Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Second Blog Post From the T-Model Trader

This is the second blog post from the T-Model Trader, in the series of blog posts from real world beginner traders. These blog posts are aimed at shining a light into the learning process, warts and all. 
I hope you have all had a great trading week.
James Orr

Let’s start with a story……

I began studying the Decisive Trading Ftse 100 course in January of this year and in early February I was a part of the live trading room with James. Although that format only lasted for 8 trading days, it had a deeply profound impact upon me. I had traded a little prior to the live room, however, to be honest I really didn’t understand what I was doing. 
At the time, we were in the midst of an intense heat wave here in Australia, with temperatures soaring over 40 degrees. There exists this specific weather pattern that sets up at that time of the year with the northerlies rolling through the outback, gathering momentum like a fan forced oven and melting all that stand in its way. This combo of heat and live trades has since been indelibly branded within me forever. It was an initiation by fire on all fronts.  
So here I am, the first day of live trading with a pulse rate ascending into dangerous territory. The market opens and immediately shoots up. James says sell. What? Sell….but it’s going up. Oh crap. I do what the man says and sell. My body is sweating to the point of near drowning in the puddle that is forming. I felt as though I was spinning out of control and completely out of my depth.
Moments later the trade is over. My account had gone up, not down.  Yes, up, like towards the heavens. Up, like a helium balloon. Up, like an airplane does at take-off. Up. Up. Up. I wasn’t attuned to those sorts of “up” movements when it comes to trading. Nor was I well-practiced to it happening so quickly and without large amounts of pain and suffering and worry and stress and nervousness.  Only moments later it seemed, another trade is entered and exited and again the numbers on the screen are green (not the usual red). Because of the two successful trades, James was done for the day and it was all over. Over…….no….NO… can’t leave now…...I want more……M-O-R-E.
I can still clearly remember the following few hours after that first live trading evening here. I was in retrospect, in a state of shock. I went for a long walk by the bay where I live, attempting to recalibrate my being back towards some form of known equilibrium. It was around 10 pm at night and still 36 degrees. I just sat in the shallow water at the beach for what seemed like hours. I felt so deeply liberated and simultaneously so overwhelmed. I had just experienced trading success on a level and in a way that I really had no benchmark of experience to comprehend within. Many times I just wanted to turn to someone within earshot and go… “Hey mate……gotta tell you what just happened”. Whoa.
The second trading day came around and then the third, the forth and finally a week had passed. I kept looking at the monetary figure on the trading platform to reassure myself that this week did indeed occur. My account had grown significantly. It was amazing. As we continued on with the live forum, I would hear that voice from Scotland calmly say something like, “Ok, let’s exit the trade now”. How could he sound so calm I wondered? Is it really that simple? Does he spend hours in meditation to prepare for when he trades? Why does he not scream like a banshee when there are winning trades?
Three more live trading days took place the following week and then the decision was made to not continue the live trading and the format was changed.
I have outlined the above story for a few truly important reasons. What I saw and experienced was what a trading “method” could do. I realized for the first time, although I had read of it a thousand times prior, what it meant to have a “trading method”. I sat here for those 8 days in a dizzy mix of heat, excitement, fear and anxiety, cheering and yahooing at the computer screen, beating my chest like some frenzied Wall Street Tarzan. I was convinced that my neighbors would have heard it all and a mobile psychiatric assessment team would arrive at any moment. I could hear the words echoing in my head, as I prepared to say to the psychiatrist….. “You don’t understand, my account went up…..up…..UP…… a……..”!!!

What did I really learn in those 8 days?
I saw through direct experience what it is to have a trading method and use it. It was literally proven in front of me. I could not deny it, nor could I ignore it. Another thousand books saying to me… “you need a trading plan” would not have come close to this experience. I watched it, heard it, traded it, profited from it and sweated it out through every pore. This was real. That is what I am saying.
Like the inevitable downpour that you can feel building on a balmy tropical afternoon, I am sure you can sense the “however” moment that is about to unleash upon this scenario. As the live room ceased to be, I was thrown back onto my own resources again. Without that voice of experience saying “enter now” I slowly started to go backwards. My trading account inevitably went south, the plane got fogged in and my helium balloon popped. From those lofty heights, I quickly recalled the chilly feeling of losing trades once again.
I have attempted to illustrate by relating the story, that it was a profound and impactful experience. I saw success in ways that had no ambiguity what so ever. It was clear to me what had taken place. Yet, within a few weeks of losing trades again, my “trust” of the Decisive Trading method began to fail. I had entered into, as one trading author calls, “the cycle of doom”. It is when the methodology is blamed. It is the proverbial blaming of the tool and not the one who wields it.

