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Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.
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Refining my STRATEGY, Eliminating FEAR and Instilling DISCIPLINE.

  #81 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
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monpere View Post
Have you identified the reason for your fear? I think there are generally 2 reasons people typically fear pulling the trigger. The first is lack of confidence in your trading. You feel like it's a crap shoot every time you pull the trigger, you feel like the market is out to get you. The second is fear of loosing money. That typically goes with not trading with risk capital. Risk capital is money that you don't mind losing.

Do you identify with either or both of these reasons? Can you identify any other reasons why you might be fearful? Once you identify the reasons for your fear, that's when you'll be able to put a plan together to conquer them.


I always assumed it was an extreme fear of losing money. I would paper trade, gain confidence, go live, have a losing trade, stop trading, (in the past I used go back to the drawing board & "fix" strategy), paper trade again, go live, lose... round and round.

However, given that even 15 losses in a row wont put me out of business or have any real impact on my trading or life I don't believe that fear of losing money was the real issue. The Ego is to blame. I was afraid of being WRONG.

Need to be right ------> search for certainty (not entering on every signal)
Cherry picking trades ------> adding random variables
Inconsistent approach ------> random results
Impossible to determine if edge works ------> no confidence in edge
Lack of confidence ------> Fear

I always liked to say to myself that trading is a probabilities game, yet every time I had a losing trade, right after switching to live from paper trading, I would go through the turmoil of being proven wrong. Being wrong had very negative connotations and meant I did not know how to trade, trading was not a good fit for me...

Knowing theoretically that trading is a probabilities game and actually being truly emotionally detached from my losses were two different things. Reading Trading in the Zone has helped me internalize that a trading loss does not mean that I don't know what I am doing or that I should not be trading live. The proper reactions to a probabilities game are starting to kick in.

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  #82 (permalink)
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Thanks for the journal. I think you're doing very well actually. If you're averaging 30+ ticks a day that's already "professional" in my book. It's clear you have a good edge. A lot of struggling aspiring traders average negative ticks or at most a measly +5 to +10 ticks a day(like me!) An instructor who did webinars I used to attend averaged 30+ to 60+ ticks a day according to him no matter what type of market conditions mostly on the 6E, euro.

I think you know when a trade is going south right after you enter, then maybe you can exit sooner and not wait for the stop. I know that's a cliche, but maybe there's a skill or method to it. Here was a free Ninjatrader affiliate webinar where the host talked about this in particular:

EminiTradingSolutions.com Webinar Page

And a free online book about trading psychology in a fun anecdotal story of a pit trader.
http://www.webtrading.com/phantom/preface.htm




TriggerShy View Post

3. I started telling people that I am a "futures trader" when asked what I do for a living.
This is not something I would normally do, since even when I was trading live in the past, I was not always profitable. In fact, I was uncomfortable saying it even when I was doing well with stock trading because of all the questions/comments I got. Now, for some reason it feels like a relief - I just tell them that I am not doing too well at the moment.

That's interesting to hear. Could you give some examples of what questions and comments you got?

Thanks,
Cloudy

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  #83 (permalink)
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TriggerShy View Post
I haven't posted for a while, because up until recently, I had nothing new to report. I thought I had overcome my fear of pulling the trigger by posting here and managing to trade live for a while, but then suddenly after a short trading hiatus I became paralyzed by fear again and haven't taken a single live trade since April.
...Up until this week that is . Yes, I am back in business!! Uh, ok an unprofitable business, but
what ever -Yippee!! I have taken 15 trades this week and am down $71, which I don't think is bad for getting some practice at trigger pulling.


So what made me plunge back in? I believe it was a combination of:

1. Very slowly reading Trading in Zone. I wish I could say that a sudden realization just struck me and my fear disappeared, so that I could inform others with a similar issue about what exactly it was that changed my perspective. What I believe helped was copying down sentences that 'spoke' to me so that I could let them sink in. (In fact I taped a list of these notes to my bedroom mirror.)

2. I started really hating the weekends, since I could not watch the market with my new 'Trading in the zone' mentality. In the mornings I always thought I would start trading of course, and in the end would end up just watching all day (sometimes paper trading or marking up charts). Then I would go back to re-reading the book and be eager to start again the next day. REPEAT for several days for weeks!

3. I started telling people that I am a "futures trader" when asked what I do for a living.
This is not something I would normally do, since even when I was trading live in the past, I was not always profitable. In fact, I was uncomfortable saying it even when I was doing well with stock trading because of all the questions/comments I got. Now, for some reason it feels like a relief - I just tell them that I am not doing too well at the moment.

4. At the prompting of my poker-playing brother, I added other instruments to my arsenal that have a lower per tick value to reduce the apparent life or death significance of each trade. I was very resistant to this, because I really love CL, but for some reason, even just watching Corn, Wheat and NG made me somehow less stressed out. Even though I have only taken very few trades in these and still continue to mostly trade CL, I think watching and trading these other markets has made me realize that several ticks going against me is not a big deal.

