Tag Archives: Growth

Never Stop Experimenting


Growth never stops.

Schedule some time to play. To experiment. To explore.

Often it will lead nowhere.

But sometimes it might create new insights which transform your trading and your life.

Persistent thought 1: "Is there any reason why I have to wait till 0930ET (12:30am my time)? When "life" allows, why don't I trade the currencies from 0800 to 0930 and then shift across to my normal market?"

Persistent thought 2: "I really need to explore the idea of scaling in – spreading an entry across a zone rather than going all-in."

If you're like me you'll find thoughts and ideas repeatedly competing for your attention.

Don't discard them. Their might be gold in those ideas.

But don't let them distract you from your main job of trading your current defined strategy.

Schedule some time outside of normal work hours for play and experimentation.

You never know what you'll discover.

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

Persistent thought 1: "Is there any reason why I have to wait till 0930ET (12:30am my time)? When "life" allows, why don't I trade the currencies from 0800 to 0930 and then shift across to my normal market?"

I enjoyed this. It's been quite a long time since my last play with currencies.

And while life doesn't usually allow me to be ready for trading by 11pm, I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn't consider trading the currencies on those odd occasions when it does. It certainly beats sitting and waiting for another hour and a half.

Persistent thought 2: "I really need to explore the idea of scaling in – spreading an entry across a zone rather than going all-in."

I've tried this several times in the past, but always abandoned it. It's clear my strength is precision entries, all-in, with imperfection managed through scratching and re-entering as required.

And yet the idea keeps persisting. I will likely play with this more, as time allows. But I have to make sure that when I feel the trade tipping in my favour, I've got to get full size on.

In any case… today's goal of simply experimenting in the hour and a half prior to the US emini open… was a resounding success.

If you're like me you'll find thoughts and ideas repeatedly competing for your attention.

Don't discard them. Their might be gold in those ideas.

But don't let them distract you from your main job of trading your current defined strategy.

Schedule some time outside of normal work hours for play and experimentation.

You never know what you'll discover.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs



How to Kick-Start Your Growth and Development


If your progress has stalled in any way, it is just SO IMPORTANT to realise the following truth:

Progress comes from your growth and development plan, not from your strategy.

This just won't work:

The typical failed process

Hoping, wishing and praying doesn't work.

Just trying harder doesn't work.

You need something ACTIONABLE.

Let's fix it NOW:

STEP ONE: Implement a growth and development plan based upon GROUPS OF TRADES.

Here is the concept. Review the following articles:

(a)  http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level/ 

(b)  http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level-examples/

(c)  http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/you-can-do-this/

(d)  http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/consistency-its-a-necessary-part-of-the-process/

(e)  http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/before-making-changes-to-your-strategy/

A GROUP OF TRADES Growth and Development Process

Also… any changes you're making…  consider making them the stretch goal for your next group.

See here – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/stretching-to-the-next-level/

A stretch goal - just a little stretch beyond current capabilities

Most importantly, major process changes can only occur at the end of each group. And they must be based upon proper review and analysis of your group stats and journal entries.

STEP TWO: Intra-group, monitor daily to ensure consistent implementation of your process.

No major process changes occur here.

Only tweaks or minor changes to how you execute your processes.

A daily review to improve implementation of your processes

Now move the response to question three to tomorrow's pre-session planning.


Progress comes from your growth and development plan, not from your strategy.

If you're not progressing, then something HAS TO CHANGE.

Something actionable.

Something concrete.

Between groups, you MUST identify a concrete, actionable improvement to process.

Within groups, you MUST monitor consistency in implementing process, and tweak as required to improve implementation.

Hoping, wishing and praying that somehow this time it will be different, doesn't work.

Just trying harder, doesn't work.

Find something REAL that you can implement.

It won't always be easy. In fact it will rarely be easy. But damn it, you can't progress by just continuing on the same treadmill.

Fight to find an actionable change that progresses you in the right direction. Implement it. Repeat.

You can do this, 

Lance Beggs



Employing a Self-Distancing Strategy to Improve Journaling and Review


Close your eyes and imagine a really bad trading session. You might have a recent example you can use. Or if not, just make one up.

The details don't matter. They'll vary for each of us. Just make it bad.

Maybe this:

"I drag myself into the office and throw my bag on the floor. Feeling crap with a hangover and too little sleep due to last night's celebrations. It's 10 minutes till market open. No problems. I'll catch up on the pre-session admin later and just wing it. I'm on my third coffee already – this should help me make it through ok."

