4 Things I would do differently if I was a new trader.

I would not change how my trading career has gone but if I had to do it all over again these are the things that I would do differently:

Pick an objective sooner.

I first was placing trades through my mentor. That meant that I could trade may be 2-3 times a week. He was busy trading or I could not afford to lose. At the time I was hanging around the CME learning to trade and working at night and weekends. I was saving everything I could. Once I finally had enough money for an account. I went crazy. I was efficient at trading a few times a week but I wanted to trade every move. It went great for a day and the second day gave it all back plus commission. I was scared to trade for awhile after that. I settled down and found out who I was slowly. Eventually I let the market dictate more of the way I traded. In the beginning, I let my emotions pick the type of trader I was going to be. You do not have to be right the first time, but the sooner you start eliminating the better.

Journal better.


I learned about everything I needed to learn about making money and losing money in my first two day. This is an over exaggeration but a majority of the lessons and traps occurred in those two days. I just was not in a position to learn anything. Your goal is to learn the most, the least costly. The less you spend the less you have to make to break even. I got paid a lot in psychological capital in those days. You can’t buy anything with that. My perception was so far off from reality that I was approaching reality from the other side. Recalling what happened when you are emotionally drunk is like trying to remember when you are blacked out. Write it down, do not guess.

Worked harder.

I only saw their success, I saw where I was and where they were, not what it took to get there. These guys traded for only a few hours. They made their money and left. For the start of my career I just left with them as if I accomplished something. By the time I had my own account I was leaving after a few hours too but because I was limit down. I thought if I knew where the market was going I would make a bazillion dollars. There needs to be a combination of technical and/or fundamental analysis and psychological analysis. Those things were almost automatic for them, I had to figure it.

Learn to take advice.

I was smarter than everyone else, I was better than everyone else, I was the exception. I was none of those things. When/if someone was willing to give me some advice and I did not believe them, I should have asked them more questions. I either knew too much or I was too embarrassed to admit I did not know anything. I was going to make all of those mistakes no matter what someone told me but I would have recognized them earlier.  If I did not understand I should have written it down and revisited it.

Like I said there is nothing I would have changed but there are definitely things I would do differently.  These lessons are what I will take with me for life.

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  • Guest

    Great Post ! Thanks

  • Nik_glavan

    Great stuff Peter. As a person who wants to become a full time trader I have already made all the mistakes you have mentioned including ‘knowing it all’ and ‘being smarter than everyone else’ until I give away alot of my money and am humbled by the markets. Only then I seem to listen.

    • Funny how the longer we do something, the smarter everyone around us gets.

  • robertsweetman

    It’s a been blessing to realise (finally) that I may well not be the smartest person in the room and that it’s time to listen rather than talk. Learning to trade is also compromised by the fact that many of those shouting the loudest in the education sphere usually have the least value to contribute. This post is bang on.

    • It is a good lesson for life as well. Been doing “education” for awhile there are definitely some holes. I think we do a good job but always room for improvement.

  • phoenix

    I’ve been a full time trader for 7 years. Here are my top four:

    1. Realize that its my fault (even if its not). Its too easy to blame the market for losses. If you take full responsibility for everything, you have the power.

    2. Wait for my trade. I’ve lost too much money to count looking for a trade, maybe it was because I was bored, or often its when the market is moving and I want in on the action.

    3. Stop trying to predict the future. No one knows whats going to happen, the best we can do to make money is to put the odds in our favour Again, this means waiting for YOUR trade.

    4. Change when conditions change. I spent a few years banging my head against a wall when the setup I used very successfully for years, stopped working. I think its good to stay consistent with your setups (even if it doesn’t work for a while), but know when its time to change.

    • Agree with you. It is not always about the reason if you are doing the right things. Many people do not give themselves a shot. The market is going to do what it wants but if you choose to play than you have to 100% responsible for the outcome. Out executing your strategy is important and you can only do that if you have a foundation in which to monitor the change, make the right changes, and keep going.

7 Responses to 4 Things I would do differently if I was a new trader.

  1. Guest says:

    Great Post ! Thanks

  2. Nik_glavan says:

    Great stuff Peter. As a person who wants to become a full time trader I have already made all the mistakes you have mentioned including ‘knowing it all’ and ‘being smarter than everyone else’ until I give away alot of my money and am humbled by the markets. Only then I seem to listen.

  3. robertsweetman says:

    It’s a been blessing to realise (finally) that I may well not be the smartest person in the room and that it’s time to listen rather than talk. Learning to trade is also compromised by the fact that many of those shouting the loudest in the education sphere usually have the least value to contribute. This post is bang on.

    • Eradke says:

      It is a good lesson for life as well. Been doing “education” for awhile there are definitely some holes. I think we do a good job but always room for improvement.

  4. phoenix says:

    I’ve been a full time trader for 7 years. Here are my top four:

    1. Realize that its my fault (even if its not). Its too easy to blame the market for losses. If you take full responsibility for everything, you have the power.

    2. Wait for my trade. I’ve lost too much money to count looking for a trade, maybe it was because I was bored, or often its when the market is moving and I want in on the action.

    3. Stop trying to predict the future. No one knows whats going to happen, the best we can do to make money is to put the odds in our favour Again, this means waiting for YOUR trade.

    4. Change when conditions change. I spent a few years banging my head against a wall when the setup I used very successfully for years, stopped working. I think its good to stay consistent with your setups (even if it doesn’t work for a while), but know when its time to change.

    • Eradke says:

      Agree with you. It is not always about the reason if you are doing the right things. Many people do not give themselves a shot. The market is going to do what it wants but if you choose to play than you have to 100% responsible for the outcome. Out executing your strategy is important and you can only do that if you have a foundation in which to monitor the change, make the right changes, and keep going.

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