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Zen & the Art of The Small Account
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Zen & the Art of The Small Account

  #221 (permalink)
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az,

Don't stray too far. If your 1-month sim success for $1k -> $5k was based on solidly trading your edge, and your live trading failures are primarily because of psychology (execution) and not method, then don't change your method. Instead, keep working on the differences between sim and cash, and work on those psychological aspects.

I say this with best intentions, because I have seen too many people research a method, sim trade it, do well, take it cash, blow up, and then change everything. Short term memory, they forget the problem was not the method, but themselves. They start changing charts, instruments, indicators -- everything to do with method, and spend no time focusing on the psychological parts of trading or focusing on how to better execute their method in cash as they execute it in sim.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

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  #222 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
az,

Don't stray too far.

Mike

I agree 100%. In this case, I am full circle where I started 18 months ago. Since the full journey is too much to really detail here, suffice to say, I started with fibs and multiple time frames along with a set of three moving averages. I never really got the multiple time frame thing although its starting to make some sense, but the moving averages led me down the rabbits trail looking for the holy grail. Something about averages never really spoke to me but they were the only thing I understood in terms of how they worked. I never understood or wanted to understand oscillators and other indicators.

The fibs I was using were on a tiny time frame. Less than a minute. This is hard work and pretty fruitless as well. Fibs really work best in my opinion on larger time frames or ranges. But its taken me 18 months to get to where I trust the fibs without the averages. I never had the courage to buy a pull back since I never really knew how far it would pull back and had no real edge to figure it out. I still don't know but now have an edge. The moving average was supposed to help confirm the pullback entry, etc. But all it really did was annoy me when I missed the long runner and got destroyed in the chop using it.

Now that I'm using fibs on the daily scale, I am more comfortable buying pullbacks/shorting rallies whereas before I was doing in on a tiny time frame....I think the chart was a 55 tick chart on ES back in March 09. You can imagine the chaos I lived in at that point. I believe I can capture the daily move by looking at it this way. If I get some smaller targets along the way, then so be it.

The majority of the profit in July came from profit targets greater than 10 ticks. That happened because the ranges were larger which gave the MA room to work in my favor. As the month progressed, my win rate went up and my profit per trade seemed to go down. In the end, the overall effect was that the larger winners early in the month combined with a higher win rate later in the month combined to give me a nicely profitable month.

But as the range compressed, so did the usefulness of the MA. But the overall premise of the method is that there are daily moves and seeing the entire day in terms of a fibs made me realize I can capture them if I am patient. No matter if the move is 25 ticks or 250 ticks. But trading only for 10 or less profit targets is a sure way to become broke unless the win rate is really high. Otherwise the stops will overwhelm the profits since the average stop using the MA was around12 ticks. The R:R was all off. But doing it this way brings the R:R in line with at least a 2:1 and usually it will be much more.

So, while it appears I may have strayed a bit to far from what got me to $5000 in the first place, the truth is, I feel closer to home now than ever before. I am experiencing a level of comfort in my charts I have never really felt before and knowing I am looking at the entire day's range that is quantified by fibs and knowing what my general rules are for trading them, gives me a level of confidence I finally feel is deserved. The trick as you know is execution.

Today, I shut down my trading platform right after doing the daily debrief and jumped into The Daily Trading Coach as well as a couple of other mental prep tools. I've decided that 3 hours looking at charts is enough and to spend the rest of the time working on me or doing something not related to trading. This is a good thing. Tonight I will develop a potential trading plan for tomorrow and forget about it til then. Going forward, I intend to spend as much time developing me as I did developing an edge.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #223 (permalink)
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Decided to sim today


After writing the last post and discussing how much more comfortable I feel with the less is more chart, I thought to myself. "I am really comfortable but have not really traded this much either in cash or sim". So decided to just sim today and perhaps the rest of the week and work on the patience thing.

Good thing. I took 20 trades today. My bias was short. But I had 6 long trades. In my "perfect trading world",there would only be 1 long today and that was only for purposes of testing a double top.

I also dumped another chart I've been looking at. Now down to two charts, a daily chart and my 6 range trading chart. The secondary chart was causing me some second guessing of my bias today. I had a 12 range chart and got rid of it and now with the removal of this last chart, I am as lean as I think I can be.

Once again, patience was the name of the game and once again, patience in waiting for my sell signals would have paid very nicely with little or no heat. And once again, patience in holding the trade longer would have been of great benefit. Needless to say, I was not this patient. But as the day wore on, I began to see my signals better and better. I finished the day with 5 winners and 1 loser. This combination of trades got me back to profitable on the day by 2 ticks. That is when I quit.

I am learning so much this week. Both how to really take advantage of my system and also how NOT to trade it.

I am not posting the chart with the trades on it as it is really messy but the chart below represents a "perfect" trading day. The benchmark if you will.

