Thursday, 1 November 2018

Mistakes Happen to Us All When Trading








Reading Time - 4 Minutes


Into November we march. Where exactly did the year go? Seriously, it seems two minutes ago I was writing my Christmas list to Santa and here we are again.

As we move into a new month, traders will either have made some nice progress in October, or else they will be coming off the back of a difficult one. Perhaps a normal drawdown, but maybe something worse, a scalper’s swing at your trading account from emotional trading and mistakes that has done so much damage that it is difficult to get yourself out of bed and down to the computer in the morning to carry on.

The reason I was thinking about this today is simple – I made a mistake yesterday. I can hear the intake of breath as you read this. A mistake? Professional traders don’t make mistakes!

Well, yes, we do. A lot of ‘traders’ don’t admit to it, because they are offering up an over polished veneer in an attempt to part you with your hard earned so that they can continue to live out the ‘trader lifestyle’ on the back of your hard earned.

We make mistakes. There is no superpowered trader who works flawlessly. And yesterday, I made one. It was one of those where you stare at it afterward and wonder what in the hell you were doing. The trade entry was perfect, exactly what I was looking for. But I aimed for a poor profit target, ignoring a red flag and being rewarded with a nice loss.

But that got me thinking about one of the most important differences between a successful trader and one who is spinning their wheels and making mistakes that lead to serious account damage. And the difference is fairy simple, but plays a huge part in progressing as a trader.

A professional trader is able to take each trade completely on its own merit.

That’s it.

Simple, right?

But what does it mean?

Well, for a lot of people, when they have a mistake like that, they go through the frustration and annoyance, which is normal. But, and it is a big but – they then allow that mistake to influence their future actions, and not in a good way!

Maybe they will force a trade, desperate for a quick fix to the loss. They want to make the money back and ‘reset’ themselves, because that loss wasn’t fair!

Or, perhaps they DO practice patience and wait for a solid setup. But when in that trade, instead of trading it how they should trade it, they decide to hold onto it until it clears the loss from the previous trade. It doesn’t matter that their plan tells them to exit earlier, they will just change the rules this one little time.

Worst case? Those who turn into a wrecking ball after the mistake and set about destroying their account, all that they have worked so hard for, in a desperate attempt to make amends for the simple mistake.

I think a lot of the problem is the aforementioned ‘squeaky clean’ traders who shovel up piles of horse manure and offer it forward to you as their experience of trading. But that is not where all of the blame lies. Unfortunately, a lot of it comes right back to you.

So, you need to understand that mistakes happen, to all of us. It is not possible to do everything perfectly. Look at sport stars who are on hundreds of thousands per week… they make mistakes all the time. You are human and you are flawed, and that is all part of trading.

Your focus must be on reducing the number of mistakes first and foremost. As you progress, they should become less frequent. And then, your next step should be to learn to fully accept them. Mark it down as part of your normal trading losses. You can even have a little section in your trading diary called ‘one of my cock ups.’ Just don’t carry the mistake with you into future trades. That is a recipe for disaster and it is something that happens all too frequently.

It is a new month. Whatever happened last month, put it behind you. Clear your head and get ready for November. Understand that you will, for certain, make a mistake this month and in most cases, it will cost you money. Accept that it is all part of the process. Realise that it happens to us all. Even the ‘Twitter Gurus’ who post success after success after success are only human. It is OK to make mistakes.

I am hoping that you all have a great November, mistakes and all.

James Orr

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Stop Hiding From Your Trading Problems (Or ANY Problems)




Reading Time - 3 Minutes



So, you want to be a trader. You want to be successful. You can picture it in your mind - working from home. Sitting in your jogging trousers and sipping a latte as your trading platform spits out fistfuls of money.

Well, I hate to break it to you. But that is what every other person who sits down at their computer and opens the charts wants.

So, what separates you from them?

'I really want it!'

Yup, so does everyone else. Any time you see someone successful, there are a thousand people who want what they have. They may even buy books and go on seminars to learn how to do just that.

But most of them will fail. At online businesses, trading, whatever it may be.

