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A TopStepTrader's Real Money Combine


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Updated February 26th 2017 by aquarian1
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A TopStepTrader's Real Money Combine

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  #131 (permalink)
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On Combines In General

First I am going to talk more of Edison and then come back to the topic of the TST combine.

The reason I am hounding you further with Edison is not because I am a masochistic journalist trying to use this as a sounding board. This after all is a TST Combine journal, and with Edison's example I wanted to illustrate how the combine has made me a better trader.

Edison reportedly slept a mere three to four hours at night, regarding sleep as a waste of time, ‘a heritage from our cave days’.

In fact, Edison is often accused of having forever disrupted our internal clocks with his invention of the lightbulb — some researchers go as far as estimating that artificial light has stripped modern life of 1-2 hours of sleep per night.

Thanks to Edison, sunset no longer meant the end of your social life; instead, it marked the beginning of it.

But back to our journal.

Edison had so much faith in the power of his invention to liberate people from the burden of sleep that he often made ridiculous 'scientific' statements regarding sleep.

However, while he carried his lack of sleep as a kind of badge of honor, he had a duplicitous little secret: Power-napping. Napping cots scattered throughout his property, from labs to libraries. Edison used napping to counterbalance the intensity of his work. He always awoke from his naps reinvigorated rather than groggy, ready to devour the rest of the day with full alertness and zest.

When one of his inventions failed — a printing machine — he took five men into the loft of his factory, declaring he would never come down till it worked satisfactorily. For two days, and nights and twelve hours — sixty hours in all — he worked continuously without sleep, until he had conquered the difficulty; and then he slept for thirty hours.

He lay down rather severe rules for one who wishes to succeed in life - working eighteen hours a day.

‘You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most men, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.’

To succeed in the combine (or trading in general) you need to make it the primary business of your life during your waking and dreaming hours.

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  #132 (permalink)
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MarketPilot View Post
The "Red Trade" comment sounds like you may not have complete faith in the trades you take. You sound so much like me just a few weeks back. I had to fine tune both my entry criteria and trend determination. Even after making these changes I found I was performing a similar behavior. I could see it during my daily trade reviews. Sometimes half of my trades would not meet my trade criteria. Worse yet, these were usually the majority of my losing trades.

I finally convinced myself to ONLY take trades that really match my trade criteria. When a trade goes against me, I look at market internals to decide if I might be wrong or if this is just a stop run and I should stay in the trade. Consistency followed with these changes. The biggest change was I stopped worrying when placing a trade and now feel good that I'm trading to meet my plan. This matters more than if the trade is profitable. This made a huge emotional change for me.

I always felt my system would work, but found it was hard to get myself to trade my own system the way I defined the trades. I did the same things I hear you saying:
  • Hesitated on Entering Trades
  • Took Reversal Trades too often
Break those bad behaviors and your trading will change drastically for the better.

Hi @MarketPilot, yes very good advice indeed!

The explanation of that red trade statement is that I feel the scary demons kicking and thrashing when I do not take a valid with-trend trade.

I mean I get scared when I do not trade according to my plan.

And why do I not trade according to my plan?

Anxiety and boredom.

Anxiety that I will not get a good / better trade in the limited hours I scan the markets and then the combine days will be over.

Boredom when I am doing the correct things - this is the pinnacle of success I am resting on counting my laurels and then I suddenly feel like a robot doing what is written in a plan and doing it correctly and reaping the rewards but thking "What then?". This attitude of raising Platonic questions I am trying to suppress by simply treating each trade as just another trade in the routine of a combine.

I only hope I can keep up with the tempo till the end!

Thanks for all the rays of hope and light!

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  #133 (permalink)
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'My'ness


The redness in that red trade does not feel like my redness.

It seems like a foreign toxic additive that I am handling in a otherwise pure cocktail of correct recipes that I have painstakingly crafted and tested (tasted).

And it appears out of 'nowhere' this taking of a non-tradable event (call it early entry, crazy unplanned entry etc.) - these trades result from a state of mind that does not belong to the part of me that knows how to trade well.

I am talking in puzzles, but that is how I splice up the bad trades and the good trades.

If I stick to my trading methodology it is like a walk in the park with sightseeing called trades.

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  #134 (permalink)
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Jurassic Park

To reiterate:

Whenever I have my focus on the trading process - i.e. trading well, then the problems all disappear!

The moment I focus on:

- statistics
- P & L
- missing out on opportunity
- losing accumulated profits
- fear of getting a loser next
- fear of a winner turning into a loser
- making an issue or experiment out of life in general (will it be boring always? why is the world winner take all? etc.)


..... then that walk in the park becomes Jurassic Park.









Here is the concept presented more eloquently by Chang Tzu:



Quoting 

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
- he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power.

- Chang Tzu


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  #135 (permalink)
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You do not know what is going to happen next

In an earlier combine journal I wrote:

"The root cause of it all is ENTERING TOO EARLY.

Entering without following rules."

Here is what @rubyslippage advised in her astute manner:



rubyslippage View Post
I struggled with this again and again and again, to the point I wondered if I suffered from some mental defect.

