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The Way of the AttitudeTrader


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The Way of the AttitudeTrader

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  #1 (permalink)
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I have come to a jarring clarity recently. A clarity that has made me realize that I need a new "way."

Thanks to @Big Mike for such a great forum!








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  #3 (permalink)
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I have a lot of “experience” trading, but nothing more than that to show for it. I've been at this for many years, but still have yet to truly begin.

Too many things have gotten in the way of what needs to be done in order for me to trade successfully. But it has to be done.

I'm honestly frightened. I'm frightened because I'm afraid this is going to be painful; I'm afraid it's going to take a long time; the risk of bruising my ego here is large. But I know I must attempt this in order to move forward.

This is my attempt at a new beginning – a new “way.”

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I've already heard and read everything I need to know to be a successful trader, but apparently it hasn't made enough impact – until lately. My own recent experiences, and a webinar by PandaWarrior (as well as his journal), have helped me to crystallize the enormity of my lack of respect for what is among the most critical facets of trading: Consistency.

In his webinar, @PandaWarrior shares several acronyms and ideas that twisted the knife that was already in my gut:

CCPP – Constant Change Prevents Profitability: He says that it's because of something called “specialization.” If you don't specialize, you never become a master.

CCFG – Confidence Conquers Fear & Greed: If you've become a specialist, then you've developed a high degree of confidence in your ability to execute something. And you don't have to worry about fear & greed nearly as much as someone who is not a specialist. You can only develop confidence by becoming a specialist.

The Elevator Speech: It says something along the lines of, “If you can't make your sales pitch in an elevator, then it's too long.” With regard to trading, if the amount of information required to make a trading decision is too much then we're probably either not going to be able to make a decision, or we're going to make a bad one. Make the actual trading decision as simple as possible or you just won't be able execute appropriately.

Mentors & Neighbors: The thoughts about the neighbors is what's important to me. His advice is basically, “Keeping up with your trading neighbors is probably not a good idea, because we all have our own journey. Don't compare your journey to others.”

In his webinar, Overcoming Obstacles to Consistency, @FuturesTrader71 makes numerous points regarding consistency:
  • In my (FT71) opinion, I would recommend the following:
  • Understand the risks of trading. Take care of having a risk plan first and foremost.
  • Pick your tools and then get really good with them.
  • Create a plan and then just focus on executing that plan. You aren't going to become a great surgeon by focusing on how much money you're going to make on the surgery.
  • The name of the game is practice. You come up with a plan then you practice it. You document your results. You adjust the plan then you practice some more. You document your results then you adjust and then practice some more.
  • Your plan should drive you to consistency and your consistency should drive you to profitability.
  • Pick three tools and get good with them. Just keep it simple.
These, as well as some specific exercises from The Disciplined Trader and Trading In The Zone, will be the cornerstone for my new “way.”

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The first four steps and the accompanying exercise in Chapter 16 (The Steps To Success) of The Disciplined Trader, as well as the concepts and exercise in Chapter 11 (Thinking Like A Trader) of Trading In The Zone will be my guides for the time being.

From The Disciplined Trader:
"As a trader it is more important to know that you will always follow your rules than it is to make money, because whatever money you make you will inevitably lose back to the market if you can't follow your rules."
Step One: Staying Focused On What You Need To Learn
"First and foremost, you may need to change your perspective or the focus of your trading. Until now your focus may have been to make money. If this is so, you will need to change your perspective to “What do I need to learn or how will I have to adapt myself to interact more successfully?” You need to stay focused on mastering the steps to achieving your goal and not the end result, knowing that the end result, money, will be a by-product of what you know and how well you can act on what you know."
Step Two: Dealing With Losses
"Trading Rule 1 – Predefine what a loss is in every potential trade."
"Trading Rule 2 – Execute your losing trades immediately upon the perception that they exist."
Step Three: Becoming An Expert At Just One Market Behavior
"You need to start as small as possible and then gradually allow yourself to grow into greater and greater amounts of market information."

"Starting small and gradually working into other combinations is a real exercise in discipline that has a couple of important psychological benefits. First, you will be building a base of confidence as you learn that you can, in fact, accurately assess what will most likely happen next. It is much easier to gain this confidence if you don't overwhelm yourself with the market's seemingly infinite possibilities. Second, by passing up other opportunities that you are not an expert at yet, you will be releasing yourself from any compelling desire to trade. Any compelling behavior is usually the result of some fear. That fear, in turn, will cause you to behave in many inappropriate ways."
Step Four: Learning How To Execute A Trading System Flawlessly
"The proper execution of your trades is one of the most fundamental components of becoming a successful trader and probably the most difficult to learn."

"To be able to execute your trading systems properly, you will need to incorporate two concepts into your mental framework – thinking in terms of probabilities and correlating the numbers or the mechanics of your system to the behavior. Unfortunately, the only way you can really learn these things is to actually experience them by executing your system. The problem is that rarely will the typical trader stay with his system beyond two or three losses in a row, and taking two or three losses in a row is a very common occurrence for most trading systems."

Today I take my first step on the path to becoming a consistently successful trader. The training starts now.

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My training begins with exercises in consistency.

Chapter 11 (Thinking Like A Trader) of Trading In The Zone refers to this as the mechanical stage.

In this stage you:
  • Build the self-trust necessary to operate in an unlimited environment.
  • Learn to flawlessly execute a trading system.
  • Train your mind to think in probabilities (the five fundamental truths).
  • Create a strong, unshakeable belief in your consistency as a trader.
I'll be doing my training – this exercise – in my simulated (demo) account.

I've written a simple trading plan with very specific entry, exit and other rules to use for the start of this exercise.

I will trade this plan over a 20-trade sample size. In this first sample size I will be taking 20 trades, all per my defined rules. The exercise is to take every trade regardless of whether I think it's going to work or not. And it is my intent to pay attention to my responses to each trade and record those responses.

The objective of this exercise is to develop the belief in my own ability to act in a consistent and appropriate way. But when the sample size is over I will have the opportunity to modify one aspect of my method if I have determined that the change may be beneficial (I will be keeping detailed stats of the trades). Then I will do another 20-trade sample size.

Meanwhile I will continue to read and re-read both chapters that I've mentioned above to absorb, reinforce and fully understand the content and ideas.

I will post the results of my first day of training shortly.

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I'm not going to post any charts or specific entry/exit records because what's important here is the exercise/training that I'm doing, not the charts or simulated account results. My intent here is to share the journey and the work I'm doing to try to reach my objectives. I will be posting some of the trade-by-trade stats captured by the Stage 5 Trade Analyzer though.

Trades will be numbered consecutively through this 20-trade sample size (i.e., tomorrow's first trade will be #5).

Trade #1
09:10 Short on the first valid setup of the day.
09:15 Stopped out. Got that dull sick feeling in my stomach when the chime told me my stop order was hit. -5 ticks. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Trade #2
09:29 Made a mistake on the DOM while placing the order for the next valid setup. I didn't realize it until a minute or two later. Psychological slip-up – not good.
09:31 Out as soon as I realized my mistake. -0 ticks

Trade #3
09:49 Long on second valid setup of the day.
10:20 Out at target. Took about 31 minutes. Thought for sure I would be stopped out several times. Minor happiness that it was a winner. +6 ticks. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

No Fill
11:00 Order to go long on valid setup. Order price was touched but not filled.
11:15 Price moved to my target level. Per my rules the trade is now over and I have to cancel my standing order for the trade. Would have been profitable if I had been filled, but it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Trade #4
12:09 Long on valid setup. I really didn't think this was a good place to be getting long again because price had already moved up so much.
12:41 Target reached after 31 minutes again. What I think is irrelevant at this point. +6 ticks. But the profit doesn't matter. What matters is that I followed my rules.




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Amazing. The first part of the day I spent mostly in a state of frustration over seemingly missed opportunities. The second part of the day I spent mostly stunned that my winning trades were winners.

It just shows me how much I need this exercise.

No Fill
08:31 Order to go short on valid setup. Order price was touched but not filled.
08:32 Price moved to my target, so entry order was canceled. Made a great move in the direction of the missed trade. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Report due out in 10 minutes.
08:45 Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment report due out at 8:55. Order to short on valid setup canceled. Sucks because it was another nice setup but I can't take it – I'm feeling some irritation. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Report is out.
08:55 Report. Price has reached my target now, so I can't re-enter the order. I'm feeling aggravation – 2 valid setups, 2 solid potential winners, 2 missed opportunities. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Price moved without me.
10:02 Price pulled back to my original entry level and has now moved further down. Still feeling some disappointment over having missed this move. But it doesn't matter. What's important is that I followed my rules.

Trade #5 (continued from 20-trade sample size started yesterday)
10:17 Short on valid setup.
10:27 Really want to get out of this one now that it has come back to B/E after moving 4 ticks MAE...
10:35 I know this is going to stop me out. Got up and left my office for a few minutes.
10:44 I'm stunned. Price reached my target after 25 minutes and I'm out. I was utterly convinced that I was going to be stopped out of this trade. I had already started the bitch & moan session with myself about how after missing out on 2 good setups because of my rules, I finally got in and now it was a loser. I had also determined that there were some things on the chart and the Volume Histogram on the DOM that should have told me that this wasn't a good trade in the first place. Wow. +6 ticks. But it doesn't matter. All that matters is that I followed my rules! And following these rules is already making it apparent to me that this exercise is exactly what I need to be doing right now.

Trade #6
11:08 Short on valid setup. Now I'm very scared to take this one because I'm confident that price has moved down so much that it's time for it to be trying to move back up and I'm going to feel stupid for taking this trade.
11:20 I can see how important it is to me to win, win, win; and how hard it is for me to take a loser. Obviously it means much more to me than just taking a losing trade...
11:29 Stepping out of my office to make some lunch.
11:51 Stopped out after 42 minutes. -5 ticks. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules.

Trade #7
13:46 Long on valid setup. Not as much anxiety about this one for some reason. I don't like the looks of it, but I'm not as worried about this one. I'm pretty sure this is going to be a loser because I'm actually going long near the high of the day.
14:31 Target reached after 45 minutes. Stunned again. +6 ticks. But it's irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that I followed my rules.




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Some thought below.


AttitudeTrader View Post
Amazing. The first part of the day I spent mostly in a state of frustration over seemingly missed opportunities. The second part of the day I spent mostly stunned that my winning trades were winners. This happens when you leave your trades alone and quit second guessing them

It just shows me how much I need this exercise.

No Fill
08:31 Order to go short on valid setup. Order price was touched but not filled. why can't you re-enter? I mean if the premise of the trade is still valid, ie...your stops not hit, why not enter on the second time around. Lots of people make money on second entry opportunities. And why not hit market order if it touches your price? Leaving money on the table because it didn't trade through seems petty to me. If you like the level, take the trade.

08:32 Price moved to my target, so entry order was canceled. Made a great move in the direction of the missed trade. But it doesn't matter because I followed my rules. was your gut telling you to take this trade?

Report is out.
08:55 Report. Price has reached my target now, so I can't re-enter the order. why not?
Price moved without me.
10:02 Price pulled back to my original entry level and has now moved further down. Still feeling some disappointment over having missed this move. Again, why not put your order back on? This makes no sense to me. If the trade is still valid, take it.


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #10 (permalink)
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@PandaWarrior, I sincerely appreciate your comments and desire to help. But at this point, as I said a few posts ago:

AttitudeTrader View Post
My training begins with exercises in consistency.

Chapter 11 (Thinking Like A Trader) of Trading In The Zone refers to this as the mechanical stage.

In this stage you:
  • Build the self-trust necessary to operate in an unlimited environment.
  • Learn to flawlessly execute a trading system.
  • Train your mind to think in probabilities (the five fundamental truths).
  • Create a strong, unshakeable belief in your consistency as a trader.
I'll be doing my training – this exercise – in my simulated (demo) account.

I've written a simple trading plan with very specific entry, exit and other rules to use for the start of this exercise.

I will trade this plan over a 20-trade sample size. In this first sample size I will be taking 20 trades, all per my defined rules. The exercise is to take every trade regardless of whether I think it's going to work or not. And it is my intent to pay attention to my responses to each trade and record those responses.

The objective of this exercise is to develop the belief in my own ability to act in a consistent and appropriate way. But when the sample size is over I will have the opportunity to modify one aspect of my method if I have determined that the change may be beneficial (I will be keeping detailed stats of the trades). Then I will do another 20-trade sample size.

Meanwhile I will continue to read and re-read both chapters that I've mentioned above to absorb, reinforce and fully understand the content and ideas.

I will post the results of my first day of training shortly.

In other words, this is not about the method. It is entirely, completely, 100% about this exercise in consistency.

However, rest assured that I'm keeping detailed stats and notes about each and every trade and situation for later use.

Thanks again!

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AttitudeTrader View Post
@PandaWarrior, I sincerely appreciate your comments and desire to help. But at this point, as I said a few posts ago:

In other words, this is not about the method. It is entirely, completely, 100% about this exercise in consistency.

However, rest assured that I'm keeping detailed stats and notes about each and every trade and situation for later use.

Thanks again!

Ok, i get it. A testing phase. Stick with it then. Modify at the end.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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PandaWarrior View Post
Ok, i get it. A testing phase. Stick with it then. Modify at the end.

No, it's not a testing phase. It's training. This isn't about testing and modifying the method/system. It's about building my skills as a trader.

Hopefully it will get clearer as I go along here.

-AT

"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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The first two days of my consistency training have already been of value to me:
  • It's showing me how far away I am from the mindset I need to have in order to be successful as a trader (thinking in probabilities).
  • I can already see much more clearly what is working, what isn't, and the characteristics of the simple method I'm using.
I did not backtest the set of rules that I'm using, rather they're based on generally accepted trading wisdom (entering pullbacks in defined trends) and the simple ideas I was working with just prior to starting this exercise. So I really have no idea whether this method (set of rules) will generate a positive expectancy or not, but I'll be tracking the expectancy nonetheless (see chart* below). The first series of trades will likely cause relatively wide initial swings on the expectancy chart until there are enough data points for the numbers to begin to smooth out and more accurately reflect the results of the series.

