November 08, 2010 at 12:28 pm | | Comments 9

Trading Up from Mediocre to Great

trading-upCan you imagine working hard for insignificant results?  Or setting your standards so low that you need not put forth effort in order to attain your goals?  Never, right?

A competitive drive pushes many traders from the inside, causing them to take on risks others wouldn’t accept.  They shun the security of a regular job, opting instead to speculate in an arena filled with financial danger but unlimited upside potential.  Long hours are often recorded in an attempt to gain an edge.  Tedious tasks like sifting through hundreds of charts nightly, religiously reviewing results, or poring over statistics of trades past are done with the sole purpose of improvement by traders who are hungry for success.

In other words, they want it.

Those kinds of things are what it takes to get better in trading, and many are willing to pay the price.  Yet far too often – unfortunately – some traders settle for less.

I’ve encountered many of them.  They say things like “I’m not really trading right now because I’m waiting for XYZ to bounce back and let me out of a pretty big paper loss I’m facing.”

What’s interesting is that the ‘paper loss’ they’re referring to is quite real.  Even more noteworthy is what they fail to see, which is that other trades could put them back on the right track and actually get them turning a profit again – if they’d free up their account to allow themselves to actually take those trades.  Sadly, they’re just unwilling to turn loose of a mistake, so they cling to hope and wait for a miracle.

Are you one of them?

Trading Up

Often times on the road, I’m looking for an opening in the left lane to get around that slow lady ahead of me who is too busy talking on the phone to go (at least) the speed limit.  In the mall, I’m amazed at how many people walk aimlessly, without a clue, as if there’s no purpose or destination to move towards.  Yes, I am a bit impatient, but the point I’m making here is that it’s a habit I’m in of continually looking for ways to improve my situation.

That’s particularly true in my trading.  I don’t mind putting on risk, and I realize plenty of trades will fail.  What’s most important to me is to monitor how those trades move and how the stocks are behaving.

Let me be clear… It’s unrealistic to think I can foresee the moves before they happen, but it’s not difficult to recognize price action that’s outside the recent norm.  And that is the key.

Studying the price action closely allows you to identify when outlier moves begin to occur, and subsequently when an exit needs to be made.

Always Think In Terms of Gain

We just sold our house.  The real estate market is still soft, and for about two months we had a lot of showings but no sale.  The price was too high, and we had to come off the price a bit in order to sell the house.  But we’re upsizing, so what we had to concede on the last house we more than made up in the new house.

Once I thought of a price reduction in those terms, it became a no-brainer.  It was less personal.  Understanding that giving up $1 here might mean I save $1.50 on the next home (because it’s larger and higher-priced), logic dictated that I think in terms of what I’d gain on the other side, not solely what I’d be giving up.

Why doesn’t everyone trade this way?  Why not dump an average name for a better one – one that shows more promise, more potential?  Why not put in the work to get to the next level and leave mediocre results in your rearview mirror?

Make it a habit to think this way, especially if you’re gunning for improvement.  OR…be complacent and stagnate, because that’s the only other option.

What has helped you learn to dump losing trades in favor of new names with better potential?  Share your thoughts in the comments…

Trade Like a Bandit!

Jeff White

Producer of The Bandit Broadcast

Are you following me on Twitter yet?

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  1. Clear, insightful thoughts and advice.
    Thank You.

  2. Thank you Pete, I appreciate it & thanks for reading! Happy to hear your thoughts on things anytime, too.

  3. Awesome post Jeff, Thanks. I felt like you were talking to me directly on this one.


  4. Glad it hit home Nick! Just amazing how large a role our perspectives play in our trading. If we can get our mind right, trading is certainly less difficult.

  5. oh man, this is great…stupified at aimless walkers. sometimes a little too aware of my surroundings and options, but can’t throttle the desire to improve one’s lot!

  6. Haha, thanks Derek, I sure appreciate you stopping by!

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  1. From Tweets that mention Trading Up from Mediocre to Great | -- on Nov 8, 2010
  2. From Flip Your Fears | on Jun 10, 2011
  3. From The Naked Truth About Your Trading | on Jul 5, 2011

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