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New Beginnings: The Journal of a Trader's Journey to Equanimity


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New Beginnings: The Journal of a Trader's Journey to Equanimity

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  #11 (permalink)
 MetalTrade 
 
 
Posts: 1,081 since May 2010

A fix for overtrading might be to find a system that is giving less signals.

My fix for overtrading was blowing up an account, when I feel the overtrading demon is looking at me I remember myself that blown up account, hate to say it but that's the only thing that worked for me, PAIN

I wonder how Pavlov would have dealt with me :-)

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  #12 (permalink)
 plethora 
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mainstream View Post
...If you can't trail a tight stop and take what you get don't trade the instrument....what are your rules for entry. I would guess you're selling resistance and buying support.

I don't trail stops because I hadn't even been using stops. And I don't have any indicator for resistance or support. Rather, I've been gambling.

Mainstream, may I ask how you became a Master? Could you kindly offer a couple of specific suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

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  #13 (permalink)
 plethora 
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trs3042 View Post
My story is about the same as Metaltrade's. I have one question.........why are you trading 3

Rick, three are a lot less than the contracts I was trading that blew up my account.

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  #14 (permalink)
 plethora 
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MetalTrade View Post
hate to say it but that's the only thing that worked for me, PAIN

The unbearable pain is the only thing that has made me look at myself in the mirror: I'm a gambler. If I went to a Gambler's Anonymous meeting they would tell me I could never trade again. My therapist asks why I use labels that limit me? But I'm so scared I'm unable to trade like a normal, healthy person, because I have no other way to support myself.

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  #15 (permalink)
 plethora 
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I was long four ES contracts at 1254 (with a stop in place). Ten minutes passed and I was still in the same trade because there wasn't any volume during this final session before X-mas.
I decided to get out at breakeven before Michigan Sentiment news. I was pleased that I could exert the proper restraint to flatten my position before the news.

My second trade was long three, 6e contracts at 1.2063. Again the market was moving slowly in the pre-xmas session. The absence of volume scared me, so I took a two tick loss,
after it had moved up 5 ticks. No trailing stop so no profit. Yes, a loss, but I was trading with a stop.

The third trade was similar to the second, entering long again at 1.3062. I was determined to take a profit and entered back into the same trade at 1.2062. Profit was three ticks.
After that third trade, I was emotionally drained. The fear is now overwhelming, my self-esteem is shot, confidence is absent. I distracted myself by turning away from the screen
to do something else. I can't underscore how many times a day I do this. Looking away from the screen because I feel inadequate, I distract myself with something else. And then suddenly
the 6E shot up 150 ticks like a rocket. "WTF", I thought, I should have been in that trade. I looked back at the screen and saw that I wouldn't have even been stopped out of my third trade.

So my fourth trade was my characteristic "revenge" trade for having missed the rally. I picked some trade without any rhyme or reason like I was throwing a dart and totally missed. Didn't
even have a fighting chance. But I did one thing right: a stop had been placed. I got stopped out 6 ticks.

My fifth trade (with a stop in place) at the very end of the day was an 8 tick profit. It covered my loss and fees for two days. So for the week I had broken even.

What a miserable week in terms of raw emotions. But I have come to some positive conclusions.

(1) I know absolutely nothing about trading and am starting all over again with "Beginner's Mind".
(2) I need a new computer with monitors that are large enough for me to see the charts.
(I bought monitors for other people as gifts before purchasing a new computer for myself)
(3) I am not trading with real money until my self-esteem and confidence return.
(It cost me less money to live off savings than to blow through it)
(4) I have been attending every Ninjatrader Webinar I can to become acquainted with all the money management features associated with trailing stops. Their training is a gift.

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 PandaWarrior 
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plethora View Post
I was long four ES contracts at 1254 (with a stop in place). Ten minutes passed and I was still in the same trade because there wasn't any volume during this final session before X-mas.
I decided to get out at breakeven before Michigan Sentiment news. I was pleased that I could exert the proper restraint to flatten my position before the news.

