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TEN-THOUSAND IN EDUCATION, FINALLY PAYING OFF
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TEN-THOUSAND IN EDUCATION, FINALLY PAYING OFF

  #91 (permalink)
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JS12 View Post
they just try to make 5% - 10% per month (which is difficult enough). This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you do the math, it is a lot. This is how it is done.

Of all the successful traders I know and have followed this is not an accurate statement. All the traders I know simply adapt their bias to the market condition and execute their methodology based on the oppertunities that the market gives them. Some periods very fertile with lots of oppertunities and profit potiential, others are slow and wear on patience and discipline.

The point I am trying to make is that they don't try to make X$ or X% in any given period, they focus on executing their methodology (discretionary/mechanical it doesn't make a difference). But I absolutely agree that trading undercapitalized and overleveraged is a recipe for failure, for both psycological and risk management perspectives. Although any business that had such little capital and the fixed and variable costs of trading would also be doomed for failure.

Once I figure out how to make a sig it will be this:

Trading Success = Trading Plan with Edge(10%) * Effective Money Management(30%) * Winning Psycology(60%)
-Ray Barros

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  #92 (permalink)
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Markets are not random. Useful trendline exercise


bobbyacim View Post

I started " ten thousand in education and still not profitable" with a quote of a famous trader who has been banned on BIG Mikes Forum (perhaps for good reasons) This trader goes by the handle "TRO" and he once said
"Market movements are random, prove it to yourself; place a line anywhere and eventually price will touch it"

Maybe TRO was RIGHT AFTER ALL, and ironically the person who banned him, just proved him right with this experiment......

Markets are not random. If that were the case, then profitable expectancy edges would not exist, and trading and financial markets would be no more popular than craps, roulette, and slots at the casino. But, to continue the casino analagy, poker is much more popular than the no-skill risk games because(though there is enourmous amount of luck) a skilled player can construct an edge with strategy and discipline which will result in long term success.

I haven't read much of Big Mike's Price Level thread, but if you're interested in exploring whether price lines/levels are random here are two very thought provoking blog posts from Adam @ SMB Capital which explore how price "acts" at randomly placed levels, and he offers a subjective way to test whether the levels you use in your trading offer any edge over random ones.

Appears my post count is too low to post links, just google: "randomness revisited levels", should be the first result.

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  #93 (permalink)
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@bobbyacim: Don't be so hard on yourself. The bad news is, you gave back what you had made. The good news is, you finally started on the road to making money. Trading from a position of knowing what you are doing is psychologically different from trading without a clue and knowing that you are clueless. You just discovered that. Without an edge, you just feel lost all the time. With an edge, you can feel cheated when you lose money, and, as you discovered, may engage in irrational and/or self destructive behavior because the market has taken YOUR rightfully earned money.

My friend, you've just started down the real road to successful trading. You've just discovered why @Big Mike feels that most successful traders spend most of their time in the Psychology section of this forum (emphasis on "successful").

I can tell you from 16 years of personal experience trading on the floor of the CBOT that even with an edge, it is only when you learn how control your personal demons that you will get the benefit of that edge. Maybe the answer will be trading just the first 1/2 hour, maybe it will be something else. In my case, I did not become consistently profitable until I started setting an easily attainable goal for myself and leaving as soon as I hit that goal. What prompted it was that after 3 years of slightly profitable trading, I had two devastating losses in the same month (one on September 1st, when I lost 40% of my year, which I recovered in the next 3 1/2 weeks, just to lose the same amount the last day of the month). I went home that day and cried. I was very afraid my career was over. I was getting married in a few months and the heat to start producing was really on. I was profitable, but not profitable enough to support myself and my fiancee and her kids, and I owed a friend $30,000, collateralized by my exchange membership. To make a long story short, I realized that if I didn't try to hit home runs or take every possible tick but only focused on the safest setups and taking the smallest possible profits, I could make money almost every day and find 3 to 4 winning trades per day. The market opened at 7:20, and if I hit my goal by 7:30 I was out of there. If it took me till noon, fine. The sense of discipline and control that routine gave me was very calming. The free time was nice too.