I want you to separate yourself from them. I want you to look around and realise that most likely, you have allowed yourself to find a space in the comfort of the herd. You 'think' you want something and you tell yourself that you are working toward it, but you're putting in minimal effort. You avoid the hard choices and self-reflection.

Trading is a competition. So is any business venture. And in competition, there is ALWAYS someone trying to take what you have. In the trading world, that can happen very quickly. And even worse, with trading it can be all your own fault.

You want to improve and you want to succeed? Then you absolutely must start facing your problems head on. It won't be too difficult to find them. You most likely already know exactly what they are, but you turn away from them and ignore them.

I want you to take a minute. An entire sixty seconds out of your busy day. Set a timer on your phone if it helps. And then I want you to be absolutely honest with yourself. Identify exactly what it is that is causing you to fail as a trader.

It might be:

Fear causing you to miss trades.

Anger causing you to take bad trades.

Poor money management causing you to blow accounts.

Chasing fast money and instead suffering fast losses.

It was easy, right.

And now the hard part. Answer to yourself as honestly as possible, what exactly you are doing to correct those problems.

For most people, the answer is exactly zero. Or, it is a half-assed attempt at addressing them.

'I WON'T revenge trade again.'

And that's it. A statement you tell yourself over and over again. A statement you revisit monthly, because you continue to participate in the behaviours that are holding you back.

Here is the hard truth of it - If you want to be successful, you are going to have to face your problems head on. You are going to need to shine a torch on them and figure out ways to fix them. Hearing the noise your car is making and turning up the radio so you can easier ignore it isn't going to work here. Because eventually, the car will break down.

The practical steps you can take are limitless. It can be something as simple as recording your results and highlighting the revenge trading so at the end of each month you can see exactly what is going on and how much damage you are doing to yourself.

Now, the temptation is there to shine the torch on the problems and then after a few weeks slip back into the same damaging behaviours. That is when you have to decide. You can go back into the comfort of the herd, or you can start finding your own way.

I hope you've all had a great trading week.

James Orr

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Today is Your Most Important Trading Day



Reading Time - 4 Minutes



Had a bad run of trades?

You sat down at the computer last week with your cup of coffee and your favourite pair of lucky slippers on, just another trading day. You were making good progress, and there was a little whisper from way back in your head saying, 'I think we can do this. We're getting there...'

And then you went into self-destruct mode. Trade after trade of emotional trading, the monster coming out of nowhere and taking control, firing off orders like a stereotypical office-manager flipping notes at the pole-dancer after one too many drinks.

It hurts. Hurts like hell.

But tomorrow will be different, right? You sit in the corner of the room after the trading destruction derby and feel awful about yourself. You go for a walk and try and figure this shit out. It needs to change and YOU need to change.

You get revved up and ready. Tomorrow will be different. You're going to change and become more disciplined.

Right?

Except, you've been saying that for six months, a year, longer even.

Until you come to realise that you only ever have TODAY to trade effectively, you are going to continue making excuses and mistakes.

Every day when you wake up and sit at that computer, that is your most important trading day. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today.

You want to be a trader? You need to be willing to focus yourself TODAY. The discipline needs to be there TODAY. The ability to follow your rules ODAY and never mind how long your setup is taking, or the loss you made yesterday that you want to make back.

It sounds like it should be easy, but it isn't. We all have 'off' days. You know the ones where we wake up and it feels like a greyness has settled over the world. We don't want to work, we certainly don't want to do anything difficult.

But guess what? Today is the most important trading day. And when you are feeling like that, you should underline those words on a post-it and stick it to your computer monitor. Because those are the days when the damage tends to be done.

When you feel like that, try this... Just don't trade.

I'll give you a minute to get over that ground-breaking statement. It can be hard to grasp.

Today is your most important trading day. And every day, focus number one is protecting your account. If you feel like rubbish, the best defensive move can be to simply stay away.

Approach every day like it is your only trading day. Don't allow yourself to slip and then assure yourself that tomorrow will be better. In trading, you don't have a guarantee of tomorrow. That damaging behaviour you keep carrying out WILL one day pull your ability to trade from under you. The account will disappear and you will be left with nothing. It won't matter what you tell yourself on your walks or when you're rocking back and forth in the corner of the room. Because you will have allowed yourself to forget that TODAY is your most important trading day, and that will have finally caught up with you.