My second trade was long three, 6e contracts at 1.2063. Again the market was moving slowly in the pre-xmas session. The absence of volume scared me, so I took a two tick loss,
after it had moved up 5 ticks. No trailing stop so no profit. Yes, a loss, but I was trading with a stop.

The third trade was similar to the second, entering long again at 1.3062. I was determined to take a profit and entered back into the same trade at 1.2062. Profit was three ticks.
After that third trade, I was emotionally drained. The fear is now overwhelming, my self-esteem is shot, confidence is absent. I distracted myself by turning away from the screen
to do something else. I can't underscore how many times a day I do this. Looking away from the screen because I feel inadequate, I distract myself with something else. And then suddenly
the 6E shot up 150 ticks like a rocket. "WTF", I thought, I should have been in that trade. I looked back at the screen and saw that I wouldn't have even been stopped out of my third trade.

So my fourth trade was my characteristic "revenge" trade for having missed the rally. I picked some trade without any rhyme or reason like I was throwing a dart and totally missed. Didn't
even have a fighting chance. But I did one thing right: a stop had been placed. I got stopped out 6 ticks.

My fifth trade (with a stop in place) at the very end of the day was an 8 tick profit. It covered my loss and fees for two days. So for the week I had broken even.

What a miserable week in terms of raw emotions. But I have come to some positive conclusions.

(1) I know absolutely nothing about trading and am starting all over again with "Beginner's Mind".
(2) I need a new computer with monitors that are large enough for me to see the charts.
(I bought monitors for other people as gifts before purchasing a new computer for myself)
(3) I am not trading with real money until my self-esteem and confidence return.
(It cost me less money to live off savings than to blow through it)
(4) I have been attending every Ninjatrader Webinar I can to become acquainted with all the money management features associated with trailing stops. Their training is a gift.

Well I was gonna avoid any postings this weekend but after reading this, I could not help myself. Its obvious you are trading with scared money. And the fact you have to trade as a normal healthly person as this is the only means you have to support yourself has placed you in a very difficult position.

From your posts, I cannot determine if you have system that provides you with an edge that you trust. If you do, then ignore this part of my post. If not, NEVER EVER EVER TRADE WITH LIVE MONEY UNTIL YOU DO! Sorry to yell but its supremely important to never trade without a defined edge. Otherwise you are just gambling and you should stop now.

I have some suggestions from my own journey that may help.

1. Define your edge and then track it in sim for the next 60 days. Use a spreadsheet that you create to track; A. The exact trade set ups, with this, you are looking for your single best set up and it may be different than what you think it is and the spreadsheet will tell you this. B. The win/loss ratio although this is less important if you are looking for larger wins. C. Your average winner/loser in terms of dollars and ticks. D. Your average wins in a row and losers in a row. What you are trying to do is set up some sort of expectancy that you can define in terms of raw numbers and NOT emotions. Don't get caught up in analyzing to much data, you need just enough to realize your system works if only you will work it. Nothing less and nothing more.

2. Keep a handwritten journal of every trade along with the emotions you are feeling just before you enter and what you experience during the trade. Track the trade results both what actually happened and what you expected to happen. I have found that the act of handwriting has some sort of powerful subconscious effect on me.

3. Try to trade with just one chart/monitor. Having to many means you have to process that much more information which in my experience escalates the potential for error exponentially. Besides, if you have a bad trade, its to easy to blame it on a chart or indicator you that didn't quite confirm the trade the way it should and therefore its the indicator or extra charts fault. One chart is usually enough for a day trader. I do use two charts but one is minimized and I only use it for daily support/resistance numbers.....

4. Explore your spiritual side. If you are not spiritual, then ignore this suggestion but my belief system has a wonderful built in aspect that builds me up when I am down. I doubt I could function long term without this aspect of my life. Others will argue about the importance of spirituality but I don't care. Its an integral part of whom I am and so it must be engaged and healthy.

