Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Trader I Strive To Be

Focus on your trading strengths
We are almost at the half way point of the trading year. As usual I am ready to review my trades and goals. A cursory scan leaves me with the feeling that I have done a good job, but as always have plenty of room to improve.

When doing a performance review, most people focus on what they have done wrong. It's natural to want to improve where you are lacking. Heck, even this post's title talks about what I strive to be, indicating I need to fix what is lacking rather than enhance or repeat my strengths.

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The problem with focusing too much on deficits is you will lose focus on what you are doing right. So ask yourself if those deficiencies of yours going to make much of a difference? Is focusing 50 percent of your valuable free time worth hitting those deficiencies, or is it better used enhancing your strengths?

Let's say you are an excellent breakout trader. You have a 58 percent win rate on breakout traders and your average win is 2.5 times your average loss. You are killing it on these trades. However, you are trading at a 35 percent clip on failed breakouts and not managing risk well. What should you focus on?

I propose that you enhance your strength. Dig deeper into breakout trading and tweak your style until you go from good to mastery. You will gain more from mastery of one area than going from bad to average at another. You can postpone the lacking setup, gain mastery int he other, then come back to the lacking setup once mastery is achieved.

This does not mean we ignore our weaknesses. Some areas where we are lacking must be fixed, especially if they relate to risk/reward and psychology. The key is knowing what weaknesses are important and will produce big gains once fixed, and which are trivial and not worth the allocation of valuable time.

There is another benefit to focusing on your strengths. It leads to a positive attitude. Trading is a mental game and I firmly believe that the best traders have positive attitudes. Focusing on your strengths naturally leads to positivity.

Remember, it does not matter that you are perfect. If that is your goal, you will always fail. Understand that you will be weak in some areas, and strong in others. How you balance this decides the amount of money you will make, or lose, trading.

The trader I strive to be is one that gains mastery over the things that make me a successful trader.

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1 comment:

Frank Yuhas said...

Just came across this again. This is brilliant post. I've found that embracing and focusing on the setups and timeframes that I'm even just marginally successful with has not only improved them, but is so encouraging, that as I make progress I embrace them and focus on them even more, thus improving them more, creating a revolving sort of cycle of learning and improvement.

Rather than getting down on myself, beating my skull against the wall every night trying to fix what's completely broken, even just a LITTLE success focusing on and improving what may only need some elbow grease has improved my frame of mind and confidence in myself ten-fold. It's even given me the confidence to go back and start again to tackle some of things that were getting me so down.

BEST of all, it's allowed me to believe again that I'll be successful at this game. And I feel that for myself, that's a huge part of the battle.

Thanks Paul,