If you want to succeed, in trading or anything else, you need to come to terms with the fact that all you have is today to make it happen. Your focus and your drive and your determination needs to be there today. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday.

Think of the constant dieter. Always tomorrow. Always next week. And in the interim, they continue on with the destructive behaviour that continues adding to their problem and making it more difficult to overcome.

Now think of the person who loses all the weight. They decided that TODAY is their most important dieting day. All of their focus and determination went into it and they stuck with it on every today.

If you want it, whatever it is, go get it TODAY.

I hope you've all had a great trading week!

James Orr


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Stop Losses When Trading - Different Types and Considerations




Reading Time - 5 Minutes



Stops. Every trader needs them, and if you don’t have one in place, you are asking for trouble. The market will eventually reach out from the computer screen and give you a less than friendly slap, and the stinging wont only be in your face, but your trading account. A stop takes you out for an acceptable loss when the trade moves against you and at a point where you have decided that it is best to walk away and lick your proverbial wounds.

But what is in a stop? Every trader knows they should use one, but very few actually consider the type that will suit them.

I am going to cover three in this blog –

- A small fixed number stop
- A stop that adjusts to recent market volatility
- A structure-based stop


Small Fixed Number Stop

This stop tends to be placed above or below the signal candle by a certain number of pips. It will vary depending on the market you are trading and also the timeframe, however for this example we will say you use a 5 pip stop above or below your signal candle.

You use the same stop for every position you take, and the overall stop size comes down to the size of your signal candle. This stop does take into account the market volatility somewhat, since it is based around the signal candle, however it does not give a lot of room for market movements once in the trade.


Benefits

- Your stop is easy to work out. You can do it quickly before entering a trade. There is no uncertainty, since you know exactly what size the stop will be.

- This type of stop tends to be better for risk reward ratios. The smaller the stop, the less the market must move for you to get to a good level or risk reward.

Drawbacks

- Because the stop is relatively tight to the candle, you will suffer a higher portion of losses than say using a structure stop.

- It does not give the market a lot of room for normal price movements before it hits your stop. You will find that on certain trades, you are stopped out and then the market moves to your intended target.

Stop That Adjusts to Recent Market Volatility

This type of stop takes into account recent price movements. It means your stop will expand as the market gains in volatility and reduce as the market quietens down. There are a number of ways to set this stop, however one of the easiest is to use the Average True Range. You simply add the Average True Range to your chart and set it to what you consider a range that will summarise the recent price action – I suggest 5 to 10 periods.

When using the ATR stop, it is also wise to ‘step-up’ timeframes to take the reading. If you are trading on the 1-hour timeframe, a reading of 5 hours isn’t really giving you a good view of what the market has been doing recently. But if you are on the 4-hour timeframe or daily, a 5-period reading takes into account a much larger market sample.

You then decide on your stop level from the reading. It may be 50% ATR, 30% ATR, 75% ATR or any percentage, depending on the type of trading you are doing.


Benefits

- As we mentioned, this takes into account the recent volatility of the market. This means that your stop will get larger as the market becomes more volatile, and smaller as it quietens down.

- You have a set stop size to use each day. It will also suit each market since the reading is taken off of that market.

- Less losses than a small number stop since it uses the market to determine size.

Drawbacks

- It is still an arbitrary number. Why a 30% stop instead of a 50% stop? Why not a 25% stop?

- If the market quietens down and then moves into a sudden period of high activity, your stop will not adjust quickly. Similarly, if the market has been very volatile and then quietens, your stop will still be large in relation to the market movements until the ATR catches up.

Structure Based Stop

I would say that this is the most common type of stop used by beginner traders. It is promoted on most forums and blogs as the only type of stop to use.

With this stop, you place the stop level above or below a recent level of structure, or ‘swing’. The idea being that if you are trading in a downtrend, you want to allow the market to chop around and it is only if it starts breaking above the previous swing-high that you want to exit the trade. If in an uptrend, you only want to be taken out if the market starts to break previous lows (hinting at the end of the downtrend). For reversals, you just pick a recent level of structure and place your stop above or below it.