Defining your edge and then proving it via the spreadsheet and journal will enable you to rebuild your confidence and self worth. You will see that you are NOT worthless because 1 trade or ten in a row went bad, you will see that your system actually works and that all you really need to do is follow your trading system guidelines and you'll be fine. Easy to say, hard to do. But the truth nonetheless.

5. Learn how to use the NT platform and then quit going to the webinars. In fact, quit listening to most so called gurus. They are primarily interested in separating you from your dollars. There are a few good ones and there are a few vendors here on the forum that appear to be the real deal but since I am not part of their systems, I cannot speak to the validity of what they sell. I will say this, learn to trade yourself, and you won't need a guru.

6. Next, the fewer indicators you use, the more likely you are to succeed. Why is this? Simply put, people put their trust in the indicator instead of their own skill and if they have a run of bad luck, they start looking for new indicators to trust. Yes they can help you read price action, but reliance on indicators alone is a sure way to go broke.

7. Use your emotions. Anger is a good thing if directed properly. A few months ago, I engaged in revenge trading all day long. It was a horrible day. Most of it was like a drug induced fog. I don't remember much of it....but when it was over, I was so angry at my self for surrendering my self control that I literally sat in my chair and purposefully wallowed in the feelings of self hatred, self pity, worthlessness, guilt and shame for about half an hour. I told myself I never wanted to feel that way again and so I let it sink deep into my soul and psyche. I wanted to remember what that felt like so if I ever felt it coming on again, I could quickly make my escape from it. People say you must kill your emotions to trade correctly, I disagree. Trading is very emotional, you should celebrate your wins and mourn your losses, just not to long. Let the emotion in just long enough so its not buried and waiting to do you damage later and then move on to the next trade.

8. I suggest you find a part time job. Just enough so the pressure to trade for income is not all consuming. More than likely, you will think clearer, make better judgments and be more patient with good trades and less patient with bad trades. Of course if you are unable to work a normal job due to injury or disability, then ignore this part. If this is the case, then you will need to make very rapid progress on finding your edge, tracking it over a large number of trades and then instilling into your mind the absolute trust in that edge you will need to trade properly.

9. Find a trading buddy if you don't have one already. Hopefully this person knows you pretty well, can call you out when you are being stupid or talking BS and that you trust enough to tell your darkest fears without fear of reprisal. This business can be pretty lonely and having a bad trading day can lead to all sorts of mental and emotional unpleasantness. Having a trading buddy to whom you don't have to explain yourself to can be a huge asset.

10. Lastly, set your expectations MUCH lower. If you think you need 50 ticks a day to consider yourself successful that day, reduce it to 5 or 10 ticks a day. Achieve that for 10-15 days consistently and then move on to 10-15 ticks a day. Then to 20, etc......as the ancient Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Don't despise small beginnings.

Oh, more thing, NEVER risk more than 1% of your capital on any one trade. If this means trading only one contract, then that's what you do. To do otherwise will ensure an account blow out. The best traders in the world rarely risk more than this. Why would we?

Ok, I am done preaching now. Hope some of this helps. If not, then just ignore it.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #17 (permalink)
 plethora 
Los Angeles, CA
 
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aztrader9 View Post
Well I was gonna avoid any postings this weekend but after reading this, I could not help myself. Its obvious you are trading with scared money. And the fact you have to trade as a normal healthly person as this is the only means you have to support yourself has placed you in a very difficult position.

From your posts, I cannot determine if you have system that provides you with an edge that you trust. If you do, then ignore this part of my post. If not, NEVER EVER EVER TRADE WITH LIVE MONEY UNTIL YOU DO! Sorry to yell but its supremely important to never trade without a defined edge. Otherwise you are just gambling and you should stop now.

Thank you so much, AZ, for taking the time to write to me, and on Christmas. If this were the only thing you said, I would be tremendously grateful. I do not have any edge let alone a system I trust. Your words feel true to me and I trust them. It's great to hear a voice outside of my own head for the clarity it provides. I am now going to read and settle into the rest of what you have written. It is long. So if I don't respond quickly, please know I am thinking about everything you wrote, and wanted to thank you in advance. Many thanks again.

