Even though there is no “quick fix” that will solve all your trading problems and put you on the path to riches right away, there are some things you can do right now to make a big difference in your trading results.
In today’s lesson, I’ll give you five tips that, if you follow them consistently, will help you make a lot more money trading…
The best thing about you in the market is
One of the most important “keys” to success in trading is realizing that you can only control yourself and your actions, not the market. This may seem like an obvious point at first, but most traders don’t act like they know or agree with it. They try in vain to control the market and do everything they can to “force” money out of it. They don’t seem to realize that this is the reason they aren’t making money.
You can’t control the market, but you can control yourself. This is your biggest advantage in the market, but few traders seem to believe this and even fewer use it consistently.
If you think about it, it’s pretty clear that traders who are self-controlled always do the opposite of what losing traders do. It means you don’t risk more than you can afford to lose on a trade, you don’t trade when there’s no clear setup, and you don’t let your happiness or anger make you jump back into the market right after a win or loss… Because you have self-control, you don’t do these things. Simply put, most traders have little or no self-control over the market, which is why so many traders fail.
You have a crazy amount of power when you can decide how much money you want to risk on each trade. Sadly, many traders take advantage of this ability or don’t fully understand it. Managing your risk per trade well is the most important part of trading. No matter how good a trader is at reading charts, they will act irrationally if they risk more than they are willing to lose on a trade. Traders who are good at what they do know this, and they are good because they don’t put too much on the line with each trade.
Next, being able to control the number of times you trade is just as important and powerful as being able to control your risk. You will be light years ahead of most traders if you just don’t trade when there’s no signal that meets your trading strategy’s criteria.
Let the market do your “work”
In an article I wrote called “Why You Should Be a Lazy Trader,” I talked about how traders often try to do too much and would be better off trading in a “lazier” way. This is true because the market will do what it wants to do, no matter what you hope it will do or what you want it to do. So, instead of doing a lot of “work” like over-analyzing every possible variable and trying to force your will on the market, it only makes sense to wait patiently for the market to “show you its cards” before you do anything.
What I mean by “show you its cards” is that you should just be patiently waiting for the market to form a clear price action setup that meets the criteria of your trading plan. Then, you set up the order and let the market “do the work” while you do something else or just relax. This goes along with the first tip because traders often don’t have the self-control to just do anything in the market; they can’t keep their hands in their pockets.
Work on getting good at trading, and enjoy the process.
This may be the most important piece of advice you’ve ever read. Most traders worry way too much about how much money they can make on the market. Ironically, a trader loses money and fails in the market because he or she is too focused on making money and making money quickly.
When you are too focused on making money and have “dollar signs in your eyes,” you forget about the trading process and that you need to be a good trader FIRST. That is to say, you need to learn how to trade well before you can hope to make a lot of money on the market. But, unfortunately, most traders “count their chickens before they hatch.” This makes them take way too many risks on the market, which makes them lose money in the end.
You need to get serious about trading. Get excited about the process, make it a competition with yourself or with “other traders,” or do whatever you need to do to keep yourself motivated to get good at trading. If you want to have a chance at consistent long-term trading success, you NEED to do this instead of thinking about the profits and what the money can do for you.
Don’t worry about how much money is in your trading account. Instead, focus on trading and getting better at it. No matter how much money you have in your trading account, as long as you know how to trade, you can trade. It won’t take a good trader long to turn a small account into a bigger one. But, and I’ll say this again, you’ll never turn a small account into a big one if you don’t first get excited about trading and learning how to do it well. If you don’t have the passion, interest, and drive to get excited about all the things it takes to become a skilled trader, it’s best to forget about trading and put your energy into something else.
Whether you win or lose depends on what you do after a trade.
If I were to hang out with you for a week and watch you trade, I could tell if you have what it takes to be successful in the market just by seeing how you act right after a trade.
This is because the best traders don’t let their last trade affect them too much. No matter if they won or lost, their emotions stay at a “baseline” level the whole time they deal with the market.
This is not true for traders who are losing or having trouble. Probably, you already know what I’m talking about. How many times have you had a good run of trading that was followed by a terrible run of losing trades?
Most traders go through a very predictable cycle of events if they are not yet self-aware enough and disciplined enough to avoid giving in to the temptations that come with the market. The cycle goes something like this: You get on a winning streak and make a few big trades. This makes you feel good, which is a very dangerous feeling.
It’s called “over-confidence,” and it means that the happiness or euphoria you’re feeling from your recent wins has made you feel like there’s less risk in the market than there really is. What always happens next is that you either increase your normal position size, risking a lot more than you were in your last trades, or you start taking trades that aren’t as good (over-trading).
In the same way, when traders lose money on a trade, they often jump right back into the market. They need to get the money back that they just lost. But this feeling usually leads them to lose even more money, which, as you probably know, can make the cycle go on and on.
So, we’re back to tip number 1: be in charge of yourself. How well you can keep your emotions in check after a trade, whether you won or lost, is a great way to tell if you will be a long-term winner or loser. If you know you have trouble controlling yourself after a trade, you need to dig deep and find some serious self-control and discipline or you will never make money as a trader. You need to remind yourself that being flat on the market (not in any trades) is a normal, healthy, and very valuable position.
It is very important to stay in control during a trade.
Lastly, what do you do when you have a trade going? Do you just sit there and look at it until your eyes hurt? Do you stay up all night and lose sleep because you are so interested in every pip for and against your trade? Do you change your stops and targets or add to your positions almost every time your trades are live? Most traders have to answer “yes” to all three of these questions.
Controlling yourself before and after a trade is important, but controlling yourself during a trade is just as important, if not more so. During a trade, sometimes the hardest thing for a trader to do is nothing, but often doing nothing is the best thing they can do. As I said before, it’s often best to be a “lazy trader” and just let the market do the “work” for you after you enter. In other articles, like my “set it and forget it” and “minimalist trading strategy” articles, I’ve gone into more detail about this idea. But for today’s lesson, I want you to see that self-control is your most powerful weapon before, during, and after a trade.
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