The market opens and drives higher with strength. "Suckers… it's right into resistance. I'll short here and catch the move back down to the market open."

Of course, it loses!

As does the second attempt. And the third. And the fourth, which had the stop pulled even higher, because "this damn thing is so overbought".

Or maybe your example is something much worse.

Whatever it is, close your eyes and visualise it. And feel every feeling that such a session would bring.

Disgust! Anger! Frustration!

Now, the session is over. You've smashed your keyboard and it's time for review. Close your eyes and imagine yourself critiquing your performance.


Close your eyes, visualise this scenario. And then critique your performance.

Now let's shift the scenario slightly.

This time the session went exactly the same, but you weren't the trader. The trader was the person you most love in life. Your partner. Your Mum. Whoever you care the most for.

And you're their coach. The person they come to after each session to discuss their performance and to plan the way forward.

Close your eyes and imagine how you would handle their performance review.

Visualise it.

Feel it.

If you've been honest with yourself, it's likely that the first scenario would have been far more emotional. Quite likely an explosive, self-critical and self-deprecating review.

Whereas the second, while still noting that the performance was unacceptable and must lead to change, would likely be more calm and rational. With a more considered review of both the reasons for the poor performance and the solution that is necessary to prevent recurrence.

This simple shift in the scenario has created some space, or distance, between our rational mind and the emotion associated with the trade performance.


Self-Distancing Strategies

I absolutely love this article by Brad Stulberg in NYMag.com:


Please read it. It will take about 10 minutes, tops.

Some key excerpts:

  • Collectively referred to as “self-distancing,” practices like those outlined above and Rusch’s “pretend you’re talking to a friend” allow us to remove our emotional selves from intense situations, paving the way for more thoughtful insight and subsequent decision-making.
  • Employing a self-distancing strategy allows you to evaluate activities or situations that are rife with passion from an entirely different perspective, one that includes logic alongside emotion.
  • “I talk to myself all the time,” says Rusch. “It’s just that when I talk to myself as myself, I tend to be negative and not so helpful. But when I talk to myself as if I were talking to a friend, my words are motivating, forgiving, and far more productive.”


Employing Self-Distancing Strategies to Improve Journaling and Review

I will be employing these ideas in two ways:

(1) Journaling

Here's another excerpt from the article:

  • Similar studies show that when individuals think, or journal, in the third person rather than in first person — for example, “John is running into challenges with his business that seem insurmountable” versus “I am running into challenges with my business that seem insurmountable” —they, too, evaluate themselves and their situations more clearly and with more wisdom.


I now journal in the third person.

Give it a try for a month. You can always go back to normal if you don't like it.

(2) Reviews

All reviews (session reviews and longer term reviews) will now be conducted as if I am the "Performance Coach" reviewing a trader within my firm.

Again, give it a try for a month. You've got nothing to lose.

And if you can separate your rational and logical side from the emotion of the session, just a little, there is a WHOLE LOT to potentially gain.


Why Not Get Started Right Now?

That trading you did so far this year is no longer yours. It was done by your best friend, your partner, or some other loved one.

You are now the performance coach.

And it's time for you to honestly review their trading business.

Close your eyes and imagine the review session. And answer the following questions.

  1. Did they approach these recent months with clear and realistic goals for growth and development?
  2. Did their performance drive them successfully towards achievement of their goals?
  3. Are the goals still appropriate, or do they need amending?
  4. What action must be taken in the coming months to take decisive steps forward?


Calmer. More rational. More logical.

And far more likely to lead to practical and effective decision making.

Give it a try!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs



Before Making Changes to your Strategy, Ask These Questions…


We're one week into the new year. Are you already trying to tweak your strategy, or your trading process, based upon a bad session or two?

Before making changes to your strategy or process, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the change the result of deliberate analysis of past performance, in order to improve upon a recognised deficiency or to further enhance a current strength?

A Deliberate Process

2. Or is the change a result of looking at a few different indicators or settings and thinking, "This might be a good idea"?

I know it will work this time!

It better be the first one!

If not, the major problem is not with strategy, but with your growth and development process. Yes, the strategy may well need further work. But without an effective growth and development process you'll likely never find the right solution.

Let's fix it now.

First, review this article – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/dont-break-the-chain-a-simple-tool-to-improve-consistency/

We're going to use this method to try to force some consistency. But with a tracking sheet designed just for this purpose.