That month was the last month I lost money for 6 1/2 years, and, when paired with a rule that told me when it was OK to increase my size, allowed me to geometrically increase my income and net worth. I was able to double my size pretty much every four or five months until I hit the limits the liquidity of my pit would allow.

You also just discovered one of the most potentially destructive psychological dynamics of successful trading, the "big ego", or overconfidence. My worst losses almost always came after prolonged periods of unusual profitability. After awhile, I learned to read the signs that I was setting myself up for this kind of failure, the clearest being that I would start giving other guys a lot of advice.

I can't tell you the number of guys I knew who had to hit bottom before they were able to become successful. One guy had to sell his car. Another worked in a parking garage for four years while trading on the old MidAmerica (mini contracts) exchange, even though the rest of his family were lawyers. (And that guy wound up making tens of millions, one of the two best traders I ever knew. Extremely bright, extremely dedicated).

(By the way, the reason I talk about guys is not because I am a misogynist but because there were almost no women trading on the floor. Most of the women I knew who worked in the pits were order fillers; a few were options traders).

So view this as a necessary bump in the road, and expect it to happen again. Don't get mad when you lose money, losing is a necessary part of trading. Make rules, stick to them, and get mad when you break them. But get mad constructively, analytically, in a way where you learn from your mistakes and learn not to repeat them.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..."
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  #94 (permalink)
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Question for jstnbrg or anyone else that can answer

I have gone through the similar experience as jstnbrg, and as of last 6 months i have been good. But .... This might a long story but i would love and appriciate if someone gives me concreate answer, as really i am struglling with these issues:

Issue 1:

Example is last night, EUR/USD pair, EU entered the correction, though me knowing what is happening, i have decided to attempt a bit of scalp on a long. Entered long at 1.4701, three failed attempts to break, and finally i have closed the trade @ 1.4712. So the trade ended profitable, now here comes the issue. By my method, two candles later i should have been in short collecting +100 pips, but i was not. My problem was, even i have realised that it is a short, cut my trade and got out, seen it all, but instead of trading chart, i have continued to look for the long opportunity, still not accepting everything that i know and see.... (This does not happen every day)... for some reason sometimes, my previous trade creates this bias towards certain direction, and even though i do not follow through with the bad trade, i do not go into the good one either
Issue 2
Simple patience, when i am busy and have limited time to trade and need to go to bed earlly (Im in OZZ) i may have only limited time to trade. Sometimes as if someone or something comes over me and i start chasing. The problem is that i realize it a tick to late, after i have clicked , that instant i am asking my self what have you done....

I am slowelly come to terms and controlling those better and they occur less and less, but i guess my question would be how to ensure and what mechanisams do you deploy when you do not listen to your own trade plan and methods ?!?!?! I mean is there something that you guys have practiced that worked better than just keep reapeting your self, follow the plan 'moron' As some of us a more 'brick headed' than others. For me the ultimate punishement is when trade does end up loosing, then i am good for a while, but as positive, consequitive, trades occur, my discipline lessens....

Suggestions please....

Markets are logical and
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  #95 (permalink)
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bobbyacim View Post
Please don't think I am feeling sorry for myself for what I am about to say;

I started " ten thousand in education and still not profitable" with a quote of a famous trader who has been banned on BIG Mikes Forum (perhaps for good reasons) This trader goes by the handle "TRO" and he once said
"Market movements are random, prove it to yourself; place a line anywhere and eventually price will touch it"

Then I started this thread and changed my quote to reflect my optimism. Recently I have had a MAJOR failure, And coincidently saw BIG MIKES POST called
"Are all lines on your chart random?"

Maybe TRO was RIGHT AFTER ALL, and ironically the person who banned him, just proved him right with this experiment......

You should go back to that thread and have a think what it's really about. It does not prove that market movements are random. To me, it's all about confirmation bias. Whether it's Horizontal lines, market profile, squiggly indicators - you often see what you want to see and read meaning into the random.

There's an important piece of the puzzle that you are missing and will always miss when you look to define the market by any objective analysis technique.

The fact is - the markets are a casino. People with a lot of money are dicking around with it. It IS an auction but it is not a purely supply/demand driven auction. Or rather, the supply and demand isn't coming along for reasons related to value. It is not a pure auction. Simply put - people are regularly & intentionally pulling the pants of retail traders down and spanking them on the a$$ over & over & over again.