The initial thought-form
Over the last year, I have come to ponder on the meaning of this “initial thought form” many times and now realize how potent and pervasive its influence has been in my trading development.  A thought form, as I am using it here, is simply a belief that has gained traction within the mind of a person. Simply put, it is a factor in the determining of how we do things day in day out. We all have these thought forms. We go to the polls to enforce them. We wear certain sporting jerseys to demonstrate them. The list goes on.
What am I attempting to say here?
That in reflection, my “initial thought form” or “self- concept” of what trading is and how I would “be” as that trader was highly distorted. I stepped into the trading world “tooled up” with a belief that was inappropriate for what I was about to encounter.
But it is more than just a dwindling trading account. This was about me. This was about not being able to match the outcomes of the “actual” trading with the pre-conceived notions that I had already constructed within me. I was approaching trading with a pre-determined thought form of success based upon utter non-realities.
The way that this began to rear up was through the “time” factor. In the DT training, there is a section called “millions in months”. This is what I am fundamentally referring to here, although in my case, the emphasis is on one of the two parts. It was the time factor that triggered this problem.
An aspect of my personality is this split between being highly patient and extremely impatient, with little of a grey zone in between. My impatience can show up as impulsiveness. This is, without doubt, at the heart of the challenges that I have faced in trading to date. This is what I mean when I speak of “dud trades”. They simply are the end result of this unconstrained impulsive like impatience. Losses in trading are a part of the whole she-bang. Dud trades however, are a completely different beast.
As this is the case, then at the beginning of my trading career, and with little conscious thought, I attached a time value as to how it would all unfold.  By sustaining losses, this fundamentally undermined my “schedule” for trading success. With every delay in the delivery of this “schedule” and the ensuing “success”, my ability to function clearly as a beginner trader became compromised. This entrenched “pattern of thought” was driving me too unconsciously take non-existent trades so as to attempt to keep this “trading schedule of success” on track.
In starting with an unrealistic “initial thought form”, I created from the outset a major hurdle. All that I could feel was a growing sense of panic. Every trading day simply became a reiteration of failure based upon my entrenched belief that trading success would unfold at this predetermined “schedule”. Because the “time” outcome was not happening, then “the only conclusions” that could be entertained is that, either the trading methodology is useless, or that I was “useless as a trader”.
In therapy, there is an approach in treatment that asks the question, “how do you know that this is real” in order to gather evidence to support or expose a given belief. It is a great question to present to a person when there exists a strong notion of “fixation” around an issue. Sadly, I completely missed that I was immersed in a fixated thought pattern that was causing me damage every time I set up to trade.
I related to you my early DT experiences to drive home the point that I saw how successful this methodology can be. I had to face the simple reality that it wasn’t the trading method that was the problem. It was me. This was a KO in the very first second of the first round and I didn’t even see it coming….Ouch.
Till next time….
Be well….      
The T-model Trader.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. thanks for the interesting description of starting the course. when the wheels fell off your trading success, what got you back on track?

  3. hey there Gregory.....the following blogs will go into detail which will answer your question more so. However, I think the truly honest response to your question is that i just refused to give in. It wasn't about a "technique" or the likes, but more about just believing that it is possible for this to work out well. In an email from James at the beginning of the year, he said to me...."It is possible to be successful" at trading. I never let that go. And even when it gets tough from losses....I never let that go.

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  5. Well I think it's great that Craig and yourself are sharing, honestly how you handle all the self destructive behaviour and the proceeding negative self talk which is just a downward spiral.I am always interested in how other people manage those situations. I'll look out for your next posts....

  6. Stay tuned....there is more than enough to fill up many a page !!!!