Big Mike's Trading Blog

Day trading futures, discussing money management and trade management techniques, and more

So, you want to trade, huh? Really? Seriously?

Some more advice...

BMT now has over 4,000 registered members.  In only 9 months since inception, we've amassed about 500 new traders a month into our community.  And we're growing more rapidly every day, meaning we grew more this month than last month and so forth.

Still, the majority of people are unregistered.  We're approaching 1 million pageviews a month, and about 70% of that traffic is from unregistered members -- some might say "leechers".  People that don't bother registering because they never intend to participate.

People spend a lot of time on the site.  Most of the time is spent reading.  In March, we had about 4,500 new posts to the community.  It means we had about 150 new posts a day. 

Hang in there, my advice is coming :)

I believe I will get no argument when I say that those of us who have traded and lost it all, yet are still trading today (ie: made a comeback) -- well, we've realized the importance of psychology

We've realized that our past trading mistakes were primarily due to our own shortcomings and failures.  While we were busy blowing our account, we might have remarked each day how unlucky we were or how "if only I had...".  But how many days or weeks or months of "bad luck" or "if only" can you keep telling yourself before you realize the problem is, in fact, you.

Ok, so I think you're with me on this.  Making money in trading is about discipline.  Discipline comes from experience.  Making money is about conquering fears.  Conquering fears comes from discipline and experience.  Making money is about having an edge.  An edge comes from managing your fears, having discipline, and experience.

As a member of BMT, what is the best way you can work to improve these areas?  Sure, you can read the 150 new posts a day and you can participate in those discussions.  No doubt, there is value to be had there.  The more you participate in anything the more experience you gain.  Experience is not biased, the experience can be positive or negative.  Perhaps by participating in a thread you've found or reached the conclusion that the method being discussed within that thread does not agree with you.  You now have gained experience as to what you don't wish to do in trading.  Perhaps you've discovered a new method you had never considered, and really enjoy it.  Either way, you've gained experience.

But for the most part, what is the #1 way that a BMT member such as yourself can advance their trading career via BMT?  It's by starting and maintaining a journal.

Let's first tackle some of the excuses of not starting a journal:
- I don't know how
- I don't have time
- I don't want to disclose my trade secrets
- I think it's stupid
- I am just trading sim right now
- I don't want to look like a fool when I lose money

I don't know how
benbrooke put together a short tutorial here.  Check it out.  If you need more help than that, just ask.

I don't have time
If you don't have time to journal, then you certainly don't have time to trade.  Try Vegas instead, it will be more fun to lose your money there than trading.

I don't want to disclose my trade secrets
There are no secrets in trading.  If you are still operating under the assumption there are, then you've got a lot to learn.  A secret implies there is some shortcut, some "secret sauce" that you can apply to your chart and magically start making money.  There isn't.

I think it's stupid
Well I think your stupid!  lol.  Seriously, the traders who believe they don't need to journal are, in fact, not traders.  They are gamblers.  Would you open up a brand new business and pour $100,000 [insert trade account size here] of your money into inventory to stock the shelves, then hire a bunch of employees you don't know that are fresh out of high school, and not bother performing an inventory or auditing your stock?  In other words, would you not maintain any books?  Would you just hope no one is stealing and hope that you are making money?  Of course not.  Any successful trader will tell you that journaling is not only "not stupid" but in fact a requirement to success.

I am just trading sim right now
And?  Sim is like reading the forum but not participating.  Unless your trading sim for the thrill of it and never plan to actual trade, then you've got to take the next step.  Sim is great for about 8 weeks.  I don't think too many people need more than two months of sim to get the feeling for their platform, their DOM, how orders work, etc.  Beyond that, sim is just holding you back.  You'll spend all your time on sim and then one day go to cash and completely lose your ass.  Why?  Because with sim, the psychological impact is about zero.  And psychology is where the money is, it's all the nuances of trading and what it causes you to do and react to situations.  Sim doesn't reproduce any of that.  I am not saying you should go out and blow your account when you don't have a couple years experience under your belt.  But, experience is not really advanced by sim.  Experience in this case is gained primarily by actually doing something that has consequences.  Even if you only trade cash for 1 day a week, or 1 day every other week, you will at least be adding to your real world experience.  Traders who think they can go on sim for a year or two and then trade like a pro are in for a rude awakening.  That would be a shortcut, and there are no shortcuts in trading.  You have to pay your dues in trading.  It's like college tuition, and it isn't free.

I don't want to look like a fool when I lose money
This one is important.  It is, in fact, the psychology behind not wanting to look stupid that will in turn help your trading!  By knowing that your trades are being watched by peers you automatically give each trade more thought.  And you probably should.  Professional Traders know that loss is just part of the business.  Loss is nothing to be ashamed of.  Now, if you are losing money because you are making mistakes, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!  BMT is a very "safe" community.  There are no flame wars, no bashing, no calling people names here.  People will genuinely want to help you, so swallow your pride and start the journal!

Alright so how do I plan to tie those early forum statistics into this thread, you ask?  Like this: out of all those people visiting the site each day, there are only 15 members who have active journals.

Uh oh.

There is an extremely good chance you are reading this thread and do not have a journal.  Given everything that I just wrote above, I would really like to hear from you.  Make me understand your thought process.  If you aren't serious about trading as a career don't both replying, but everyone else ... I am trying to help!  I am like the personal trainer at the gym telling you "keep going!!" on that last set.  I'm pushing you out of your comfort zone because I believe it is for your own good.

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