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  #18 (permalink)
 plethora 
Los Angeles, CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Broker: Rithmic
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Posts: 629 since Dec 2010
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AZ, a wonderful gift you have given me on Christmas. Thank you so much for your time and generosity. Every single word you wrote resonates with much truth and validity for me.


aztrader9 View Post
Well I was gonna avoid any postings this weekend but after reading this, I could not help myself. Its obvious you are trading with scared money. And the fact you have to trade as a normal healthy person as this is the only means you have to support yourself has placed you in a very difficult position.

From your posts, I cannot determine if you have system that provides you with an edge that you trust. If you do, then ignore this part of my post. If not, NEVER EVER EVER TRADE WITH LIVE MONEY UNTIL YOU DO! Sorry to yell but its supremely important to never trade without a defined edge. Otherwise you are just gambling and you should stop now.

I have some suggestions from my own journey that may help.

1. Define your edge and then track it in sim for the next 60 days. Use a spreadsheet that you create to track; A. The exact trade set ups, with this, you are looking for your single best set up and it may be different than what you think it is and the spreadsheet will tell you this. B. The win/loss ratio although this is less important if you are looking for larger wins. C. Your average winner/loser in terms of dollars and ticks. D. Your average wins in a row and losers in a row. What you are trying to do is set up some sort of expectancy that you can define in terms of raw numbers and NOT emotions. Don't get caught up in analyzing to much data, you need just enough to realize your system works if only you will work it. Nothing less and nothing more.

I hate to admit it, but I don't have a trading system. I have one system I learned in the trading group I'm in but never felt comfortable with it from Day #1. Then I have my own trading system that I put together but it's half-baked. For instance, support and resistance levels are missing. I'm not confident when to precisely enter a trade or how many ticks should be my target. May I ask, how did you find your trading system that you are comfortable with?


2. Keep a handwritten journal of every trade along with the emotions you are feeling just before you enter and what you experience during the trade. Track the trade results both what actually happened and what you expected to happen. I have found that the act of handwriting has some sort of powerful subconscious effect on me.

I'm totally with you: the act of writing is tremendously powerful. That's the reason I endeavored to keep this journal. I know in my heart that if there were only one thing in the world that could help me, it would be my higher self accessed through the act of writing. I appreciate the detail above outlining the spreadsheet content. And emotions before and during a trade are experienced anyway. So why not document them like an elephant under a microscope to try to understand what they are genuinely about?!


3. Try to trade with just one chart/monitor. Having too many means you have to process that much more information which in my experience escalates the potential for error exponentially. Besides, if you have a bad trade, its to easy to blame it on a chart or indicator you that didn't quite confirm the trade the way it should and therefore its the indicator or extra charts fault. One chart is usually enough for a day trader. I do use two charts but one is minimized and I only use it for daily support/resistance numbers.....

I have two 17" monitors: one for my platform and one for charts. It means I can't trade more than one instrument at time. Do you trade one instrument or more at a time? The ES has been so slow that I have also been trading the 6E. But If I had been documenting my trades, I believe it would have been clear as a bell that the 6E destroyed me.


4. Explore your spiritual side. If you are not spiritual, then ignore this suggestion but my belief system has a wonderful built in aspect that builds me up when I am down. I doubt I could function long term without this aspect of my life. Others will argue about the importance of spirituality but I don't care. Its an integral part of whom I am and so it must be engaged and healthy.

Yes, I'm filled with a sense of consciousness and awe. Thanks for reminding me to return to the wonders of and power of life.

Defining your edge and then proving it via the spreadsheet and journal will enable you to rebuild your confidence and self worth. You will see that you are NOT worthless because 1 trade or ten in a row went bad, you will see that your system actually works and that all you really need to do is follow your trading system guidelines and you'll be fine. Easy to say, hard to do. But the truth nonetheless.


What more is there to say?! Thank you.

