Tag Archives: Mindset

Step Back – Define the Edges – and Wait

 

Let's talk about recovery from a poor start to a trading session.

Like this one…

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

So here's the plan in three stages…

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

Whenever you step away from a chart and miss a sequence of price action, you can almost always look back at it with hindsight and see opportunity that you could have taken.

Ignore it.

It wasn't yours to take.

When you've started a session poorly and have struggled to get in sync with the price movement, your job is to step back and clear your mind. Any opportunity you miss during that period of recovery is irrelevant. Let it go.

Step back. Clear your mind.

Define the edges of the structure which caused you problems.

And then wait until price has broken that structure and the market has shown you the directional bias.

Only then is it time to trade.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Do NOT Make the Same Mistake Three Times

 

Ideally, you won't make the same mistake two times.

But it happens.

So here's an idea.

Use that second occurrence as a trigger to INCREASE AWARENESS and FOCUS.

And make absolutely certain that you do NOT make the same mistake a third time.

Clearly there is something wrong with your execution or decision making. Make this a new short-term priority. Two times is enough. Do not accept a third.

And if you do get a third… banish yourself to the Sin Bin for a short while.

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

Let's drop down to the Trading Timeframe chart:

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

Reference: CPB Setup

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

That's now two mistakes.

It's time to get angry. Time to focus. Time to vow to NOT make the same mistake three times.

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

Reference: BOF and BPB Setups

<image: Do NOT make the same mistake 3 times>

Do NOT make the same mistake three times.

Use the second occurrence as a trigger to INCREASE AWARENESS and FOCUS.

And make absolutely certain that you do NOT make the same mistake a third time.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Because Sometimes you want to Smash the Damn Keyboard!

 

Yes, sometimes you do want to smash the damn keyboard!

But while it might feel good for a short while, that kind of mindset does little to help your trading.

So let's talk mindset. And specifically, one little tip that can help you quickly get back in the right frame of mind. Focused and ready to trade again.

Let's start with a higher timeframe 30 minute chart to get some bigger picture context…

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

So now let's drop to the Trading Timeframe (1 minute chart)…

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

Reference: The YTC Price Action Trader Principles of Future Trend Direction – Vol 2, Ch 3, Section 3.3.3, Page 145-153

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

You know those times when you just KNOW that you should exit… you just KNOW that the edge is gone… and you ignore it!

They never seem to work, do they!

Ok… I'm not at the "MUST SMASH KEYBOARD" stage.

I've played this game long enough that individual trade results don't worry me.

But I'm no robot. There is still frustration.

Not at the trade. But rather at my pre-session decision of "Hey, you know what I should do. I should work on holding trades longer. I think I've been cutting them too short too often lately!"

Really?

What is with that?

Changes in process are NOT made like this.

I have no doubt that my trade management is somewhat shifting in recent years to shorter holds and more of a "get out, get back in " style. But if I'm doubting that this is the most suitable approach, then any decision to shift back needs to be more than a simple pre-session decision.

It needs planning.

  • Do the stats confirm that a more passive style would provide greater edge? Or not?
  • Under what circumstances should I blindly hold till the target, regardless of any feelings that the edge is gone?
  • And when should I instead trust my intuition and get out?
  • Can I possibly "live test" both options, for comparison purposes over a month or two? Normal trading on NQ, but simultaneously trading on the micro MNQ contracts with a longer hold. Run both in parallel, as best I can, to compare performance over a period of time.

 

So while I'm not quite at the smashing keyboard stage, I am feeling frustrated.

And I promised you a tip on how to quickly get rid of that frustration and return to a more effective mindset.

Here's something I've been using for a little while. And quite liking.

(1) Allow yourself permission to be frustrated. Big time! Let it all out.

(2) But ONLY for the next trading-timeframe candle.

(3) Then it's game on. Back to the charts.

I want you to exaggerate step one. Vent. Curse. Yell. Shout. Let it all out.

But only for the next trading-timeframe candle.

Then it's game on. Back to the charts.

Give it a try. It's actually kind of fun. And perhaps that's why it's effective.

The quality of your upcoming trade decisions depends (to some degree) on the quality of your mindset. Frustration won't help. So let that frustration out. And then get your mind back on the job.

<image: Overcoming frustration and quickly regaining focus>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Pre-Accept All Possible Losses

 

Last week we discussed a simple technique that helps keep my mindset focused on the price action, rather than on my P&L, after suffering a trade loss.

<image: Pre-Accept All Possible Losses>

You'll find last week's article here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/its-how-you-choose-to-react-that-makes-all-the-difference/

So this week… I want to go a little deeper.