Right click to save a PDF copy

(Larger copy: http://www.yourtradingcoach.com/products/ebooks/consistency-tracker.pdf)

And second, commit to a better process.

Review this article – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level/

Print out the article if necessary.

And take action.

A Deliberate Process

Your trading success requires consistency in application of your plan… and an effective process for driving growth and development.

You can do it!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs



Stretching to the Next Level – Followup


Let me start by sending out a massive THANK YOU to the whole YTC community.

I believe last week's article set a new record for the amount of feedback it received.

And all positive, which is nice to see!  🙂

Check it out here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/stretching-to-the-next-level/

The aim of the article was to have you bring your goals closer.

Closer in time. And just a small stretch above and beyond your current capabilities.

This ensures that you receive quicker feedback. And most importantly, that you have a greater chance of achieving the goal.

Small wins, received often, do wonders for your mindset and self-belief.

Plus… it's just the way that progress works. So many things in life are achieved through small, incremental steps. For some reason we tend to forget that when it comes to trading.

I was most excited mid-week to see a new blog post by Dr Brett Steenbarger, which ties in nicely with our "stretch goals". Dr Steenbarger has for a long time been one of my favourite trading educators. His writing is of the highest quality. Every blog post is something I never miss.

I recommend reading the post in full here – http://traderfeed.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/how-to-trade-with-peace-of-mind.html

But the key points, as they relate to our article last week are:

  • "…the way in which we set goals greatly impacts the probability of our success and the mindset we're likely to come away with."

  •  "…the importance of keeping goal-setting flexible and doable. Flexible means revising goals at intervals: for example, setting monthly goals rather than annual ones. Doable means that both the number of goals and their difficulty be set in such a way as to set us up for success rather than frustration. Many big goals can be broken down into a sequence of smaller ones that create an ongoing sense of progress and momentum."

  • "Over time, the accumulation of small goals creates large changes. The idea is to make each day a win, regardless of the P/L of the moment. That creates peace of mind, and peace of mind frees us up to trade with open minds."

I'd like to also share with you an extra step to the "stretch goals" which I shared with a couple of traders via email last weekend.

It's the idea of having TWO TIERS of goal-setting.


To ensure an even greater likelihood of success and peace of mind.

The aim of our "stretch goals" last week was to ensure that it targets something only a slight reach beyond current capabilities. But this of course doesn't mean we'll achieve it.

Stretching to the next level

And that's fine. The reality is that we won't always achieve this new level of performance.

But we will learn. And we can review our plan for achievement of the goals. Or even amend the goals themselves, bringing them another step closer. And then we launch ourselves off on another attempt.

The problem is…

Stretching to the next level

This is where it can help to have two tiers of goal setting.

Our stretch goal is the second tier. It's the one we're really pushing for. It's the one we put all our focus and attention on achieving.

But it's also something that we completely accept we may not achieve. Or may not achieve, just yet.

But we NEVER judge our self-worth on achievement of this goal. EVER!

Because, although it's just a small stretch, it might take a lot longer than we expect.

This is where the first tier can help.

Set something that is so damn easy that you absolutely should achieve it.

Something like SURVIVAL.

However you want to define that is fine. For me it would be – "My aim this week is to ensure that my family is safely provided for and my trading business is not threatened in any way. I survive to trade another week!"

Stretching to the next level

Don't under any circumstances allow failure to achieve Tier 2 to influence your self-belief. You achieved Tier 1. That is awesome. Well done. Now, examine Tier 2 and find out why you didn't achieve it. And set in place plans for the next assault at that target.

It's all about maintenance of a positive mindset, while at the same time always pushing yourself to expand to new levels of performance and skill.

Tasks for the Christmas / New Year week:

  1. Review the prior article, if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/stretching-to-the-next-level/

  2. Review Dr Steenbarger's blog post. And subscribe to his RSS Feed, or find some other way to get all his future posts.  http://traderfeed.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/how-to-trade-with-peace-of-mind.html

  3. Consider the use of two-tier goal setting in order to maintain a positive mindset, while still stretching to reach the next level.

  4. And set your goals. Trading recommences in early January. What are your goals for the first week? Do not start trading until they're clearly defined.

Go for it!

Lance Beggs



Stretching to the Next Level


Do you have trading goals?

Stretching to the next level

Whatever it is, that's fine.