And although this exercise is not about the method, it is interesting to note that it was profitable over the two days (7 trades) despite the missed and losing trades, simply because I followed my rules no matter what.

I intend to carry on next week with the exercise just as I've outlined so far in this thread.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.



*The data in the chart reflects expectancy after commission costs.

"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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Interesting stuff!

You say you are going to do a 20 trade sample size, then review and possibly modify your approach.

How did you determine 20? I've seen statisticians say 30 is the bare minimum for a statistically significant evaluation.

I'd recommend at least 50-100 trades before making any modification.

The reason is that, in a large set of trades, finding a good or bad run of 20 is not that difficult. Yet, that run is not indicative of the larger population.

My fear with only 20 trades is that you will constantly be modifying your approach, never giving any approach a real chance to show its true potential (or lack thereof). You will end up in a loop of constant searching and modifying, and good results will always seem just out of reach.


I'll give you a real world example that I currently trade... I have a strategy that when looking at 465 trades from 2008 to present, has had runs of 19 and 21 losing trades in a row. Surely, if you saw this in your 20 sample trade (or anything close to it), you'd dismiss this strategy as being worthless, and start making modifications.

Yet, over those 465 trades, the approach averages $294 per trade per contract, after slippage and commissions ($136K profit). It also had 4 very profitable years, and just 1 small losing year.


I just wanted to give you something to think about.

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AttitudeTrader View Post
Amazing. The first part of the day I spent mostly in a state of frustration over seemingly missed opportunities. The second part of the day I spent mostly stunned that my winning trades were winners.

It just shows me how much I need this exercise.

Excellent read on PA though. I matched all your entries on order flow for Friday, except for #6 which was against the structure. no amount of training or consistency is going to help IF trades are taken when you have no edge.

6 of 7 entries were very good, with the flow (that was your edge). You seem to have the ability to flip easily from long to short based on flow - very good, The read of PA is very good too, much promise is being shown.

The day structure and the order flow at trade #6 follows. Not nit picking 1 bad trade out of 7, but admiring that you have great promise, I wish I was that good at PA, instead of relying on all sorts of goofy tools




PS - I know you dont use OF but the volume action on the 5range bar at 1158EST is a huge tell

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kevinkdog View Post
Interesting stuff!

...I just wanted to give you something to think about.

Thanks for the input @kevinkdog.

In general I wouldn't disagree with any of your points (the 20-trade sample size comes from Trading In The Zone, pg. 197).

However, I must reiterate: This exercise is not about testing/modifying/improving a system/method.

This exercise is about going through a process of restructuring my mental environment in a way that allows me to interact with the market environment in the most appropriate and beneficial way possible. In other words, to act in my own best interests rather than sabotaging myself.

This is about training myself to think in probabilities and to behave in a consistently appropriate manner.

And the quickest, most effective way to do this that I am aware of at this point, is to forget about whether my system/method is “good” or not, and focus solely on executing the plan – my rules – as well as I possibly can, over and over and over and over again. Until I reach the point where I can act on those rules without the slightest hesitation or second-guessing (if it helps, think of this as being similar to the coin toss exercise you've surely heard of before).

It is only then that a system/method really has any value anyway. Think about it.

How many traders do you see, hear or read about who say things like, “I back-tested my system over 5 years of data and it was profitable, but I've taken 4 losers in a row and I couldn't make myself take the next trade. If I had just followed my plan I would have had a winning day,” or “My plan says to take profits at 30 ticks, but the trade went 50 ticks in my favor so quickly that I thought it would go a lot higher and I didn't want to miss the big move, but then it came back and stopped me out at break-even and I didn't get any profit,” or “I took a trade in my plan, but when price went against me 10 ticks, even though it didn't hit my stop, when it came back up to my entry I was glad to get out, but then it went on to be a profitable trade.”

In any of these cases (and these kinds of scenarios seem to be prevalent among traders) is it about the system/method? Does it have anything to do with whether a system/method was tested over 20 or 30 or 50 or 100-trade sample sizes and proven to be profitable?

For me, testing and modifying a system/method in an attempt to improve it is not where the work is right now. My work is to get to the place, mentally, where I can take advantage of any testing that I may have done by being able to actually execute it appropriately and consistently.

I believe that most traders think that they are already there. They think that they already possess the skills and attitudes necessary to execute their plan appropriately and consistently. And therefore they believe that there is no reason for them to do the kind of work I'm doing here. And yet they seem to continually experience that frustration of not being able to break through to consistent profitability. This is where I have spent my entire trading "career" so far.

There are obviously profitable systems/methods out there, but they are useless to a trader if he/she can't or won't follow them.

So many traders seem to think that they need to work hard to develop a good system/method, and then it's just an easy matter of applying it. But in my opinion it's just the opposite. The hard work is in developing the ability to apply the system/method, regardless of what that system/method may be.

Robert Pirsig
"Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It's having the right attitude that's hard." - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This isn't an easy exercise for me and I expect that it will become more difficult. Because I want to make money. I want to have a profitable system/method. But that is, in my opinion now, getting the cart before the horse.

AttitudeTrader View Post
No, it's not a testing phase. It's training. This isn't about testing and modifying the method/system. It's about building my skills as a trader.

Thanks again,

-AT

"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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Deucalion View Post
Excellent read on PA though. I matched all your entries on order flow for Friday, except for #6 which was against the structure. no amount of training or consistency is going to help IF trades are taken when you have no edge.

6 of 7 entries were very good, with the flow (that was your edge). You seem to have the ability to flip easily from long to short based on flow - very good, The read of PA is very good too, much promise is being shown.

The day structure and the order flow at trade #6 follows. Not nit picking 1 bad trade out of 7, but admiring that you have great promise, I wish I was that good at PA, instead of relying on all sorts of goofy tools

@Deucalion You are too kind - and I mean that seriously. I am not "reading" PA. I am simply following the rules that I have written in my trading plan. The only "promise" that I can take credit for showing is that I'm following my rules.

But, as always, I am grateful for your feedback and your analysis is always of value to me. Additionally, any compliments I get from you are never taken lightly.

"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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Ended the day shaking my head again.

Once I took that losing trade and price continued its strong move up (beginning around 09:30CT), I really didn't think I'd have much in the way of good setups – but I was wrong.

Trade #8
08:42 Long on valid setup.
08:44 Getting nervous about this one. That doesn't change my plan or my intent to follow it though.
08:47 Nervous again as it moved back down some.
08:52 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #9
09:51 Short on valid setup.
09:58 MAE is only 2 ticks at this point, but I'm pretty confident that this one is going to get stopped out.
10:20 Stopped out. -5 ticks. But it doesn't matter. This isn't about winning or losing.

Trade #10
12:31 Long on valid setup.
12:47 I'm long right into HOD and I'm not liking the hesitation here. But it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that I follow my plan.
12:57 Price has dropped back down below my entry now – getting worried.
13:01 Further down now. Stop not hit, but pretty sure this is it.
13:12 Wow. Price has turned around and moved to within 1 tick of my target. It has hit within 1 tick quite a few times and then backed down. Now I'm worried about losing the profit I could have had. It's irrelevant though. My only objective here is to follow my rules.
13:14 Out target. +6 ticks. Amazing.

Hesitating
13:29 I find myself hesitating to place the order for the next potential setup because I don't think this is a good place to be entering and I'm afraid of giving back the profits I've made for the day. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I follow my rules.

Trade #11
14:11 Long on valid setup. I don't like this one at all. It's irrelevant though. It doesn't matter if this trade is a winner or a loser. The only thing that matters is that I follow my rules.
14:22 MAE = 2 ticks so far. Quite certain this is going to continue down and stop me out.
14:27 Wow. Price is back up to within 1 tick of my target.
14:30 Unreal. Out target. +6 ticks.

Done For The Day
14:30 No more new orders.




"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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Today was pretty much the same as the last few days: Most of the trades surprised me – specifically the winners.

What I find interesting is my attitude at the end of the session today. I was a little bummed about my last trade being a loser because I had had my best day yet up to that point and then gave some of my profits back.

This is interesting to me because it is nothing more than a perspective – a destructive one at that. Because not only did I follow my rules and work out some DOM entry issues today, I did, in fact, have my second most profitable day yet during this exercise, and my fourth profitable day in a row. Those last two items are not my objectives, but those are the results. So is there really anything to be bummed about?

This exercise is as much about developing the appropriate attitudes as it is about following my rules and being consistent.

So is the glass half-empty or half-full? It's a choice.

Trade #12
08:30 Short on valid setup. I really don't like taking this right at the open. I'm sure price will test higher and probably stop me out.
08:35 4 ticks MAE now...
08:40 Setup in the other direction is about to trigger. Limit order is moved up.
08:42 Out at modified limit. +1 tick.

Trade #13
08:42 Long on valid setup. Switching to longs now. Little hectic getting the orders in correctly.
08:47 Price is really stalling and the range is very tight – I don't like this.
08:53 Letting myself get a bit stressed out here. But I shouldn't be because this is just another trade. It doesn't matter if it wins or not.
09:11 Out target after 29 minutes. +6 ticks.

Trade #14
09:16 Long on valid setup. Didn't even have time to log my numbers for the last exit. A little stressed.
09:23 Stopped out. -5 ticks.

Trade #15
10:13 Short on valid setup.
10:26 Out target. +6 ticks. Thought this one would move a lot farther, but it only exceeded my target by 1 tick.

Trade #16
11:29 Long on valid setup.
11:59 Out target. +6 ticks. Another one that I didn't think would work out. Irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that I followed my rules.

Trade #17
14:24 Long on valid setup. Only 4 minutes before my cut-off time – ugh. Buying after break/test of HOD and yesterday's close and I don't like this... But it's irrelevant. I have to follow my rules.
14:32 Wishing I hadn't taken a trade this close to the close and after having a good day so far. I want to move my stop up. But that is irrelevant! Just follow the plan!
14:24 Ugh. Stopped out. -4 ticks. It doesn't matter though. There's no way I can know in advance whether it will be a winner or not, and they're not all going to be winners. It's just another trade!




"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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Excellent work and journal, AttitudeTrader! Really enjoying the side-car perspective as you take on this quest. Keep up the awesome progress.

And, obviously, keep us posted on it

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
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omni72 View Post
Excellent work and journal, AttitudeTrader! Really enjoying the side-car perspective as you take on this quest. Keep up the awesome progress.

And, obviously, keep us posted on it

Appreciate it @omni72 ! Will do.

-AT

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Cutting off 1 hour early today (13:30CT) – I have to leave to do my other work/job.

Today I completed the 20-trade sample size but I'll be keeping the parameters the same through tomorrow. I'll go through my stats this weekend when I have the time, to confirm some of the things I'm seeing that might improve performance.

I finished the session kind of bummed about my last trade being a loser again today. And again, it's silly. I had my best day yet today. And even though I missed 2 trades due to inexperience with my method, I've followed my rules throughout this whole exercise so far.

So the more I consider it, the more I realize what I have accomplished in such a short period of time.

Don't like it...
08:27 It's a few minutes before the open and I already have a setup to take at the open. I don't want to do this because of the initial swings that usually occur. Doesn't matter though. Time to follow my plan.

Trade #18
08:30 Long on valid setup. Feeling some anxiety...
08:32 Out target. +7 ticks.

Trade #19
08:38 Long on valid setup. Little uptight about taking another trade this soon.
08:39 Out target. +6 ticks.

Hesitating...
08:52 Finding myself looking for reasons to NOT take the next setup. I've had 2 winning trades so far and I don't want to give any back. CB Leading Index is in a few minutes, but it's a low impact report and not enough to keep me from being prepared to take an entry should it trigger. Take the setups! All of them!

Trade #20
09:12 Long on valid setup. Nervous about going long again after such a big move up. It doesn't matter though. I have no idea whether it will drop or not, so just take the trade!
09:19 I'm certain I'm getting stopped out on this one. But I'm finding a pattern with myself where I think that on pretty much every trade.
09:35 I'd love to get out of this one right now with a small 2-tick loss.
09:38 I decided yesterday to make a concerted effort to begin doing visualizing work, so while this trade is going nowhere I'm visualizing – not about the outcome of this trade, but about other things.
09:48 Out target. +6 ticks.

Done for the day?
10:08 Now thoughts are running through my mind about quitting for the day while I'm ahead. But that isn't part of my plan. Stick with the plan. Stay focused.

Missed 2 setups.
10:23 My method requires some discretion, and because of the small range and the way price had formed, it wasn't clear to me at the time that I had gotten 2 setups back to back (both winners). Self-fulfilling prophecy from earlier attitude? Lack of experience with the method too. Stay focused.

Trade #21
10:35 Long on valid setup. Really don't want to be in this one now after the 2 winners that I missed. Irrelevant.
10:54 Stopped out. -5 ticks. Feel a little irritated. This trade is meaningless! Focus on the plan!

Trade #22
12:22 Short on valid setup.
12:39 Out target. +6 ticks. Occupied myself with my other job while this trade was on.

Trade #23
13:09 Short on valid setup.
13:31 Ugh. Stopped out. -5 ticks. Doesn't matter though. It's just another trade.




"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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I could not have anticipated that this week would turn out like it has. I'll try to have a Weekend Review up sometime tomorrow. And hopefully in the meantime I can fully digest what I've done this week.

Trade #24
08:46 Long on valid setup. Report in 14 minutes.
08:50 4 ticks MAE.
08:54 5 ticks MFE now. Report in 6 minutes...
08:55 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #25
09:16 Short on valid setup.
09:25 Ok, now I'm getting nervous. I just know this is going to pop up and stop me out. Relax! It's just another trade.
09:25 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #26
10:02 Short on valid setup. Price spiked through my order hard and I'm already 3 ticks MAE. Price looks strong and I think I'll be stopped out of this one. Interestingly, this trade looked really good to me and I thought it would be a winner for sure.
10:05 4 ticks MAE now... Doesn't matter though.
10:07 Ugh. Stopped out. -5 ticks. Irrelevant. Log the trade info and prepare for the next one.