Because there is something that needs to be in place BEFORE this technique is applied, if I really want to gain maximum benefit from its use.

A belief system.

At the core of my approach to engaging and acting in the markets.

And that is…

Accept all possible losses before entering the battle!

We have talked about pre-acceptance of individual trade risk before – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/pre-acceptance-of-trade-risk/

But today's idea goes well beyond that.

It is about ALL possible losses.

It is about establishing a mindset during pre-session preparation, before the market is open, where I am completely at ease with the idea of MULTIPLE trade losses and closing out the day at the maximum loss limit.

Complete acceptance!

Of all possible losses.

This is the first of six parts of Richard McCall's ACTION Plan, from "The Way of the Warrior-Trader", for developing an effective performance mindset. I highly recommend this book if you're into the idea of applying lessons from samurai philosophy to the trading arena. And of course to get the final five parts of his ACTION Plan.

Accept all possible losses before entering the battle!

In fact, I take it a little beyond acceptance.

I EXPECT it.

It's like acknowledging that the default future is for a full session loss… decreed by the Trading Gods as inevitable unless I can demonstrate sufficient skill to prevent it.

Most traders operate like this:

<image: Pre-Accept All Possible Losses>

And the result is performance anxiety, doubt, hesitation, FOMO and all myriad of other problems.

My plan is to operate like this:

<image: Pre-Accept All Possible Losses>

This doesn't mean I want to end in drawdown. I will do everything in my power to defy the Trading Gods and finish the day somewhere to the right of that line.

It simply means that I'm absolutely fine with the day ending at a complete loss. I've pre-considered the outcome. And accepted that this is something I can manage. Something I can survive. And something that I can overcome.

<image: Pre-Accept All Possible Losses>

Maybe it's just me? Maybe I'm wired a bit strange?

But I don't think so.

If you struggle with the idea of loss, maybe you need to reconsider your relationship to risk. And maybe you could give this a try. I believe it helps me. Maybe it will help you too.

Pre-session… I cast my mind forward several hours and imagine a full session loss. How does that feel? Can I accept that?

If not, then I have no business trading today.

But if I can accept this outcome, then it's game on. Because while the Trading Gods might be planning a full session loss, I'll be damned if I'm going to go there without a fight.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

It’s How You Choose To React That Makes All The Difference

 

I love it when we can start off a session with a nice winner.

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

It would be nice to always start off a session with a winner.

But that's not how this works. You WILL start off some days with a losing trade.

And it's how you choose to react that makes all the difference.

You have two primary options:

1. You can take the negative path. The path where you are not in control. The victim mindset where you personalise the loss and make it all about you. "Here we go again. I'm such a loser."

2. You can take the positive path. The path where you remain in control. The mindset where you take the loss as information and use it to drive yourself to higher levels of performance.

The first will increase the likelihood of poor decision making in the next trade sequence.

The second will heighten your level of focus and increase the likelihood of quality decisions and actions.

You do have a choice. And while your subconscious reaction will at times tip you towards a negative outcome, this is a skill which can be developed and improved over time.

Yes, how you react to a setback IS a skill. And you can improve it.

I want to share with you today one technique that I have found useful in shifting my reaction away from the negative and more towards the positive.

It's an initial and immediate conscious recognition of respect for my opponent (the market).

A little smile, a nod, a tip of my hat.

It takes the focus off me. And onto the market.

In a sporting context, it's a bit like pitching a ball to a much younger kid, who not only connects with it but smashes it out of the park. You're not getting down on yourself. Instead, there's a smile. And a nod of the head. And a "Damn! This kid's got some skills!". There is sudden, increased respect. And motivation to get yourself back into the game with increased focus and awareness.

In a market context, you've just taken a loss. Get the focus off yourself and onto the market, through a conscious recognition of respect for your opponent.

Smile. Nod your head. "Damn! Nicely done. I'll give you that one!".

And then focus. There are more trades coming and they need your full attention.

Give it a try.

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

<image: It's how you choose to react that makes all the difference>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Hardest Trade

 

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

What do we do here?

Well there's not a lot we can do. It's missed opportunity.

And yes, I know that with hindsight we can look at the lower timeframes and find ways we "could" have got in. But we're not hindsight traders!

It's missed opportunity. It's gone. And our job is now to get on with the business of being a trader.

We've covered this scenario before.

See here for example, where we discussed an effective mindset hack through affirming – "It was never mine to take. If it was, I would have taken it. Let it go!"

So I did this.

I let it go.

I took a quick walk and cleared my head. And came back to the screens.