As long as you're making progress towards that goal.

Let's be honest though… are you actually making progress?

I hope you are!

But I speak to a lot of developing traders and the fact is that MOST are not making progress.

Here is a problem I see over and over again:

Stretching to the next level

The target is just too far away to be able to see any real progress.

And even worse, there is no solid plan for how to get there.

Stretching to the next level


Stop it!

Let's fix this now!


Step 1: Bring your goal closer in time.

Much closer. No more than a month away. Ideally weekly.

Let's say for example that your goal is to achieve $100k per annum. But you're not yet able to ever achieve a positive week.

GOAL: $100k per annum

"That's too far away. Bring it closer."

GOAL: Ok, I will aim to achieve $8k months.

"Which is how much per week?"

GOAL: I will aim to consistently achieve a weekly average of $2k.

Step 2: Reduce the size of the goal till it's just a slight stretch beyond your current capabilities.

A goal of $2k per week is fine. But if you're not yet even achieving positive weeks, it's kind of pointless.

If your goal cannot be reached from your current location, within three or four attempts, then your goal is crap. You'll just churn away week after week getting more and more frustrated. 

Your goal should stretch you just beyond your current capabilities.

And it should be something you feel that, with improvements in process, you might have a chance of achieving in three or four attempts.

GOAL: Ok. Let's reduce the weekly target to a much more achievable $1k.

"Too much. You can't even achieve breakeven."

GOAL: Fine. My goal this week is to achieve a breakeven week.

"Good. You're close to that already. It's just a small stretch. Remember, when you achieve that, and can prove it repeatable, you will then set further goals to stretch to the next higher level. And so on and so on until eventually you're achieving your original goal."

Step 3: Focus on process improvements required to achieve this outcome.

Break the trading process down into as many smaller sub-processes as you can.

Find the one part that, if improved, will provide the greatest impact upon results.

And then set your goal to improve that part of the process.

It might not be sufficient in and of itself to reach your monetary goal. But it's a start. Once achieved, with consistency, you can then find the next area of improvement.

"Break the whole trading process down into parts for me. However it makes sense to you."

"Ok. How about (a) quality trading ideas, (b) quality entry and (c) quality trade management."

"Fine. Which area is currently contributing to your inability to achieve a breakeven week?"

"All of them. But ok, perhaps the trading ideas. Too many, when looked at with hindsight, are just in poor chart locations. Far too late in the move. In retail zones, I guess you could call it. Definitely not where the professionals are trading."

"So what process changes can you make, and what daily goals can you set, to give you greater chance of trading in good chart locations?"

"I can spend some time this weekend defining "quality trade locations" including the point at which entry is too late. I can put something in checklist form. And then I can then work this week with the following goal:"

GOAL: This week I will focus SOLELY on ensuring the vast majority of my trades are attempted in quality trade locations, in accordance with my new checklist. Quality entry and management are of little importance. I can work on them next. But first, I will aim to ensure I'm at least trying to trade in the right areas. I will consider this a success if by the end of the week, 80% of the trades are in areas that meet my definition of "right area" as best it can be determined at the right hand edge of the chart.


Ok, I totally made up that conversation. You knew that right!  🙂

But the point is that it takes the goal from something outside the realm of immediate possibility, to something that is much more achievable in a short timeframe.

Progress won't be guaranteed, of course. It might take three to four attempts, with further improvements to the process each weekend.

But if progress is not seen after several attempts, break down the process goal even further to something even smaller and more achievable. Your aim is to start accumulating small wins in the direction of your original and ultimate goal.

And if our trader achieves consistency in trading in better trade areas, but still fails to achieve breakeven weeks due to poor entry or trade management, then the process goal shifts to these areas. At some point, a breakeven week will be achieved. The goal might shift then to repeating this same level of performance, just to prove it's not a fluke.

And then… maybe aiming for something greater. Maybe three out of four weeks positive, with the losing week smaller than the average winning week.

Each step just slightly beyond the current level of achievement.

I don't know what your goals are. And I don't know your current level of performance. But whatever they are, if you're just churning away week after week without any clear evidence that you're closing that gap, you need to take action.

Step 1: Bring your goal closer in time.

Step 2: Reduce the size of the goal till it's just a slight stretch beyond your current capabilities.

Step 3: Focus on process improvements required to achieve this outcome.

Stretch… just a little bit.

And fight to get to this new level.