Trade #27
10:17 Long early. Setup not valid yet. Focus. Ugh, price is slicing through my entry level too – 4 ticks MAE. Doesn't matter. It's just another trade.
10:22 Trade is now valid.
10:34 Unbelievable. I was certain I would be stopped out on this one, but now it's up to 4 ticks MFE.
10:36 Incredible. Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #28
10:52 Long on valid setup.
10:54 Not liking this. 2 ticks MAE... Irrelevant!
10:54 Ugh...3 ticks MAE. Doesn't matter! Do something else!
11:05 Holy ****! Price has turned around and is at 4 ticks MFE now.
11:06 Out target. +6 ticks.

Hesitating...
11:27 I'm feeling hesitation about taking the next setup because I'm up on the day and don't want to give it back. I have to follow my rules! If I start making random decisions outside of my plan then I'm doomed! I'm keeping stats, so if I see that it would be beneficial to stop at a certain point, then I can put that in my plan, but for now it's not part of my plan.

Trade #29
11:30 Long on valid setup. I like the way this one looks.
12:02 After 5 ticks MFE price has come back to below my entry. Doesn't matter.
12:09 Amazing. Back up to 5 ticks MFE.
12:11 Out target. +6 ticks.

Hesitating...again
13:03 I really don't want to take another setup and risk giving profits back. This can't be a factor. If I'm inconsistent and don't follow my plan then I can't get consistent results, and if I don't have consistent results, then I won't have a clear idea of what to expect over time, and I won't have confidence in the plan I'm trying to execute. And confidence in my plan is essential.

Done for the day
13:30 Cut-off time for Friday's. That's it. This has been an unreal week for me.




"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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AttitudeTrader View Post
I could not have anticipated that this week would turn out like it has. I'll try to have a Weekend Review up sometime tomorrow. And hopefully in the meantime I can fully digest what I've done this week.

Trade #24
08:46 Long on valid setup. Report in 14 minutes.
08:50 4 ticks MAE.
08:54 5 ticks MFE now. Report in 6 minutes...
08:55 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #25
09:16 Short on valid setup.
09:25 Ok, now I'm getting nervous. I just know this is going to pop up and stop me out. Relax! It's just another trade.
09:25 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #26
10:02 Short on valid setup. Price spiked through my order hard and I'm already 3 ticks MAE. Price looks strong and I think I'll be stopped out of this one. Interestingly, this trade looked really good to me and I thought it would be a winner for sure.
10:05 4 ticks MAE now... Doesn't matter though.
10:07 Ugh. Stopped out. -5 ticks. Irrelevant. Log the trade info and prepare for the next one.

Trade #27
10:17 Long early. Setup not valid yet. Focus. Ugh, price is slicing through my entry level too – 4 ticks MAE. Doesn't matter. It's just another trade.
10:22 Trade is now valid.
10:34 Unbelievable. I was certain I would be stopped out on this one, but now it's up to 4 ticks MFE.
10:36 Incredible. Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #28
10:52 Long on valid setup.
10:54 Not liking this. 2 ticks MAE... Irrelevant!
10:54 Ugh...3 ticks MAE. Doesn't matter! Do something else!
11:05 Holy ****! Price has turned around and is at 4 ticks MFE now.
11:06 Out target. +6 ticks.

Hesitating...
11:27 I'm feeling hesitation about taking the next setup because I'm up on the day and don't want to give it back. I have to follow my rules! If I start making random decisions outside of my plan then I'm doomed! I'm keeping stats, so if I see that it would be beneficial to stop at a certain point, then I can put that in my plan, but for now it's not part of my plan.

Trade #29
11:30 Long on valid setup. I like the way this one looks.
12:02 After 5 ticks MFE price has come back to below my entry. Doesn't matter.
12:09 Amazing. Back up to 5 ticks MFE.
12:11 Out target. +6 ticks.

Hesitating...again
13:03 I really don't want to take another setup and risk giving profits back. This can't be a factor. If I'm inconsistent and don't follow my plan then I can't get consistent results, and if I don't have consistent results, then I won't have a clear idea of what to expect over time, and I won't have confidence in the plan I'm trying to execute. And confidence in my plan is essential.

Done for the day
13:30 Cut-off time for Friday's. That's it. This has been an unreal week for me.

Nice work.....leave those trades alone and they often times work out....keep it up.

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  #25 (permalink)
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The only stat that really matters in this exercise right now is how well I followed my plan, and as you can see from my posts I didn't take any random trades.

If we're going to look at stats of my method/approach (all in my simulated/demo acct) then my expectancy chart (net of commissions) is probably as good a way as any.


I'm keeping detailed stats of my trades which is giving me a picture of where I might make adjustments to improve my method. But I'm realizing how small this sample size is at this point, so I will continue with the current plan/rules for now – at least until I have more data and experience with it.

But again that isn't the focus right now.

It might seem that as this exercise has progressed and as I've experienced decent results, that taking each trade would have gotten easier. But it hasn't. It's going to take a lot more than 20 or 30 trades to change my thinking and my behavior.

Mark Douglas says in “A Final Note” at the end of Trading In The Zone:

Mark Douglas
“Try not to prejudge how long it will take before you can get through at least one sample size of trades, following your plan without deviation, distracting thoughts, or hesitation to act. It will take as long as it takes. If you wanted to be a professional golfer, it wouldn't be unusual to dedicate yourself to hitting 10,000 or more golf balls until the precise combination of movements in your swing were so ingrained in your muscle memory that you no longer had to think about it consciously.

When you're out there hitting those golf balls, you aren't playing an actual game against someone or winning the big tournament. You do it because you believe that skill acquisition and practice will help you win. Learning to be a consistent winner as a trader isn't any different.

I wish you great prosperity, and would say “good luck,” but you really won't need luck if you work at acquiring the appropriate skills.”


"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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good job wish you the best of .....luck

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AttitudeTrader View Post
I have a lot of “experience” trading, but nothing more than that to show for it. I've been at this for many years, but still have yet to truly begin.


AttitudeTrader View Post
It might seem that as this exercise has progressed and as I've experienced decent results, that taking each trade would have gotten easier. But it hasn't. It's going to take a lot more than 20 or 30 trades to change my thinking and my behavior.

Well done, @AttitudeTrader Very well done. I must say your user name tells all during this exercise, Attitude. Thank you for the play by play of each trade you posted, very helpful for anyone reading your thread to truly follow your progress. FWIW, IMO you should be very proud of yourself, what you've accomplished here is not an easy task and your posts provide an excellent example of why. Your first few posts in this exercise reveal some of the difficulties most (if not all) traders encounter that often emotionally influence us to bend our rules and take trades that are not in our best interest. You were stopped out of your first trade (classic ), then a "user error" and then a "no fill" all in the first day! But you soldiered on, that is attitude!

The two quotes I posted above tells us (me), you have recalibrated your trader's compass and chose a heading straight into the core of your dysfunctional trading behavior. Few traders venture there, but IMO, the ones that do rise to the top. I believe your journey will reveal diamonds and stones, both will clamor for your immediate attention and at your own pace both deserve it. I'll repeat what's been said before, good luck and stay your course.

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Thank you @Cashish for your encouraging words and support.

Your input means a great deal to me.

-AT

"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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A bad day for my method and for following my rules:

Trade #30
08:30 Long on valid setup.
08:32 Dropping here. Looks like I'm going to get stopped out on this first trade of the day. Doesn't matter. It was valid so I had to take it.
8:36 Ugh. Stopped out. -5 ticks. Irrelevant. Focus on what I need to do next.

Trade #31
09:23 Short on valid setup. It's valid, but due to the discretionary aspect of my method, it wasn't as clear as usual, so I'm not liking this one too much.
09:25 Price is powering through my level and I'm feeling a little knot in my stomach. But this trade is meaningless. It's just another trade. There's nothing “wrong” with it. Just stay focused on the plan.
09:28 Stopped out. -5 ticks. Not happy about this.

Trade #32
09:31 Short on valid setup. This one is valid too, but this is the first time that I've taken an entry in the same direction at a level beyond the first entry that was stopped out. I may need to develop a specific rule about this kind of situation.
09:34 If this trade stops out then I will hit my max loss and be finished for the day...
09:36 Price is moving against me. I can feel the urge to question my method bubbling up.
09:41 Price moved 5 ticks MFE and has moved back up toward my entry now. I can see how attached I am to the outcomes of my trades, because when price was close to hitting my target I was feeling pretty good about life in general, and as it has pulled back I've started feeling a distinct lack of self-worth. I'm also dreading having to stop trading for the day due to hitting my daily loss limit.
09:46 Here we go. Price is on its way to stopping me out.
09:47 Stopped out. -5 ticks. Sick feeling when the chime rang. This is where I start using some expletives in my self-talk. But that's it. I'm done for the day regardless of how I feel about it.

I know that how I feel about this has much more to do with what's going on in my life and what trading means to me right now, and far less to do with the fact that I've taken three losing trades in a row, or that I'm done trading for the day. It's affecting the way I see my future.

Trade #33 – I knowingly broke my rules
11:29 Long on valid setup, but I knowingly broke the rule I have about 3 losing trades in a row. I began to rationalize how that rule is really more for discretionary trading and that my method has very little discretion and that my 3 losing trades weren't about me being “off” today, but a result of my method that will happen from time to time.

Those rationalizations are actually true, but the biggest reason for that rule is my own tolerance for losses. I know that losses accrued on 3 losing trades in a row are going to start affecting my decision-making (which they obviously did!) and so the rule is for my own protection rather than a measure of the current state of the method.

11:46 Moved my limit order to my entry level when I finally came to my senses.
11:59 Price looks like it will move up and have made that trade profitable. If it does then I'll probably get that sick feeling that I should have stayed in the trade. But if I had stayed in and it was a profitable trade, then I would have reinforced a very dangerous behavior.
12:06 Trade would have been a loser if I had held it. This would not have been a good situation to be in psychologically.

4 losing trades in a row for my method so far
I'm also hearing the voices in my head that are saying, “Look, the method has had 4 losers in a row. This isn't good. Maybe I don't have an edge here. Maybe last week I was just lucky. Maybe I should be looking for a better method to use here.” It's very easy for me to have a fearful mentality about the future of my method and my trading and cause me to start another search for a better method.

It is true that the results of the last 6 days of trading (prior to today) could have been a fluke, but just writing this stuff makes me realize that all of this doubt, and feeling that need to change things, is based solely on today – this one day. Amazing. I'm hanging my hat, my self-worth, my future, on the results of this one day of trading.

End of session
My 3-losses rule saved me from a pretty bad day – I would have had 6 losses in a row for the day (although the last one was stopped out to the tick before turning around, so it wasn't a complete and utter bad direction call by the method). I'm not happy about the fact that my method did so poorly today.

But I'm losing focus of the objective here
I am obviously allowing this to become more about my method and its results than the exercise itself. Tomorrow I have to take my trades according to my plan regardless of what today was like. Let's get back to focusing on the exercise and its objective: Consistency.



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First kudos on putting together your post. I've written more of those posts than I'd care to admit. They suck and no amount of big-picture contextualizing removes the fact that it sucks. On the bright side, it's supposed to suck If these sessions left a sweet taste in our trading mouths, we may be even more prone to repeat them


AttitudeTrader View Post
Maybe I don't have an edge here.

This can be more true than just not having an edge. For whatever reason, it could be that your method and edge don't excel in markets like today. Still useful information and doesn't detract from the overall effectiveness of the edge.

As for the losses themselves, I can't help but point some attention to the 'spend what I overearned' pattern. If I recall, Friday was a highwater mark day. People, especially traders. seem to have this tendency to give back unexpected winnings/earnings. I have no idea if that in any way applies to what you experienced today, but it's a very common trap. I'm certain some of this pattern is rooted in the notion of playing with 'house money'. But there is more to it than that. Anyway, just a thought.

Keep on swimmin' AT!

Edit: I know we can all comment on various elements of the session, but I tried to look at areas that may be a little sneakier.

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Thanks for the thoughts and insights @omni72 .

omni72 View Post
...People, especially traders, seem to have this tendency to give back unexpected winnings/earnings. I have no idea if that in any way applies to what you experienced today, but it's a very common trap. I'm certain some of this pattern is rooted in the notion of playing with 'house money'. But there is more to it than that. Anyway, just a thought.

Although it's possible that there could be forces at play that I am completely unaware of, I don't believe that this is the case for today. The trades I took were all (even the one where I broke my 3-losses rule) setups per my rules/plan and I would have taken them last trading session, and I would take them next trading session. With that in mind I just see this as the statistical playing out of the numbers.

It would just be nice if the numbers got better.

-AT

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Thanks for the thoughts and insights @omni72 .


Although it's possible that there could be forces at play that I am completely unaware of, I don't believe that this is the case for today. The trades I took were all (even the one where I broke my 3-losses rule) setups per my rules/plan and I would have taken them last trading session, and I would take them next trading session. With that in mind I just see this as the statistical playing out of the numbers.

It would just be nice if the numbers got better.

-AT

First, my bad - when I originally read the post I thought you took two extra trades, one a loss and one a scratch. As it turns out it was only one extra trade and it was the scratch.

And I agree about the statistical aspect of the trades, but I'm really looking more at the emotional capital spent. In my mind it looks like you spent some of the emotional capital you built up over the previous 30-ish trades on the extra trade. For whatever reason, at that moment you felt more entitled to put on another trade than you felt committed to your plan. To me house money includes emotional capital Ugh, I really don't like using the same phrase three times in one paragraph, but I guess that's what I just did

Honestly though, I don't want to contribute any additional attention to the little blip. The work and effort you have been putting in is first rate. Period.

In fact, from here it looks like you handled today very well. Kudos on reigning it back in and sticking to your game plan. That in itself can become a herculean task.

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A little bit stressed toward the end of the session and my last trade was stopped out to the tick before price continued in my direction. But overall it was a decent day with only 1 mistake and no broken rules.

No fill
08:30 Had a setup right at the open. Price touched my order level but wasn't filled. Then price moved to my target level, so the trade is over now.

