Monthly Archives: May 2012

Major Changes – Part 2 of 2

Okaaay… I’m feeling quite intimidated writing this post because somehow ‘Part 1’ generated 380+ page views and I’ve just gained my 200th follower on twitter. So no pressure there then!

Honestly I’m somewhat mystified by this (especially related to twitter) but never the less I really appreciate the interest, comments and support. Thanks 😀

You are all awesome.

—– At this point I paused to make tea and then got completely distracted by passiveaggressivenotes.com —–

and we’re back in the room…

Part 1 of this post closed with me making the point that to be truly successful you need to trade your own personality in the market.

You need to go through the process of breaking down what charts are telling you and then re-building a trading approach that you can connect with technically and emotionally.

I finally realised this in/around the same time as stumbling blindly across a Canadian trader called Chris Lori. Now I’m going to point out from the get-go that I’m not affiliated to Chris (or anyone) and what follows is my own entirely independent opinion.

I’m also going to stick my neck out a little and say that my intention is to get ridiculously good at this skill. If this wasn’t clear before from reading my blog it’s now in black and white. There’s a sector of my personality which doesn’t do half measures and it’s worth being aware of this in respect to the next part(s) below.

What I’ve not found anywhere is an explanation or framework for improving as a trader.

I know this may seem a little hard to believe but really, think about it for a moment… Who’s out there teaching the process of how to improve as a trader? How do you go about the process of learning without burning tons of cash? More importantly – How do you make sure that instead of learning at random what you’re gaining is targeted experience?

I feel compelled to make another ‘gym’ analogy here to help explain this last point…

In the last month it’s finally dawned on me that I need to slim down and change my body composition. I’ve lifted weights for years now but I’ve still got a bit of a spare tyre. Finally I’ve finally found out what to eat, the type, frequency and the amount of exercise I need to do. BUT I only discovered this after what’s essentially been years of random experimentation.

Just think about if I’d gone about trying different diets and workout routines in a structured manner? I’d have been there (where I want to be) years ago already. Guess what? It requires me to do exercises I dislike and to have way more self discipline – LOL

Now you need to follow me on this. The reason I flew all the way to Ft Lauderdale for a workshop was that Chris had put a slide up in a webinar that broke down the process of learning to trade in a extremely structured way. An outline that directly relates experience to feedback and building a discretionary trading model linked to ones own individual personality.

This is a scientific approach I can use!

I can teach myself to fish without having to radically re-shape my personality or to try to become something/someone I’m not. In addition this wasn’t based on indicators or even specific setups but more on an entirely price driven view of the market.

At this point readers who know about price action trading will assume I am talking about pin bars or specific candle patterns etc… or will think ‘yeah, I trade price action too…’

Nope, sorry. The point I’m going to really labor here is that most of the 4 day session was spent with Chris explaining the conceptual framework he’s built up about how price moves which is essentially irrelevant of the fact that you’ve got candle ‘x’ or shape ‘y’. This was all about what’s happening to price behind the fact that it’s represented by a candle which is linked to a time period. If you want to get more from this post then a good place to start is at Chris’s site where you can sign up to a whole bunch of very decent information/videos for free.

Other than that it’s worth pointing out that almost half of the 36(?) attendees had also previously been at one of his workshops. Some had paid to come back three/four times already. That’s really a great recommendation in itself

Now if you’ve a cynical disposition you’d assume that it was because they didn’t ‘get it’ in the first place. However it was clear to me they were back because, like any expert, it was worth learning even more from the depth of Chris’s forensic view of how price moves. Personally I believe Chris’s take on the market is exceptional – he is a very, very good trader.

It was also great fun talking to a bunch of relatively new (and some very experienced) traders and I can honestly say there weren’t any idiots there. Not one.

I picked up so much in Ft Lauderdale but crucially I learned to see the market in a way which actually makes sense to me. There’s so much depth and information there – when you know what to look for!

I now know how to use what I’m seeing so that I can come up with trades of my own that match my outlook. All of these things rely on a conceptual framework and not a bunch of setups from someone else which I myself may or may not be successful at trading.

So what am I currently doing with all this new-found knowledge?

  • Creating a structured learning plan based on taking apart one aspect of trading at a time and thoroughly understanding it
  • Building my own trading model just for GBPUSD

Now if you think about the detail behind just these two points you can see that we’re now very, very far from looking for short-cuts. It’s not quick, it’s not sexy and it requires hard work.

It may though be the only way to succeed and then to remain consistently profitable long term. No-one else can really tell you when to get in 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and got something out of it. If you’re feeling disappointed that I didn’t give away more specific information about Chris and his approach then I really recommend you check out his site which is really the tip of the iceberg.