Stop accepting failure. Redefine your goals so that you can achieve small incremental wins.

One step at a time.


You can do it!

Lance Beggs



Review and Improve


You might like to consider your review process as the vehicle which drives your trading business to its ultimate destination.

Whether that destination is ongoing improvement and eventual success… or continued mediocrity, frustration and failure… is completely up to you.

If you've got nothing in place, here is a simple process to get you started.

Once you're comfortable with this, there is great scope to expand it to new areas of review. It doesn't solve everything.

But again, if you've got nothing in place, consider implementing this process RIGHT NOW.

Review and Improve

Look at your last 20 trades. Study them with the benefit of hindsight.

Examine 50 if you prefer. Or 100. Find the right compromise for sample size, which is large enough to be statistically significant and small enough to ensure your review process occurs on a regular basis. But not less than 20. I would suggest that is the absolutely minimum.

Once you've gathered all the trade data and charts, let's check the quality of the setups.

How many of your trade ideas were in chart areas which DID offer potential for multiple-R profits (2R minimum)?

It doesn't matter whether you actually managed to profit, or not.

We're checking the general concept. The trade idea.

We're making sure you're trading in the right areas of the chart.

Did price move from the setup area a sufficient distance to provide multiple-R returns?

Take note of all the trades within the sample which achieved this goal. And now let's check the quality of trade entry.

Now consider those trades that were in good multiple-R setup areas. How many were you able to enter at a place and time which offered good potential to catch those multiple-R profits?

Again, it doesn't matter if you achieved a profit or a loss.

With the benefit of hindsight, given where you entered, is it reasonable to expect that a successful trader could manage that position to achieve multiple-R profits?

How many of these trades would you classify as having a good entry?

Take note of them… and let's move on to check the trade management.

Now consider those trades that were in good setup areas and which were entered well. How many of these were successfully held from entry to the first target level?

How many were you able to hold open to the initial target point, avoiding all temptation to scratch the position early?

And then…

Of those which did achieve the initial target, how many of these were held to a further "hindsight perfect" exit point?

Again, take note of how many achieved this aim.

And now let's use this information to drive our business forward.

Looking at these figures, which area do you need to improve when trading the next sample?

It's important that we focus on one area at a time.

And that we work in order.

Get the setups right first. Are you happy with the number of trade ideas that are actually providing multiple-R profit potential? If not… focus on improving the quality of your trade ideas.

Then work on entry.

Then initial management.

And then ongoing management.

Find the first area that disappoints you. Examine why. Determine a course of action for the next 20 trade sample.

And repeat.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs



Keep It Simple


It's very easy in this business to bury ourselves in complexity. Typically leading to nothing but feelings of extreme overwhelm and doubt.

It can help at these times to "step back" a little and look at the bigger picture.

At a simpler level, what exactly are we trying to achieve here?

I would suggest that many of us could describe our trading by the following "simplified" flowchart.

Higher level simpler overview of the trading process

When you get one wrong, work to contain the damage as much as possible.

When you get one right, work to take as much profit as you can out of the move.

Aim to keep the losses smaller than the wins, on average.

Record data on your decisions and performance.

Identify what adds to your edge across a large sample of trades. Seek to understand why. And do more of it.

Identify what reduces your edge across that same large sample of trades. Seek to understand why. And aim to avoid it or reduce the damage.

And improve over time.

Essentially, that's how I run my trading business.

But perhaps the best use for this "simplified" flowchart is in it's ability to help us find the way forward when we're stuck.

Because the same flowchart can be used to guide our learning process. And to narrow our focus to ONE AREA OF IMPROVEMENT at a time.

Using the simplified flowchart to guide our learning

We won't get it right in every trade, of course. But our aim must be to learn to do so with sufficient frequency to provide an edge across a series of trades, assuming acceptable trade entry and management.

Using the simplified flowchart to guide our learning

Again, we won't always get this perfect. But we must get it right sufficiently often to ensure that our edge remains, assuming acceptable trade management.

Using the simplified flowchart to guide our learning

And once more, we don't expect to get this perfect every time. But across a large enough sample, we need to get this right enough to maintain our edge.

Using the simplified flowchart to fix a failure to provide edge.

Are you trading in the right area? Or do you need to work more on your strategy?

Are you entering well enough? Or are you getting chopped up as you try to consistently pick the exact turn point?

Are you holding for a reasonable portion of the move? Or are you regularly failing to manage the opportunity that is available.