Trade #34
08:43 Long on valid setup. I thought price was going to take off before my setup triggered, but it hung around for a long time and I was able to get in.
08:46 Still hanging around here though. Getting a little nervous. Doesn't matter. Today is just about following my plan. That's it.
08:48 Stalling at 4 ticks MFE...
08:50 Report in 10 minutes. I'll have to exit this in 7 minutes.
08:50 Out target. +6 ticks. Feels good to have a winner after yesterday. It's still irrelevant! Just keep taking my setups for now!

Trade #35 - Mistake
09:13 Long. Mistake. Price was above my entry level when I entered, so I'm in 1 tick better.
09:14 Thought it was a valid setup as it was forming, but I realized that it wasn't yet. Limit order is moved to entry.
09:20 Stopped out. -4 ticks. It was an honest mistake because it was a bit difficult to tell, but it cost me this time.

Trade #36
09:34 Long on valid setup.
09:37 Price moved 3 ticks MFE and has come back down to 2 ticks MAE. Feeling a little sick. Don't want a repeat of yesterday. It doesn't matter. I have to be in this for the long term – not just yesterday, not just today.
09:43 Wow. Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #37
10:11 Long on valid setup.
10:17 Out target. +6 ticks.

Don't want to take the next setup
11:22 I mark my charts with with every entry and exit, and I believe I see a pattern occurring that leads to losing trades for me. I don't have enough data points to confirm it yet, although right now my stats show that I have more losing trades than winners when this situation arises.
11:31 Setup never occurred, so it wasn't an issue.

Don't want to take this next setup either
12:13 Price has continued to make new highs and I'm sure it's ready to turn around now.

Trade #38
12:15 Long on valid setup. Don't like it though.
12:24 Banged within 1 tick of my target for quite a while and has pulled back down to within 1 tick of my entry. Don't like this. I'd like to get out now. It doesn't matter! I have to let my trades play out! If I mess with them in a random fashion, I can only get random results. I have to be consistent so my method can be consistent!
12:37 Wow. Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #39
12:46 Long on valid setup. I REALLY don't want to be in this one!
12:48 I can already feel the frustration at taking a trade that I knew I shouldn't be taking and risking the profits I already have for the day. Get over it! It's just another trade! The profits will come as a result of following my method consistently, not by avoiding trades! If I find that this kind of trade does poorly on a consistent basis, then I can change my plan when it's appropriate, but not now!
12:51 Going against me – already 3 ticks MAE, and 0 ticks MFE.
12:56 It has actually moved up to 1 tick MFE now.
12:58 It has maxed out at 3 ticks MFE but pulling back down now.
13:06 I don't believe it. 5 ticks MFE now. Even if it comes back and stops me out, I've just done a little more positive reinforcement that I need to take all of my setups.
13:09 Holy ****! Are you kidding me?! Out target. +6 ticks. Unreal.

Incredibly difficult for me to place the next trade
13:16 I'm looking for reasons to avoid taking this trade!

Trade #40
13:16 Long on valid setup. I DO NOT want to be in this trade.
13:19 Already 3 ticks MAE. Ugh, it's killing me to be in this one. Stop it! It doesn't matter! Follow the plan! Cover the chart up and read a book or something while this trade is on!
13:25 Pulled up my Kindle Cloud reader and started reading. Finding the urge to check price almost uncontrollable.
13:28 Doing a little deep breathing too.
13:30 Ok, I'm a little more relaxed. I'll check price now. Uh oh, it's about to stop me out – 4 ticks MAE now. Irrelevant. I won on this trade because I followed my plan instead of acting randomly.
13:33 Back to reading...
13:52 Haven't looked at price yet. But I can see from the S5 Trade Analyzer that I'm still at 4 ticks MAE and only 1 tick MFE, so I haven't been stopped out and price hasn't moved any higher either.
13:59 I just looked over at the Trade Analyzer and it has gone to 2 ticks MFE. Hmmmm...
14:06 Stopped out. -5 ticks. Pretty relaxed since I wasn't watching price, so I'm not too upset about this.
14:10 Ugh. Now I'm a little pissed off. I was stopped out to the tick and now price is powering up and making new highs. Doesn't matter! This setup is more confirmation that my method is valid. I'll use this data later to see if there is an adjustment that I need to make.

Hesitating...
14:25 Only 5 minutes until my cutoff time for new entries. I don't want to take any more trades today.

Finished for the day
14:30 Ok, that's it. Have to post this and get started on my paying job now.




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On trade #46 below I mentioned looking my only other chart today – a longer time frame – and after only looking at one chart and one time frame for what seems like an eternity (it had been less than nine trading days!), I could instantly feel the difference between trading in my little “hole,” and looking at other, often conflicting, possibilities.

However because of this exercise so far and the fact that I've been staying within one very well-defined framework, I was able to instantly see things on this longer-term chart that I'm going to be able to incorporate into my trading plan. The things I'm seeing aren't anything new to me, but rather I'm seeing them in a way that I may be able to use in concert with what I'm already doing. Like "I had been looking at it through a colored stone which had suddenly been removed.”

So although I was only somewhat profitable on the day, today has turned out to be very valuable with regard to my trading in general. This eye-opener makes the value of an exercise like this – starting very small and simple – even more apparent to me.

Trade #41
08:58 Long on valid setup.
09:00 Price sliced through my entry and hit my stop before I could even complain about it. Stopped out. -5 ticks.

Trade #42
09:33 Short on valid setup.
09:40 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #43
09:45 Short on valid setup. But I don't like this at all. Price is slow and this is a small range to be in. It's ok. If situations like this one don't work out well according to my stats, then I'll modify my plan later.
09:50 3 ticks MFE has turned into 3 ticks MAE.
09:52 Closing my eyes and visualizing.
09:56 This is not looking good – 4 ticks MAE. Back to visualizing.
10:04 Stopped out. -5 ticks.

Trade #44
10:28 Long on valid setup. Trading into IB Mid though...
10:31 Bit of a sinking feeling right now. Doesn't matter though. Just stick with the plan for now. Back to visualizing...
10:35 Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #45
10:59 Long on valid setup. Price has been hanging here just above IB Mid for a very long time without making progress higher, so I'm concerned about this one. Price movement is very slow prior to FOMC, so I may need to make a rule about this.
11:06 Definitely need to have a rule for FOMC day. Price spiked down against me 4 ticks MAE in an instant.
11:18 Ugh. Stopped out. -5 ticks. Irrelevant. Prepare for the next setup.

Trade #46
13:29 Short on valid setup 14 minutes after FOMC statement.
13:31 I was anxious to get into this one – yes, I actually wanted to take it because after an eternity (for me) of watching only one chart and one time frame, I looked at my only other chart (larger time frame) and immediately saw numerous places where it would have helped me stay out of some of my losing trades – obvious places. So I stayed with my plan, but based on that other chart, I wanted to be in this trade. I'll look at modifying my plan later if this appears to continue to be the case.
13:35 It has been 3 ticks MAE now – not looking too good.
13:37 Nice! Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #47
13:56 Short on valid setup.
14:00 3 ticks MAE now. Not liking this too much.
14:10 Price had moved 4 ticks MFE and now it has moved back against me to 4 ticks MAE...
14:14 Nice! Out target. +6 ticks.
14:30 Wow. The day went by surprisingly fast for me. That's it.




"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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This has been an eventful, exhausting and enlightening day for me. I learned a lot about my method and myself today.

My charts are really marked up today because of what I was doing/seeing, so I can see that I had a lot going on – although it didn't have to be that way. It could have been another day just like the previous 9 days and I would have actually been more profitable too.

However, I'm ending the day excited about my future (for the first time in a very long time), because 1) despite getting off of my path today, my simple method still proved itself, and 2) I made a striking discovery about myself and how I'm thinking about my trading (see "A light bulb goes on in my mind!" below).

Trade #48
08:34 Long on valid setup.
08:35 Report in 10 minutes, so if I'm not stopped out of this I'll need to exit in 7 minutes.
08:37 Price looks like it wants to continue pushing down, so I'm nervous. Let's don't start with this so early in the day. Relax and take your setups.
08:40 Out target. +6 ticks.

Avoided a setup
08:58 Because I haven't made any changes to my plan since I started, and I'm well over the initial 20-trade sample size where I was allowed to change one aspect of my method, and due to what I discovered yesterday, I modified my plan to include one simple aspect of this discovery. So I didn't take this setup.
09:03 It would have been a loser so I'm happy with this so far.

Want to enter in the opposite direction
09:10 I want to take a trade in the opposite direction, but I just don't have enough data and/or solid rules to support that yet.
09:15 Would have been a beautiful winner. Really? What are you doing? If it's that important start keeping stats on it, but in the meantime focus on your CURRENT plan.

Trade #49
09:38 Short on valid setup. I almost avoided this one due to what I'm seeing on my other chart, but it's not clear enough to avoid this one.
09:42 Has been 5 ticks MFE but moving up a little now.
09:43 I feel the stress of the other components I'm looking at. I need to make sure I keep this new view VERY simple.
09:43 Out target. +6 ticks.

Some different feelings...
10:02 Price has moved nicely beyond my exit of the last trade, and in the past 9 days that's been fine – I keep stats on how far every trade goes. But today, because I'm looking at the longer term chart too, I'm having those feelings like ”I should have taken more out of that move,” and I'm feeling some pangs of “missing out.” It's important that I keep my mind focused on my objective and my plan. My method has done fairly well up to this point and is creating a relatively solid foundation for me to work from. I've discovered something potentially valuable that may already be helping me, but I need to slow down and take it one step at a time. And keep it VERY simple.

Trade #50
10:25 Short on valid setup. I'm pretty sure this is going to pop up and stop me out. Irrelevant!
10:27 I'm definitely having more feelings of needing to be right today.
10:30 Wow. Out target. +6 ticks.

Trade #51
10:37 Short on valid setup. I don't like going short again so soon after the last trade or the fact that price has moved down so much already. Just focus on executing the plan for now. If I could read price action, then I wouldn't be needing this exercise. Time to read a book or something...
10:48 Stopped out. -5 ticks.

Missed opportunity?
11:42 Price created a pattern that is in line with my method and I really wanted to enter, but my rules didn't trigger a setup, so I couldn't take it. It moved in the right direction and I was a little bummed about not getting to take it. I immediately started to question my method and wonder if I should be changing some rules. Seriously?! After one alleged missed opportunity?! Take a step back and look at what your method has done for you over the prior 9 trading days. That's the kind of thinking that has kept you in the hole you've been in for years and years. Forget about it and finish your lunch.

Avoided another setup
12:27 I passed on another setup due to my new rule. I hope this isn't going to be something that impedes the performance of my method. It doesn't matter what happens. You made the rule now stick to it. Did you wait to see how it works over time or was this an impulsive change?
12:46 ****! Price exceeded my target level – I would have had a profit on this one. Maybe it's just better to stay stupid and follow my simple plan.
12:50 Reading a book while I wait for the next one...

Huge lesson learned today
13:36 I avoided another setup which was a winner, but not because I consciously decided to. I just had it solidly in my mind that price was turning around and heading down based on the new stuff I'm looking at. I'm not even pissed. In fact I'm laughing out loud. My simple method is making me look like an idiot! Look at what I've done. I tried to be smart and implement a modified rule-set with only one day of evidence or experience with how it might work. And I did it in an effort to “avoid taking losing trades.” That is a deep pattern with me. Deep breath, deep sigh. Ctrl-Z on the one bullet point that I added to my trading plan this morning and back to my simple method and just taking the losers as they come. I will keep an eye on what I'm seeing on the other chart, but I won't make any changes with regard to it until I've had a lot more experience with it. Besides, what's even more stupid is that the stats I've been keeping are showing me that by making a minor change to my trade management, I can increase my profits by about 20% and retain 97% of my win rate.

Holy ****! A light bulb goes on in my mind!
13:49 Why don't I just do that? Why don't I just implement that minor change? Because I've been waiting for “enough data” to confirm it. And yet I go and change my plan after one day of seeing something on another chart in order to AVOID TAKING LOSING TRADES. Am I seeing the difference here? I was more motivated to do something to avoid taking losses than I was to implement something that will generate more profits on the winning trades that I'm already taking. What the ****?

The value of this exercise is...
The enormousness of the value that I'm beginning to see in this exercise of consistently applying an approach without modifying it constantly is almost indescribable.

The new idea
14:16 My new idea just worked beautifully, but I didn't have enough experience with it before to know what I should/shouldn't be looking at. So it definitely has value and I will continue to monitor it. Also it has caused me to see another possible helpful situation that I will also monitor.
I will include these in my stats spreadsheet now, but I WON'T CHANGE MY PLAN until I've monitored it for at least a 20-trade sample size. Only then will I consider implementing it.

I want to take the next setup...
14:30 I wanted to take the next setup, but 14:30CT is my cutoff time right now so I have to quit. Probably a good idea to end the day by following my rules, yes?




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AttitudeTrader View Post
This has been an eventful, exhausting and enlightening day for me. I learned a lot about my method and myself today.

...

However, I'm ending the day excited about my future (for the first time in a very long time), because 1) despite getting off of my path today, my simple method still proved itself, and 2) I made a striking discovery about myself and how I'm thinking about my trading (see "A light bulb goes on in my mind!" below).

...

The value of this exercise is...
The enormousness of the value that I'm beginning to see in this exercise of consistently applying an approach without modifying it constantly is almost indescribable.

Fantastic stuff, @AttitudeTrader! Seriously AT, I don't think I could be more impressed with how you've stuck to it and really committed to the exercise.


Looking forward to the next update ... and your book release

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
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omni72 View Post
Fantastic stuff, @AttitudeTrader! Seriously AT, I don't think I could be more impressed with how you've stuck to it and really committed to the exercise.


Looking forward to the next update ... and your book release

That's very nice of you to say @omni72 . Really appreciate it.

-AT

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Kind of a rough day mentally. My mind was scattered. It was even reflected in my diet regimen – I was eating randomly after lunch when I actually have myself scheduled to take some supplements “between meals.”