They know where you get in. They know how much risk you are willing to put into a trade. They know where clusters of traders will enter. They know how to shake people out.

I think it is fantastic to have some high-level view of where the market is, how it is structured and where it will go to. FT71 uses MP. Other people frame it in different ways. Still - you have to understand it's all a game and you have to understand when you are being suckered in short term if you want to make a go of day trading...

DT

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  #96 (permalink)
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DionysusToast View Post
You should go back to that thread and have a think what it's really about. It does not prove that market movements are random. To me, it's all about confirmation bias. Whether it's Horizontal lines, market profile, squiggly indicators - you often see what you want to see and read meaning into the random.

There's an important piece of the puzzle that you are missing and will always miss when you look to define the market by any objective analysis technique.

The fact is - the markets are a casino. People with a lot of money are dicking around with it. It IS an auction but it is not a purely supply/demand driven auction. Or rather, the supply and demand isn't coming along for reasons related to value. It is not a pure auction. Simply put - people are regularly & intentionally pulling the pants of retail traders down and spanking them on the a$$ over & over & over again.

They know where you get in. They know how much risk you are willing to put into a trade. They know where clusters of traders will enter. They know how to shake people out.

I think it is fantastic to have some high-level view of where the market is, how it is structured and where it will go to. FT71 uses MP. Other people frame it in different ways. Still - you have to understand it's all a game and you have to understand when you are being suckered in short term if you want to make a go of day trading...

DT



Well some retail traders make money. There are a few here. Not many, but a few. So these traders must know something that the rest of us do not.

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  #97 (permalink)
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Sure JS - totally agree. Many people figure it out.

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  #98 (permalink)
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Ziad on Trading


JS12 View Post
Well some retail traders make money. There are a few here. Not many, but a few. So these traders must know something that the rest of us do not.

If you want to know what successful trading is about, this post by Ziad @ the eminiplayer blog sums it very well. I re-read it every couple of days just for motivation, and to keep me grounded.


Quoting 
Learning to Become a Successful Trader

The following was posted as a comment by Ziad in reply to a post on Michael Brenke's Blog, but I'm posting it here (with Ziad's permission) because I believe it contains extremely valuable and genuine insights coming from a very disciplined and successful trader. I would also like to include the following quote by Dr.Brett Steenbarger

"Too many traders are looking for setups, when in fact they're the ones being set up."

--------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Michael,

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now but haven't commented yet. However, I feel I need to comment now.

If you don't mind I'm going to be very straight forward, and blunt even, but I hope you'll take it from a spirit of sincerity and genuine desire to help. It's going to be a long comment, so I'm going to break it up into 2 or 3 comments.

Here's the situation as I see it: For the last few months, and possibly much longer, you've just been spinning your wheels while thinking that you are getting somewhere. The reason for this is that you are going about learning how to trade in the wrong way, in my opinion. I say this because I've been trading much less than you, a little over 2 years now, and yet because of the way I went about learning and what I focused on, last year I netted $150k while nearly quintupling my account, without a single losing month, and while only risking a very small portion of my account on any single trade. Now there could be many reasons for the difference in performance, but I think one of the main reasons has to do with what you are focusing on and how you are going about the learning process.

To try to put it as succinctly as possible, in my view traders that are focusing all their attention on "set-ups" and finding out which combinations of indicators work are never going to become profitable. They are trying to follow the advice of trading books that say trading is simple and psychology is everything. So they search for set-ups that 'work', and that can take the guess work out of trading. They want to be "disciplined" and have simple rules that guide all their actions. But there's a few problems with this. Namely, while psychology is HUGE, it's not everything. And while trading is all about simple principles, actually having an edge is NOT simple. It's a myth that you can have a couple simple price or indicator set-ups and make money consistently if only you are disciplined. That's a load of crap. It keeps the dream alive for wannabe traders who never realize what it's truly about. Well let me tell you what it's truly about...

Trading is about being okay with ambiguity. It's about tolerating confusion. It's about sitting with discomfort and being at peace with it. It's about not having an exact script of when to trade or not to trade, or what's really a high odds trade, and being okay with that. It's about exceptions to the rules. It's about contradiction. It's about uncertainty.

