Big Mike's Trading Blog

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

Why don't I post my trades?

Well, the fact is, I do post my trades here and there throughout the forum.  I'll say when I took the same setup, or when I didn't trade because of xyz, etc.  But it never fails, people always ask me why I don't have a thread that lists my trades, all one by one.  I encourage fellow forum members to do this, after all, so why don't I practice what I preach?

Well, for one I am a firm believer in journaling as a means to an end that will uncover your strengths and weaknesses and help make you a better trader.  The ENTIRE FORUM is my journal :)  I've made thousands of posts, a great number of them citing specific examples of how I trade, what I use, what I do or don't do, etc.  I use the entire forum as a place to share about my method, the psychology, the discretion, even the automation behind what works or doesn't work for me.

As such, even though I do keep a private trade log, I don't feel an overwhelming desire to share a thread with all my trades.  A journal is for the benefit of the one doing the writing much more so than the ones reading it.  It is my fear that people will just try to copy my method, and that isn't what I want.  I don't believe you can be successful by simply copying someone else's method.  You have to make it your own method, you have to own it.  I am not going to greatly benefit from a journal of my trades on the forum, because I'm already actively discussing my strengths and weaknesses across the entire forum.

Each day, I personally respond to a dozen or more journals that are posted on the site by other traders.  I mark up their charts, I act as a coach or mentor, I give them challenges, give them praise, and I even bust their balls.  A little bit of my method comes across in each of these posts.  But I want the trader to retain his method and focus on what works for him, I am simply providing a means in which to make that process easier and more enlightening.

Anyway, this blog is already long but I wanted to share a particular forum response that I just wrote when someone asked (again) why I don't journal my trades on the forum:


Quoting Richard:
I wonder: isn't it sending the wrong message to post about automated C2 systems (which are "magical indicators that say when to go long and short", after all), and not post examples of your subjective decision-making process?  What are the people that need wake-up calls going to think when they see your threads about making (presumably) promising automated systems with 30-minutes of work?

Is it that, in your opinion, computers can be taught simple rules that work, but people can't?  Or?

There may be a downside, having to field more questions from people, but I think it's worth it to help debunk the myth that all you need is a a couple basic mechanical rules to win.  Then again, you have a much nicer personality than I do, so people probably want to follow up with you more.  I hear nonsense and I shut it down :lol: hopefully leaving people bruised but smarter.
-- End Quote --

Maybe it's part of my master plan :)

In seriousness, it is quite evident to me that people want eye candy and they want indicators.  One doesn't have to look very far to see evidence of this all over BMT.  I have threads all over the forum that talk about my methods, you just don't have access to all of them as a non-Elite member.  :( But, I do try very hard to convey a message of my beliefs which is that less is better, focus on psychology, focus on discipline, focus on money management, and eliminate the indicators.  I've repeated that message here in this thread a thousand times.

With regards to the C2 systems, I've stated quite plainly that I do not trade automated systems, but that I do view it as a hobby- as an extension of the programmer inside of me.  At least it has been downgraded from an addiction to a hobby, because if I look back today upon my work a couple years ago it would be easy to classify it as an addiction back then.  I was consumed by automation, and I felt that automation was the only way I could make money.  I felt this way primarily because I had such poor discretion and discipline, that I couldn't trust myself.  I could see the signals of my pretty indicators, but I couldn't get the results I envisioned that I should be getting.

I am not alone.  Many (most) traders turn to automation to solve this problem.  But, you can't, and I believe traders that turn to automation to solve psychological and disciplinary problems in their own discretionary trading are, unfortunately, doomed to failure.  And the scary part is, at least with discretionary trading you can really get a firm grasp on what you are doing wrong.  With automation, there are so many added variables that the majority of people don't understand, they end up being consumed by the process (can't see forest for the trees) and end up wasting huge amounts of time, and money, on the process.  It's like all the people caught up in the indicator mess, they keep explaining away a bad trade or worse they see right past the bad trade and they keep thinking indicators (or automation, in this case) will work.  It's like a form of brain washing.  Great traders can make great money, even with indicators on their charts.  But it is firmly my belief these traders make great money not because of the indicators, but because they are great traders and exercise great discretion and discipline.  Further evidence of this is all around, look at live trading rooms that sell indicator packages.  They don't even take all the signals of their own package.  Discretion is required.  The room moderator may make great money every day, but it is likely because he is a great trader, and not because of the magical indicators on his screen.

Can automation be profitable?  Of course it can.  Can indicators be profitable?  Of couse they can.  However, in my opinion the overwhelming majority of retail traders would be far, far better served to eliminate automation and indicators from their trading and focus solely on becoming a more disciplined trader, and focus on solving/overcoming those trading related psychological issues, instead of running from them.

I post my C2 stuff hoping two things will happen.  1) My system makes a million dollars, somehow, even though I hold no hope for this based on my past experiences.  I continue to try new ideas, because it is a hobby and I enjoy it.  It fulfills my needs as a programmer. 2) I open eyes to fellow traders that automation doesn't work.  Each system starts the same way: a grand idea, an awesome equity curve.  This is the hook for less experienced traders, they watch the system contently and develop an interest.  It is my hope that by being completely transparent people can start to move forward and see that automation is not the answer, as the system fails over time.  They ask questions, why not re-optimize each day, why not this, or that.  I answer to the best of my ability, and they hopefully have learned something useful about automation.

There are several more examples of automated trading in the Elite sections of the site, that you don't have access to as a non-Elite member.  I choose to post the majority of the work that consumes the majority of my time in the Elite section, as a thank you to all those who support the site.  In these areas people are working together to try to make a robust automated system work, or make indicators work.  There are also some discretionary methods about trading naked discussed as a group, but the overwhelming majority of the users participate in or are interested in automation or indicators with signal generators -- not discretion.  I think it's fantastic that there is group participation, and I strongly encourage it (why the section was created in the first place).  I believe everyone is learning, and I believe that by having additional minds in the mix some problems can be overcome that you may not see by yourself.

Still, that said, I think people would quickly lose interest in a lot of what I have to say if I didn't keep them interested with tidbits or crumbs along the way.  It is my hope that a) by not calling my trades, people understand trade calling is worthless anyway, and b) by posting chart mark up and examples of what I would have done, people can consider a different approach, and c) by participating in group threads discussing things like naked trading or price action based trading only, people can see indicators are not needed and in fact often times hamper your success.

So, I do the best I can is the summary of the post.  :) I try to help as many as I can, and I try to do it in a way that is relatable to them by sharing my own past experiences but also cautioning them against making the same mistakes I have made.



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