I was pretty pissed off this morning. Once I got hold of myself I realized that it was simply and only a reflection of losing my focus.
    My focus should be on the execution of my plan, tracking its performance, and paying attention to what's going on so I can learn - not on profit/loss, winners/losers.
    I kept having to fight off the self-defeating thoughts and the, "I'm going to get screwed here again." kind of thoughts.
    It is obviously much easier to follow the plan/rules when things are going well.
    I'm also experiencing a significant drawdown right now. Hopefully things are going to turn around soon.



"Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It's having the right attitude that's hard." - Robert Pirsig
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  #82 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012


AttitudeTrader View Post
It is obviously much easier to follow the plan/rules when things are going well.
I'm also experiencing a significant drawdown right now. Hopefully things are going to turn around soon.

One thing you will gain from this specific, difficult period:

Self confidence.

Self confidence is not expecting the best; it's knowing, deep inside, that you can handle the worst.

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  #83 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader, T4
Broker: IQFeed
Trading: 6E
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:25 T-Minus 5...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #207
08:36 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:40 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #208
08:48 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:50 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stop only exceeded by 1 tick before price turned back up.

My confidence is shot. Having a difficult time maintaining a positive attitude. Let it soak in recruit! This is what you came here for! You're finally starting to build the strength you're going to need later! These are the times that separate the strong from the weak, and you're becoming strong!

Trade #209
08:55 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:00 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
09:01 Lot 2 stopped at breakeven. -0 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #210
09:18 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
DISCREPANCY I still don't know what happened, but somehow my fills got screwed up.
09:24 Breakeven. -0 ticks.
09:22 (Why is this time screwed up???) -1 tick.
What the ****! This was a winning trade with no stop-out. Are you kidding me? Snap out of it grunt! There's always going to be bull**** involved! If you can't handle times like these, you have no chance of survival! Get your head screwed back on and focus!
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #211
09:38 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:59 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stopped out to the tick before price turned back up to hit targets. Seriously?! ****!

Enemy forces too strong. Retreat and RTB.
10:00 Dynamic/rolling loss limit reached. Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
    -
  • Outcome: Followed rules but with little confidence. Had an issue with fills on #210, which would have been a partial winner. I also had one stop exceeded by 1 tick and one stop hit to the tick (on the last trade) before price ran back to targets.
    -
  • Observations: After my last trade I left the office to run some errands and cool off.
    -
    Before I left I had already written today's post talking about another tough day of trading and how I was deep into having a victim attitude. It wasn't really helping anything because I was still feeling that way when I left.
    -
    But while I was out, something fortuitous happened.
    -
    My daughter called me to talk about an issue she's having with one of her roommates in college right now.
    -
    You need to understand that I was the last person should would normally call about this kind of thing but no one else was available at the time and she needed to talk. The reason she wouldn't normally call me is because she knows that I have a very low tolerance for complaining or whining.
    -
    We ended up talking for about 25 minutes and I'm surprised she stayed on the phone with me the whole time because every time she started going on about what was wrong I would interrupt her and tell her to stop talking about what was wrong. I only wanted to hear ideas about a solution. Although she didn't really want to have to do it, we did come up with a viable solution.
    -
    I was still thinking about it when I got home and I sent her a text message:


    What's important is that as soon as I hit the send button I knew that that message was as much for me as it was for her.
    -
    I realized that I've been whining (in my mind) all morning, and over the past few days, about how bad things are with my trading and with my current circumstances. And this was just burying me in a negative attitude.
    -
    But some of the most fortuitous things happen in the midst of "regular life" stuff, and this little circumstance jolted me out of my whiny mode and back into my strong self and my focus on my objectives.
    -
    I'm reminding myself that experiences like I'm having with my trading right now are precisely why I'm doing this exercise. This exercise is all about getting used to the ups and downs of trading, and learning how to deal with those ups and downs.
    -
    I don't have a solid solution or any great ideas about how to improve things, but one thing is for sure: No more Mr. Whiny-butt.



"Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It's having the right attitude that's hard." - Robert Pirsig
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  #84 (permalink)
kansas city, KS.
 
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Great Job, AttitudeTrader

It takes lot to have public journal. If you have a trading plan and following it flawlessly and still losing money, you should question if you really have the edge to make profits with your current plan. Since you are discretionary trader you should develop the context and know what the market will do the next day and execute based on the expectation or if the market changes character should realizes it asap and trade accordingly. It takes many months to develop it even if you have a good positive expectancy system. That's why it takes couple of years for a person to be profitable on a consistant basis, it is not the signal's that really give the edge ( for most people) but the experience of which signal to take and which one to leave or even go against it where the big money is made and that's why takes long time to be profitable otherwise all traders should be profitable from day one by just taking the signals.

On large trends days like 02/25 and 02/27 - should trade differently than a slow day like today.

All the Best.

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  #85 (permalink)
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Manta, Ecuador
 
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AttitudeTrader View Post
What's important is that as soon as I hit the send button I knew that that message was as much for me as it was for her.



Great job with the journal and reflection. Keep going!



