There is no right way to trade but there are wrong ways.

As soon as I could legally work for my father’s construction company I was put to work. At first, he would always send me to a different jobsite. I think he was worried about nepotism. After I proved myself I started to work on the same jobsite as him. Let me describe my father. He is 6’5”, 300lbs+ former Marine who has worked construction his whole life. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. He has a deep scar across his forehead from a 2 ton I-beam he was trying to hold up by hand, he is also hard headed (literally and figuratively). He lost and it shot him 15 feet. I was 13 at the time of his accident and I think they kept it from me or I was not aware how close he came to dying that day. He is an intimidating and demanding person to work for.

We were constantly at odds with each other. Mostly because at 16 I knew more than him. It is remarkable how much smarter he got as I got older. He had very specific instructions; at least he thought they were specific, for me to accomplish a job. His experience told him that there was a best way for him to accomplish the job. He made an assumption that prevented me from efficiently finishing the job. That assumption was that I had the same experience as him. Eventually he realized it was a losing fight, more likely he was just tired. As long as I was not doing it wrong he let me do it. Eventually I learned to do it very similar to how he had told me.

A teacher is always susceptible to assuming they have the same experiences and see things the same way as the student. When I was less confident as a trader and an educator I talked in certainties. I made the same assumptions as my father did when he was teaching me. Nothing will kill the effectiveness of a teacher like those assumptions. In the beginning, the teacher’s job is not to make the student succeed it is to prevent them from failing. There is not a right way to trade; there is a right way for me or you to trade. More important, there is a wrong a way to trade.

The wrong ways to trade:

Without a plan. Get one already. It does not have to be good right now. I have been accused more than once of always thinking I am always right. I am just confident. The only reason I can be confident is because I am willing to change if the information changes. I have to admit I am wrong a lot. You will have to admit your plan is flawed too.

Without good notes. The market changes very fast. The brain is over stimulated, especially in the beginning. Your recall of events will be better if you write them down. The goal is to learn the most, the cheapest. At the end of the day when you review the charts you will not believe you took that trade. There will be something that you missed that could have helped you to act differently. It is your job to make sure it does not happen again, good notes help.

Not maintain trading environment equilibrium (TEE). Have you ever said or done something that you were not proud of because of emotion? What if you could stop time, take a few breathes, evaluate the situation and then act? You have that opportunity in trading, use it. They say that you regret not saying or doing something when you have a chance. That does not apply to trading. Those situations are a few in a lifetime type situations. No trade is more important than another unless it is your last. Let me say that again, no trade is more important than another unless it is your last. Yes you are going to miss the “winner” but it was hypothetical.

Losing more than you budgeted. Every dollar counts, for every dollar you lose you have to make another to get to even. This is not a normal transaction, you are not guaranteed anything other than experience. You should be a better trader tomorrow. There is nothing worse than having to have your “best day ever” to get back to even. Sometimes you are wrong, sometimes your system is broke, be able to trade tomorrow. Tomorrow may be next week.

Not having risk capital. If the market has to go your way a certain amount for you to pay your mortgage you are in trouble. The mind goes from reacting to what is there to hoping and praying. It may work from time to time but it is not a dependable strategy.

To summarize. There are no right ways to do anything, there are more efficient ways but that is based on experience. There is a path to failure, fight those battles. Call your father or those that have/ had a positive effect on you and thank them.

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4 Responses to There is no right way to trade but there are wrong ways.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Benko, Trader Habits. Trader Habits said: There is no right way to trade but there are wrong ways. http://dlvr.it/5dc3v […]

  2. […] @ERadke riffs on the wrong way to trade. […]

  3. Dubble( nashvillecat) says:

    Excellent article Eli. Lots in here that is relevant to where I’m at in my trading. (btw..my son is 16 now so we are having some similiar experiences).
    Thanks man.

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