I don't know if there are any other people out there that fear transitioning from paper trading to live, but I wrote all of this out in hopes of providing some strategies to consider. (And perhaps as a reminder to myself of what to do if I fall victim to fear again.)

I know I am not completely "cured" and over my fear yet because it hasn't even been a full week since I took that plunge back into LIVE trading, but I have made significant progress.

Now I can focus on some other issues, other than just forcing myself to jump in the market.

Wow, we seem to have similar viewpoints.

1. You are overly critical of yourself.

2. You believe that being critical will allow you to stop making your mistakes.

3. You now understand that mental is the majority of your issues.


This is what I would do if I were you, but please take it with a grain of salt from a trader much in the same situation as yourself.

1. Change your avatar from "TriggerShy" to something that inspires confidence and credibility.

2. Change your trading from "Beginner" to something a bit higher.

3. Let go of the words 'should', and replace with 'could have chosen' and a reason.

You do a great job of journaling! So much better than myself. My suggestion is to focus on technically seeing what went good and induce more of it, while understanding your mental state and what you were actually thinking.

I remember I used to trade live and my wife would always tell me, "You were saying fuck, shit, damn, ...." and of course that pretty much tells you where I was headed.

Let go of your trades like the book says, and I think for the 'trigger shy' part, you need to build consistency for a while and your brain will start letting go as you have probably built up a big hairy wall like myself.

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  #84 (permalink)
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TriggerShy View Post

I don't know if there are any other people out there that fear transitioning from paper trading to live, but I wrote all of this out in hopes of providing some strategies to consider. (And perhaps as a reminder to myself of what to do if I fall victim to fear again.)

Me , I did (feared going live) . Turned out I just wasnt willing to risk what was necessary according to the trading I was doing in sim , both the money and the TIME spent sitting (go figure) . While simming I was scalping ES and 6E - daytrading . I came to grips with that as quickly as possible and wrote out all the possible avenues (on paper) I could explore to bypass this fear . I got to enjoy swing trading forex since I could adjust the position sizing to my liking and set my orders up to let the market do its thing without having to stare at the screen for too long . I saw all this as a function of learning myself , an important part of becomming a trader . Mark Douglas would be the first in line to tell you that .

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  #85 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
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Cloudy View Post
Thanks for the journal. I think you're doing very well actually. If you're averaging 30+ ticks a day that's already "professional" in my book. It's clear you have a good edge. A lot of struggling aspiring traders average negative ticks or at most a measly +5 to +10 ticks a day(like me!) An instructor who did webinars I used to attend averaged 30+ to 60+ ticks a day according to him no matter what type of market conditions mostly on the 6E, euro.

I think you know when a trade is going south right after you enter, then maybe you can exit sooner and not wait for the stop. I know that's a cliche, but maybe there's a skill or method to it. Here was a free Ninjatrader affiliate webinar where the host talked about this in particular:

EminiTradingSolutions.com Webinar Page

And a free online book about trading psychology in a fun anecdotal story of a pit trader.
Phantom of the Pits - Preface

I am actually not currently profitable. Not doing nowhere near as well as I was before I stopped trading in late April. Believe it or not, right now I am just happy to be taking live trades regardless of outcome (profit-wise) -as weird as that sounds. Hoping to get back on track soon, because yes you're right my strategy does have a good enough edge as demonstrated by my results here before April.

Thanks for the links.


Cloudy View Post
That's interesting to hear. Could you give some examples of what questions and comments you got?

Thanks,
Cloudy

The reactions are usually quite extreme, either very positive -which is humbling when you're not doing well at the moment or even just that particular day, or they are very negative which is anger provoking during times when you are making more in day than they make in a week.

Cloudy, have you never had anybody exclaim "Oh my God, you're a trader?! That sounds sooooo cool. Can you teach me?" when you tell them you trade? It is a super awkward request from strangers you meet at parties or BBQs. I have even gotten a "Oh, so you're one of those people driving up the price of my gas?!"

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  #86 (permalink)
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bluemele View Post
Wow, we seem to have similar viewpoints.

1. You are overly critical of yourself.

2. You believe that being critical will allow you to stop making your mistakes.

3. You now understand that mental is the majority of your issues.

Yes, that is exactly right. When I first got into trading and found out that the majority who try end up blowing their accounts, I decided to first find out what everyone is doing wrong and then be sure not to make those same mistakes. So the first and longest part of my learning journey was mostly reading about 'what not to do.'




bluemele View Post
This is what I would do if I were you, but please take it with a grain of salt from a trader much in the same situation as yourself.

1. Change your avatar from "TriggerShy" to something that inspires confidence and credibility.

2. Change your trading from "Beginner" to something a bit higher.

3. Let go of the words 'should', and replace with 'could have chosen' and a reason.

You do a great job of journaling! So much better than myself. My suggestion is to focus on technically seeing what went good and induce more of it, while understanding your mental state and what you were actually thinking.

I remember I used to trade live and my wife would always tell me, "You were saying fuck, shit, damn, ...." and of course that pretty much tells you where I was headed.

