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Trading With Attitude


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Trading With Attitude

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  #1 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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I've been making posts for quite some time, and what I've been trying to chronicle since day one is my path to becoming a successful trader. But the focus of my posts, although largely inadvertent, has been based mostly on the specifics/mechanics of trading a certain method or system. It has been far more about being consistent and disciplined about executing a method, and far less about being consistent and disciplined in my approach to becoming a successful trader - about my attitude toward trading.

I'm realizing that attaining success here has a lot less to do with the specifics of a particular style of trading and much more to do with my attitude regarding the business - my business - of trading.

With that in mind I'm going to take a different tack for the time being. I still intend to discuss the specifics of my trading at some point, but for now the emphasis of my posts will be on the attitude I'm attempting to develop and maintain as I work on my trading business.



"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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  #3 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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The past several months have been mostly a theme of struggle for me with my trading. I've kept at it, but my efforts have felt mostly like grasping at straws.

At the beginning of this year I was looking at price action in a certain way, and while I wasn't clear about what I was doing, the basics of it were the way I knew I wanted to be trading.

But I was continually frustrated by the lack of an appropriate way to approach it. I don't mind working hard, and I love to learn, but I wasn't sure what to work at, and I wasn't sure what to work on learning.

As you probably already know, I'm a firm believer that attitude is really the determining factor in success or the lack of it. I've been studying positive thinking and its myriad variations since I was in my late teens, so I understand a lot about it. But my lack of success in applying it in my life was an area of extreme frustration for me. Although I did a lot of studying and I always did the exercises - meditations, writing, visualization, etc. - I still couldn't seem to achieve any noticeable changes in my life. With everything I knew about it, I should have been wildly successful with it.

Over (a lot of) time I have come to realize that my "problem" wasn't in understanding the concepts or doing the "work." What I came to realize is that the "problem" was that I wasn't living it. In other words, even though I was doing the exercises, meditations, etc., they made up a very small part of my day. And then I would spend the rest of my waking hours worrying, being frustrated, being aggravated, being unhappy with my circumstances, etc.

It became clearer and clearer to me that the thoughts I spent the most time thinking were very similar to the circumstances that I was actually experiencing.

Then last October I decided to read a book that I already knew about but had decided months earlier was one I didn't need to read. As soon as I finished the first "lesson," I knew it was the key that would help me begin to live what I had already learned.

Within 3 weeks of starting it, I was having surprising things happening to me. I did it for a few more months and continued to have improvements in my life, but apparently they weren't dramatic enough for me to keep it up, so I slacked off from it quite a bit.

Things stagnated for me, my business slowed down to almost nothing, and I was in a very worrisome place. This was a little after the beginning of the year and I was really trying hard to get a handle on my trading. I was having some success with my "training," but other than teaching myself to be consistent, I wasn't really making any other headway.

Fast forward to the beginning of May. I made a post about my commitment to change my habits of thinking for the whole month and I did it. In another post, at the beginning of June, I talked about how my business had increased exponentially during May, without any extra effort on my part.

I also said that I intended to do basically the same thing for the month of June, and again, I have. This month my business has continued the pace it started in May, which is a nice financial relief.

Not only has my business situation improved over the course of both months, but my life in general has improved.

But something far more profound has just happened within this last week of June. I inadvertently (which is the way things seem to happen to me when I'm maintaining this attitude) discovered some information about a way of looking at price that brought almost immediate clarity to what I had been trying to do with my trading. It was like a light on a dimmer switch - as soon as I began to learn about it, the light came on but it was dim. Then as I read and studied, the light became brighter and brighter, and very quickly I had a clarity about how to proceed with my trading that I haven't had before.

It will take time, study and work, but now I know what to spend my time on. I know what to study. I know what to work on.

And I firmly believe that this is a result of my deliberate work in changing my habits of thought - in changing my attitude.

I don't want to start a discussion about all of the books, methods and concepts out there, because different things work for different people. But for anyone interested, the book I'm referring to that has been "the one" for me is The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.



I've recommended it to family members and others who have all reported significant positive results in their lives. I also spend a lot of time listening to the audiobook The Power (by Rhonda Byrne), and skimming through my collection of books by Abraham-Hicks, but this book is the first thing I've tried that has made a nearly immediate, and definitely noticeable, difference in my life when I use it.

I'm beginning to think that trading is really not all that different from any other endeavor. I believe that success in anything (work, finances, relationships, health) boils down to your habitual attitudes about it...and about life in general.