Success requires that you first identify the source of current failure. So simplify! And then narrow your focus to one area at a time.

Do you need to work on your trade areas? Or trade entry? Or trade management.

There's work to be done.

Best of luck,

Lance Beggs



Miscellaneous Thoughts on Making Progress as a Trader


One of the things I love about what I do here at YTC is the opportunity to chat with other traders, at all stages of their development.

My email archive provides an absolute treasure-trove of information and ideas spanning all areas of this business from strategy to peak performance to business management.

I was reminded of this by two different email conversations in the last week, in which two traders both achieved a similar breakthrough in understanding. I'll share these right at the end of the article, so that we can finish on a real positive note.

But this got me thinking. I don't dip into the email archive enough for inspiration for articles or social media posts.

So let's rectify that today with a surf through my Sent Mail folder.

I thought we should start with a search for some miscellaneous thoughts related to the challenging task of making progress as a developing trader.

When Overwhelmed…

Let me start with a phrase that is often repeated in my email replies; perhaps more than any other. It's short and to the point. I'll let it stand on it's own without further commentary. You'll know if it's relevant to you and your circumstances.

Excerpt from an email reply:

When overwhelmed… SIMPLIFY!


Quality of Effort is Perhaps More Important than Quantity

Sometimes less is more!

If you're putting in a whole lot of effort, but finding no consistency in results, perhaps this email conversation will help you refocus in a new and more effective way.

Excerpt from an email reply:

If you're inconsistent in application of your strategy then I think you seriously need to consider WHY you are trading a full session.

If your inconsistency is leading to doubts about the strategy, then again, seriously consider WHY you are trading a full session.

Yes we need to maximise our exposure in order to grow.

But quality is important as well.

At the moment you're trading a full session but life is providing limited time beyond that for effective review processes.

Is there perhaps a better way to use your time?

What if you traded only half a day and used the remaining half for a more effective and thorough review and learning process?

What if you narrowed focus even further and just traded the opening hour?

Let me run with that idea for a second. What if you did this:

Focus on the first hour of the market open. Learn to trade it well.

Trade for 1 hour.

And then follow that up with 3 hours of review and REPLAY.

Study the session from a strategic perspective. Study the session from an execution perspective. Study the session from a human performance perspective.

Find the setbacks. Study them. What happened? Why? Is there a pattern of behaviour repeating here? What can you do to improve in future?

Find the successes. Study them. What happened? Why? How can you achieve more of this in future?

Replay the hour with the benefit of hindsight. What can you learn in comparing your actual performance, with hindsight perfect performance?

1 hour of FOCUS. 3 hours of QUALITY review.

And you've still got half a day then to allocate towards other areas – general reading and study, idea generation, testing and development, personal development. And occasionally, reward yourself with a half day off.

Start with increasing efforts to trade the first hour well. Find consistency and success in this small period of time. Later you can consider expanding this to 2 hours. Then 3. Then 4.

Inconsistency doesn't just disappear because you found an awesome new affirmation. If you're inconsistent in the first hour, you'll be inconsistent in every hour of the session. Narrow focus. Fight to get the first hour working. Then expand.


Stop Comparing Yourself With Others

We all do this. It's natural. But it serves no good at all.

This idea comes up often in my email conversations.

Excerpt from an email reply:

Stop comparing yourself with others. Their results are irrelevant. And for God's sake, ignore what (name removed) says he achieved.

There is no race against others. Only against yourself.

All that matters are your own results.

Whatever they are… accept them. And work to improve from there.

Have you improved when comparing with your abilities a year ago? Great. You're winning. Keep improving. This is the ONLY comparison you need to make.


Work With What You've Got

It can be tough to fit trading around a full-time job and family responsibilities. It seems we can never find enough time to work on our dreams.

But it does no good to dwell on it. Accept it. And find a way.

Excerpt from an email reply:

So you can only manage to trade one half-day per week. Fine! It is what it is. Family and income needs have to take priority.

But you've got one half-day per week.

That's 50 sessions in the next 12 months.

50 sessions to trade. 50 sessions to review and learn from. 50 sessions to get better than you are now.

And maybe next year you'll be able to manage a whole day. And the year after that you might be able to manage two.

Maybe this year you'll do 50 sessions on the sim.

But then maybe next year you'll be able to do those 50 sessions live, with a small single contract position. Building gradual success. Slowly increasing confidence.