5. Learn how to use the NT platform and then quit going to the webinars. In fact, quit listening to most so called gurus. They are primarily interested in separating you from your dollars. There are a few good ones and there are a few vendors here on the forum that appear to be the real deal but since I am not part of their systems, I cannot speak to the validity of what they sell. I will say this, learn to trade yourself, and you won't need a guru.

There's a lot to learn. This will take me a while.

6. Next, the fewer indicators you use, the more likely you are to succeed. Why is this? Simply put, people put their trust in the indicator instead of their own skill and if they have a run of bad luck, they start looking for new indicators to trust. Yes they can help you read price action, but reliance on indicators alone is a sure way to go broke.

I use Time and Sales, Heiken Ashi candlesticks, a couple of moving averages, and a little Market Profile. Maybe after trading on a simulator with stops for a couple of months my confidence will be restored.

7. Use your emotions. Anger is a good thing if directed properly. A few months ago, I engaged in revenge trading all day long. It was a horrible day. Most of it was like a drug induced fog. I don't remember much of it....but when it was over, I was so angry at my self for surrendering my self control that I literally sat in my chair and purposefully wallowed in the feelings of self hatred, self pity, worthlessness, guilt and shame for about half an hour. I told myself I never wanted to feel that way again and so I let it sink deep into my soul and psyche. I wanted to remember what that felt like so if I ever felt it coming on again, I could quickly make my escape from it. People say you must kill your emotions to trade correctly, I disagree. Trading is very emotional, you should celebrate your wins and mourn your losses, just not to long. Let the emotion in just long enough so its not buried and waiting to do you damage later and then move on to the next trade.

My experience this week has been the same. I finally realize I never want to trade the way I have been. I finally feel it and I'm so happy.

8. I suggest you find a part time job. Just enough so the pressure to trade for income is not all consuming. More than likely, you will think clearer, make better judgments and be more patient with good trades and less patient with bad trades. Of course if you are unable to work a normal job due to injury or disability, then ignore this part. If this is the case, then you will need to make very rapid progress on finding your edge, tracking it over a large number of trades and then instilling into your mind the absolute trust in that edge you will need to trade properly.

Believe me, I will save a lot of money trading on a simulator rather than live trading. I could consider that my part-time job.


9. Find a trading buddy if you don't have one already. Hopefully this person knows you pretty well, can call you out when you are being stupid or talking BS and that you trust enough to tell your darkest fears without fear of reprisal. This business can be pretty lonely and having a bad trading day can lead to all sorts of mental and emotional unpleasantness. Having a trading buddy to whom you don't have to explain yourself to can be a huge asset.


I'm going to find the appropriate place here on Big Mike's to put out a request to see if I could find a trading partner in my area. Do you have a trading partner, AZ?


10. Lastly, set your expectations MUCH lower. If you think you need 50 ticks a day to consider yourself successful that day, reduce it to 5 or 10 ticks a day. Achieve that for 10-15 days consistently and then move on to 10-15 ticks a day. Then to 20, etc......as the ancient Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Don't despise small beginnings.

Yes, I suffered from despising single steps and small beginnings. And the confidence that you seem to have that one can increase to more significant gains in genuinely inspiriting.


Oh, more thing, NEVER risk more than 1% of your capital on any one trade. If this means trading only one contract, then that's what you do. To do otherwise will ensure an account blow out. The best traders in the world rarely risk more than this. Why would we?

I recently heard this on a NT Webinar and will adhere to the wisdom.


Ok, I am done preaching now. Hope some of this helps. If not, then just ignore it.

Thank you so much. You can't imagine how much I appreciate your words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  #19 (permalink)
 MetalTrade 
 
 
Posts: 1,081 since May 2010

For me the perry trading platform here on bigmike worked and is free

I hope you will sim trade. It hurts to hear you are gambling with multi contracts scared money without any edge, you will become a statistic for sure, I hope you realize it.

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  #20 (permalink)
 cory 
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plethora View Post
...
What a miserable week in terms of raw emotions. But I have come to some positive conclusions.

(1) I know absolutely nothing about trading and am starting all over again with "Beginner's Mind".
...

sounds good study these until you can pick them out at the line up without fail
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