@iqgod, I appreciate the kind words, however I must insert here that a journal serves it purpose if it helps you. If it helps someone else, that is a side benefit. Helping someone else should not be the primary purpose of a journal.
So journal in a manner that is beneficial to you. If someone else finds value in it, then so be it...but help yourself first.
Good luck on the journey....
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci
Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
The following user says Thank You to PandaWarrior for this post:
Stopping the last trade(s) outcome from affecting your thinking
There was a time early this year when I used to be frustrated with the huge gap between my knowledge and my execution.
There came one day when there was a click moment about what correct trading is all about and I closed that gap that day; ever since I've oscillated between good execution and less than desirable, but thankfully have had very few relapses into bad execution.
One more thing is this 'prediction' or 'making calls' that directly feeds the ego. Post your trades in real-time and you can observe its grip even more. You stand to lose face and that may be enough to cause hesitation while executing to miss trades, entering too early or exiting early. (or worst, entering without any confirmation from the market at all).
But once you are in the flow, there is this problem that you have to always tackle. It is the past performance affecting the present moment I'm talking about.
When I have scratched trades due to mismanagement or have left money on the table in a ride that was finally "obvious" but fear kept me out, I start trading dumb because I feel that I need to generate a profit every day and "get back" what I left behind.
For example, the fear occurs when I have caught myself thinking when have taken a lot of heat on an earlier trade whose foundation was shaky, and now the market is returning to that price but has a valid setup - there I find myself on trial by fire. Or when I'm profitable and don't want to "give back".
My problem is thus that I let my experience of either euphoria or frustration with the i-1 th trade affect the i th trade.
So the problem was and is trusting a trade to work fully, i.e. giving it a chance to do so.
That problem deserved this starting advice: narrow the setups down to very few, even one or two - but feel comfy with them and go in with proper risk-managed size that is also worth your while.
By doing this you will trade far less, and you will go for quality trades (and ALL quality trades) instead of quantity of noise. That's where the higher number of VALID samples will start pay off. The higher number of VALID samples will show the power of the method and allow the trader to play a better game.
Other professions have a well-defined playbook to follow, all that is demanded is perfect repetition of doing the same thing over and over.But we fight hard just to be daytraders. Here life is never fair, we have to deal with it.
However trading is extra-hard because in it we need to not use the method we learned in the past about how to learn something new. The learning about learning is different.
In trading I found that doing small things correctly and avoiding small mistakes leads to great success - e.g. I've been making mistakes and then deciding if correcting the mistakes is worth the challenge or will I end up worse than my earlier curve. Correcting them is not enough, eliminating them is the thing to be learnt. Once they become habits its cycling that can never be forgotten.
The much touted advice of "doing what you plan to do inspite of yourselves" or in other words, simply, discipline is valid but not trivial. This 'discipline' challenge comes immediately once the mechanics and the foundation is in place.
For me what helps to stay disciplined is undoubtedly humility. The knowledge that nothing is certain or knowable and the smallness of us but the vastness of our purpose.
Mechanize the process as much as you can - treat each and every trade as afresh and each one basically the same.
I stop 'thinking' and pretend I am "Action Jackson".
Pre-determine the level you want out. There is much to be said about letting a trade run on a confirmed setup in a confirmed trade but for me the 10-tick winner is currently the mentally acceptable target.
Pre-determine where you are wrong and will bail. For me 10 ticks is the level.
I go all in and get all out. Its only recently I've started adding to winners.
For me a good trade is the one that gives you many clues to bail before the final 10-tick stop is hit. A bad trade is one which does not warrant an entry but I'm 'inadvertently' in it and then I can make excuses why the stop was hit. That is a bad-bad trade. That bad trade also told you something. All trades tell you something.
Losers never get past the fear factor. Some money manager said 'this is not a game for eunuchs'.
Profits will happen, do not worry about profits.
Conflicts get in the way of my trading because trading requires a clear head. So I take lot of 'rest' and do not trade if something off is happening e.g. I was not trading for the biggest days in the ES because it was festival time and I had my priorities which would be a guaranteed hijack to my trading.
Distractions are the bane of many a trader. I know i am easily distracted and do not want to believe any different.
Thinking is a distraction that clutters your mind. Thinking remembers and brings up the fear factor. This where mechanization helped me. I'm a completely discretionary mechanized trader.
But once your trader muscles and skills are developed, you will be able to collectively refer to them as 'intuition'.
The story does not not end there. Some psychologists call it 'fear of success' or it may be not wanting to keep doing this forever - but there is that something that can get to you easily, right to your core foundation and everything can go poof.
That is what had happened to me once. I got stubborn and sat and watched ES go 35 handles against me on one lot in my real account. That was the perfectionist turned off by the self's behaviour saying "Go on, have fun, chew me up, let me die now." I actually was asleep snugly in my bed, with a tired given-up attitude when my broker called me up to remind me that I do not have margin for overnight and the market's closing in 3 minutes.
I will never forget that day - it was too hard a lesson.
Yes, meditation does increase your awareness, but you must still stay focused on trading while trading. You cannot mix it up with life's other problems and hope to come out unscathed. You also must have an edge, if you have an edge, meditation does improve your trading. The key is to meditate every single day even if you don't notice any improvement in your trading.
That was when I realized that even when I have everything I need to succeed, I failed because I was searching for something more; the something more¯ was certainty, perfection or even love. Trying to be right was my biggest weakness and one that I have to fight ALWAYS.
The trader's job is of knowing what he is doing and WHY he does what he does i.e. to think the trade through before entering and then actually entering.
"The most important rule of trading is to play great defense, not great offense. Every day I assume every position I have is wrong. I know where my stop risk points are going to be. I do that so I can define my maximum possible drawdown. Hopefully, I spend the rest of the day enjoying positions that are going in my direction. If they are going against me, then I have a game plan for getting out." - Paul Tudor Jones
There was a trader on this forum who was a creative wordsmith and a great Oil trader who went by the name of @GaryD.
When I read his battle about going full-time vs continuing working his corporate business and I am finding myself working to death balancing trading and the IT job it seems the job is getting in the way but it can still be managed by working smarter and avoiding time wastages.
The same battle thus rages in my head, and as @PandaWarrior had adviced him then, there comes a moment when bridges have to be burnt.
That said, many people find it difficult to chase just one rabbit. They set too many goals, or they try to execute too many projects simultaneously. It just makes it impossible to be productive, let alone effective.
Successful people know when to say NO.
As Steve Jobs said, “People think focus means saying 'Yes' to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying 'NO' to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things we have done."