Today was excruciating slow on CL. I felt like I was trading ES back in February. But even with this, patience was rewarded with nice paydays. Any one of which I would have been happy to have had and quit for the day.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #224 (permalink)
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I have been reading your journal several pages at a time for nearly a week (maybe more) and I would like to point out something I have noticed. Before I get to that, I want to congradulate you on keeping this journal for so long. I would also like to thank you for the same, for I have noticed many similarities that you and I share. With that being said, here is what I have noticed:

you break a rule

you write that you didn't follow your rules
you promise it wont happen the next day
you break a rule the next day

you write that you didn't follow your rules
you promise it wont happen the next day
you break a rule the next day

you write that you didn't follow your rules
you promise it wont happen the next day
you break a rule the next day

See a pattern? I don't think I have read an journal entry yet where you didn't break one of your rules. Even in today's journal you way over traded & didn't stop until you were profitable in sim.
I dont mean to come across as patronizing, but you really should stick to your rules.

This post is meantto be helpful.

Laserdan
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  #225 (permalink)
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Laserdan View Post
I have been reading your journal several pages at a time for nearly a week (maybe more) and I would like to point out something I have noticed. Before I get to that, I want to congratulate you on keeping this journal for so long. I would also like to thank you for the same, for I have noticed many similarities that you and I share. With that being said, here is what I have noticed:


See a pattern? I don't think I have read an journal entry yet where you didn't break one of your rules. Even in today's journal you way over traded & didn't stop until you were profitable in sim.
I dont mean to come across as patronizing, but you really should stick to your rules.

This post is meantto be helpful.

First of all, thanks for reading. Most of it is probably not worth reading....I know I struggle when I go back and read it. Its mostly my musings of what happened that day and why.....so its pretty boring for the most part....but I am always please when someone takes the time to read it anyway and then even more pleased when someone feels strongly enough to actually write something in the thread. Most people don't, they probably think the same thing you do but don't bother....so again, thanks so much for both reading and responding.....

Secondly, I was hoping no one else would notice what you have so gently pointed out....lots of rule breaking and broken promises....I read the journal too the other day and noticed the same thing.

I went through a period earlier where I decided if I could not keep even the simplest of promises to myself and this journal, then I would not trade live. I kept that promise for quite a while and now, back to breaking them.

So beginning tomorrow, back to the basics. Keep my promises to myself and the journal. Do me a favor, every time you see a broken promise, slap it back at me. I am blind to it sometimes and one of the purposes of the journal is to remain accountable to both the journal and to others, even if I don't know you.

So here is my promises for tomorrow. 1.Sim trade only and 2. No more than two trades. Period. I will post the charts when complete tomorrow.

My overall goal is to end the day with the feeling that I traded well regardless of the trade results.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #226 (permalink)
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aztrader9 View Post
First of all, thanks for reading. Most of it is probably not worth reading....I know I struggle when I go back and read it. Its mostly my musings of what happened that day and why.....so its pretty boring for the most part....but I am always please when someone takes the time to read it anyway and then even more pleased when someone feels strongly enough to actually write something in the thread. Most people don't, they probably think the same thing you do but don't bother....so again, thanks so much for both reading and responding.....

Secondly, I was hoping no one else would notice what you have so gently pointed out....lots of rule breaking and broken promises....I read the journal too the other day and noticed the same thing.

I went through a period earlier where I decided if I could not keep even the simplest of promises to myself and this journal, then I would not trade live. I kept that promise for quite a while and now, back to breaking them.

So beginning tomorrow, back to the basics. Keep my promises to myself and the journal. Do me a favor, every time you see a broken promise, slap it back at me. I am blind to it sometimes and one of the purposes of the journal is to remain accountable to both the journal and to others, even if I don't know you.

So here is my promises for tomorrow. 1.Sim trade only and 2. No more than two trades. Period. I will post the charts when complete tomorrow.

My overall goal is to end the day with the feeling that I traded well regardless of the trade results.



I want to says thanks to aztrader for this tread. I read most of the tread last week. Finished it tonight and wanted to post a reply. I can understand your journey. I have been frustrated to no end. I started trading a year ago and like a baseball player, I am on base but haven't scored. I had a lot of knowledge, but no experience in futures or day trading. One problem may be is that I know to much and I go in all directions. Even though I had a 4 day mentoring class, they left out some very important information. The class was great for risk and cash management so that is why, I still trade after a year's time. Plus while I am at break even in e-mini day trading, I have made enough money trading options to keep going. And I have two large accounts.

So several months ago I finally bumped into what I needed to do if I am going to make it in this business. I give partial credit to futures.io (formerly BMT), thanks Big Mike. So aztrader, I am during what I need to do to gain an edge and follow the same steps as you. I am not too far behind.

