Tag Archives: Mindset

What’s Going On when you Hold Past the Stop

 

I'm always fascinated to hear from traders who have trouble exiting a trade at the stop loss. The ones who move the stop loss further away to avoid the exit. And then move it further. And further.

Until eventually, they can't take the pain any more, so they get out of the trade and destroy several days, weeks or even months of profits.

Personally, I don't recall ever holding past the stop, although I have found evidence of having done it once in the past while reviewing old charts.

Hopefully this was a one-off occurrence. Either way, I've clearly learnt from that at some point.

No-one likes a loss. Me included. But you need to be quite comfortable taking them.

For those of you who have yet to learn how to take a loss, let's discuss what is happening when you hold past the stop.

(Noting of course that this is not always the only issue. Maybe not even the primary issue. Everyone's situation is somewhat unique. But it is a significant factor that I see in a whole lot of cases. So if you're letting price run through you're stops, give this some consideration. It may just be the pathway you need to explore to find your way to greater success.)

This is what we're talking about…

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

<image: What's going on when you hold past the stop?>

In many cases the primary issue is NOT that you fear losing any money.

Often instead, the problem is that you don't want to be wrong.

YOU DON'T WANT TO BE WRONG!

You rationalise that if you just give it a little more room, and a little more time, price will turn around and prove you right.

It's all ego!

What does it mean to be wrong?

Every trade you get wrong is a dagger in the heart, reminding you of every time you've been painfully wrong in the past. Every time you've failed at something. Every time you fell short of your hopes, dreams and prayers.

Every wrong trade is one small step closer to the ultimate failure of your trading business.

And when you're no longer worthy… what will your family think of you? What will your friends say about you? What will your own mind say about you as you desperately try to fall asleep each night to forget the pain?

You don't want to be wrong!

So you move the stop to give it a little more room. But the fear only increases as price continues to move against you.

You give it more room. Again the fear increases.

And then again… you give it more room.

Until finally… acceptance… you know you're wrong.

And now it's about the money.

The loss is big, but fear of it getting even bigger lets you get out. Because you KNOW you're wrong.

Again, please note that this is not always the only issue. Maybe not always the primary issue. Everyone's situation is somewhat unique. But it is a significant factor in a whole lot of cases.

So if you're letting price run through you're stops, give this some consideration. It may just be the pathway you need to explore to find your way to greater success.

Here's the problem, as I see it.

You're playing the wrong game.

You're playing a game of individual trades.

But this business is not about individual trades.

The outcome of any one trade is irrelevant.

We profit over a series of trades.

You need to accept that this game is not one of being right. But rather one of managing a sequence of wins and losses so that over a large enough sample we can produce a profit.

Wins!

And losses!

They're just a part of the game.

What if you accepted that half your trades would win and half will lose. And you made it your aim to ensure that over any series of trades (20+) your average win was greater than your average loss?

To do this, you absolutely CANNOT let your losses run larger than they need to be.

Take your losses, quickly and decisively. Keep them small. It's only one in 20+ trades in your current series. You've got a whole lot of trades still to come. And some of them will more than compensate for the small loss.

By all means, aim for as high a win rate as you can achieve. But seriously… a 50% win rate IS enough. Just aim to ensure your average win is greater than your average loss.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

PS. If this article was useful, you might want to read this as well – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/Winning-Through-Losing-Better-1-of-2/

 


 

The Mindset of a Champion

 

This social media post from last Sunday is just SO IMPORTANT, I thought we should expand upon it and get the ideas out to the whole YTC audience.

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

This is just a perfect example of a growth mindset, viewing losses as feedback that serve to drive further improvement and growth.

There are two things that I love about this.

1. It is SO ACTIONABLE.

Look to your own post-session procedures and ensure that you are approaching your review in the same way.

Serena Williams:

  • "I'm already deciphering what I need to improve on, what I need to do, what I did wrong, why I did it wrong, how I can do better…"

 

Let's make this relevant to our job:

  • What decisions were less than ideal? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What alternate decisions would have improved my performance?
  • What can I do to ensure I make better decisions in the future?

 

2. It finishes with POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT.

After the review is complete and steps for improvement have been identified…

Serena Williams:

  • "OK, I do improve with losses. We'll see how it goes."