Benefits

- You give the market much more room to move whilst in a trade.

- Less losses.

- You are using market structure to determine the stop loss level.

Drawbacks

- This stop tends to be a lot larger than the others. Because of this, gaining a good risk reward is harder and requires much larger price movements.

- It is very subjective. One ‘key’ piece of structure to one trader may not be the same to the next trader. Because of this, it can become difficult to determine where to put the stop.


So, there we have three different style of stop. You will notice that they all have benefits and drawbacks. The truth is, with trading, it comes down to the individual trader and their trading plan. I never advise that you just pick a random stop and stick with it. You should test lots of different style stops and also sizes of stops. Let’s say you use a structure stop and need a 1:3 risk reward ratio to become profitable with your trading plan, but your trading plan only produces on average 1:2 risk reward trades using the structure stop. It won’t work and it doesn’t matter how ‘well’ you are trading.

Now let’s say you test your methods again and this time you use a much tighter fixed number stop. You realise that using this stop you suffer more losses, but now you can get lots of trades at 1:4 and 1:5 risk reward. Suddenly your trading becomes profitable.

Most people do not like putting in the work, especially when it comes to testing and refining their trading plan. They settle on something they stumble across and then wonder why they are doing so badly. You MUST be willing to try things that may not at first strike you as beneficial.

Do what others aren’t willing to do so you can achieve what others will never achieve.

I hope you’ve all had a great trading week!

James Orr

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Battle Inside You - How to Make Good Trading Decisions




Reading Time - 4 Minutes
 



We’ve all been there, sitting at the computer waiting for that perfect trade. Discipline, we tell ourselves. Patience, we mutter under out breath. We blow the steam from our coffee and smile because we know we are in a good place, ready for this thing called trading, fully prepared this time.

And then that asshole chirps up in your ear. He’s bored. Impatient. Scared of missing out on a trade. He seems to get lounder the longer you wait. Now you’re blowing so hard on your fourth cup of coffee that its splashing over the rim of the cup and dotting across the desk.

What happens next?

A lot of the time, you let the asshole win out. Mistakes happen.

A different scenario?

You’re on a diet. You really want to lose weight. You’re not happy with yourself and all that extra ‘baggage’ you’ve accumulated. But that’s ok, because you’ve thrown out all of the junk food and have bought ninety-seven healthy cookbooks. The Sainsbury’s order is in and the fridge is so green it might be the Hulk you’ve got stuffed in there. Monday goes well. You’re doing it this time. Tuesday is great.

And then on Wednesday you’re tired after work. The asshole chirps up in your ear. Sure, you want to lose weight, but you need a reward. And you’re exhausted. You can get back to the diet tomorrow. Or, better yet, start again next Monday, on a fresh week.

What happens next?

Ding-dong, it’s the Dominos delivery guy.

There’s a constant battle going on inside of us. It becomes even more prominent whenever we need to exercise discipline and restraint. And for a lot of people, they end up listening to the voice that damages them and that seeks short term gratification. It’s like stubbing your toe against a doorframe and then hopping around in agony. But, instead of learning from it, you continue to do it every time you walk through a doorway.

What is going on here? Why are you doing it?

It reminds me of a proverb I read a long time ago. It explained that there is a battle of two wolves inside of us all. One is good and one is bad. At the end it asked, ‘Which one wins? The one you feed’.



There is a lot of truth there. The more you allow the laziness and the self-destructive behaviour to win out, the stronger that wolf becomes. Because that one is being fed, and the other is starving. As time goes on, that wolf becomes dominant and it can become almost impossible to even hear the voice of reason in your head.

Think of it this way – what hand do you use to write? Or what foot do you usually use if you’re kicking a football?

That hand or foot is being used a lot more than the other for the task. You automatically favour it and it becomes good at carrying out the task. Now, if you were to suddenly switch the pen to the other hand, or decide to kick the ball with the other foot, what would happen? Your writing would likely be ineligible and the ball would go through your neighbour’s window.

So, how do you start ‘feeding’ the wolf that you want to be the dominant force in your life? By using it on a daily basis.