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  #227 (permalink)
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aztrader9 View Post

So here is my promises for tomorrow. 1.Sim trade only and 2. No more than two trades. Period. I will post the charts when complete tomorrow.

My overall goal is to end the day with the feeling that I traded well regardless of the trade results.

AZ

I'm just curious why you have such a rule to only take 2 trades a day? What if the first trade is a loser, then the second trade is a winner and you're at break even for the day or down a few ticks? I mean is that it??? I don't trade the TL market, only the ES and I see at least 9 to 12 legitimate trades every day. I'm not saying to get greedy and try to beat the market to death, but you're in this business to make money, at least I hope so. When I'm down I then become very selective on my trades, looking for the highest O&P. I'm the first one to agree that over trading is a killa, but if you don't look for other opportunities to recover and make a profit you won't be in business long IMO. But then I guess, like any traditional business some days you make money and some days you don't.

Today, I made 13 trades and down as much as -2 points and I made a come back to finish the day +1.75 pts per car. That's a 4 pt swing and I looked for the highest O&P trade to take.


Cheers
itrade2win

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  #228 (permalink)
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Tiberius View Post
I want to says thanks to aztrader for this tread. I read most of the tread last week. Finished it tonight and wanted to post a reply. I can understand your journey. I have been frustrated to no end. I started trading a year ago and like a baseball player, I am on base but haven't scored. I had a lot of knowledge, but no experience in futures or day trading. One problem may be is that I know to much and I go in all directions. Even though I had a 4 day mentoring class, they left out some very important information. The class was great for risk and cash management so that is why, I still trade after a year's time. Plus while I am at break even in e-mini day trading, I have made enough money trading options to keep going. And I have two large accounts.

So several months ago I finally bumped into what I needed to do if I am going to make it in this business. I give partial credit to futures.io (formerly BMT), thanks Big Mike. So aztrader, I am during what I need to do to gain an edge and follow the same steps as you. I am not too far behind.


Tiberius,

Cool screen name. And thanks for taking the time to read every page. It means a lot to me. I understand your frustration and believe me, when we get this figured out, it will be very cool.

You have an edge most of us don't, not one but two large accounts. I wouldn't let that get around to much. Traders might be hitting you up for a loan! But seriously, that is a great edge. Don't blow it by trading foolishly like so many others including myself have done in the past. Risk management and money management can help a poor trader stay in the game long enough to master the game. It sounds like you have a handle on this part of the process.

Stay tuned, and if you like, stay involved.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
 
  #229 (permalink)
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itrade2win View Post
AZ

I'm just curious why you have such a rule to only take 2 trades a day? What if the first trade is a loser, then the second trade is a winner and you're at break even for the day or down a few ticks? I mean is that it??? I don't trade the TL market, only the ES and I see at least 9 to 12 legitimate trades every day. I'm not saying to get greedy and try to beat the market to death, but you're in this business to make money, at least I hope so. When I'm down I then become very selective on my trades, looking for the highest O&P. I'm the first one to agree that over trading is a killa, but if you don't look for other opportunities to recover and make a profit you won't be in business long IMO. But then I guess, like any traditional business some days you make money and some days you don't.

Today, I made 13 trades and down as much as -2 points and I made a come back to finish the day +1.75 pts per car. That's a 4 pt swing and I looked for the highest O&P trade to take.


Cheers
itrade2win

Well the truth is, two trades is foolish most of the time, but I am in a rut of taking crap trades and that leads to over trading. So when I need to get out of a rut, I try to focus on the opposite of the issue. So over trading is a by product of crap trade selection. But to try to help force me to take better trades, temporarily, I limit the number of trades so I will wait for the best set up I can get. Kinda like keeping your powder dry if you only have one shot left in the gun and you need to make the shot count.

So while under normal circumstances, I say take as many legit setups as you can, this is not normal. So I must act abnormally at least for a couple of days to re-establish a "normal" pattern of looking for and taking only the best trades I can find.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
 
  #230 (permalink)
Site Administrator
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aztrader9 View Post
Well the truth is, two trades is foolish most of the time, but I am in a rut of taking crap trades and that leads to over trading. So when I need to get out of a rut, I try to focus on the opposite of the issue. So over trading is a by product of crap trade selection. But to try to help force me to take better trades, temporarily, I limit the number of trades so I will wait for the best set up I can get. Kinda like keeping your powder dry if you only have one shot left in the gun and you need to make the shot count.

So while under normal circumstances, I say take as many legit setups as you can, this is not normal. So I must act abnormally at least for a couple of days to re-establish a "normal" pattern of looking for and taking only the best trades I can find.

I think the 2 trades is a step in the right direction. Such a rule won't make you profitable long term, but it will help get you back on track short term and force you to focus. Also, if you break the two trades a day rule, it also clearly shows you cannot follow your rules, and have no business trading.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

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