Honestly it was a combination of still having that longer term thing in my mind and on my charts (being afraid of trading into areas that I “know” will stop my trades) and being involved with other things that are trading-related, but don't have anything to do with my charts/entries/exits. I need to get back to the focus I had on my trading prior to the last two days. I need to focus on my trading work while my trading session window is open each day.

With regard to that longer-term idea: I laugh a little as I feel like there's a direct inverse relationship between being a “smarter” trader and being profitable trader.

Even though I'm bummed about my performance and mental state today, there is one thing that is very different about finishing this way on a Friday afternoon than it has been in the past for me: I'm not discouraged about the prospects of my trading future.

Instead of seeing this as another failure and feeling like I just don't know what I'm going to do next, I see this as a sucky day and that's all. In fact, just saying that puts a smile on my face and lifts my heart, because I have confidence that if I get focused on my plan and objectives again, like I was over the first 9 days, then I'll be back on track.

The weekend is here. Time to regroup, review, and regain respect for the rules that have helped me to accomplish what I have up to this point.

Starting out afraid
08:25 I'm afraid to implement the slightly extended target that I've tracked over the last 51 trades and has proven to be 20% more profitable and still retain 97% of my win rate. Why am I afraid? I think I'm afraid because it will mean having to wait longer on trades, which makes me fear that the target won't get reached when I could have had profits on the target that I've been using up to now. I am again allowing my actions to be dictated by fears – my fear of missing profits by trying for “too much” - rather than by my stats.

Can I get myself to make this one change and try it out for the next 50 or so trades like I did with the original target level?

Avoided a valid winning trade
08:49 Deep breath. What is wrong with me? I put a longer term measurement level on my chart and then I avoided my first winning setup for the day. I said I wouldn't make any decisions based on it, just monitor it. But it caused me to have an enormous bias that I would be shorting right into a solid support level.
08:54 Ok, another deep breath, just relax.
09:00 That level did turn out to be support and price only went 2 ticks beyond my target before turning around to make new highs. So it isn't completely without merit.

Trade #52
09:13 Long on valid setup. OMG this is so hard – I'm using the new target level. And I'm so afraid that it will hit my usual target level but not make it to the new level and I'll end up with a losing trade rather than one I could have had my usual profits on. Really? You've kept detailed stats about this. It is a valid and calculated risk. But most importantly, and the same as every day before and every trade before, THIS TRADE IS MEANINGLESS. It is just another trade in a very very very long series of trades to come. NOW LET IT WORK.
09:23 Heart palpitations now! 7 ticks MFE. I could have had my normal profit and be out of this trade now. It's killing me.
09:25 REALLY?! Price has pulled back down to below my entry now. ****!
09:29 ****! Stopped out after 7 ticks MFE. -5 ticks. I'm pissed.
09:36 I need to regain my composure here.

Trade #53
09:43 Short on valid setup. Using new target.
09:49 Price is powering up toward my stop. Shaking my head. A bit disgusted right now.
09:58 Price has been 5 ticks MFE and is now back above my entry.
09:59 Stopped out. -5 ticks. I have nothing to say right now.

Trade #54
10:29 Long on valid setup. Using new target.
10:34 6 ticks MFE now.
10:39 Woohoo! Out target. +7 ticks. Feel better now? You know it's still irrelevant though don't you? It's just another trade. Just like the other two were just trades. But look at the extremes in the different emotions you're having. Is that really necessary or helpful? Or are they all in fact “just another trade?” Think about it.

Trade #55
13:20 Long on valid setup.
13:56 Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Rough day mentally.

No fill
14:21 Entry price was touched but not filled. Target reached, so order canceled.

End of the day, end of the week
14:30 That's it.




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A review of the week

Last night, as I thought about the last two days of trading I'd gone through, I was embarrassed with myself. What kind of behavior was this? It's childish. Do I want to be a trader or a crybaby throwing random fits?

It didn't take me long to realize that I may need more than just a simple plan and a “commitment” to follow it. I may need a more well-defined mental framework from which to operate.

It also didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that probably one of the most effective structures for modifying my behavior would come from the military.




My trading plan is literally my “mission plan.” And a lack of clarity about the mission and/or deviating from the mission plan in a military operation can open the door for disaster. It will take me a little time to test and develop this framework for myself, but I will be working to implement several specific things:
  1. I am the FNG:
    I need to get clear about the fact that I am not yet a successful, profitable or professional trader. Period. But this is not meant to be self-demeaning in any way. On the contrary, understanding my “place” may be as important a realization as any, because it provides the context and platform from which I can then begin to progress. If I take action from the perspective of something I am not – i.e., being “in over my head” or being “out of my depth” – then those actions will likely not end successfully. So for the foreseeable future, I am the new recruit; I am the grunt; I am the FNG. And my only job is to operate within the training and mission parameters that I've been given.
  2. Daily AAR:
    I post my trades and results every day now, but my framework for determining whether I “did well” or not, and whether I met my objectives or not, is fuzzy. So I will be working to develop that framework so I can then perform my AAR at the end of each trading day.
  3. Diet, exercise and rest:
    I already follow a very good, strict diet that I designed for myself. Some might refer to me as being somewhat "straight edge" too, because I don't do any form of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol - and I even limit my caffeine intake to one iced tea per day right now. I also follow a very simple but very effective (like my trading plan) military-inspired exercise regimen that I designed for myself. But now I will be taking these more seriously and treating them as if I'm in military training. That also means getting an appropriate amount of sleep/rest.
  4. Attitude and mental work:
    I do daily mental work, but again, I will begin treating this more seriously – as if my future depends on it (which it does). I'm not going to go into detail about what I'm doing at this point. But I will say that I began doing my mental work in a different way - with a different slant - this past October, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is responsible for catapulting me to where I am right now. I say "catapulting" because significant changes have occurred in my life with regard to my trading work since then. For example, this isn't the first time, by any means, that I have attempted a consistency exercise like this, but something is distinctly, almost eerily, different this time around. Things related to my trading and my life are suddenly "falling into place" little bit by little bit. I believe that ultimately this is where the key truly lies.

I'm making plans like this because this kind of structure appeals to me. I've done martial arts and a triathlon; I spent most of my youth on motocross bikes; I recently spent several years very involved in speedball (tournament-style) paintball; and I've always been involved in other miscellaneous physical activities.

Training and discipline has been a big part of my way of life. It's time to apply it to my trading in a serious way.


A look at the stats

My expectancy appears to be waning a bit. Not altogether surprising, but I'll just have to see how this progresses.


Since it's the end of the month I'll post my Weekly Stats grid.


Hope everyone had a good week and a good January. I'm looking forward to seeing what February has in store.

"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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I enjoy your journal a great deal. You do a really good job of documenting your emotions as they evolve during a trade. Keep up the good work!

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I initiated my militaristic approach today. I changed the color of my bars as an additional reminder to myself of my objective.


Treating my trading today like a no crying, no celebrating, no nonsense, no bull**** military exercise created a massive shift in my attitude, an increase in my focus, and a shift in the type of result I was focused on.

I also changed how I do things in my office. Today I:
  1. turned off the sound on my computer so I would have to pay attention and focus my eyes on what was going on rather than bells/dings.
  2. hooked up my Bose® MIE2i Mobile Headset ear buds to my iPhone 4S and cranked my PandoraOne station (see my blog sidebar for my easy-listening style of music) to aid in my focus.
  3. didn't watch the longer term chart like last week.
  4. didn't do any reading of blogs, no “research,” no backtesting, no chatting – barely anything but focusing on executing my plan for the day.
  5. practiced a specific mental exercise often (that I'll get into at a later time) when I wasn't entering a trade or recording it in my log (or eating lunch).

The profits today simply came as a result of following my plan, and a market structure that happened to be favorable to my method. And the session flew by.

Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked...
08:29 Theater of Operations is hostile...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...move out.

Trade #56
08:37 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:46 Objective achieved. +11 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #57
09:04 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:18 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #58
09:28:46 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:32 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #59
09:41 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:43 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #60
09:49 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:53 Things happening pretty fast and I realize that I made a minor error on this trade. I got in 1 tick lower than I should have.
10:01 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #61
10:10 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:29 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #62
10:47 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:59 Objective achieved. +7 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #63
11:13 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:37 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #64
12:17 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:47 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #65
13:11 Short on valid trade. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
13:26 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #66
14:02 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
14:12 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Stand down...
14:30 Clear chambers. Safety's on. Arms away. Prep for debrief.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Objective was accomplished with one minor error (see above).
  • Observations: The end of the down-move today was unknowable with my method. Price turned after testing the 01/31 low, but that is never a guarantee that price will bounce. And, in fact, price eventually broke lower. The primary beneficial action on my part today was taking every valid short signal as the market moved down in a slow grind.



"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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Kevlar, bullets & batteries ready...
08:29 T.O. is hostile...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepare to engage.

Trade #67
08:38 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:40 Minor error: entered one tick too high.
08:49 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Take cover...
08:52 Stand by for enemy barrage at 09:00.

All clear...
09:04 Weapons live. Prepare to reengage.

Trade #68
09:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:32 No Joy. -5 ticks. Stop only exceeded by 1 tick before price powered back up to my original target.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #69
10:20 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:35 Objective achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #70
11:12 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:29 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #71
11:45 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:01 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Break for chow
12:30 Took a break to eat and deal with a couple of trading related email's and chat responses.
13:19 Break is over...pack it up...check weapons...put head back on swivel...prepare to reengage...move out!

Trade #72
13:55 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Cease active engagement... projectile is en-route... stand by...
14:30 No more new orders. Wait for completion of current trade.
14:43 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results and prepare for debrief.

Mission complete... stand down...
14:44 Clear chambers. Safety's on. Arms away. Prep for debrief.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Objective was accomplished with one minor error (see above), however on the next instance of the situation appropriate action was taken.
  • Observations: Market conditions were not as favorable for my method today. However my focus on this training exercise made a HUGE difference in my reaction to events. I was only focused on the mission objectives.




"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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After my first two trades were losers, I thought it was going to end up being a short day of trading for me.

Then I had two trades that stopped me out to the tick. If this had happened before implementing my militaristic mentality approach, I would have been frustrated to say the least.

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

Trade #73
08:30 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Entry was higher than trigger price because price had exceeded trigger level on the open. As a result stop is much tighter and target is farther out.
08:36 No Joy. Stopped out. -3 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #74
08:46 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:48 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Stopped out to the tick before price turned to reach initial target.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #75
09:03 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:14 Objective achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Take cover and stand by for enemy barrage in T-Minus 10...
9:20 Crude oil report in 10 min.

All clear...
09:34 Prepare to reengage. Weapons are hot.

Trade #76
10:11 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:22 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #77
10:28 Long on valid setup. Very difficult orders to carry out because I don't think this is a good idea.
SHUT UP FNG! CARRY OUT YOUR ORDERS!
10:36 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Stopped out to the tick before price turned to reach initial target.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #78
11:41 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:44 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #79
12:40 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
13:22 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #80
14:15 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
14:29 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:30 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Objective was accomplished with appropriate action.
  • Observations: Two trades were stopped out to the tick, but I was only focused on the mission objectives and as a result I followed the mission plan without deviation.



"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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I had my first day of dealing with equipment problems, and it was a bit aggravating.

There was some kind of Charlie Foxtrot with the back end server for the demo platform I'm using, so I had to wait...and wait...and wait. In the process I missed a valid 7-tick winner and a valid 6-tick winner.

It's aggravating because I need these trades to build my sample size and stats. I should have had +13 additional ticks for the day.

But I'm not willing to fudge the numbers. This exercise is about the whole experience of trading, good and bad. And this kind of **** happens sometimes.

Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Weapons jammed...
08:41 Demo server issues preventing order placement.

Stand by until this Charlie Foxtrot is cleared up.
08:52 Missed a 7-tick winner. This kind of **** happens. Maintain position and await new orders...

Charlie Foxtrot continues.
09:07 Missed another 6-tick winner. Repeat, maintain position and await new orders...

Weapons back on line
09:31 Server appears to be back up.

Price moved to within one tick of my entry...
09:34 ...and then powered down to target. Orders canceled.

Trade #81
09:37 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:38 Objective achieved. +7 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Suddenly I'm in a ****storm!
09:39 Things happening fast now.

Trade #82
09:40 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:45 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

****storm continues!
09:47 Things still happening so fast I'm behind on logging it.

Trade #83
09:49 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:51 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #84
10:12 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:21 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #85
10:59 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:04 No Joy. Stopped out. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #86
12:40 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:42 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #87
13:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
13:22 No Joy. Stopped out. -3 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:30 Cancel open entry order.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Objective was accomplished with minor distraction.
  • Observations: My platform wasn't operating properly at the beginning of the session, but it finally came around and I proceeded to take my trades according to my plan. I did lose a little focus due to some brief “chatting.” That won't be tolerated tomorrow. Other than that I was able to focus on the mission objectives and follow the plan without deviation.




"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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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #88
09:06 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Quite sure this is going to be a stop-out. Shut up FNG! Follow mission orders!
I don't believe it – target was hit. Believe it scrub!
09:39 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #89
09:44 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Slight miscalculation. In 1 tick better than plan called for.
10:11 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #90
10:41 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:18 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #91
12:00:06 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
13:14 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
13:30 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Followed mission plan without deviation.
  • Observations: No Joy today. Tight range after strong early push up was not conducive to my method today. Irrelevant though. Mission was accomplished.




"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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A review of the week

I implemented my militaristic approach this week and the change in my attitude was massive.

I don't recall having ever been more focused on the task at hand in my trading. Because of that I was able to, in nearly every case, take setups without hesitation, fear, regret, etc.

In that regard this approach has been extraordinarily beneficial for me.


I'm realizing that most people don't understand why I'm doing what I'm doing. I can understand that, because until very recently I was there too.

But what I have learned about myself, about the market, and about what trading isn't, is becoming of such astounding value to me that I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.

How my method will perform going into the future is still highly questionable due to the lack of duration (91 trades so far), but regardless, I have made more progress as a trader in the past 4 weeks than I have in most of my years.