Let go of your trades like the book says, and I think for the 'trigger shy' part, you need to build consistency for a while and your brain will start letting go as you have probably built up a big hairy wall like myself.

Yes I do need to devote more time to analyzing my trades and my thoughts -have been too lazy to do what is important.

I thought I had the consistency part down and then one little hiccup and it all fell down; had to start building up my confidence from zero again.

Thank you for your suggestions I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond, especially since you identify yourself as being in a similar place. What is your story and what are you working on right now?

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  #87 (permalink)
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Eric j View Post
Me , I did (feared going live) . Turned out I just wasn't willing to risk what was necessary according to the trading I was doing in sim , both the money and the TIME spent sitting (go figure) . While simming I was scalping ES and 6E - daytrading . I came to grips with that as quickly as possible and wrote out all the possible avenues (on paper) I could explore to bypass this fear . I got to enjoy swing trading forex since I could adjust the position sizing to my liking and set my orders up to let the market do its thing without having to stare at the screen for too long . I saw all this as a function of learning myself , an important part of becomming a trader . Mark Douglas would be the first in line to tell you that .

Yeah it's mind boggling to find out that you just won't do in live what you regularly do in Sim.

Keeping a journal here actually helped me realize that the way I trade live is totally different from the way I trade in SIM -which finally explained the difference in Profit/Loss results.

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  #88 (permalink)
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TriggerShy View Post
Yeah it's mind boggling to find out that you just won't do in live what you regularly do in Sim.

Keeping a journal here actually helped me realize that the way I trade live is totally different from the way I trade in SIM -which finally explained the difference in Profit/Loss results.

How are they totally different? Do you find you are trading double tops in sim, and trend line breaks live? Try this, take one of the setups you trade, find the best possible occurrence of it, the most perfect one. Now describe that setup, and write down the description as a bulleted list. Now go in sim and trade that setup exactly according to that bulleted list for a week, while you still keep your journal. If you are profitable, then go live and trade that set up and trade it exactly according to the bulleted list for a week, and continue to journal through the entire process. Then examine your sim/live performance again. I bet you the difference you will find, is that your exits are worst live then in sim. Now, define a bulleted list on how to exit, and go through the whole process again.

The definition of the setup should be thorough enough, including market state, S/R, time of day, etc. whatever you generally find important in your trading. The first thing you will realize through this exercise is that you will be taking fewer trades, because you are now by default waiting for the technically better setups. This might be difficult at first, because you will see some so-so setups go by that make money, and you will say 'Crap! I could have made money on that one', that is a natural response, but that is the very response which is also responsible for the difference in your sim to live trading. That's the response that will urge you to take a bunch of bad/mediocre/risky setups, make you get in too late, get out to early etc., when trading live. It is the greed/fear/confidence response which is not a factor in sim. It is the same as the fight/flight response when we face danger, it is part of our natural survival instinct.

Now, you don't have to doubt your judgment anymore, because you know every setup you take is technically the best it can be, in the absence of a crystal ball. If that setup does not work, it is because the market just moved that way, and nothing you could have done could have changed that outcome. Now, given that you are taking only the best technically defined setups, there is no reason to cherry pick them. Discretion = Judgment, and judgment is clouded by emotion, your judgment will be affected by pride, confidence, fear, greed, etc. the moment you have 5 cents at risk. You can greatly eliminate the fear in your trading when you remove as much of the psychological aspects from it.


Last edited by monpere; July 25th, 2011 at 05:35 PM.
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  #89 (permalink)
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TriggerShy View Post
The reactions are usually quite extreme, either very positive -which is humbling when you're not doing well at the moment or even just that particular day, or they are very negative which is anger provoking during times when you are making more in day than they make in a week.

Cloudy, have you never had anybody exclaim "Oh my God, you're a trader?! That sounds sooooo cool. Can you teach me?" when you tell them you trade? It is a super awkward request from strangers you meet at parties or BBQs. I have even gotten a "Oh, so you're one of those people driving up the price of my gas?!"

https://futures.io/traders-hideout/7362-do-you-admit-being-trader.html

Mike

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

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  #90 (permalink)
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I haven't said I was trading except to one or two people. Most extended family and friends I've heard who tried years before had failed at trading(investing?). And took hits during the dot com bust and the 2003-4? crash. Of if they got profitable they may be keeping quiet about it. Kind of worried about letting people know actually. Being equated to a "gambler" with no benefit to the economy or society even as a retail trader providing "liquidity".

But if you look at the stats, there are exponentially more retail traders than ever worldwide in the last fifteen years, and in the U.S numbering in the tens of millions alone. Like every other other neighbor could be trading at least part time in the privacy of their home and you would never know it. Having worked in IT, I'd seen plenty of workstations where people hid small toolbars and gadgets/windows showing their stocks they would check on throughout the day , or even trade, including the boss' computer!


Last edited by Cloudy; July 26th, 2011 at 03:04 AM.
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