And this attitude of gratitude that I've been cultivating lately is shaping up to be a game-changer 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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  #4 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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I'm much more aware of it now because I'm paying attention, but I continue to find it surprising how much time I spend thinking about what I don't want; about what irritates and worries me. It's easy enough to do that without any outside influences, but throw in another person who is stressed, worried or irritated, and it becomes nearly impossible to deliberately maintain a specific (positive) attitude.

This week has been a bit chaotic with my daughter moving a lot of her things home from college and then getting her squared away for a trip to Europe with a friend for 3 weeks. It has made it a challenge for me to maintain an appropriate attitude.

She's on a plane headed for London right now, but we just found out that the hotel she was supposed to stay in when she arrives is overbooked and the room reservation was canceled. My wife is flipping out because all the hotels that she's trying to book are either full or outrageously expensive...here we are in the middle of real life again.

This is where the challenge lies. It's also where the work lies. If I believe that attitude is everything and that how I think determines my future, then this is precisely the time when I have to make the effort to deliberately choose my thoughts - productive thoughts.

My attitude has fluctuated quite a bit with the chaos this week, but even so I was able to spend a lot of time studying and practicing my trading and I have again made another breakthrough with my understanding of price action, so I'm pleased with my progress.

I'll be continuing with my efforts to choose better trains of thought and maintain an improved attitude during the coming week.

"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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  #5 (permalink)
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AttitudeTrader View Post
I'll be continuing with my efforts to choose better trains of thought and maintain an improved attitude during the coming week.

Looking forward to this. You have no idea how helpful I find your posts as a reminder that I'm in charge of my attitude and to be grateful for all the challenges life throws my way.

Robert

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  #6 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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As I've mentioned previously, I believe that one of my inappropriate attitudes has had to do with my approach toward the business (my business) of trading.

Without really realizing it, I think that I've been trying to find a "setup" or a mechanical "system" that just generates worry-free profits all the time, as opposed to putting in the time and applying a solid methodology in a consistent way day after day. Logically I know that this is really the only true way to learn, but it seems I've been avoiding it for whatever reason(s).

The attitude I want to develop starting now is one of coming to work every day and doing my job rather than constantly spinning my wheels looking for the perfect "can't lose" system (again, even though that wasn't my intent, I think that's what I was doing without realizing it).

In an effort to reinforce this "doing my job" attitude for myself, I'm going to start posting my charts along with my trading results every day.

This won't be about trying to teach anyone anything or to advocate some particular style of trading. It will simply be an attempt to reinforce an attitude of consistent application of a specific way of interacting with price action. The ideal situation here would be to look at today's chart and compare it to a chart 30 or 60 or 90 days from now and see the exact same time frame, settings, and approach - in other words, doing my job consistently.

When I think of that scenario I feel a sense of comfort and familiarity, and I know that if I do it, it will work to my benefit. But, if I allow it, my attitude can also cycle to fear and worry due to the uncertainty about whether this is the "best way" for me to trade and/or whether I can actually be profitable/successful with this (or any) approach. And I think this fearful attitude has been a big reason for my bouncing from one thing to next. This is just another example of why it's imperative for me to develop an appropriate, productive attitude.

I still have my other job/work to take care of, so there will most likely be days when I'll be too busy to trade and/or late making a post, but I'll post a chart and my results at some point for every day that I trade.

Because I am now attempting to apply/follow a specific methodology (rather than the by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach I was employing before), I will be resetting all of my stats to zero and starting over with today's trading. It is vital that I be able to see where I stand with my application of this approach over time.






"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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  #7 (permalink)
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I learned some lessons and had some of my rules (that I didn't follow) reinforced today.






"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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Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
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I was able to abide by my rules, price cooperated, and I had a successful (sim) day. I expected price to be choppy prior to the FOMC minutes at 13:00CT, so I was glad to get my goal for the day and be finished early.





"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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  #9 (permalink)
Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Broker: IQFeed
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Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
Thanks: 6,868 given, 867 received

On the first trade I got suckered into shorting at the lows of the morning. Old habits die hard.

The second trade was based on a break of the channel and a retest of the lows. It wasn't a bad idea, but I mismanaged the trade (broke my stop rules) and turned a winner into a small loser.

I felt like my third trade was a solid setup (breakout pullback short), but it missed my target by a tick turned around on me.

Finished taking trades for the day. Back to studying.





"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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Dallas, TX, USA
 
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Broker: IQFeed
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AttitudeTrader's Avatar
 
Posts: 358 since Oct 2009
Thanks: 6,868 given, 867 received


I realize that I'm still not quite to the place where tracking my stats would be helpful/relevant. I won't try to keep stats until I have a clear(er) plan.

I've only marked my chart with the trades that were clean/clear setups to me (neither of which I took) - I won't mark all of the trades I actually took today. I'm still including my S5 Analyzer for today though.




"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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