At this point I am taming the desire to look for a way to improve my method because the experience itself is where I'm profiting. However, this exercise of trading the same method over and over and over and over again is actually allowing me to see the market doing what it does over and over and over again. And I have little doubt that as I continue on I will gain clearer understandings of what I might do to improve how I interact with it.

The bottom line is that I'm seeing trading – the whole thing – in such a different way now that it's difficult to put into words.

I'm nearing my 100th trade – 50 or so trades after I made the minor target modification.

EDIT: Originally I hadn't planned to make any changes to my method, but after looking at my stats, and with the primary objective of my development in mind, I've decided to make another change on the day following the day that I hit 100 trades: I'm going to add a second contract and use two targets.

The stats for my current target are showing a 15% greater profit than the target I was using for the first 50 trades, but with a 96% retention of win rate.

So I'm going to go back to my original target for the first car and use the target I'm currently using for the second car.

This will have a few implications for my trading.
  • First, the mechanical implication: It will mean that I will have more to keep up with while working orders. There are situations when the first target has been reached and another setup forms before the second target level has been hit. So there will be times when I'll still have the second contract on when I'm entering a new position. This will likely result in some errors while I learn how to manipulate the order entry platform and deal with various scenarios that occur.
  • Second, the risk management implication: By using two contracts, my losses on each losing trade will double. It will be necessary to effectively double my risk tolerance parameters. The hopeful offset will be the larger potential profits generated over time.
  • Third, the psychological implication: My biggest reason for hesitating to do this is that my drawdown numbers are going to increase. Bigger per-trade losses, bigger daily losses, and larger drawdowns are not going to be easy for me to stomach. Period.

The interesting thing to note here is that I'm making a change that should improve my profitability, but it doesn't have anything to do with modifying the setup I'm taking for every trade.

And so the training continues.


A look at the stats

My expectancy still appears to be waning. Maybe it's a natural effect of insufficient data thus far. Or maybe it's an accurate reflection of the state of my method right now. I still need more time and experience in order to understand how I should be interpreting this.


I'm posting my weekly stats again this week. I've changed them a bit to reflect $/Day over all days (running) rather than on a weekly basis.


"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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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #92
08:34 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:38 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #93
08:49 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:56 I don't believe it. Price has come all the way back down almost to my target. Shut up FNG! It isn't over yet! Focus on the mission!
Holy ****! It was 4 ticks MAE forever! That's right scrub! Now focus on the mission plan!
09:16 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #94
09:21 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:43 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #95
11:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:15 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #96
13:06 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
14:16 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Loss limit rule hit. Done for the day.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:30 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Followed mission plan without deviation.
  • Observations: No Joy today. Another tight range day that wasn't conducive to my method. Again, it is irrelevant. Mission was accomplished.




"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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I received a private message asking me about a couple of the S5 Trade Analyzer acronyms.

So that everyone can see them I'm posting the answer here in the thread.

BSO = Best Scale Out
TIT = Time In Trade
TSB = Time Standing By

"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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I received a private message asking me about a couple of the S5 Trade Analyzer acronyms.

What about your custom user title? "Status: FNG". Unless it's something to do with being the new guy... ?

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What about your custom user title? "Status: FNG". Unless it's something to do with being the new guy... ?

Mike

Urban Dictionary can probably answer that question better than I can.

-AT

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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #97
I don't like doing this very much. Entering my first position 6 seconds after the open.
08:30 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:38 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Stopped out by 1 tick before price moved back to target.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #98
08:57 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Allowing fears to creep in. So many losers in a row lately. Pull it together recruit! This is the **** that separates the strong from the weak! Bear down and get focused on the objective!
09:03 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #99
09:12 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:24 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #100
09:27 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:35 No Joy. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #101
09:54 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:10 Mistake. I realize that I've made a mistake reading my signal (it was very close to being one way or the other). I've moved my target to b/e for exit.
10:13 Out at breakeven. -0 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #102
10:16 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:25 I'm allowing myself to become focused on the (poor) results of my method today and over the past few days. I'm feeling fear and worry... Focus scrub! Stay in the fight! Push through to the finish, win or lose! SHOW US WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF!
Holy ****! Target reached! Are your eyes opening to the value of this training recruit?! ARE YOU GETTING IT NOW?! Back to work!
10:35 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #103
10:46 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:40 Objective achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:30 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I didn't hesitate to take my trades, but my confidence was shaky. I hit 100 trades today, so tomorrow I have to implement my new 2-car plan. I'll have to get squared away tonight to handle that.
  • Observations: I had major preconceptions about the market today. Or maybe a better way to say it is that I had major fears about what the market was going to be like today. I've been having a harder time over the past couple of days while the range has been very tight and I was worried that I would have to deal with another day like that today. It was another fairly tight-range day but my method worked out relatively well. But, as usual, it is irrelevant. Mission was accomplished.




"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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Urban Dictionary can probably answer that question better than I can.

-AT

OK so I was right

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Attitude Trader, seems you have been doing a very good job, congratulations on your progress and best wishes to you!

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Attitude Trader, seems you have been doing a very good job, congratulations on your progress and best wishes to you!

Thank you Josh.

-AT

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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #104
08:30 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Entering at the open again. I DO NOT like this. FOCUS SCRUB!
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:34 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #105
08:43 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:48 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #106
09:13 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:23 Feeling the need for this one to work out. Feeling some fear. Get your head back in the mission! The outcome of this trade is MEANINGLESS! Focus on the long-term recruit! Push through this pain so you can gain the victory later!
09:45 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #107
10:10 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:16 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #108
11:08 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:31 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #109
13:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
13:19 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results.

Excess losses sustained. Pack up and retreat back to camp.
13:29 Finished for the day due to loss limit rules. One more loss would put me well beyond my intraday loss limit level, so I have to stop for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I started with my 2-car phase today. I took all setups and held them per my plan. I stayed true to my loss limit rules. Mission was accomplished.
  • Observations: I was much more focused on the outcomes of trades today than I was on the execution of my plan. I was feeling a lot of my old feelings about missing out, being wrong, etc. General confidence was lacking. I'll be working on my attitude and the focus of my thoughts between now and tomorrow.



"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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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Trade #110
08:30 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Entering at the open...again. FOCUS SCRUB!
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:32 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #111
08:34 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:35 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #112
08:50 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:51 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #113
09:05 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:19 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #114
09:21 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:28 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #115
10:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Holy ****! It spent most of the time below water! Do you see the value of discipline! Stick with it!
11:55, 11:56 Objectives achieved. +14 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #116
12:20 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
12:28 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Stopped out to the tick before price powered higher.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #117
13:31 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
14:12 Target hit multiple times but no fill... Stop to b/e.
14:28 Target hit multiple times but no fill...
14:32 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:33 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Second day of my 2-car phase was a winner. One of my trades was stopped out to the tick before powering higher. But I took all of the setups and held them per my plan. Mission was accomplished.
  • Observations: Today was a much better day for my attitude and focus. However, after my stop-out-to-the-tick I found myself starting to look for ways to avoid them. I do intend to look for a way (or ways) to improve my method later, but I need to stay focused on my exercise for now.

I'll be taking the day off tomorrow, so I'll be back to trading on Tuesday.




"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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I'm buried with work from my other job this holiday weekend so I'm late getting this posted and I'll be working all weekend.

Military mode is still in full effect, because I'll have to be focused and highly effective with my time and energy in order to get all of this work completed and be rested and ready for trading on Tuesday morning.


A review of the week

Marine recruits are welcomed to either MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) San Diego or MCRD Parris Island.

Recruit Training is 12 weeks. It takes 3 months for the "transformation" to occur. And that just gets you in the corps.

I see something of a parallel with my current training, and my first thought is....

Welcome to DTRD (Day Trader Recruit Depot) Dallas.


I'm beginning to firmly believe that the most effective way to become a successful day trader is through a transformational process similar to Marine Corps Recruit Training.

My current exercise in consistency so far is showing me how short-sighted my view of my own development has been. I'm realizing how much longer it will take - and how much discipline it will require - to build the skills and attitudes necessary to become a consistent, competent, confident, and successful day trader.

I feel like I've been at this exercise for ages, but it has only been a little over a month (20 trading days). And while I've already developed a much different perspective, I see more clearly how far I have to go yet.

Additional benefits of this exercise

I'm finding that the benefits of this exercise are extending beyond just my trading work.

I have become more focused and effective when I'm doing my other job which is extremely helpful right now.

It's also motivating me in my health and fitness. I'm eating in a more disciplined way and my exercise is far more consistent and effective.

It's having the effect of making my body feel better while I'm trading. As I sit at my trading desk each day I feel the slight soreness and bulge of my muscles, and it causes me to sit up straight and strong. It's giving me a surprising boost to my mental toughness and my ability to stay the course through this difficult process.

It is also affecting my mental clarity. My diet is free from a lot of garbage that I used to eat and because of it I find my mind much clearer and more alert than it used to be. I don't find myself nearly nodding off mid-morning or mid-afternoon like I used to.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that this exercise so far is worth its weight in gold. I don't have a specific time frame for ending this exercise, and for the time being it will remain that way.


A look at the stats

Expectancy has popped up slightly over the 20SMA due in large part to the good day on Thursday using 2 lots. So far I've only had one trade using 2 lots where the second target exceeded the first target level. I'll have to wait for market conditions that will give more of those.



Profit-wise I had a pretty good week (for me), but my maximum drawdown was significantly higher this week too.


"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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Keep it up AT. Reading your journal is a really great way to see what goes on in a Trader's mind as it relates to different psychological aspects of trading. All the best with your trading. Looking forward to more posts by you.

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Keep it up AT. Reading your journal is a really great way to see what goes on in a Trader's mind as it relates to different psychological aspects of trading. All the best with your trading. Looking forward to more posts by you.

Thank you MT85.

-AT

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Kevlar, bullets & batteries checked and ready...
08:23 T-Minus 7...weapons live...head on swivel...eyes peeled...prepared to engage.

Missed by seconds...
When clock hit 08:30 I entered my entry order but just seconds before that price hit my level and moved to target. Orders canceled.

Trade #118
08:40 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:48 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #119
08:54 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
I don't like taking this one at all. Price spiked up hard and now I'm buying at the top. You already know that you're going to find yourself in the **** like this! Stick to the mission plan so we can succeed with the long term campaign!
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:03 Price has pulled back below my entry on 2 more bars now. We don't care if we win this particular skirmish! Keep your head!
09:07 Now a new low... Stand steady recruit!
09:14 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Stopped out to the tick before price returned to target.

Trade #120
09:34 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:46 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #121
09:48 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:52 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stop exceeded by 1 tick before price returned to target.

Trade #122
10:16 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:28 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #123
10:40 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:55 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #124
11:04 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
13:02 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Cease active engagement... mission complete... stand down...
14:30 No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: A bit of a rough day. One of my trades was stopped out to the tick before powering higher, and another was only stopped by 1 tick before moving to target too. But I took all of the setups and held them per my plan. Mission was accomplished.
  • Observations: Lack of directional conviction by the market hampered my results, but there was enough movement to make it a profitable day. I've had a few to-the-tick stop-outs lately. In fact it seems like a lot. But herein lies the value of keeping stats. According to my spreadsheet, of 124 trades so far, only 5 trades have been stopped to the tick, and only 3 trades have had stops exceeded by only 1 tick before moving back to target. Not enough at this point to make any changes.



"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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Hey AT

I wanted to commend and thank you on your journal. Like you and I am guessing so many others, I am having a challenge with trade discipline. Your approach is a refreshing and I am trying to incorporate some of your methods into my trading plan.

I wish you success in our progress and I will keep reading your journal as long as you are posting.

Cheers!

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lipton80205 View Post
Hey AT

I wanted to commend and thank you on your journal. Like you and I am guessing so many others, I am having a challenge with trade discipline. Your approach is a refreshing and I am trying to incorporate some of your methods into my trading plan.

I wish you success in our progress and I will keep reading your journal as long as you are posting.

Cheers!

Thank you for the kind words lipton.

-AT

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

Trade #125
08:35 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:37 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #126
08:45 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:56 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #127
09:05 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:18 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stop exceeded by only 1 tick before price returned to hit target.

Trade #128
09:42 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:47 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #129
10:16 Mistake Short on invalid setup. Didn't realize it until it was over. You're not paying attention! Your only job is to focus on this mission! Get your head in the game!
10:21 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
My mistake caused me to miss the setup that I should have been in.

Trade #130
10:48 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:15 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #131
11:49:54 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
12:11 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Dynamic daily loss limit hit
12:11 Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I allowed myself to work on another project while I was trading today which caused me to 1) take an invalid setup that cost me a losing trade, and 2) miss the actual valid trade that would have been a winner. So in effect that mistake cost me 22 ticks. I must focus on my trading during the trading session, or not trade at all.
  • Observations: It would appear that I have become somewhat complacent about my trading now that I'm in a routine. I need to be diligent about staying focused.
I have a lot of other work to do this afternoon, so I'm shutting my charts down and getting on my other work.




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

Trade #132
08:39 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:42 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 returned to target.

Take cover for enemy barrage
08:50 High impact report in 10 minutes.

Trade #133
09:03 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:05 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #134
09:17 on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:20 Objectives achieved. +14 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #135
09:39 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:41 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
10:14 No Joy on second volley. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #136
10:39 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:53 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Price only exceeded my stop by 1 tick before turning back around to hit my target.

Trade #137
11:52 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
11:57 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Daily loss limit hit
Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Followed the plan today with no mistakes. Another day of hitting my loss limit though.
  • Observations: First trade of the day was stopped out to the tick, and the stop on the fifth trade was only exceeded by 1 tick, before price moved back down to their respective targets. What will be interesting to see is whether this continues or if rotations after entry will come back within my stop distance. Also had my first trade where the first car hit target and the second car turned around to hit my stop.




