Thursday, May 3, 2012

From the comments

"Bud Fox" posted a comment under a prior post.  And since my response was too long for the comments section, I've posted it here.
In the comment section you sound so confident in your system. You speak of a "positive outcome" over time. So why do you get so tilted when you take a losing trade or multiple losing trades? Are you being honest with yourself about believing in your system? Or are you just saying it to yourself in an attempt to convince yourself?

IMO you are focusing too much on the psychological aspects of trading. This is a trap that I think a lot of newbie traders are falling into in recent years. It's like a Little League ball player seeking out a sports psychologist to help with hitting woes. The problem is not in the Little League'rs head, it's in mechanics and technique. Therefore working on the mental aspect is not going to help.

Based on your blog entries I'd say that your system does not work. Either that or you are not following it at all. 
Hi Bud:

Thanks for the feedback, you have very valid points.

Yes, I am absolutely confident that certain setups I trade have an edge.  After meticulously going through and honestly analyzing thousands of actual trades with a strong no-BS filter to help understand the probabilities of various setups (see examples here, or here, or here), I am very confident that certain setups I trade work well over time.

But you are absolutely correct, I am NOT following the system since I'm also taking unauthorized revenge/rogue trades that crush my profitable trades.  If I was miraculously able to eliminate ALL my impulse trades, I would be a consistently profitable trader.  The data proves it and I have a high degree of confidence in my analysis.

After the markets have closed and the dust has long settled, I review/grade my performance trade by trade, and it's quite easy to look back and see those revenge trades -- trades that just don't fit valid setup rules and usually take place shortly after I was stopped out of the prior trade.  They really stick out, and they also stink bad.  Some people have the inability to enter trades, but I have the inability to stay out of trades. 

So the easy answer is, "If you have a system that makes money, then just follow the darn system and don't take any invalid trades!!!"

Yes, I have tried, and based on my ES daytrading P&L so far, I have not yet been successful.  I can follow the system for short stretches of time successfully as I did here, and then I fall off the wagon.  It's like telling a alcoholic, just don't drink.  Or a smoker, just don't smoke.  Or a gambler, just don't gamble. 

I'm honest enough with myself to admit that it's likely some "wiring" in my mind needs to be modified before I truly become consistently successful.  And that I might not be able to "fix it" myself.  When you hit the wall enough times, making the same mistakes over and over and over, it starts to hurt.  So even though it was just a couple revenge trades this week, the camels back broke.

Ultimately, what really bothers me is that trading is one of the very few areas in my life where I do not feel as though I have complete control over my actions and emotions.  So at this point, my biggest motivation is not necessarily the P&L (although the P&L will reflect my success in how well I control my actions), but I'm motivated to learn and conquer how to gain better control of my actions.  This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges I have faced, and welcome the opportunity to improve myself.

This is why I'm looking for help on the psychological side of trading.  At a certain point, it's no longer about the mechanics and the fundamentals.  It's all about the ability to execute consistently over time.  Similar to how even the elite and best figures in the performance fields of sports, acting, or concert violinists have coaches / instructors / teachers / mentors, I'm looking to get the best possible help so that I know I'm doing everything I can maximize my success. 

In the end, I want to know in my heart that I've given and did my absolute best.

Thanks again for your comment, it really helps to keep me honest.  This also helps me to think through and better understand my current challenges, or at least what I think they are.  And if there are certain experiences that you [or anyone else reading this far down] can share that helped you to overcome your challenges, I would really appreciate hearing about them.


Solfest said...

Can you mechanize the system?

Let the machine trade and you watch.

Doing this has finally stopped me from taking muts (made up trades).

Lately it has stopped me from trading at all.

System is not triggering at the moment. I find that annoying since I want to trade.
However if I stop and think about it $0 is much better than less than $0.

I know an old trader who has a very wise saying, "the urge to trade is stronger than the urge to trade profitably".

Grove Under said...

Hi Solfest:
Unfortunately, it would be difficult to create a mechanical system based on my current trading methodology.

In many ways, it's similar to how those Captcha images are relatively easy for a human to understand, but difficult for a machine to interpret.

However, you raise a good point. I used to develop trading systems many years ago, but it never quite meshed with my personality. But maybe I should revisit that area again.