Mike

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  #86 (permalink)
Atlanta, Georgia/USA
 
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Attitude trader has an amazing blog on his journals! Really learned a lot on how to develop my own journal

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  #87 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
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efutures View Post
It takes lot to have public journal. If you have a trading plan and following it flawlessly and still losing money, you should question if you really have the edge to make profits with your current plan. Since you are discretionary trader you should develop the context and know what the market will do the next day and execute based on the expectation or if the market changes character should realizes it asap and trade accordingly.

Yes of course, but this is not really AT's goal right now. He is convincing himself of his edge and strictly following rules to give him confidence despite the uncertainty of any individual trade. He has done quite well in his profits over the course of this so I think it's safe to say he does have an edge. Once he has worked through this goal I am sure he will incorporate more context and the like, but I think it's a great stage he is going through now with this project, so no need to rush it.

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  #88 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader, T4
Broker: IQFeed
Trading: 6E
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
Thanks: 6,868 given, 867 received

Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:25 T-Minus 5...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #212
08:33 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:35 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #213
08:53 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:54 Target 1 found. +6 ticks.
09:01 Target 2 found. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #214
09:04 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:07 Target 1 found. +6 ticks.
09:08 Auto breakeven stop. +2 ticks. (Learned that the platform used the price I clicked on (2 ticks below my actual fill) for the breakeven stop. I'll have to watch that from now on.
This platform inconsistency kept me from getting my full second target (cost me 9 ticks).
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #215
09:16 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:21 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #216
09:44 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
I'm fully aware that I'm buying right into Mid (50%) for the session, but I have to follow the plan I have in front of me right now. Good observation, but even better understanding of your primary objective! You might amount to something after all candidate!
09:54 No Joy. -8 ticks (1 tick positive slippage per lot).
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stopped out to the tick before price turned back up to hit targets.

Trade #217
11:11 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:12 No Joy. -8 ticks (1 tick positive slippage per lot).
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Enemy forces too strong. Retreat and RTB.
09:20 Dynamic/rolling loss limit reached. Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
    -
  • Outcome: Followed plan without deviation. Another losing day. Another trade stopped out to the tick before returning to targets.
    -
  • Observations: My main observation today is that I'm beginning to see where I'm buying/selling into areas of strong resistance/support. These are becoming, very gradually, more obvious to me. I'll be elaborating on this in my Weekend Review and Stats post(s) this weekend.



"Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It's having the right attitude that's hard." - Robert Pirsig
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  #89 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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I'm breaking my Weekend Review and Stats post into two parts this weekend (one today and one tomorrow), because I have a few things that I want to talk about.

In this first part (today) I'll go over the usual stuff, and also talk about what I've learned and how I've changed during this exercise so far.

In the second part (tomorrow) I'm going to talk about this stage of development I've been going through and the method/plan I've been using. I'm calling it "Phase 1" now, because I'm going to be starting "Phase 2" next week.

A review of the week

From a profitability standpoint, this week sucked...hard.

I had a point during the week where I got a little whiny, but from the perspective of the exercise itself, it was another successful week.

A look at the stats

On this last day of trading my current (Phase 1) method, I have to say that I'm really surprised that my expectancy remained positive the entire time. I'll talk more about this tomorrow.


Even though the wheels appear to have fallen off, I am again surprised that my method was as profitable as it was. Shocking to me really. Again, more on this tomorrow.


This week I created a chart of my daily P/L as it compares to my running P/L. It provided me with an interesting view of what was happening to my trading capital as opposed to how I was feeling about what was happening.

It gives me a clearer picture of how each day is comparing to the others, as well as a visual of where I stand with my running P/L.

I like this chart and I'll probably continue to use it going forward.


My performance

Now, the stats above are only about the performance of the method, and have nothing to do with how I performed.

For this exercise I didn't create any metrics to track my own performance other than to mark (in my trading spreadsheet) whether I followed my plan on each trade or not. And after over 200 simulated trades, I don't know that it really needs to be any more complicated than that. This exercise is about being consistent in following my plan, so each day the question is really, "Did I or didn't I?"

I've noted, in my posts, all of the emotions and psychological gyrations that have been a part of this process so far, but I don't believe, at this point, that it's necessary to try to quantify those things.

What I've learned from this experience so far

Attitude is huge.

I've been at this exercise long enough now to have experienced the ups and downs of not only my trading, but my personal life as well.

And because I've been so consistent, I've been able to see the effect that my attitude has had on my trading - good and bad.

Mark Douglas
"It's a fundamental shift in attitude that accounts for their success, not some brilliant realization about the market, as most people erroneously assume. This erroneous assumption is prevalent among traders simply because very few of them really understand, at the deepest levels, just how critical a component attitude is in determining one's success."
- Mark Douglas, Trading in the Zone

What I know now is that having a victim and/or self-denigrating attitude (e.g., "The market is out to get me;" "The locals are screwing me again;" "I can't seem to figure this game out;" "How stupid can I be?;" "There's just nothing that works;" "Everyone in the industry is out to rip me off," etc.) is a death sentence.

I'm also recognizing how much my personal circumstances can affect my attitude toward my trading. I have financial issues, work issues and personal issues that affect my attitude toward my trading. Everyone has their issues and situations, but I believe that all of those can be dealt with in one way or another to clear the path to success. You must push through and clear the path for your trading success in every way that you possibly can.