But let's be realistic here.

This next trade… is NOT going to be easy.

The first trade after missed opportunity can be one of the hardest trades.

The last thing I want to do is get smashed twice. Following up the missed opportunity with a losing trade.

I know… this shouldn't be any concern… every trade is independent and our edge plays out over a series of trades!

But I'm human… and even having carried out my regroup & focus routines… I recognised residual emotion.

So what to do?

Here were my actions:

1. Extend the break – NO TRADING. Let this whole price swing play out with no intentions to trade.

2. Use this time to absorb myself in the price movement. Watch and feel the bullish and bearish pressure play out within each candle.

3. When this price swing is complete AND I feel in sync with the price movement, it's GAME ON. Define the new trend structure. Project it forward. And seek the next trade opportunity.

The intent here is to get myself "out of my own head" and focused back on the price movement.

<image: The hardest trade>

Be careful in the pullback from here. Initial strength in the rally was news driven. But note how it weakened into the top of the swing. YTC PAT readers – this is a Second Principle scenario. Not First Principle. Be patient here.

And if it goes too deep, consider the possibility of this eventually transitioning into a sideways trend.

Until then though, I'm still looking for buy opportunity for continuation higher.

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

<image: The hardest trade>

Well done to anyone who might have traded something like an opening range breakout strategy, off the first 5 minute candle. You got a home run trade today.

For me though – it's one of those days with missed opportunity.

That happens. It's part of the game.

What is important though, is how we respond.

Take a break. Remind yourself – "Let it go. It wasn't mine to catch. If it was, I would have caught it."

And if there is still residual emotion, just watch and wait and let the next swing (or two or three) play out. There is no hurry to trade. Absorb yourself in the price movement. And then… when the structure becomes clear and you feel in sync with the price movement… only then is it time to trade.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration!

 

Let's start with the daily chart for a bit of context…

I know right! When was the last time we looked at a daily chart?

No need to panic. Oxygen masks have not dropped from the ceiling. And we'll only spend a short time at these heights.

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

You know those days where you've got a feeling in your gut that tells you the market is DEFINITELY setting up a trap?

Well my Trap Radar had activated and the alarm was deafening.

My gut feel was "It's a trap! Fade the market!"

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

So let's step down from these heights and get back to the more comfortable Trading Timeframe and watch the opening sequence play out…

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

Here's the thing…

Way back in the early days I would have shorted this thing at every swing high, grinding my way towards the session stop.

But not now.

I recognise that it's normal to have these strong gut feelings from time to time.

Some people say to ignore them. I don't think we can. Nor do I think we should. Sometimes they're right.

I listen to it. I consider what it's saying. And I plan my trading in case it's right.

BUT… I also have a plan for those times it's wrong.

Having a gut feeling about market bias is fine.

But alongside that you must know the following:

(a) What price action would confirm this bias. And how you will trade it.

(b) What price action would indicate that the bias is wrong. And how you will trade it.

Let's step back to the open:

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

So having pre-accepted the potential for my gut feeling to be invalid, I was easily able to drop it and reassess the market structure.

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

For PB and CPB descriptions, see here.

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration>

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration> 

<image: When your Trap Radar needs Recalibration> 

Repeating the key points:

Having a gut feeling about market bias is fine.

But alongside that you must know the following:

(a) What price action would confirm this bias. And how you will trade it.

(b) What price action would indicate that the bias is wrong. And how you will trade it.

One of the greatest habits you can get into is always considering, "What if I'm wrong?" 

You are NOT smarter than the market. If it's not confirming your gut feeling, then YOU are wrong. Drop that bias and realign with what is actually happening.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Embrace the Suck

 

Let's talk a little about mindset. Or more specifically about our expectations leading into the day.

Because I suspect that the way I approach the game differs quite a bit from many other traders.

The market has opened…

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

It's all about expectations.

I expect a really tough day…

and embrace the suck.

<image: Embrace the suck>

Source: Wiktionary

This difference in mindset is important.

Expecting simplicity leads more often than not to disappointment and frustration, as conditions do not turn out the way you expect.

And disappointment and frustration do NOT typically lead to effective decision making, as we analyse the market and identify and manage trade opportunity.

Expecting a challenge leads to a slightly more defensive mindset. One ready to survive through difficult conditions. And yet still open to potential large gains when the market surprises us with more favourable price movement.

Market conditions OFTEN suck.

The sooner you can accept and appreciate this. And in fact EXPECT it, the sooner you'll be able to get on with the job of managing it.

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

EMBRACE THE SUCK!

If the market provides massively favourable conditions… that's a bonus.

