If you've been trading for quite a while and seem to be stuck, consider the possibility that the next stage in your journey may not require further knowledge or skill development.

Instead, maybe it requires CUTTING POOR PRACTICE from your business?

Do you know what will happen if you cut areas of underperformance from your business? You'll be left only with areas of best performance. Areas of current best practice. Areas which you already manage well. Areas which, if enhanced even further, may be sufficient to transform your business and take your results to the next level.

Look within your stats and your journals. Find where you currently perform best. And focus exclusively on that area of your business.

Look within your stats and your journals. Find where you perform poorly. And cut it from your business. Implement procedures or controls to avoid it, or to mitigate the risk.

Do you struggle with a strong trend due to a tendency to always try to fade the trend? Stop promising yourself that "Damn it… Next time I'll just trade with-trend!" You know that you won't. If you could, you already would. You've promised yourself that you would do that too many times already. Focus instead on identifying those conditions in which you outperform… perhaps ranging action or slow and stable trends… and ONLY TRADE AT THESE TIMES. Develop rules for quick recognition of suitable trading conditions, and to alert you to those times when you should just walk away. Specialise in ranging market conditions. Or specialise in slow and stable trends. Whatever works best for you! But recognise and avoid the strong, fast trends if they're destroying your edge.

Do you struggle in choppy, sideways price action but outperform in directional markets? Identify structural features that suggest initiation of a new trend. Wait for these to develop… confirm the trending action… and engage the market. But otherwise, stand aside.

Do you underperform in volatile conditions? Measure market volatility and stand aside when it reaches these higher levels.

Do you underperform in markets suffering low levels of volatility? Again, measure market volatility and only trade at times when the market is moving.

Do you struggle in conditions of low liquidity? Stop trading markets or times which suffer from low liquidity.

Do you find yourself underperforming in slow and thick market conditions with high overlap between price bars? Then implement some method of identifying and trading only when price has some directional conviction and is flowing smoothly.

Do you struggle in timing tests of support or resistance, when price turns just before the level? Then forget about them. Cut them out of your business. Don't trade unless price breaks the level, focusing solely on breakout failures or breakout pullbacks.

Are pullback entries destroying your edge, when there is no structure to lean against? Then only trade a pullback when it moves into areas of prior structure (swing highs or lows). Or require that it develops it's own structure first before considering pullback entry. Only enter when you have some level to lean against.

Do you trade multiple strategies? Is one underperforming? Cut it. Focus on what is working best.

Do you trade one strategy across multiple timeframes? Perhaps a "daily chart" strategy alongside intraday swing trading? Is one destroying your profitability? Cut it. Focus on what is adding the most to your profitability.

Do you trade multiple markets and find that some only contribute breakeven results AT BEST. Cut them. Focus on those that you read the best.

Do you have a tendency to often give back profits during the afternoon? Stop trading at midday! Or set a session P&L trailing stop.

Are the opening sequences consistently putting you in a hole, requiring that you spend the next couple of hours fighting just to get P&L back into the green? Then stand aside at the open. Let the market create some structure first.

You don't have to do it all. Cut areas of underperformance. Or if not possible, then work to limit their impact.

And work to specialise in areas of your current strengths.

Is there one setup in which you perform the best? What could happen if you focused exclusively on that setup for the next few months?

Is there one type of environment in which you perform the best? What could happen if you focused exclusively on that environment for the next few months?

You may be thinking, "But won't this seriously limit the number of trades I take?"

So what!

Are you here for lots of trading action? Or are you here to become a trader?

Look within your stats and your journals.

Find where you perform best.

Cut the rest and FOCUS only on developing and enhancing that which you already do best.

You can always address the areas of poor performance later, if you choose to do so.

But right now it's time to end the mediocrity. It's time to fight to get to the next level.

Cut what's not working. And focus only on areas of current best practice.

Perhaps you are closer to profitability than you thought?

