Despite what some people may lead you to believe; day trading, swing trading and trend trading is not anywhere as difficult as they would like you to think. It really boils down to two key components.
First, you have to have an approach that helps you identify trades that have a consistently high probability of making money. Once you have this you must exploit this “edge” over and over again.
The only way to do this is to use the necessary discipline to never deviate from your system. The minute you start tinkering or tweaking things is when you will lose your edge!!!
You will most likely be tempted to do this after you have had a few losers. This is the time however to keep your focus and remind yourself that your system has a statistical advantage that has held up over time.
Think about this for a moment? If you go gambling in Las Vegas and can even gain a 1% advantage over the house you can make a literal fortune by exploiting this edge. That little one percent advantage can make the casino lose a whole lot of money over time. As a matter of fact the minute they notice that you have a viable system they will label you a cheat and ban you from the playing. It sure is a good thing that can’t happen to traders!
Now consider what happens if you have a trading strategy that produces trades that go into the money more than 60 to 80% of the time?
Now the second step to success is to manage your emotions. Two of the biggest indicators of a trader who is not managing their emotions are FEAR & GREED. These two emotions will wipe out every trader over time, both experienced and inexperienced alike.
Let’s talk about them for a minute…
FEAR: Fear of losing money or fear of being wrong is what causes traders to have this emotion.
“Trading with scared money” often causes the fear of losing money. This is when a trader is risking money that should be used for the rent, food, children’s education etc. If this is the case the only solution is to find additional funds that you are willing to put at risk. This helps to put the mind at ease and reduces the fear.
Fear of being wrong is simply the part in all of us that just doesn’t like to be wrong. The cure for this is to simply realize and accept that losses are part of this game. Think about this? A baseball player only need hit the ball once for every three times at the plate and this will get him into the Hall of Fame.
I feel this every once in a while and remind myself that… My approach for trading has both historically and real-time produced consistent winning trades. This gives me the confidence to step up to the plate and keep swinging. Also I tell myself that the only way to earn the big money is to get into the game.
GREED: Traders who are greedy are often the exact opposite of the ones who are fearful. They have no fear and this can get them into trouble. They will tend to over trade, not follow the rules and basically “wing it”. Sometimes this will work, but it always ends up back-firing.
One of the biggest problems when greed sets in is the inability to know when to take profits. These traders are so bent on making a killing that they are never happy. If they are up 10, 20 or 30% they don’t even think about cashing out, as they want more. This often leads to the inability to see the trade turning against then and they will allow winning trades to turn into big losing ones.
One solution for this is to realize that making 3, 5, 10 or 15% on a regular short time basis adds up really quick. I know for me personally, once I was confident in my methodology, I no longer felt the occasional feelings of greed. Now I don’t worry about “going for broke” as I know that there is always another good trade waiting for me.
This article is courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Wilde, a trading veteran with 15 years of experience in all major markets. He is a trading coach to over 1400 traders in 38 countries.