I'm seeing that having a strong internal confidence that you will overcome and be successful is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT. This is the reason I've adopted a militaristic approach. It helps me to be strong, to remember that there are ways to modify my behavior in order to prevail, and that others have gone before me to success and that I can too.

Consistency is an extraordinarily powerful state of mind.

Having a well-defined set of rules from which to operate, consistently following those rules, and consistently recording the results of those rules (stats, reactions, etc.) has to be one of the most powerful and beneficial exercises I've ever undertaken. (You'll notice that I didn't say anything about the those rules having to have an "edge.")

And by far the most important thing that can be done regarding the exercise is to do it for a long enough period of time to begin to see its impact.

I thought 20 or 30 or maybe 50 trades would be more than enough. What I discovered is that for the first 150 or so trades, I was mostly only experiencing my reactions to market movement while I was in my trades. And it wasn't until well beyond 150 that I began to start seeing more of what the market was doing. I realize now that 200+ trades is just a drop in the bucket on the way to what needs to be learned.

My consistent and militaristic approach is also quickly making my trading more like a job that I have to show up for every day and do to the best of my ability. Even though my office (for both my trading and my other job) is in my home, I dress for work every day - no pajamas, no bathrobes, no sweats and T-shirts. I wear the same clothes I wear for my outside-of-the-house work appointments.


I also have a consistent morning routine now: Up, feed the cat, work out, shower, dress, very light breakfast (2 raw egg yolks in a little olive oil), coffee for my wife (I haven't been drinking any coffee), feed the dog, 15-20 minute gratitude session (more on this later), bathroom (!), take the dog out one more time, make a Tazo Awake iced tea and get a liter bottle of SmartWater to drink during the morning session, then sit down at my desk and start going through my morning trading checklist.

My diet is extremely consistent now too. And what I eat is now all about fueling my bio-machine so that my mind is clear and my body is strong, healthy and comfortable.

Even as I write this (Saturday morning-afternoon), I've worked out, showered, and I'm dressed for "work," because there is nothing more important to me right now than putting in the effort to pave my way to success as a trader. I work nearly every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) right now either doing my other job so I can be freer to trade during the week, or working on my trading stuff.

But I'm also not ignoring my family or chores that I need to do. My militaristic mode has me prioritizing, organizing my time more efficiently, and communicating clearly with those around me. In fact "scheduling" time with my wife has made the time we spend together seem more special and enjoyable.

The bottom line though is that I have one focus - one mission - and that is to become a consistently profitable trader. And everything I'm doing here is helping to immerse me into my life as a successful trader.

Keeping a journal (not just stats) is a powerful tool.

The process of keeping this journal on a consistent basis has done more to propel me toward the possibility of success than any other trading-related thing I've done in all the years I've been at this.

I would encourage everyone who is serious about improving their trading to take the time and make the effort to keep one on a consistent basis whether it's public or private.

I wouldn't say that it should be a requirement to have a public journal in order to benefit from keeping a journal, but I have to admit that having it be public (in a positive forum like Big Mike's or on a personal blog) definitely adds an additional layer of accountability.

I already know that I'm going to look back fondly on this period of my "career," and much of that has to do with sharing my journey with the trading community.

Moving forward

I'm getting a strong feeling that it's time to move to the next phase of my development. I want to be very careful here though, because I don't want this "feeling" to be because of the results I'm currently experiencing with my method/trading.

I'm pretty confident that my current method/plan will eventually come back around and begin generating some profits again, but I think that its extreme simplicity has served its purpose.

I intend for this next phase to involve learning how to modify, develop and improve my trading method. This will be based on things that I've experienced with my trading so far during this exercise.

Promotion!

Now that I'm leaving my initial phase of development and moving into the next, I've promoted myself to the trader rank of Private First Class (PFC).

"Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It's having the right attitude that's hard." - Robert Pirsig
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  #90 (permalink)
Tulsa, OK
 
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First of all, kudos on the ongoing awesomeness that you are creating and sharing. As I continue to develop my own way of working, your journal often come to mind when I'm looking for examples of how I want to do things.


AttitudeTrader View Post
My diet is extremely consistent now too. And what I eat is now all about fueling my bio-machine so that my mind is clear and my body is strong, healthy and comfortable.

This reminds me of something I saw David Blaine describe as he discussed what it took to train himself to be able to hold his breath for 17 min (which still blows my mind):


David Blaine
Everything I put into my body, I considered as medicine.

(The TED talk can be seen here: David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min - YouTube)

Though I have not reached the point where I can consistently implement a similar mindset, I can say that his perspective has definitely stuck with me and helped reshape my perspective on diet/nutrition.

Again, congrats on the excellent work you are doing and thanks for sharing it with the futures.io (formerly BMT) community.

Take care -

omni

Edit (and Spoiler Alert): I think the whole video is worth watching and his definition of magic will resonate with traders:


David Blaine
Magic is pretty simple. It's practice, training, and experimenting, while pushing through the pain to be the best that I can be.


Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
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June 30, 2013


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