I knew that not following the rules was the cause of poor trading results, but the root cause of not following the rules was something you nailed in your earlier post:

"...as I watched price gyrate upwards I was about to leave my stop alone as by that time it was clear that the big downmove was due anytime..."

I think it was second or third time through Trading in the Zone that I awakened to the root cause of all the other trading issues: It was an overpowering belief that I knew what price was going to do next. I realized that the only reason I would hesitate to trade a signal, or jump in too early, or chase a trade after the planned entry was left in the dust, or move a stop, was that I personally believed I knew what was going to happen next.

If you break a rule and have a positive result, it's dangerous because it reinforces a belief that you can psychically predict individual outcomes from a series of randomly distributed results.

If you break a rule and have a negative result, it's dangerous because you're prone to allow previous results to influence your subsequent trades.

So I think you're on target that breaking the rules is the root cause of negative overall $$ results, but the belief that you need to deactivate and replace before you can more comfortably follow your rules is the belief that you can predict the outcome of an individual trade, the belief that you know what's going to happen next.



As I tread this combine I realize that I need to keep this advice at the very front of my consciousness!

I do NOT know what the market will do - once @GaryD places an order he has to get into what he calls 'surrender'.

Mark Douglas is essential reading!

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  #136 (permalink)
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iqgod View Post
To reiterate:

Whenever I have my focus on the trading process - i.e. trading well, then the problems all disappear!

The moment I focus on:

- statistics
- P & L
- missing out on opportunity
- losing accumulated profits
- fear of getting a loser next
- fear of a winner turning into a loser
- making an issue or experiment out of life in general (will it be boring always? why is the world winner take all? etc.)

..... then that walk in the park becomes Jurassic Park.

Here is the concept presented more eloquently by Chang Tzu:




I missed a profit target on Friday, the market traded exactly at my price, but only filled 20 orders in front of me, then turned the other direction. Then it came down and hit my stop, but did not go a tick further than that. Then it turned back in my original direction... I laughed at how impressive that was, to have caught both ends of that move to the precise tick, and still lost on the trade. Should I not have been upset? Maybe felt "perfectly unlucky" that day? Did the market know exactly where my trade was and single me out? No, it was just something funny that happened. There was no harm done, there was no ill will on the market's side.

Don't play for brass or gold, play out of passion for the game. If you take a trade every day next week, and lose every time, what are you not understanding? Correct it for the following week, try again. Needing to win takes the innocence out of it. And when it becomes that serious, how can it remain enjoyable? If it is not enjoyable, why do it? "Gold"? If so, the cycle remains in play for infinity...

Can you enjoy playing the game either way, win or lose? If not, you are trading too large.



“You train your eye and your vision lusts after color. You train your ear, and you long for delightful sound. You delight in doing good, and your natural kindness is blown out of shape. You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason. You overdo liturgy, and you turn into a ham actor. Overdo your love of music, and you play corn. Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving. Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.

If men would stay as they really are, taking or leaving these eight delights would make no difference. But if they will not rest in their right state, the eight delights develop like malignant tumors. The world falls into confusion. Since men honour these delights, and lust after them, the world has gone stone-blind. When the delight is over, they still will not let go of it....”
- Chuang Tzu

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  #137 (permalink)
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Discipline, And The Lack Thereof

Today is two winners and one breakeven.

Actually if I had the guts sense to stick to my discipline of 10-tick target I would have had only a single trade today.


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  #138 (permalink)
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iqgod View Post
To reiterate:

Whenever I have my focus on the trading process - i.e. trading well, then the problems all disappear!

The moment I focus on:

- statistics
- P & L
- missing out on opportunity
- losing accumulated profits
- fear of getting a loser next
- fear of a winner turning into a loser
- making an issue or experiment out of life in general (will it be boring always? why is the world winner take all? etc.)


..... then that walk in the park becomes Jurassic Park.



Here is the concept presented more eloquently by Chang Tzu:

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
he goes blind
or sees two targets
- he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize
divides him. He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting
and the need to win
drains him of power.

- Chang Tzu

@iqgod

You reminded me of a few passages from the Tao Te Ching,
and ultimately, the awareness of the present moment.
In of itself, a gift.

In appreciation of your posts.
Many thx

"10
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?

Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?

Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?

Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?

Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?

Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue."

13
Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things."

15
The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.

They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things."

"Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile..." zt379
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  #139 (permalink)
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devdas View Post
Reversal is like invention - it successes after so many failures. Inventors pour their lives for it and for community.
Trends are like product of successful invention, naturally using them is wiser than indulging in inventions.

Ouch. So true that really hurts.

The behaviourists long ago proved that intermittent reinforcement is a much more powerful behaviour modifier than continuous reinforcement. Hence the strength of phenomena such as superstition, pigeons clicking levers which only get them a pellet once in a blue moon and traders nailing turns....

Fortunately they were wrong about most of human nature so we can still live in hope of not dying in despair.

Travel Well
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  #140 (permalink)
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Switching Over


In the light of the recent changes that will be going live from 15th July at TST I have decided to concentrate my efforts on a $150,000 combine.

The $30,000 combine would not have offered me any attraction in terms of funding but allowed me to grow as a trader, but the $150,000 is what I am looking for.

I will post updates on the new combine, which is what I should have started with in the first place.

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February 26, 2017


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