You need to set up small daily tasks and routines whereby you make the ‘right’ decision. And it can start off incredibly simple.

Let’s say you want to eat healthier and lose some weight. The mistake most people make is that they dive fully into it and then wonder why in a week or two they give up. Well, the wolf you need to rely on isn’t strong enough. You have spent years feeding the wolf that wants to eat junk.

So, you start slowly. Imagine it like feeding the ‘good’ wolf back to health.

Maybe on Monday, Wednesday and Friday you take a healthy lunch to work. That’s it for two or three weeks. Then on the Tuesday and Thursday you bring in healthy dinners when you get home. A few weeks down the line you add in a weekend walk.

Slowly. Baby steps. Feeding the wolf or muscle or whatever you want to call it back to health. Let it grow to be the dominant force in your head.

If you’re a trader who constantly makes mistakes, don’t sit down at the computer on Monday and think you are suddenly ‘cured’ and can trade impeccably from now on. Set yourself small targets.

A perfect day where you don’t make a mistake and follow your plan. Then the next day you start all over again. If you make a mistake, stop trading. Punish that ‘bad’ wolf and do not allow yourself to trade the day after the mistake.

If you have a perfect week? Reward yourself. Go to the cinema. Go out for a meal. Whatever it may be.

You need to start thinking of the decisions you make as being made by a ‘muscle’. If the stronger muscle is the one that causes you to make poor decisions, then it is going to take time to build up the other side and gain the upper hand.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

James Orr

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Take a Break







Reading Time - 3 Minutes

 


Hello Traders.

It’s Sunday and I am sitting in a cafĂ© drinking a latte for this blog post. I had my laptop open and was ready to load up the charts and start working through my zone creation process for next month when I decided to instead order another coffee and write this post.

As traders, or as you put your efforts into anything you find you are passionate about, it is very important to find the right ‘balance’ between work and rest. The common belief is that the more you work at something, the faster you will achieve the desired results. Now I agree with that statement, but only up to a certain point.

I learned long ago that if you do nothing but work toward your goal, your actions can have exactly the opposite impact than that which you desired. You can end up burning yourself out and holding yourself back. I see people doing this all the time, filling my email inbox most weeks, mixing up what they are doing and thinking it is simply ‘passion’ that is driving them.

What can make it even worse is that when you get into that approach, with the head down and steaming ahead, smashing obstacles out of the way, is that when the results don’t seem to be coming as fast as you would like, you start to think that you are somehow failing and need to work even harder.

The result is an obsession, a single-minded drive that is in fact very damaging to your efforts. When I really started to turn it around with trading, it was after I forced myself to take an extended break. I was a wreck by then, living and breathing charts. And worse than that, I was miserable and had lost the main reason behind why I wanted to trade – because I enjoyed it. I was turning a real passion into a laborious, horrible experience that I forced myself to power through.

This can infect every aspect of your life. When you get into that mind-set that only ‘more’ will suffice, that you are failing because you aren’t working hard enough, it starts to bubble over into everyday life. Relationships begin to suffer and the whole experience of going through your days can become a chore.

It reminds me of the cartoon memes you often see online, of the person chasing a stack of cash like the donkey chasing the carrot, always just out of reach. They chase it throughout their life, growing steadily older, before at the very end, dropping into a grave.

There needs to be a healthy balance between work and rest. Especially with trading, where there really is a limitless supply of ideas and data you can pour over. Where the insight that can really make the difference can be introspective and so people begin to ‘attack’ meditation and healthy living techniques, trying to wrestle through sheer muscle the desired effects.

It doesn’t work, and that is the truth.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard. This isn’t the blog and I am not the person if you are looking to feed the seed of laziness. Quite the opposite – I am one of those people who believe the saying that when someone calls you lucky, you state, ‘it’s funny, the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get.’

But, there needs to be balance. It shouldn’t consume your entire being. Lift your head and look around. Spend time on the sofa and with the people you care about. Feed the mind with the stuff that makes it tick along. Let it rest. Because it is like any engine out there – if you run it at full speed without any breaks, it will break down. And if it breaks down, it is a lot harder to put it back together again.