Beyond that I can’t recommend enough that you actually come to a workshop. Barring the advent of the zombie apocalypse I’ll be going to the next one whenever/wherever it happens to be.

Thanks for reading.

Major changes – part 1 of 2

So approximately 18 months into what was supposed to be a two year project I’ve reached a very interesting point in my journey that I’d like to share…

If you’re looking to become profitable and consistent in this endeavour I seriously suggest you pay attention.

In part 1 I’m going to argue that as much as we’d all like to deny it the following is true. Learning other people’s specific setups and copying their trading methods does not work.

In part 2 I’m going to try to explain what this means as far as learning to trade goes and some of the things I’m doing about it. Part 2 will take me a couple of days to put together so lets kick off part 1 first.

So 18 months in and having extended my timeframe for becoming profitable on a consistent basis I have been very much on the point of giving up. Well, not quite, but the most ‘giving up-est’ I’ve been so far.

This prompted me to look around for what the profitable traders I’ve ran into have said about their own path to success and whether there were any common points. Here are some very lose observations: –

  1. The average timespan seems to be 3-6yrs to get really good
  2. If you dig a little deeper it’s mostly nearer 6yrs
  3. Those that seem to be consistent threw out the rulebook and developed their own trading methodology from scratch based on personal observations
  4. The majority of these individuals use ‘price action’ rather than charts with loads of indicators and wavy lines
  5. Some only trade one or a very few number of markets with very simple setups/rules
  6. Most of these rules are entirely dependent on experience which reinforces their discretionary approach
  7. Anyone who is very heavily promoting or selling themselves/their approach probably isn’t actually trading at all

So what does this tell me – other than I’m possibly screwed?

It’s been written over and over and over (which I’ve also completely ignored) that you can’t really trade someone else’s system/approach.

Acknowledging this truth would mean that I’m going to have to do a lot of hard work so I’ve ignored this up till now and not understood the point being made.

This statement removes the possibility of all short-cuts and frankly that’s a bit of a bugger.

However I now know this to be true from the following experience.

In October last year I signed up with Jimmy Young and went through his excellent and extensive training. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Jimmy’s approach and he is a completely genuine, honest and straight-forward guy with 20+ years of trading experience. The amount of effort he puts into educating his students is frankly un-paralleled. He’s got some extremely talented students and I can’t find any fault at all in how he conducts himself.

He genuinely wants everyone he’s teaching to succeed

When snow storms took out his local power/internet in the US Jimmy decamped himself to a motel for 3 days so his students could still get the information he provides every day. No really – Jimmy’s sending out a 10-15 minute webinar every day going though the previous day’s trades and what would have been the best approach as well as providing a huge amount of insight to the next day.

I know his approach completely works but I just am not able to enter the market and trade like he does. My personality with regards to trading just doesn’t work like his. Sad but true.

In order to not get emotionally steamrollered every time I look at what’s happening in the market I need to do what so many (now) successful traders have done and break everything down to something I can understand. Only then will this connect my personality, my unique view of the world and my psychology with how I trade.

Not only can I not trade like Jimmy, I can’t trade like @Trader_Dante, @FTSEDay, @50pips, @FT71 or any of the other great/supportive people I’ve run into on this mad arsed pursuit. To quote Monty Python…

Yes, we are all individuals!

So exactly where does this leave me, you or anyone else out there looking to become a consistently profitable trader?

You need to pull the market apart for yourself and see how it works with your own psychology/approach/creativity in mind. Then you can put it back together for yourself and objectively test what works. I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is the long, boring, slow and un-exciting process of becoming a trader. Just like working out and eating right is the long, painful, slow process of getting into really good shape.

There are so many people selling shortcuts, there’s the considerable challenge of self delusion and on top of that the impossibility of trying to change your personality to match someone else’s trading style… On this basis I’m un-surprised that few actually get there.

At this point you might think that I really should give up.

So why am I really excited now about moving forwards?

Well, think about it for a moment. What if the thing that’s holding you back isn’t that you’re not a good trader? What if it’s got a lot to do with the fact that you don’t take good trades like person ‘x’ because (surprisingly) you don’t see what they see ’cause you’re not them? Logically this makes complete sense to me. What a relief it is to put that burden down!

Perceptually the world I see isn’t what you or anyone else sees. You can get 100 different interpretations from the same chart. What follows from this is that you need to trade your own personality in the market.

How do you get to a point where this can happen? Well, you’ll have to wait for part 2 in order to find out and you’ll discover why I went all the way to Florida to really move things forward…