If my execution just happens to be flawlessly in sync with the price movement… that's a bonus.

But I don't ever expect it.

Confidence does not come from hoping or praying for A+ trading conditions.

It comes from knowing that even if the market conditions are crap, or your execution at times really stinks, you can adapt and overcome.

Embrace the suck!

Expect it.

And learn to prevail despite it.

That is how you develop unshakeable confidence.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading with a Guard Rail for Increased Confidence in Bias

 

Let's look at a tool that can help you manage the conflict between what you FEEL should be happening and what you SEE is actually happening. Particularly for those of us who prefer clean charts with price only.

Here is the NASDAQ 5 minute chart from Monday 4th March 2019.

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

You can't get an indication of how bearish it was due to the scale on the RHS being quite compressed.

This was a REALLY nice move.

But the day after I had some email discussion with a trader who was beating himself up over missed opportunity.

In his words…

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Yep… we've all been there… sitting on the sidelines while we watch the market go on without us. Can't go short because you FEEL it will rally any moment. But can't go long because you SEE it just keep falling.

The old saying comes to mind… "trade what you see, not what you think".

But like all of these simplistic truths, they're much tougher to put into practice than you'd imagine.

My immediate thoughts – don't beat yourself up. Ever.

Or if you feel it's warranted, then allocate a few minutes to let it all out. And then move on.

Today is just one out of thousands of trading days you'll have over your career. Take the hit. Learn from it. Move on.

And really… at least you didn't try to fade the move all the way down. It could have been a whole lot worse.

(NOTE: He actually profited on the day. All the anger and regret were simply because he knew he could have got a lot more.)

So we discussed a few issues.

Missing the initial short was a key part of the problem. This then triggered a shift to "outcome thinking" rather than "process thinking"; not wanting to make a bad situation worse by following up a missed opportunity with a losing trade.

As soon as you fear losing on a trade, it's game over.

So this is an issue he will work on, recognising now that missed opportunity can be a trigger that shifts his mindset away from productive thought processes.

But that is not the point of this article.

Our discussions also led to the recent article series – My Go-To Method for Solving Trading Problems. (Part 1, Part 2)

Because it provides a technical solution to another key part of his problem.

Something that could have provided confidence in entering and holding a short position while he sees that the market keeps moving lower, despite his bullish internal bias.

In other words… he needed a guard rail.

(NOTE: We're going to leave out discussion of S/R, which may have also helped. The trader does not use an S/R framework at all, instead trading the trend structure.)

The Guard Rail is a concept that was discussed in part 2 of the article series.

Think of this:

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The primary purpose of the guard rail is to prevent (or limit) damage should you veer off the road.

But it also provides a secondary function. It allows you increased CONFIDENCE in driving along the road without fear of falling over the edge of the cliff.

Can we achieve the same on our charts?

I think we can (to some degree).

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Give it a try next time you find conflict between what you feel should be happening, and what you objectively see is actually happening.

Add a guard rail to the chart. Let it act as a clear line in the sand, dividing the chart into two zones. One side allowing you trade what you see is happening. The other allowing you to trade what you feel (and hopefully by then also see) is happening.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing

 

I sent the following post out via social media on Tuesday, prompted by some discussion with a trader who dug himself into quite a hole through doubling down on losses.

This message is so important I thought I'd share it with my larger audience here in the newsletter. And also take the opportunity to expand upon the idea a little.

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

This is one of the key advantages you have as a discretionary trader.

YOU get to decide when and where you will play this game.

If the current conditions are not to your liking, NO-ONE is forcing you to play.

Get out of there.

Take a break. Clear your mind.

And come back at a time of YOUR choosing, when the conditions are more suited to your style of trading.

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

I have clear guidelines in my own trading plan:

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing> 

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing>

<image: Resume the Fight at a Time of YOUR Choosing> 

 

ACTION ITEM:

Schedule some time to review or amend your Trading Plan.

Make sure to include guidelines or rules for the following:

(a) At what point intra-session will you stand aside and force a break from trading? What changes need to occur before you will allow yourself to resume trading?

(b) At what level of intra-session drawdown will you force a stop for the day?

And longer term:

(c) At what level of drawdown will you force a break from all trading, in order to review your performance and reconsider your plan?

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

PS: For those concerned that trading should never be a fight… it's simply an analogy that I find particularly useful. See here – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/trading-is-a-fight/ . The concept is still relevant even if you prefer to not view the game in this manner. If you're out of sync with the market, step away. Come back and play at a time of your choosing, when the conditions are more suited to your style of trading and your preference for market conditions.