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs



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  1. hey lance
    another champagne news letter, coming from a business background i agree with the logic, i like the way you pull things apart and make the challenges manageable,

    safe trading Angelo

  2. Hello traders,
    This is fastest way to improve poor performance. Instead of exerting all the effort trying to fix what you dont do well, focus that effort on improving what you are already most successful at. Seems almost too simple but this is golden advice. Of course this is where keeping up to date thorough and complete stats becomes key. If you do not know where you best edge is, how do you improve it? How do you eliminate your nemesis in trading without proper record keeping? It took me way too long to realize the importance of this and could have cut YEARS off my learning curve just with those few simple steps.

    Happy Trading,

  3. Hi Lance,

    your blog is pure gold, as usual; I wish you wrote this post two years ago when I started trading! Before finally becoming profitable, I pretty much made every single mistake in your list…

    I would add one more point to your list, if I may: did you just have a good trading session, and now you think that you can code up a system or indicator that implements what you did automatically? DON’T!!!!

    As soon as I stopped trying to automate my own thought process, and instead started focusing on keeping a rigorous trading diary, I immediately saw a dramatically positive difference in my performance – and in my state of mind, which in turn affects performance of course!


    1. Thanks Michael. Love it! I get people contacting me every couple of months saying that want to work with me to turn all my thought processes into code. Ummmm….. no! I try to explain why I think it’s a waste of time but not one has ever been convinced yet. I seriously hope they find something profitable, but for me it just doesn’t make sense. I’m a discretionary trader. The process involves contextual reading of the current state of the market and adaptation of tactics to suit. It’s not something which I believe can be programmed. Rather it’s learnt through exposure to charts and a rigorous process of recording and reviewing via a trading diary (as you’ve suggested). Thanks again for your comment.

  4. This is great! This helps a lot. This is the way I got to be thinking.

    and a million times, I ask myself why do I need to be in this trade?

    1. Friday was a good day. Average results for the rest. No trades on Tuesday (didn’t like the feel of it… especially CL starting the rollover process with volume split across two contracts). It’s about managing the good with the bad in order to profit over the long run.

  5. Hi,
    Very good topic as i have problem with my initial opening first 30 min trade.I trade on NSE intraday.Earlier on lot of days it happend that mrng first 30 min i got 2 stop loss hit and after that i got defensive for the longday,may be its my mental psycology.Then i lose some trade which otherwise i will took if i did not have stop loss hit.So,underperformance is for that day.Now i did not look at the chart for first 20min and it given me very good result for last 3 mnth.But ,here is another problem when i look to my journal last week i seen that i did not entered lot of trades which i should do if i am sitting on my screen.Those trade given very good result.
    So,whats the middle way u think..or there is any middle way u think..

    1. Hi Sentu,

      Thanks for your comment. If I understand this right:

      (a) You recognised a tendency to often underperform during the opening sequence, resulting in the remainder of the session being spent digging out of the drawdown hole.
      (b) For the last three months you avoided trading for the first 20 minutes, the result being greatly improved profits.
      (c) But then you observe some missed potential profits in the first 20 minutes during this last week’s sessions, so you’re wondering whether you should target that or not.

      I think you answered your question already.

      If avoiding the first 20 minutes has led to much improved results, why be tempted to go back there? Continue to avoid it.

      If however you do want to reintroduce the opening sequences to your trading day, you have some work to do. (1) Complete further reviews beyond just last week to confirm whether or not the opportunity you’ve now seen is a regular occurrence (and not just a feature of last week), (2) define in writing how you will attempt to trade the opening 20 minutes, and (3) trade the opening sequence on sim for a period of time sufficient to prove or disprove the edge.

      But again… why be tempted to go back there? Make sure you consider this first.


  6. Hi coach,

    Great post at the right time. I trade stocks and i am quite often confuse with so many options. Then I recalled from one of your article to focus on the setups that one can do best.

    Thanks. I definitely learn a lot from you!

  7. Wow!! Simple yet so powerful.
    The perfect analogy would be Toastmaster speech, wherein one deliver speech on the stage and video gets recorded. Now this video helps you become better speaker next time you show up on the stage by eliminating unnecessary stuff! I believe, this technique should work in all walks of life.

    Thanks for posting and keep going.


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