"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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A review of the week

I took Friday off to work on a project and with the holiday on Monday, it made for a short week of trading. This was my first unprofitable week so far in this exercise and I haven't looked at Friday's market action yet, so I don't know if it would have been good for me or not. Regardless, this exercise is as much about the day-in, day-out grind of what trading for a living is like, and this is just the way things go sometimes.

I'll be back to my focus on trading next week.

A look at the stats

Expectancy is again moving lower. This is, of course, due to using 2 lots now and having a bad week. Hopefully I'll begin to see some improvement here.


The main thing I see in this week's stats is the large drawdown. Again, this is due to the compounded effect of using multiple lots. I'll have to get used to these numbers being larger than they were in the first few weeks.


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

Trade #138
08:30 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:36 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #139
08:43 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:47 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #140
09:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:15 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #141
09:31 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:33 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 moved back to my target.

Trade #142
09:42 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:44 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Price exceeded my stop by 1 tick before moving back to target.

Daily loss limit reached...again
Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I followed the plan today with no mistakes, but it was another short and losing day.
  • Observations: My method was against the flow of the market on the first 3 trades. On the last 2, it was with the flow, but one trade was stopped out to the tick and one stop was only exceeded by one tick, with both moving right back down to their respective targets.

    Although it is a bit frustrating to be having such poor results lately, I have to keep in mind that this is an exercise in consistency. I've learned an enormous amount about myself during this process so far. I've begun developing a strong habit of consistency and trust in myself to follow my own rules.

    I also think this could quite possibly be the most valuable period during this exercise. This is the point when I would normally be looking for a "better way." My method is obviously struggling, but if I stick with it until at least trade #150, I think I may see the value in being consistent over the long term.

    Ultimately time will tell.



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

Trade #143
08:38 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:41 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #144
Mistake 08:52 Short prior to report at 09:00.
08:59 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #145
09:16 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:18 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
09:20 Objective 2 achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #146
09:24 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:28 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
09:29 Objective 2 achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #147
09:41 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:44 I'm pretty confident that this trade will not make it to T2, because I'm seeing something that leads me to believe that price should be turning around in this area. I don't have enough experience with it yet, so I have to just watch and learn. I also have to take the trades according to my plan for now.
09:46 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
09:50 No Joy on lot 2. -5 ticks.
Wow! I was right.

Trade #148
09:58 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:02 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #149
10:11 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:13 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
10:24 Objective 2 achieved. +11 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #150
10:26 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:29 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
No Joy on lot 2. -5 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Price exceeded my stop by only 1 tick on the second lot before moving back down to target.

Trade #151
10:37 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:38 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #152
11:30 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
11:32 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
11:33 Objective 2 achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #153
11:49 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
11:57 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
12:00 Objective 2 achieved. +9 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #154
12:08 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
12:12 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #155
12:57 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
13:06 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #156
13:16 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 should have been the same, but I wasn't focused completely on my trading and didn't adjust my second target as I should have. As result I gained 2 extra ticks on the trade.
13:21 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
13:21 Objective 2 achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #157
14:05 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
14:12 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Stand down, RTB
14:30 New order cut-off time. Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I made a mistake on the second trade of the day by entering too close to high impact reports/happenings, and it cost me.
    However, today was decidedly different than the past few days. Today's market action was conducive to my method, so it was a good day.
  • Observations: Although today's success doesn't necessarily have implications as far as the long-term effectiveness of my current method is concerned, there is one thing that stands out above all else: Staying consistent with a method will put one in a position to take advantage when conditions are conducive.



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

Mistake at the very start
08:32 Allowed a different time frame chart to deter me from taking a valid setup and missed a winning opportunity.

Trade #158
08:55 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:00 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #159
09:07 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
I finessed the entry on this one. If I had entered normally I would have been stopped out to the tick.
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:11 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #160
09:18 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:19 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #161
09:36 Short on INVALID setup. Tried to pick a top based on other time frame charts. What the **** are you doing grunt?! Do you think you're so smart that you can predict where the market is going to turn?! Break protocol one more time and you're done for the day!
09:39 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #162
10:18 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:20 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #163
10:43 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:51 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #164
11:01 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
11:07 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #165
11:14 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
11:21 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #166
11:59 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
12:04 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 on this one.

Trade #167
12:47 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Mistake T1 and T2 should have been the same but I was distracted and left T2 beyond the T1 level.
13:10 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
13:12 Objective 1 achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #168
13:55 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
13:59 Objective achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Stand down, RTB
14:30 New order cut-off time. Finished for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I missed the first winning trade because I was looking at what was happening on another chart.
    Because I'm beyond trade #150 and had the mentality that I could be looser with my rules, I finessed the entry on trade #159 and avoided a stop-out. However, that attitude came back to bite me. I broke my rules on trade #161 and tried to fade the high (at that time), which resulted in a losing trade.
  • Observations: Trade #161 was a losing trade, but what I found far more important is that as soon as I took it I suddenly felt lost. In fact I immediately started to look for another trade in the same direction AGAINST MY RULES. It would have been a loser too. And I know that I would have been fuming had I taken another loser while breaking my rules.

    Today has shown me again how important it is to have a plan, and how important it is to honor that plan.

    The other powerful lesson for me today is that having an idea about what the market should do at x or y level has no bearing whatsoever on what the market is going to do.

    In other words, until about 12:00CT I kept expecting the market to turn around and head back down because I had identified a couple important levels on a longer term chart (the reason I took that trade against my rules). But the market beat the **** out of those levels and did whatever it wanted to do. If I had kept trying to fade the highs instead of following my rules, I would have been beaten to bloody pulp.

    It is so much better to go with what the market is doing, than it is to try to figure out what the market is going to do.



"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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AttitudeTrader View Post
It is so much better to go with what the market is doing, than it is to try to figure out what the market is going to do.

There is so much truth and utility in this statement, it's almost mind-boggling. It really is one of the concepts that has taken me the longest to understand accept - and I'm not even getting into actually applying it.

As always, excellent work @AttitudeTrader and kudos for sharing your journey.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
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omni72 View Post
There is so much truth and utility in this statement, it's almost mind-boggling. It really is one of the concepts that has taken me the longest to understand accept - and I'm not even getting into actually applying it.

As always, excellent work @AttitudeTrader and kudos for sharing your journey.

Thanks as always @omni72 .

"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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  #71 (permalink)
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You have exemplified the concept of thinking in terms of probabilities. I really really commend you for not only doing so, but for also sharing your journey with the rest of us. THANK YOU.

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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 #169
08:30 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:32 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
08:32 Objective 2 achieved. +7 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #170
08:35 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:36 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #171
08:46 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same but I was so busy recording my trades that I forgot to modify T2. I realized it, modified it, and it was hit 1 minute after T1.
08:46 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
08:47 Objective 2 achieved. +6 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #172
08:52 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:53 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #173
09:01 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:02 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #174
09:09 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:14 No Joy. -10 ticks.
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. Done for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Although early price action was fast and furious, I followed my plan without deviation. There just turned out to be too much non-directional swinging and I hit my rolling/dynamic loss limit for the day early on.
  • Observations: Mid-morning, after hitting my loss limit, I was getting caught up with all of my trading paper/computer work, and marking subsequent setups/entries on my charts, when I was shocked to suddenly notice that I was in a good mood!

    After a losing day?! What the **** is going on here?!

    It literally gave me goosebumps as I realized that it's because I don't feel so lost, and that I honestly believe that I am making some progress.

    I'm following my rules and I'm starting to get enough days of consistent trading under my belt to begin truly believing that it is the long-term that matters. And that making sure that I'm still around when market structure is more conducive to my method is the name of the game (aka risk management).

    It's amazing how a losing day can be the impetus for such a powerful reinforcement of the important things that are becoming more apparent to me.



"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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indextrader7 View Post
You have exemplified the concept of thinking in terms of probabilities. I really really commend you for not only doing so, but for also sharing your journey with the rest of us. THANK YOU.

Thank you for the kind words @indextrader7 .

-AT

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AttitudeTrader View Post
..............The other powerful lesson for me today is that having an idea about what the market should do at x or y level has no bearing whatsoever on what the market is going to do.

In other words, until about 12:00CT I kept expecting the market to turn around and head back down because I had identified a couple important levels on a longer term chart (the reason I took that trade against my rules). But the market beat the **** out of those levels and did whatever it wanted to do. If I had kept trying to fade the highs instead of following my rules, I would have been beaten to bloody pulp.

It is so much better to go with what the market is doing, than it is to try to figure out what the market is [I]going to do.........................

The Holy Grail

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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 #175
08:30 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:31 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #176
08:42 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:47 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Feeling a tinge of disappointment/aggravation. Get over it! This trade is meaningless! Focus on the objective recruit!
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #177
09:04 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:08 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #178
09:11 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:16 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #179
09:47 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:53 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #180
10:09 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Trading right into a double top on 3min chart. Don't like this at all. Good observation grunt. File it, but maintain focus on the current mission plan.
10:14 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Missed a winning entry
Things were happening a little too quickly and I wasn't as focused as I needed to be.

Trade #181
10:56 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:58 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #182
11:44 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to get stopped out on this one. That doesn't matter candidate! Your only job is to carry out the mission protocol as it has been delivered to you! Get your priorities in line!
11:58 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Wow!

Trade #183
12:02 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
12:08 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #184
Mistake 12:27 Long. Overlooked one parameter of my entry. As soon as I realized it I exited at entry price.
12:29 -0 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Mission complete. RTB for AAR.
13:30 Friday cut-off time. No more new orders.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: I missed a winning trade, and I had one minor mistake reading my trigger, but other than that I followed my plan without deviation. Although, I did have fairly strong doubts about at least one trade.</li>
  • Observations: I had another chart with S/R lines on it and I marked the spots where I would have wanted to get long/short. I was 3 for 4 in picking levels that would have resulted in losing trades - showing me that sticking to my current plan is still the better option.
I'll be working my other job this afternoon and through most of the weekend, so my Weekend Review and Stats post will probably be a little late.



"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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  #76 (permalink)
los angeles, ca usa
 
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been following your post...thanks for diligently posting your results. When you went to two cars do you take one off say at 6 ticks and keep the other for your final target or break even?

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  #77 (permalink)
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stoplight View Post
been following your post...thanks for diligently posting your results. When you went to two cars do you take one off say at 6 ticks and keep the other for your final target or break even?

Hey @stoplight ,

First car has a hard target, second car has a dynamic target based on current market structure. Often both targets are the same price due to the way I've structured my trade management rules.

And just to be clear, at this point I never move my stops - to breakeven or otherwise. That may change later though when I begin dealing with either more contracts or different target scenarios.

-AT

"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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  #78 (permalink)
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A review of the week

The previous week was my first losing week and I continued that with a pretty large losing day on Monday of this week.

But in my post at the end of Monday's session I said, "I also think this could quite possibly be the most valuable period during this exercise." As it turns out that was more true than I could have known. And because I stuck to my rules/plan I had my best day yet on Tuesday, and, against anything I could have predicted, I exceeded that on Wednesday.

This week I also experienced something very new for me: Neutral emotion/reaction to a losing day. On Thursday I was stunned to realize that after a losing day I was just in a "taking care of business" mentality, and not giving undue weight to what was just another "day at the office." I think the implications of this improved "state of being" are far-reaching and are going to begin making a difference at deeper levels of my psychology.

Ultimately this week has been an incredible reinforcement of the value of consistency for me.

A look at the stats

For the first time during this exercise Expectancy actually trended up. I expect it to wind around mostly in its current range, but it's nice to finally see it stop plunging.


In looking at my stats I realized that I've been noting the drawdown I experience each week, but that number is not really what is important to me. For example, using my previous way of looking at drawdown each week, the number for this week would be $567.00. But what that doesn't show is that I had a much larger actual drawdown that continued from last week of $1,163.50. So my stats will now reflect the max continuous drawdown experienced during the course of each week.


I also want to reiterate here that I am well aware that the simulated/demo results I'm getting are better than I would expect to get in live trading, but this is still about the exercise in consistency and not the method. This whole training exercise is about getting used to the day-in, day-out grind of the business, and truly understanding what trading for a living is all about. At this point, the mentality that I'm developing is far more important to me than the results of any particular method.

"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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  #79 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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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 #185
08:33 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:37 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stop exceeded by only 1 tick before price turned around to hit my targets.

Trade #186
08:45 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
08:46 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
08:46 Objective 1 achieved. +7 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #187
08:50 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:54 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #188
08:58 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:11 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #189
09:29 Short on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:40 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #190
09:56 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:02 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Another trade where my stop was exceeded by only 1 tick before price turned around to hit my targets.

Enemy forces too strong. RTB.
10:07 Dynamic/rolling loss limit reached. Done for the day.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
  • Outcome: Followed my plans/rules with precision and focus. This morning just turned out to be choppy and non-directional, and wasn't conducive to my method. I had 2 trades where my stop was exceeded by 1 tick before price turned back around to hit my target(s). Ultimately I hit my daily dynamic/rolling loss limit early again today.
  • Observations: As I'm trading each day I watch levels that I think might be important on my main chart and on a time-based chart that is fairly close in time-frame to my main chart. What I'm finding is that I am far more often wrong than right about these levels. At this point my only plan is to continue to work with my current method while studying to see where I can improve what I'm doing.



"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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  #80 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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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 #191
08:32 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
08:35 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #192
08:43 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
I've taken this trade according to my rules, but based on my standard Fib extensions, I think I'm buying into a strong resistance area. Input noted. Maintain focus on the mission.
08:51 Objective 1 achieved. +6 ticks.
08:55 Objective 1 achieved. +8 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #193
09:06 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
Again buying into strong resistance.
09:08 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.
Stop exceeded by only 2 ticks before price turned around to reach targets.

Trade #194
09:23 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
09:33 Objectives achieved. +12 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #195
09:53 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
10:02 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #196
10:17 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
10:36 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #197
11:06 Long on valid setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
T1 and T2 are the same.
11:20 No Joy. -10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Enemy forces too strong. RTB.
11:25 Dynamic/rolling loss limit reached. Finished for the day.