Great quote about the urge to trade, totally applies to me, as well as "muts" (great word!). Thanks for the feedback, and good luck with your system!

Bud Fox said...

If you're comparing yourself to an alcoholic or a compulsive gambler then you need to stop trading. You have an addiction and you can't trade with a trading addiction (for lack of a better term). Just like an alcoholic can't drink, at all. If you really think that your problem is at the addiction level then you need to put your family first and quit trading. Withdraw all funds and walk away.

Rocky Balboa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocky Balboa said...

Hey Grove...

Just read ur reply to budfox, and then the subsequent comments from budfox..

Well, i think the minute people who think they know something, start to tell u to, withdraw funds and walk away, that's the key turning point. I now think that you are about to turn a purple patch and are on the brink of transforming into this rock-star trader who was advised by the BUDFOXES of the world to quit trading !!!

I don't find bud fox's comments any bit constructive, to what you are trying to do and acheive for urself....Unlike sports, where u have only certain years of ur prime, where u have to make it or just walk trading if u can manage risk, and keep coming back, surely enough u will turn the page and be successful.

Just like u don't walk out of high school and become a Neurosurgeon, it takes 12-14 years of study and practice and hardwork, same in trading. It takes years..maybe 10,000 hours for some lucky folks...maybe 25,000 for others. They key is to now blow up and lose it all that u have nothing left to trade.

So that's ok imho if u haven't turned a profit yet, but as long as u haven't lost everything, keep trying and keep focusing on risk management . U know urself best, and u know what you are doing. Imho, u are making a conscious effort at overcoming the odds against you, based on your needs, personality etc, to become the trader you want to me.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!! U are doing the right thing, and now that people are telling u to quit, like the best in world were told in their professions before they became the best...i think this is a net positive for u.

I hope there are more bud-foxes who troll on ur blog and give ur grief, and I hope that in turn makes u mentally stronger and better and u make the cut, like nobody ever thought you would.

Good luck and stay strong!!

God bless


Grove Under said...

Hi Rocky:
Thanks much for the feedback, you have a lot of great points. I appreciate your support, it really means a lot.

Hi Bud:
Perhaps I was a bit too strong and negative with analogies comparing revenge trading with addictions. So maybe using an example along the lines of food, like the Lays potato chips slogan of "Bet you just can't eat one" and rewording it to "Bet you just can't stop trading after 1 stop loss" works better. That might be a bit softer and a more realistic example, sans that dark ominous clouds. :)

But on a serious note, using addiction as a analogy to certain behaviors in my trading is something that I should not use carelessly. However, one persons addiction could be another persons strength, or be considered fire in the belly, depending on the context.

I find that human nature is never clearly black or white, and that's what is so fascinating -- we're all different. What might be a non-issue for you with regards to certain behaviors and actions, might be one of the most difficult challenges I have to overcome.

However, first and foremost, my first priority in life is the well being of my family. So life, including trading, revolves around that. Because of this, I have accepted the fact that my learning curve will take longer to overcome due to time limitations, and I am totally at peace with it.

So as long as my first priority is successfully being met, my journey to become a consistently profitable trader will continue to march strongly ahead.

Thanks again for your comments, it really does help me to reflect and better understand my current situation, and to make sure I'm being as realistic as possible.

Tomross58 said...

Grove you truly are a class act and Rocky nice to see you again and hope you are doing well.
You started a blog and put yourself out there for people to see, warts and all. Most people would not attempt this. I am sure you have made a handful of trading buddies (myself included) and this far out weighs the negative.

Keep up the good work in something you love as I am and I have finally decided to stop following anyone else and do it on my own. Whatever time it takes you to become consistant is the exact amout of time that you (Grove) needed to overcome the hills and valleys that are personal to you. Talk soon


Grove Under said...

Hi Tom:

Yes, you're absolutely correct, probably the biggest gift from this blog has been the great people that I have been able to meet and become friends, no doubt about it.

Once again, it seems like we're in the same boat, learning new ways to trade the markets, and then investing the time to learn how to fish for ourselves, based on our own style and personality.

As always, thanks for the great comment and best of luck on your next great chapter! Catch up more soon.