When you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall and your head is about ready to crack open, instead of resetting your determination and putting your head down ready for the next charge, try taking a break. I assure you that in most cases, it will do you a lot more good than that extra headlong charge into the brick wall.

I hope you’re all having a great Easter weekend!

James Orr

Thursday, 22 March 2018

What's Coming to Decisive Trading?




Reading Time - 3 Minutes

 

Hello Traders.

A little bit of a different blog post today. I want to keep you all up to date on what is coming from Decisive Trading in the near future, medium term and even a bit longer term!

Some exciting stuff is in works… well, I find it exciting… but then, I find charts exciting…

Free Subscription

I have been working on this for a long time but have never been able to get things quite ‘right’, whereby I am happy with the structure of it and also who was going to be taking the other end of the ‘deal’.

I am very close to being able to offer Zone Trader Subscribers – current and past – a full six months of subscription, for free! I have a few more calls to make, but a fully regulated, UK based, Spread Bet and CFD offering broker is almost ready to take the other side of that ‘trade’ and pay for your subscription.

Hopefully within the next couple of weeks, I will be able to get the information out to you all through the newsletter. It will save you £240 and mean as a beginner, you can just focus on trading, without having to worry about any recurring cost.

Completely Free Beginner Course

One of the things I notice most about people learning to trade, is that they don’t really understand WHAT they are doing. They know about support and resistance, candlestick patterns and different markets, but don’t understand what a CFD is or what leverage is. If I ask them what a market maker is I just get a blank stare and then usually something like, ‘the people who take out my stops!’.

This course is going to be completely free and will include at least 14 lectures covering everything you need to understand to be a proficient, confident trader.

I am working on it now and hope to have it finished in the next week or two.


Decisive Motivation

This is something I am also looking at and have been working on. Throughout my life I have been faced with and overcome a lot of difficulties. Would it surprise you to know that as a teenager, I was crushed by severe shyness and was unable to even hold a conversation with a stranger? Or that I once had to live for a week by eating out of date protein powder because I couldn’t afford food?

Well, along the way I studied a LOT of ways to work on self-improvement and build the mind-set and discipline of the person I wanted to become.
I am going to start sharing the ways I did it, as well as offering lots of help on building discipline, confidence and drive.

I am moving house (again! But this time to a ‘forever’ home for my girlfriend and I) on the 1st of June and once that is out of the way, I am going to start getting my teeth into Decisive Motivation, most likely into the last quarter of the year.

Seminar

Last year I held the first Decisive Trading seminar. Next year, I will be hosting another one. Right now, I am just trying to figure out how to fit all of the information I want to get across into the day!


There are more things in the pipeline, but for now they are still ‘ideas’ rattling around inside my head. But rest assured, there is a lot coming!

Well, that’s it for this blog post guys. Lots of stuff coming from Decisive Trading in the next year. Thank you for being a part of the Decisive Trading journey and as always…

I hope you’re having a great trading week.

James Orr

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Who's In Charge?









Reading Time - 5 Minutes

 

Who’s in charge?

It’s a straightforward question and you would think that the answer would be relatively simple.

Someone turns to you and asks, ‘Who is in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take?’

The answer that springs to mind, of course, is ‘I am in charge’.

And yet, if you stop to think about it, you might start to doubt yourself.

Learning to trade involves discipline, patience, and the ability to follow a well laid out plan. When it is written like that, compacted into one sentence, no more than sixteen words, it appears almost simple. And yet, dare to tell someone who has been learning to trade for any length of time that it is easy, and they will likely pick you up, turn you over and dispose of you through the nearest window.

When we write down what we need to do to learn to trade effectively, it really does seem like an easy path. Plans are written out, schedules are created, goals are set for the future. It’s exciting and yes, it is possible. Now, all you need to do is start walking the walk, following your plan and your rules.

You sit down at the computer and sure, some of the time things go well. You make some progress. And then… wait… what the hell just happened?

You abandon your plan for no good reason other than you suffered a loss and it annoyed you. The market isn’t playing ball and none of your setups are appearing, so frustration pulls you into random trade after random trade. You skip multiple trades that you should have taken for reasons you invented in your head and then when you finally take one, it’s a loss.