 

"I do improve with losses."

Beautiful!

Zero baggage carried forward into the next game.

Consider adding that to your own post-session procedures:

  • "I do improve with losses. Let's see how it goes tomorrow."

 

But Wait… Let's Make this Even Better…

Sunday's post also featured some great points from Nicholas…

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

If you want to be great you cannot settle for "good enough". You need to CONSTANTLY PUSH TO BE GREATER.

So let's improve the earlier post-session review items, ensuring they consider all sessions regardless of whether we outperformed or underperformed.

Step 1:

  • What decisions were less than ideal? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What alternate decisions would have improved my performance?
  • What can I do to ensure I make better decisions in the future?

 

Step 2:

  • What decisions were excellent? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What can I do to ensure I continue to make similar decisions in the future?

 

If you want to be great you cannot settle for "good enough". You need to CONSTANTLY PUSH TO BE GREATER.

Growth will be found at and beyond the edge of your comfort zone.

Welcome the frustration!

Welcome the pain!

Welcome the challenge!

And use it to DRIVE YOURSELF TO HIGHER LEVELS OF PERFORMANCE.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Learning from Baseball’s “Mental Reset”

 

I recently sent out the following two posts via social media, discussing the importance of having a plan in place to quickly clear your mind and get back into the game, whenever you sense frustration of any kind:

<image: Learning from Baseball's "Mental Reset">

<image: Learning from Baseball's "Mental Reset">

In response to these posts, I received the following exceptional email:

Hi Lance,

I liked your recent Twitter post about your "Regroup Procedure" after losses and thought I'd share something I learned while playing college baseball that I have applied in my trading.

We practiced what we called our "Mental Resets" while batting. A mental reset is required whenever anything "shocks" you and gets you off your plan at the plate. Every time you walk up to the plate, you should have a pre-meditated plan of the pitch you are looking to hit and anything that can dissuade you away from that plan has to be combated with a mental reset to get you BACK to your plan.

The physical act of mentally resetting is to: Step out of the batters box, focus on a small spot on your bat (we call it our "zero point"… We want to get back to zero emotionally), and take a slow deep breath. You then reaffirm your plan in your head, and step back into the box with confidence.

Our 5 Automatic Mental Resets were:

1) Swinging at a pitch that doesn't match your plan… – Swung at a bad pitch… step out of the box and RESET.

2) NOT swinging at the pitch that you were looking for… – You had a plan and for whatever reason you didn't pull the trigger on your pitch… RESET.

3) Bad call by the umpire… – You didn't think it was a strike and your upset. The umpire is out of your control… Step out and RESET.

4) Brush back… – You almost just got hit by a pitch. Your heart rate is too high and you aren't in a good state to be confident stepping back into the box… Step out and take a MENTAL RESET to bring you back to zero.

5) Changing of plan… – Something happened that requires a quick change of your plan (the most often one being moving to a 2 strike approach once you get 2 strikes on you)… – Change of plan… Environment has changed, we need to RESET here.

You don't have much time in between pitches to cool off, so if something upsets you, it is extremely important that you use a Mental Reset to keep your focus and get back to your plan. I think it is the same thing with trading… especially shorter time-frame trading. You don't have a lot of time to sit there and be upset. You have to RESET.

I thought you might find this parallel of Trading to Baseball interesting.

Cheers,

Alex

Thanks Alex. That is EXACTLY what I was talking about. Except your baseball analogy explains it just SO MUCH BETTER.

I called it a regroup (based on a term from my military days where a unit facing attack might drop back in order to reset and reorganise, in order to continue fighting).

Baseball calls it a mental reset.

The concept is the same.

When something has put your mindset on tilt then you need to step back away from the charts and reset or reorganise yourself, in order to return to the game with a clearer and more highly-focused mindset.

I've found this most effective when it involves a predefined and practiced ritual, such as my regroup checklist or Alex's routine for focus on the bat, slow breathing and reaffirmation of the plan.

To continue with the baseball theme, I'm reminded of a video which I shared a few years back.

The whole video is worth watching from a trading mindset perspective. But take note at 7:55 and you will see Evan Longoria complete his version of a mental reset.

