Weekly Trading Review – 13th – 17th March
Last week, as usual, I published my weekly trading review called Acceptance
And a trading friend, Jeff Davis published a response to my weekly trading review called
Chasing Your System…the Never Ending Saga of a Hand Trader
I thought it would be a good moment to give my thoughts about this article and the results.
Some people have mentioned that the article is harsh.
My response is that it is harsh but true, and someone who has delivered many harsh but true reviews of others performance in my previous career. I would be the last one to complain about harshness.
And fuck harsh, the real question is it true and can it help me improve.
Jeff puts is finger on many points that are true and I have been struggling with other the past few months.
In this blog post he identifies his problem as himself. Talk about looking in the mirror. The thing is he has been looking in the mirror for months now and doing a great job yet he finds his biggest obstacle is himself.
Totally agree, last year I identified that I find myself to be the biggest obstacle. And months later this is still the case.
It is not that I have not made progress on this issue, the issue is that I still do not have an handle on it or a successful approach to handling it.
Deciding to trade more systematically is something that I believe is a good thing for the vast majority of traders. Thinking that this will remove emotion is naive. Even if your system is fully automated their will still come times when emotion takes a seat on the bench. Trading isn’t about removing emotion it is about being comfortable making decisions and not fearing outcomes, and yes, this is emotional.
I agree, with this. It is not my intention to remove the emotion from my trading, but to reduce the effect of it on my decision making.
Whilst going systematic has helped in some areas, it has just shunted this problem of my emotions effecting my decision making on to a different part of my trading.
Which again highlights that I do not have a success method of dealing with this.
You are letting the outcome determine if or how you are going to correct a problem. There is a problem here. Fear. Fear of loss. Our emotions are just irrational fears usually always traced back to either fear of loss or fear of missing out. Just being annoyed isn’t going to correct things. How about all out war on it? Aren’t you sick of always circling back to the same problem because the underlying root cause has nothing being done to address it. C’mon man.
Totally agree with this statement. In my defence, as I have not chronicled how fucking sick and tired of constantly circling the same problem without making significant progress, does not mean that I am lackadaisical about solving this. Far from it.
This failure to make the change I want, is not from a lack of effort or desire. It is from focusing on the wrong areas, and ineffectual solutions to the problem. Which still all come back to me. I choose the areas and I choose the solutions to try.
…yet the ones that end up succeeding are the ones that take actual action to cure something not just be all sentimental about it.
This was a light bulb moment for me.
Why is it with my hard work ethic, that I have not made significant progress on this side.
It is because I am focused on the wrong things. Hard work is not going to get me out of this circle. I have to work smarter.
Mediation and positive self talk have all helped me to a certain extent, but as Jeff points out this is not solving the root cause.
WTF are you scared of? Lets start right there. Oh yeah that scary loss. Are you scared of a loss on that trade Adrian?
I imagine he would say no. He would answer about giving back profits from previous trades was the fear. In which case I would say “yup you are scared of losing on that trade.” Get real. It is about that trade. Don’t BS yourself, face it, if you thought that trade would be a winner you would take the entry.
Adrian would then probably try and argue his point that it wasn’t about that trade again. Then I would ask him why did you take the trade before then? Did you know that was a winner? He would reply “of course not”. Again I would ask, ” then why did you enter that time?”. His answer would have to be along the lines that he felt like the odds were still in his favor or some other excuse.
Be assured that’s all it would be was an excuse. Adrian didn’t back test his system with only 5 or 7 trade runs. He looked at as a system over a whole range of trades. He may even know the runs of his longest expected win streak and losing streaks as he should. The question is why at this moment does it pop into his mind? I would guess it because he is still at the account building stage and when building an account we can talk ourselves into doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. In the end he knows the answer. He already said it. The system outperforms him yet he convinces himself that he is making the proper decision to grow his account but in reality he isn’t.
Of course if “the trade” turns out to be loser we can easily placate ourselves into thinking we are very smart and did the right thing. Easy to do. Feeds the ego and retards your progress. The other side of the coin though is “the trade’ was a winner missed. Oh yeah talk about a knife to the gut. Fearing loss just cost you a win. The worst part of it is somehow they always seem to be the top shelf of winners not just an average win but a dead on beauty. Annoying right? LMFAO annoying.. you have been here before and you haven’t done anything to help you take “the trade” except think about it more and promise yourself you won’t do it again. Good luck with that.
Throw your excuses out the f’n window once and for all and get to work find something, anything, that gets you to take the entry. How about you give yourself some positive self talk on figuring something concrete. How about you meditate on actually doing some work and finding something you can live with to get you to execute. Edge isn’t some mysterious thing that you get to pick and choose when you execute. Edge is all about executing in a consistent manner to let the outcomes work out in your favor over time. If you don’t consistently execute how do you expect to succeed?
This is whole passage is true, apart from the excuses, but that is splitting hairs. It sums up my problem very simply.
I use stops since I trade intra-day and am mostly always flat at days end. I knew how much I could lose because I have no problem employing or taking the stop, yet still at this moment I was focused more on the potential outcome which is never in my control anyways. The only thing I can control after an entry is where I exit. That’s it.
In the end it was just I didn’t like or feel comfortable for any myriad of BS reasons. I knew I had to somehow get comfortable in this uncomfortable situation.
This passages sum up my feelings, and also gave me a realisation. I am looking at trading from the completely wrong aspect.
I viewed my job as a trader is to place high probability trades. This involves me working on a system that will give me high probability setups within context and executing this. But my whole focus was on placing the trades.
It has occurred to me, that my job is actually in 2 parts.
During the session, my job is to follow the rules and process. Nothing else but follow the rules and process.
The second part, is outside the session is to review the performance and the strategy etc.
Now this might sound like a bullshit shift of perspective, but for me, it is a big change of emphasis of how I looked at trading.
Jeff then details how he has worked on a tool that allows him to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and finishes with the following
Net net I now execute with much more consistency with even better sizing and trade metrics. It had nothing to do with self talk or mindfulness it was a trading tool that helped bring it about. A tool that has no bearing on the signal itself just something totally independent. I got out of the trees and focused on the bigger problem and found the forest. It required thinking harder and deeper about remedies that had actionable info. It took work. I quit being lazy and using psycho babel as a crutch.
So this is where I am at.
This shift in perspective, has helped me this week, I feel a lot more comfortable being uncomfortable.
But this has not stopped working on re-examining my system and associated tools, and seeing what tools I can use to help me with being more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I spent the week thinking of some ideas and going to spend the rest of the weekend fleshing out these approaches and testing them.
Lastly, I want to thank Jeff for this time and input. It has helped shift my perspective and look at my trading in different light. Jeff comments has and will continue to make a difference.