January 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm | | Comments 4

Succeed by Not Failing

Too many traders think a winning trade is a good trade, and a losing trade is a bad trade…a failure.  I disagree.

The result of a trade is either a profit or a loss, but not a success or a failure.  Good trades can end up being losses, and poor trades can sometimes result in a profit.  For example, jumping in front of a big move on a whim in hopes of getting lucky timing a reversal is a poor trade, but it may still make you money.  Good luck repeating that over time.

So, rather than focus on losing trades as the definition for ‘failure’ in trading, let’s take a look at 3 common ways traders fail:

trading-plan-for-successTo fail in trading is to not have a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail, according to John Wooden, and he knew a thing or two about success.  Great traders know what they’re doing when they go to execute an order.  They have an expectation for the trade, a reason behind it, and an exit strategy which they will absolutely follow.  Even beyond a per-trade basis, you should have a plan in place for your style, your goals, and when you’ll be cautious.  Plan for dull phases in the market, plan for volatility, and plan which strategies you’ll employ and when.

To fail in trading is to abort your plan for something beyond your current ability. I’ve made this mistake many times, and I’ve witnessed it in others.  It usually happens something like this… Consistent money has been made, confidence has grown, but greed sets in.  Rather than increasing your size incrementally, you double it overnight and start adding new plays to your repertoire.  Not a good combination.  You lose money, you lose confidence, and now you’re unsure of what to do next.  Stick with what you know.  If your buddy makes a certain play look easy but you struggle with it, learn it slowly – don’t try to make your week with it on the first shot.  Keep growing, but don’t rush your development.

To fail in trading is to have an inconsistent process. A good golf swing is one which repeats (doesn’t matter what it looks like — ex: Jim Furyk).  If you aren’t repeating your process over time, how do you know if it really works?  Suppose you focus on news today, charts tomorrow, and your favorite chat room the next day…where will your consistency come from?  This also happens when you show up on Monday morning with a revised strategy, give it a day to prove itself, then move on to whatever method you think you should try next on Tuesday.  It’s throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, and that’s no way to grow as a trader.  Start simple, add a little to your work load as you get more efficient, but be consistent with what you do day in and day out – at least until you can single out certain areas which need adjustment.

Avoid failure as a trader by taking action only when you have a game plan, and only when you realize the risk you’re putting on.  Avoid failure as a trader by abiding by your stops, which pertains to each trade as well as your daily, weekly, or monthly loss limits.  Walk away when you’re wrong, and place your ego aside.  Those who fail to submit to the market are only here for a little while.

Choose to stick around…only those who stay in the game will be ready to capitalize on the best periods of opportunity when they arrive.

Trade Like a Bandit!

Jeff White
Producer of The Bandit Broadcast

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  1. Great stuff. I completely agree. Every trade is a learning experience. You just have to decide how valuable it will be. The closer you stick to your plan the more you will learn on how to improve your plan. Great stuff man.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Micah, always appreciate your thoughts!

Trackbacks: 2  |  Trackback URL

  1. From Doesn’t making money mean it was a good trade? | Options for Rookies on Feb 15, 2011
  2. From Trading Strategy | Warren's Trading Journal on Mar 20, 2011

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