And yet traders left and right want to make it simple. They want to reduce it to a few simple set-ups to trade with discipline. And yet the market is not simple. The market is all about uncertainty, and complexity, and ambiguity. Simple set-ups could never capture that, and they can never give you a true lasting edge.

So what's the solution? Is the problem in the simple set-ups themselves? No, it's in how they're being used. The bottom line is, every trader needs to learn to READ the markets. This means that simple rules will not do. There has to be a synthesis of different elements (whether they be price action, indicators, inter-market themes or whatever), and real-time interpretation must take place. It has to be all about CONTEXT. Once you can read the markets, and don't fool yourself it is a very complex process, then you can choose to employ "simple" set-ups to enter and exit. But the real work will be in interpreting the market to see when you should use which kind of set-up. Seeing a hammer or whatever near a support means nothing unless you've identified the broader picture and gotten a sense of the kind of tactics you should be using, and what the odds are for different scenarios unfolding.

Now I know you, and most traders do this to a certain extent, but your main focus is on the set-ups. It's not on reading the market from minute to minute, hour to hour, figuring out the odds of it doing this or doing that, adapting dynamically, and thinking of trade ideas from all your observation as the day unfolds. Rather, it's waiting for some simple set-up to pop up and then taking it.

Now is it easier emotionally to have clear set-ups to wait for and trade in this simple manner? Absolutely. But who said 'easy' would make you money. If I've learned anything, it's that the market rewards what is hard to do. It's hard to have ambiguity surrounding your market reads. It's hard being uncertain. It's hard dealing with competing and sometimes conflicting signs. And yet, this is what it's all about. You have to stop trying to avoid this by needing things to be clear cut. And is it hard to be disciplined when there's so much uncertainty about what is the right trade to make? Of course. But instead of trying to avoid the uncertainty by looking for simple set-ups, or some straight-forward method, train your mind to be able to deal with the uncertainty.

As for the learning process of how you go about doing this, it's all about being constantly engaged with the markets, trying to figure things out and learn from experience. For me, for instance, what I did was each and every day take notes in a journal all about market action and what I think it means, and how I should trade, and what is working and what's not. I didn't write a journal describing the trades I took, or what my emotions were during the day. It was all about market action. And it was all my perception and interpretation. Day after day, week after week, making mistakes, wrong calls, being clueless as to what was going on, not knowing how I should trade, not knowing if my views made sense or not, and yet I continued taking notes and learning. Then I would view charts and combinations of historical intraday charts, and I'd note certain behavior. For example, I'd study trend day after trend day and try to notice what they had in common and how I could have picked up on it in real time. Then I'd study range days. Then I'd study a price chart of the ES versus the Advance decline line and see what the relationship was across many different days. Then I'd do the same with the ES and TICK chart. And on and on. Over time, this gave me a feel for the markets, and a certain understanding of how certain days differ and many subtle signs and tells for each type of environment and context.

As for set-ups, I didn't use any predefined ones. I just formed trading ideas and then tried to get in at good trade locations. Even this, which is the art of execution, is quite complicated and not straight forward. I started realizing that in some environments it's best to wait for pullbacks, in others I need to get in at market or I'll be left in the dust. In some markets I can buy low and sell high, in other markets the opposite is in order. And so on.

I became consistently profitable in a timeframe of a few months by doing this. But of course before that I had read 30 or 40 books and so I had all the technical background. I had also worked a lot on my psychology and personal issues. But all of this was in conjunction with a method of learning and trading the markets that was mostly in opposition to what the general wisdom says about simple set-ups and exact rules.

Now of course you might say that everyone has their own style, some discretionary and some not. Absolutely. But even the purely mechanical traders are very adept at reading markets, and are aware of all of the complexity and ambiguity inherent in it. Their system might end up being simple, but it will come about through a very deep and complex understanding of markets. And usually this system will take the market environment (i.e. context) into account. It wont just be simple mindless set-ups.