(If the video is not playing here, click on this link to go direct to YouTube.)

Do you have a regroup or reset procedure?

If not, develop one now. Start with mine. Or adapt the baseball mental reset shared by Alex.

And then over time, amend it and make it your own.

As they say in the video, you need to have something to go to when the garbage hits the fan. Because the garbage will hit the fan. So let's be ready for it.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Remain Focused and Get In on the Retest

 

The aim of today's post is to highlight two lessons we discussed in previous years, which came into play in a recent price sequence.

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

We don't profit from regret. We profit from quality decisions in the NOW.

So when you miss a price sequence that you feel you "should have" caught, you need a way to move past it quickly to ensure that it doesn't negatively affect further decision making.

I find these two lessons quite effective in helping me get over missed opportunity: 

Lesson 1: It wasn't mine to catch. If it was, I would have caught it. Let it go.

Lesson 2: Remain focused. There might just be an opportunity to get in on a retest.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

Related article: It Wasn't Mine to Take but the Next One Will Be

 


 

Two Attempts – Then Reassess (2)

 

The quicker you can recognise that you're wrong… the quicker you can become right.

Here is a useful rule:

  • Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

After two attempts at a trade idea, if it hasn’t worked, it’s clear that something is not right. You’re not in sync with the market.

Either:

  • You have misread the situation and you're wrong, or
  • Your timing is out (which still means you're wrong).

 

Break the pattern!

Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

Confirm your position is flat.

Step away from the charts.

Clear your mind.

Then reassess from first principles.

Try to see the picture from the perspective of someone who might have the opposite bias to you. What are they seeing? Could they be right?

You may choose to get back in for a further trade (assuming session drawdown limits are not hit).

But you may also have prevented a meltdown; stopping a good trade idea which didn’t work from turning into an absolute mess of a session.

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

 

The quicker you can recognise that you're wrong… the quicker you can become right.

Here is your rule:

  • Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

Previous Article: http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/two-attempts-then-reassess/

 


 

It Wasn’t Mine To Take. But the Next One Will Be.

 

You can't catch every good price move.

<Image: It wasn't mine to take. If it was, I would have caught it.>

<Image: It wasn't mine to take. If it was, I would have caught it.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

<Image: But if I focus, the next one will be.>

 

You can't catch everything. If you miss a good move, remind yourself:

  • It wasn't mine to take. If it was, I would have caught it.

 

Now focus. There is more opportunity coming and it needs your full attention.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Is This a Trade You Would Take if You Were in Drawdown?

 

Some of my better trades lately seem to occur after a string of marginal trades which either stop out or seriously underperform.

Mostly because of my rule which says that after two poor trades I need to step aside, clear my mind and reassess the situation.

Time out!

Reassess!

It prevents a downward spiral of emotional revenge trading.

And allows me to return to the market with a new plan. Usually, a plan which waits for a change of structure and takes the first pullback opportunity within that new market regime.

<image: Two trades placing me in drawdown.>

<image: Time out. Reassess.>

<image: Consider the options when price breaks current structure.>

<image: Entry>

<image: Exit>

So this brings me to an idea that may help me cut out some of the more marginal trades.

And perhaps may help you with improving your trade quality as well.

Rather than waiting for two marginal trades to place me in drawdown, maybe I could trade "AS IF" I were already in that situation.

Prior to entry, ask:

  • "Is this a trade I would take if I were in drawdown?"

 

If so, go for it.

But if not, maybe pause and reassess.

Sometimes it will keep you out of a winner. That's how this game of probabilities works.

But if it's keeping you out of a number of marginal trades then there could well be a positive change to your edge.

If the idea appeals to you, give it a try. But track the impact it has on your edge over a series of "avoided trades".

Prior to entry, ask:

  • "Is this a trade I would take if I were in drawdown?"

 

<image: This IS a trade I'd take in drawdown.>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading Alongside the Uncertainty and Fear

 

I shared the following post via social media on Wednesday:

<image: What if it's ok to feel uncertain?> 

Without doubt, this is one of the key lessons we must learn on the way to becoming a professional trader.

And so I was incredibly pleased to get the following reply:

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

Brilliant!