AAR
Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
Outcome: Followed my rules without deviation, but still hit my dynamic/rolling loss limit for the day.
Observations: I made note of areas where I thought price would run into strong resistance. It didn't happen, and I'm extremely glad that I just made note of those levels but still followed my rules.
I found myself getting a little frustrated this morning, but once I realized it I started changing the focus of my thoughts. I'm finding that when I focus my thoughts on things like what changes I may make to my method later, or getting prepped for the next setup, I don't feel nearly as much anxiety about one or two (or three!) losing trades. Kind of like "there's a bigger picture to focus on than these most recent trades."

Time to modify the method

I'm ready to make another change to my method. I'm almost at trade #200, and I didn't make any changes at #150, so I'm going to implement it starting tomorrow. It will be a simple change to the exit level for my second lot on each trade.

The stats I'm keeping are showing me that a target level that I'm tracking should provide me with a 45% greater profit per lot than the current base target I have. What will be difficult to deal with is that this more distant target is only hit 71% of the time. This means that it is possible that I may have to endure even longer/deeper drawdowns than I have been. I'll be implementing a different stop management scenario for this second lot, so that might help to minimize the potential drawdown number.

Another thing this change will affect is my trade management. Because T2 is going to be farther out, there will be times when I will be entering a new setup when T2 from the previous setup hasn't been reached yet. This will require even more focus on my part to manage these multiple positions. I will also have to get experience in how my order entry platform reacts to these situations.

I'm finding it interesting (again) that I haven't yet found a "better" entry method, but that I'm still (hopefully) improving the performance of my method without changing the setup/entry itself. I still want to improve my trade selection, but I'll just have to keep my eyes open for a better way.



"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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  #81 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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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 #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)
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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
 
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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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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)
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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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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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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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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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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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Great thread AT!
Good follow through and detailed journal. Im curious, have you planned out your next phase, and the next one after that? set clear and concise goals about what type of trader you are(strengths and weaknesses) and a game plan of how you are going to get there? there is more: pre-market routine, closing your books, self-audits, grading yourself, disciplinary actions when you fail to follow your directives, goals(yearly, monthly, weekly, daily). And that is not even bringing into discussion your actual trading plan(i believe without the former in place a trading plan is doomed to fail no matter how good it is).
When I was coming up I traded exhaustively, I refused to even think about bringing in a new system to my live account until I successfully doubled 3 demo accounts with it /properly executed at least 2000 trades/ had 500 winners in a row/ and never exceeded my pre-determined risk. This took YEARS to accomplish but it was vital for me in coming up and making trading my profession.
I honestly found that for me personally(different for everyone), the #1 factor is actually knowing WHEN to trade and when not to. I see it time and time again with new traders, trading during times they shouldnt and being afraid to trade during times where the best opportunities present themselves. Over trading will crush even the best of traders.

You obviously have discipline and persistence my friend and trading takes that in spades. I wish you the best.

Wulf

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In this second part of my Weekend Review and Stats I'm going to address the topic of my current method, and my plans for moving into "Phase 2" of my development as a trader.

My current method

I want to start off by talking about the method/plan I've been using for this exercise so far.

I want to address this for a couple of reasons. The first is because I've had a few traders ask me what my method is, and the second is, if I were in their shoes, I would want to know too.

What is probably going to be hard to hear is that I essentially threw together a couple of parameters and started trading it (in sim). I knew that I was going to be using it for an exercise in consistency, so I wasn't too concerned about its performance. Which is why I've been so surprised by its performance. It has done far better than I would ever have expected it to.

But, if I were in those trader's shoes, it would be irritating to me to think that someone just threw together some rules and started making (simulated) money, when I've spent hundreds of hours (and literally decades of my life) trying everything under the sun and constantly losing.

However, this is how my very simple method has reinforced (for me) the coin toss concept that managing your trades and yourself is more important than your setups/entries.

But there's a secret!

I want to elaborate on this "thrown together" method though.

What I want to share is that there is a secret behind how I came up with the parameters I've been using. And that secret is that prior to starting this journal of my exercise in consistency, I traded (in sim) a horrible idea consistently enough that, even though it sucked, allowed me to start seeing how I was fighting the market, and get new ideas about things that might work better.

Why the **** should I waste my time trading an inferior method?

So the birth of this simple method I've been using came from the consistent application of another, pretty bad, method.

And, for me, this is the powerful answer to the argument that so many aspiring traders seem to have with what I'm doing.

That argument goes something like: "How in the **** is consistently trading a losing method going to help me? If I'm trading a losing method consistently, then I'm instilling bad habits aren't I? Why in the world would I want to waste my time getting my *** kicked trading a sucky method? I'm not going to waste my time with that. I'm going to do research, and once I figure out how the market works and come up with a method that has a good, positive expectancy, then I'll start to work on my execution skills and consistency."

In my mind that's tantamount to saying, "Give me the rank and pay grade of Sergeant Major first, and then I'll go to basic training." Or, "Give me the salary and title of Senior Vice President first, and then I'll start working in the mail room to learn this company from the bottom up."

That's bull****.

I think the problem lies in the differences between the behavioral structures of the military (or corporate) world and the trading world. And the root of that problem is that the responsibility for the development/advancement of the Marine in the Corps (or executive in the corporate world) lies almost entirely with the organization, whereas the responsibility for the development/advancement of the trader lies almost entirely with the trader himself/herself.


In the military (or corporate) world you step into a structure that is already in place, and you must operate within the parameters of that structure in order to advance and in some cases to even survive. Additionally there are proven techniques in place to break you down and rebuild you in a way that benefits not only the structure but your experience within that structure.

But in trading, all you need is some money and enough smarts to fill out an account application, and voila, you're a trader - at whatever "rank" you decide, regardless of your true state of development.

In most cases there is absolutely no structure for you to step into, other than the liquidation of your account when you can't meet a margin call.

Rock bottom is a powerful place.

You're on your own. This is why I've been saying that starting at the bottom is the only real way to know where you stand.

In other words, "know your place" relative to the structure within which you're operating.

I believe that most aspiring traders either do not have an appropriate understanding of this concept, or they think that they're above it, or both (which is where I think I've been for most of my "career").

They're going to be "smart." They're going to do laborious amounts of backtesting. They're going to amass a treasure trove of statistical data on the market's behavior. They're going to discuss the most esoteric aspects of trading with other brilliant traders to come to greater enlightenment.

But when it comes to actually applying all of this brilliant research and understanding, they struggle. They need a million excuses as to why they're not successful in order to defend their idea that if they continue to learn more about the market they will eventually be successful. The exasperated comment is usually something like, "It's taking a lot longer to become a profitable trader than I thought it would."

You get what you give.

But I believe it has far less to do with learning about the market, and far more to do with learning about ourselves. I believe that the process that I'm going through right now is a vitally important component of my development into a successful trader.

And this process, at its most basic level, is about consistent behavior.

I'm beginning to see it as a kind of "you get what you give" thing. Even if you don't have a "winning" or "profitable" method, if you will just start interacting with the market in a consistent way, you will begin to get consistent feedback from the market. Then you can take that feedback to improve what you're doing.

I think things like combines, and attempts to try to force your trading results into a predefined box, work counter to your development as a trader in a powerful way, simply because they are emphasizing the achievement of erroneous goals.

Phase 2

At the end of yesterday's post I said, "I intend for this next phase to involve learning how to modify, develop and improve my trading method."

When I finished that post I still didn't have a clear idea about how I was going to modify my current method. I started jotting down ideas about what my rules might be if price did x while my indicator was doing y, and how I would quantify that under varying scenarios. Then I started looking at where my current method was having problems and searching for ways to avoid those situations. I poured over days and days of charts to see what things I could do to catch moves that I had been seeing during this exercise.

But the more I worked on it, the more concerned I got, because I wasn't really able to describe every aspect of what I was seeing in ways that would suit every situation. Last night after becoming a little frustrated, I finally let it go because I wasn't getting anywhere.

I started going over it in my mind again this morning to no avail when I realized that I really needed to step back and adjust the way I was looking at this whole Phase 2 thing. And that had to start with adjusting my attitude.

Attitude is huge...again

This is a big topic, and I'll discuss it in detail at some point, but I discovered that it was my attitude that was stunting my progress with how I should proceed with Phase 2. I immediately did what I needed to do to get into the right frame of mind, and once I did I started to see where I was getting held up.

I realized that I was looking for a way to speed this process up. I was looking for a way to start making better simulated money. I was looking for a way to be right more often. I was looking for a method/plan that would propel me to live trading sooner.

And that clarity made me realize that this attitude/mentality stems from my current situations regarding finances, work, family and self-value (need for success and validation).

Having come to those realizations, I was able to get back to "knowing my place." I was able to get back to understanding that I'm still in the beginning phases of my development as a trader (even though I've been at this for decades), and that the only objective is that development. It isn't about developing my method.

This is hard to come to terms with for me because it makes it very apparent that I still have a ways to go; that it's still going to take more time. And, I believe, this is why so few are willing to go down this path.

And this is where developing a positive outlook on the future, deciding to be mentally strong, having faith, and creating the confidence that you can and will succeed is critical.

An attitude like this is the only thing that is going to get you through this kind of process and the **** that you're going to have to deal with on the way to your ultimate goals and success.

Being wrong and missing out.

Once I got my "mind right," it became clear to me what Phase 2 was going to be about.

If Phase 1 was about learning the value of consistency by following a specific set of rules, then Phase 2 is going to be about learning how to deal with being wrong and missing out.

As I was going over ways to improve my method I saw that there were many instances where I would have to make a decision not to follow my original plan, and in some cases even go against it. And the difficulty I was having in coming up with improvements was because I was having a hard time dealing with the idea that if I took the "new" setup and the "old" one ended up working, I would be upset that I didn't just stick with my "old" rules. I would be "wrong" on the setup I took, and "miss out" on the the one I didn't take.

Up to this point the only way I could be "wrong" or "miss out" was by not taking the setup defined in my plan. But now I have the potential for being wrong and missing out due to my decisions. The responsibility for my success/failure, profits/losses, has now shifted from the method to me.

A decent plan today is better than a perfect plan next week.

It's time for me to start taking my own advice. I'll be putting together a well-defined set of rules for my Phase 2 entries, but I'm not going to worry too much about how well those entries are going to perform. I'll let time show me that.

I'm seeing now that the notes I jotted down for possible setups yesterday are actually pretty acceptable - not perfect, not proven, not even precise - but acceptable. They're something I can use to build on.

This means that I'm going to have to allow my method to be "not so great." I don't know everything yet. I haven't figured everything out yet. But I do "know my place." So I'll have to be ok with the fact that my ideas/setups may not work out so well - at least in the beginning.

I can already see that I'm going to have some gut-wrenching times during this process, but that's where the real work is going to be: learning how to manage my reactions to being wrong and missing out, as well as the ever-present fact that I'm still nowhere near my ultimate goal of making a living from my trading.

I have to remember that this is a process of incremental improvements - in the method and in myself.

And I have to have the faith that somehow, some way, I will ultimately reach my goal.

Here we go again...

I knew I needed to do it, but I could never have predicted how much this exercise would change the way I look at my trading.

As such, the main focus will continue to be on my own consistency.

And the only performance that will continue to be of the utmost importance to me is my own performance.

"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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Mission Plan: 2013.03.11.218-238

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

Trade #218
08:42 Long on [SS2] setup (going against Core setup). Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
Wow! Extremely nervous but it's a setup according to my Mission Plan, so I need to take it. I feel like I'm walking a tightrope without a net or something. This is "no man's land" for me. Well done executing in the face of uncertainty PFC! It appears that you're beginning to mature into this regime!
08:48 Target 1 found. +6 ticks.
08:51 Target 2 found. +10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Trade #219
09:17 Long on [Core] setup. Win or lose, it's irrelevant. Record the trade, watch it, and learn...
09:49 Target 1 found. +6 ticks.
I thought for sure this one was going to get stopped out, but I'm used to how my Core setups behave so I just had to wait to see what would happen.
10:11 Target 2 found. +10 ticks.
Record results, stabilize/regroup, and prepare for the next assault. Focus only on the task at hand.

Avoiding my Core setup
11:41 [COS1] I'll be avoiding a Core setup here as part of the subjective decision-making latitude built into my rules/plan. This decision is based on reasoning specifically outlined in my Mission Plan document.
12:02 Not necessary. Price didn't come to the entry level anyway.

Avoiding my Core setup again
13:15 [COS1] I'll be avoiding a Core setup here for the same reasons as above.
13:47 Application of this discretionary rule kept me from a winning Core setup.
This doesn't feel great, but I don't feel horrible about it.
The second target level was touch but not exceeded, and shows me that this was not a strong setup anyway, and could easily have been a losing trade.

Avoiding my Core setup again
13:59 [COS1] I'll be avoiding a Core setup here for the same reasons as above.
14:36 Application of this discretionary rule saved me from a losing Core setup.
I felt a greater sense of control over my trading by being able to avoid this trade. And it turned out to be a beneficial decision.

Mission complete. RTB for AAR.
14:30 New entry cut-off time. Finished for the day.

Special Note
Starting today I'll be noting the specific Mission Plan in use at the beginning of each post. I'll also be noting the specific rule (or set of rules) being applied for each trade or circumstance. For example, [Core] is my core setup rules, [SS1] is "Supplemental Setup #1," [COS1] is "Core Override Situation #1," etc. This way I can go back and see exactly why I did what I did if I need to.

AAR
  • Objective: Follow mission plan with extreme prejudice.
    -
  • Outcome: I followed my plan well for my first day of dealing with more discretionary decision-making.
    -
    I had one [COS1] that cost me a (probable) winning trade, and one that saved me from a (certain) losing trade.
    -
    I'm doing a 20-trade sample size (through trade #238) for this first application of my Phase 2 training rules, so that it doesn't take too long before I can make a modification if I need to.
    -
  • Observations: I was a little surprised that I didn't feel more irritation about missing out on a winning Core setup, but it was nice to have the next application of that rule save me from a losing trade. I'll just have to see how it works out over time.
    -
    Overall it was a much slower pace for my trading today, and the market too I guess.



"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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