Maybe the year after that you'll be able to increase size.

And maybe the year after that, success will lead you to new opportunity and new ideas, allowing you to trade more days per week.

The next year is going to pass anyway. It's your choice how you use it.

The next five years are going to pass anyway. Where you find yourself then, will be a direct result of the decisions and actions you take now.

You've got one half-day per week. Go for it. Use it well.


It's All About Learning To Perform in an Environment of Uncertainty!

Let's finish on a real positive note by sharing excerpts from TWO different email conversations in the last week, in which two different traders both achieved a similar and related breakthrough in their understanding of this game.

I was fascinated that I received these emails within two days of each other. This was what provided the inspiration to dip into the archives for today's article.

Initially I wrote this section with just "notes" taken from my reply, but in editing I've come to realise that unlike the above sections it reads best when you get to experience the breakthrough in the words of the sender.

The lesson for us – sometimes our progress as a trader comes not through small incremental growth, but through sudden and massive leaps of understanding. A paradigm shift!

The thing is though, typically these paradigm shifts are just the end result of long months of trading, review, thought and reflection. Underlying a paradigm shift is often an whole lot of work that remains unseen by other observers. So if you're putting in the work and not seeing results, keep your chin up. Perhaps you're still just setting the foundation for your next breakthrough in understanding.

Enough from me… let's just share the email conversations and wrap up the article.

Excerpt from email:

Strangely enough I was also going to email you yesterday as I also had a significant aha moment.

You said in your book something along the lines of we are operating in an uncertain environment and therefore looking for certainty is never going to work – all we can do is try to enter at good structural locations, with strength and against weakness, and manage our risk accordingly.

While this made sense to me immediately, last night I was looking through some charts and all of a sudden realised that I was guilty of doing exactly that. How the hell do we know what all the other traders in the market, and therefore price, is going to do next? All we can do is assess weakness/strength, get in with the strength and 'likely' future trend and manage the risk as best we can. The R/R will take care of the rest.

I now realise that I was far too focused on winrate and avoiding losses without even realising it and while I'm obviously not going to go all gung ho now, something has definitely shifted subconsciously and I now genuinely feel so much more comfortable with the mindset of expecting the the next trade I place to lose, and the next one, and the next one and not being obsessed with finding the perfect A+++ entry.

Absolutely fascinating how these things just happen from no where (albeit after 100s of hours of chart time and thinking).

Except from reply:

I'm glad you've come to this realisation. It's one of those things that everyone rationally understands and says they get, but it's clear from their actions and behaviours in the market that they don't REALLY get it. I'm not sure it's possible to teach. It perhaps just requires experience and loss and a whole lot of self-reflection and pain.

I'm reminded of something Mark Douglas said in The Disciplined Trader (his first book). "Most people like to think of themselves as risk takers, but what they really want is a guaranteed outcome with some momentary suspense to make them feel as if the outcome had been in doubt."

Trading success is not about achieving certainty. Rather it's about accepting and managing our imperfection within an environment of uncertainty. Expect losses in the short-term. Play to win over the long-term.

Excerpt from email:

Really enjoying your book, just thought I'd share some contradictory concepts & thoughts I didn't expect that are encouraging for me. Besides getting much needed "structure" from your work, (which I lack in all areas of my world), I never expected to experience the comfort in seeing professional traders actually missing opportunities and taking losses. Over the years I've noticed this underlying gut feeling of anger when I get stopped out or miss an entry, no matter how often I've heard to expect losses & missed trades, it never erased or cleared it mentally for me until now. It's been liberating to take the time to heal an issue I never really noticed how much was holding me back.

I've noticed it's been going on for a while and realized I've held a belief that "perfection is the only way to succeed" and it's been keeping me from progressing. It's comforting to read successful traders also go through this every day, and clearly for me it's taken until now to actually feel and connect with this unconscious nemesis and address it.

Thanks for sharing you're weakness as well as your strengths !

Excerpt from reply:

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It's great stuff. I love hearing when people have these breakthroughs in understanding.

You're right. Belief that "perfection is the only way to succeed" is almost a guaranteed way to fail. It's setting an impossible standard. It's much better, in my opinion, to believe that "accepting, forgiving and learning to manage our imperfection is the only way to succeed."

Now begins a new stage of your trading journey! Exciting times ahead.

There is no greater "personal development course" on the planet, than trading the markets! 🙂


Happy trading,

Lance Beggs