Afterward you sit there, dumbfounded. Perhaps you go for a walk, annoyed and yes, even
depressed. But as you walk, your spirits pick back up again. You assure yourself that it will never happen again. You commit to your plan of action once more and when you push back through the front-door after your walk, the markets better get their asses out of the way, because you are ready.

And you are. Things go well. You follow your plan. You maintain your discipline. And then, all of a sudden, it happens again. The walls come crashing down. You erase your progress in one angry attack on the computer, through one raging episode of greed and envy and fear, taking your anger out on a market that doesn’t even know you exist, hammering at a computer, determined to ‘win’ when all that is happening is that you are losing and making sure that you lose in a big way.

Again, the simple question – ‘Who is in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take?’

The walk. The assurance that it won’t happen again. The reset. The pushing it to the back of your mind.

Well, you are right, of course. You ARE in charge of the decisions you make and the actions you take. There is no escaping that. Our minds aren’t designed or suited to trading, sure, but YOU are in charge of what you do. So why the hell are you self-sabotaging? Why are you ruining your opportunity to work toward your goals?

That question is aimed at you, the person reading this post. If you suffer from this problem, then you need to consider it. The only way to address what is going on is to shine a light on the problem, set up six big, generator driven spotlights until you can see every corner of the issue.

Most people in the world follow this route. It doesn’t have to be in trading. It can be in any walk of life. Anywhere you see people setting out to ‘achieve’ something is where that self-destructive trait will lie and wait.

Want to get fit so you join the gym and go for a sum total of one month?

Want to start your own business so you buy the books and do the research online for three weeks and then give up?

Want to learn a new language but don’t even attend all of the classes you paid for?

That is the reality of life for most people. It is an endless cycle of setting goals and then giving up on them. It is wanting to do something, knowing how important it is to you, and then tossing it aside.

The problem is that no one likes when things get hard. And with whatever you want to do in life, if it is out of the ordinary, then it is going to be hard. And by out of the ordinary, I mean it doesn’t involve going to work, coming home and sitting in front of the TV because you’re too tired to do anything else.

If you want something different, you need to be prepared to do what others won’t do.

Get that spotlight out and decide if you are self-sabotaging yourself. If you have read to this point, then I am confident that you are doing it.

Stop it.

Stop fucking doing it.

Simple, right?

Well, the words are (just like explaining trading, funnily enough). But there is no way to sugar coat it, no way to wrap it up into fancy sounding ‘tricks’ that will solve the issue for you. All that you need to do is to stop self-sabotaging yourself in whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.

Decide if the effort is going to be worth it. Do you want whatever it is that you are aiming for enough? Is it so important to you that you are willing to work at it when the going gets tough? Because it WILL get tough. If it didn’t, then guess what? Everyone would be doing it.

Now, mistakes are ok. We are all human, and sometimes things go wrong. But you need to be focused on correcting those mistakes. You need to be able to jump on them as soon as they appear instead of letting them spiral out of control. When they come, stop brushing them to the back of your mind and allowing yourself to repeat them a week or two down the line.

You can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. But it is going to be hard enough without YOU standing in YOUR OWN way. So, get out of your way.

It is difficult to be alert to it because our natural tendency is to revert back to being lazy and comfortable. But if you want to achieve anything worthwhile, you are going to need to do it.

For trading, make sure you keep a ‘negative diary.’ Tear yourself apart in that thing every time you allow yourself to slip and damage yourself. Do it even if the slip leads to profit. Really pour the negativity and anger onto the page, explain to yourself why it is so stupid to do and how it is going to stop you from achieving your goals. And then, every single time you need to add to that diary, make sure you ready EVERY page of it. The bigger it gets, the more you have to read.

What that will do, is drill it into your mind. And really feel the emotions on each of the pages as you read through it. Remember how it made you feel having to fill in the page and understand that it is holding you back. Keep the diary near your trading computer so you can see it every day. Glance at it before every trade you take and remind yourself how important it is to keep that side of you in the book and away from the actions you are now carrying out.

Be in charge of you.

James Orr