In the end, all of what I am saying is meaningless unless you come to a personal realization. Take a look at your trading career thus far. Do you truly believe that if you just learn to focus and take all of your set-ups then your equity curve will reverse and you'll be a consistently profitable trader? Why would the world's top institutions spend millions and billions on R&D when a few simple set-ups could make them all of the money. This doesn't mean that to make money you need extremely complex mathematical models. Far from it. What it does mean is that you need extremely complex mental maps that take time and experience to develop, and that will never develop if you spend the whole trading day simply waiting for set-ups to materialize. That just won't cut it.

Right now your learning curve is stagnant because you're not truly studying the markets. Your day is wasted in waiting mode. It's not in observing and absorbing mode. Also, because you fear loss, you aren't willing to experiment. This means that you aren't making mistakes and failing regularly, which is what you need to do to learn quickly.

So to conclude, based on all of the above, my advice to you would be to stop trading and make a mental shift. Realize what you need to do to become successful, and it's definitely not staying on this endlessly unfruitful path being supported by the hope of future profits. You're just running in your place unless you change your focus and your learning method. And if you thought the journey was tough so far, you haven't seen anything yet. Get ready for uncertainty and ambiguity like you've never seen it before. But this shouldn't be scary. It should be exciting, because this is what trading is all about. This is why it's called an ART. And it truly becomes one when you change your focus and your learning process. Then everything, including success, becomes possible. And until then, it'll be a distant dream that keeps appearing to be so close and yet stays so far away.

So you need to re-align with a new thought system and then get on the simulator and trade. Take losses. Make mistakes. Be clueless. Don't be afraid of it. It's okay, that's the only way you'll progress. And trust me, progress you will.

Best of luck to you, and I wish you much success.

Ziad


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  #99 (permalink)
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Issue 1:

Quoting 
for some reason sometimes, my previous trade creates this bias towards certain direction,

You've already solved the problem by articulating it, IMO. I'd guess the reason for the problem is because earlier successful trades often repeat themselves, and your subconscious knows that. Conversely, a horrible loser will create a bias to go the opposite way next time, and the price where you put on that loser will be more or less where you try to do the opposite next time.

Issue 2

Quoting 
what mechanisams do you deploy when you do not listen to your own trade plan and methods

Self-hatred.


Quoting 
but as positive, consequitive, trades occur, my discipline lessens....

I had the same problem early in my career, and it was exactly what was holding me back. When I decided to stop concentrating on working hard and start concentrating on going home a winner every day, things instantly turned themselves around. You sound a lot like me. Try setting an easy goal to attain, and turn off your machine when you hit it. This doesn't mean you have to get out of the last trade the second you hit your goal, but you should become much more defensive when you do. If you've hit your goal and you have the least doubt about the trade you are in, then it's Miller time. If it's really early, reward yourself by doing something fun.

The problem reasserted itself much later in my career in a different way. The previous paragraph was about what happens within one day. Later on, in a really "big" market, I had a two week stretch where I averaged about $50 thousand every day, at that point by far my best 3 month performance ever (but in 2 weeks). I went on vacation (spring break for the kids) but came home a day early to trade Unemployment. Within 20 minutes of getting on the floor, I had broken my most important rule three times on the same trade and I was down $200,000. In my mind, I had become a god of trading, and the very fact that I was in the trade meant I must be right. Man, was my wife pissed! She had told me not to cut the vacation short, and she had stayed at Hilton Head while I went home and she had to make two separate trips to Savannah to drop various friends and relatives off at the airport, about 2 hours round trip. I guess I could have helped with that, but instead I had to go play Supertrader and get a snootful of green kryptonite.

Beware too much success. Really.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..."
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  #100 (permalink)
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Thanks, unfortunatelly, you have told me and confirmed my fears, of the discipline required. I have done similar thing last night, started trading at about 5PM Aus eastern time caught a big up on cable (cashed 110pips) and then instead of packing at about 9PM continued all the way till 2:30 AM just to stay at same level, full night of frustrations and wins/losses. I guess if i get platform to send e-mail to my wife when i reach the target, her 'evilness' will get me to bed.

Thanks a lot again, i do fully understand what you saying and unfortunatelly is all in us. It is amazing how we can complicate things for no reason and make solutions complex where simple rules are all we need....

I guess humans - money - emotions, good did not intend for all us to be able to manage those things effectivelly.

Regs

Markets are logical and
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There is a substantial risk of loss in trading commodity futures, stocks, options and foreign exchange products. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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