Thanks A.H.

This is exactly the right approach to the presence of the fear and doubt.

1. Recognise the emotion.

Just briefly, bring your focus back from the external (charts) to the internal (your body and mind). Notice what you're feeling.

2. Acknowledge the emotion.

Accept it. You can't fight it. You may as well welcome it.

If it helps… verbalise it.

3. Understand the emotion.

What is it trying to tell you? There is information there. Find it!

4. Review the trade premise.

Often you will find that steps one to three will significantly reduce the severity of emotion.

So the final step – review the trade premise from an objective chart-based perspective.

With the emotion acknowledged and diminished, does the trade premise actually contain edge?

If so, go for it.

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

If it helps, consider creating a "pre-entry mantra" to shift your focus inside and recognise, acknowledge and understand any emotion that may impact upon your trading decisions and actions.

With experience (and of course proper risk control) fear and emotion will reduce. But it never completely goes away.

You can't fight it.

Accept it. And learn to work alongside it.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Sometimes You Get It Wrong Before You Get It Right

 

On Tuesday I shared one of my older facebook posts via social media. Copied here:

Stop expecting perfection. Instead, learn to manage your imperfection. 

Repeating the key points for effect:

  • Learn to survive… and even occasionally profit… in the times when your read of the market is wrong.
  • And that will leave you with confidence to attack the opportunity available at the times when you are in sync with the market.

 

I sought out this old post in response to a similar sequence on Monday.

One in which I was positioned wrong in the market. Not once, but twice.

Before taking a step back from the charts and looking with a wider perspective and switching to the right side.

Here is Monday's opening sequence:

Wrong - Wrong - Right

In email Q&A with a reader (Josh) during the week, he asked me the following question, "Do you feel like you're in sync with the market everyday?"

Great question.

The reality is that no, I'm not in sync with the market every day.

There are many times when I've approached the market in a "less than ideal" mental or physical state and it has clearly influenced my ability to get in sync with price movement.

And even when in an optimal state, there are many price sequences which are not simple to read.

That's the nature of price movement – traps, retests, fakeouts.

The market seems at times to take great delight in deceiving us.

So our job as traders includes the following:

  • Managing those times when we're not in sync with the market to ensure we contain any loss and prevent it getting out of hand. Profiting of course, if possible, but our priority is to limit the downside and stay in the game.
  • And then recognising when we are in sync with the market so that we can squeeze as much profit out of it as possible.

 

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Here is the link to last week's article if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/trading-an-uncertain-trend/

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Wrong - Wrong - Right

Once more:

  • Learn to survive… and even occasionally profit… in the times when your read of the market is wrong.
  • And that will leave you with confidence to attack the opportunity available at the times when you are in sync with the market.

 

Don't expect to always be in sync with the market.

Sometimes you have to get it wrong a few times, before you can get it right.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Metagame Entry – After You’ve Made a Dumb Trade!

 

I often talk about identifying the areas where "other traders" are trading in really dumb places. Places where they've found themselves trapped in a really low odds trade. Or trapped out of a position they wished they were in.

Places of emotion – fear, anger, regret!

These areas of the chart often provide us with great trade opportunity.

But one thing I don't recall discussing is the obvious fact that sometimes we find ourselves taking these dumb trades.

We all do it!

The trapper… becomes trapped.

But that's fine. It's information. We read the market wrong. Now we've got feedback that helps correct our bias. And sometimes, if we've maintained a calm mindset, we might still find trade opportunity as price retests the area of our dumb trade.

Let's look at an example…

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Metagame Entry - After You've Made a Dumb Trade!

Too often we let a losing trade get to us. Especially when it's immediately clear that it's a dumb trade.

We can't allow any negativity to remain for long though.

It is IMPERATIVE that you have some kind of routine in place to briefly get away from the charts and clear your mind.

YTC Price Action Traders, refer to the FOCUS and REGROUP sections in Volume 4, Pages 49-50. Maybe consider printing out those two pages and sticking them on your wall.

Shake off that loss. It's small. It will be overcome by one good trade. Now focus. And prepare yourself for the next trade.

If the context suggests potential for a second chance entry, it could be coming up VERY SOON.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs