Step 3 – The Eureka Moment
Towards the end of stage two you begin to realize that it’s not the system that is making the difference. You realize that it is actually possible to make money with a simple moving average and nothing else IF you can get your head and money management right. You start to read books on the psychology of trading and identify with the characters portrayed in those books and finally comes the eureka moment.
This eureka moment causes a new connection to be made in your brain. You suddenly realize that neither you, nor anyone else can accurately predict what the market will do in the next ten seconds, never mind the next 20 minutes. Because of this revelation you stop taking any notice of what anyone thinks – what this news item will do, and what that event will do to the markets. You become an individual with your own method of trading. You start to work just one system that you mold to your own way of trading, you’re starting to get happy and you define your risk threshold.
You start to take every trade that your ‘edge’ shows has a good probability of winning with. When the trade turns bad you don’t get angry or even because you know in your head that as you couldn’t possibly predict it it isn’t your fault – as soon as you realize that the trade is bad you close it. The next trade or the one after it or the one after that will have higher odds of success because you know your system works. You stop looking at trading results from a trade-to-trade perspective and start to look at weekly figures knowing that one bad trade does not a poor system make.
You have realized in an instant that the trading game is about one thing – consistency of your ‘edge’ and your discipline to take all the trades no matter what as you know the probabilities stack in your favor.
You learn about proper money management and leverage – risk of account etc. – and this time it actually soaks in and you think back to those who advised the same thing a year ago with a smile. You weren’t ready then but you are now. The eureka moment came the moment that you truly accepted that you cannot predict the market.
Step 4 – Conscious Competence
You are making trades whenever your system tells you to. You take losses just as easily as you take wins. You now let your winners run to their conclusion fully accepting the risk and knowing that your system makes more money than it loses and when you’re on a loser you close it swiftly with little pain to your account.
You are now at a point where at a minimum you break even – day in day out. You will have weeks where you make big money and other weeks where you lose big money – but overall you are breaking even and not losing money anymore. You are now conscious of the fact that you are making calls that are generally good and you are getting respect from other traders as you chat the day away. You still have to work at it and think about your trades but as this continues you begin to make more money than you lose consistently.
You’ll start the day on a big win, take a big loss and have no feelings that you’ve given those profits back because you know that it will come back again. You will slowly begin to make consistent profits week in and week out.
Step Five – Unconscious Competence
Now we’re cooking – just like driving a car, every day you get in your seat and trade. You do everything now on an unconscious level. You are running on autopilot. You start to pick the really big trades and getting big profits in a day doesn’t make you any more excited that getting none. You see the newbies in the forum shouting ‘go market go’ as if they are urging on a horse to win in the grand national and you see yourself – but many years ago now. This is trading utopia – you have mastered your emotions and you are now a trader with a rapidly growing account.
You’re a star in the trading chat room and people listen to what you say. You recognize yourself in their questions from about two years ago. You pass on your advice but you know most of it is futile because they’re teenagers – some of them will get to where you are – some will do it fast and others will be slower – literally dozens and dozens will never get past stage two, but a few will.
Trading is no longer exciting – in fact it’s probably boring you to pieces – like everything in life when you get good at it or do it for your job – it gets boring – you’re doing your job and that’s that.
Finally you grow out of the chat rooms and find a few choice people who you converse with about the markets without being
influenced at all. All the time you are honing your methods to extract the maximum profit from the market without increasing risk. Your method of trading doesn’t change – it just gets better – you now have what women call ‘intuition.’ You can now say with your head held high “I’m a trader” but to be honest you don’t even bother telling anyone – it’s a job like any other.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this journey into a traders mind and that hopefully you’ve identified with some points in here.
Remember that only 5% will actually make it – but the reason for that isn’t ability, its staying power and the ability to change your perceptions and paradigms as new information comes available. The losers are those who wanted to ‘get rich quick’ but approached the market and within 6 months put on a pair of blinkers so they couldn’t see the obvious – a kind of “this is the way I see it and that’s that” scenario – refusing to assimilate new information that changes that perception.
If you’re thinking about giving up I have one piece of advice for you
Ask yourself the question “How many years would you go to college if you knew for a fact that there was a million dollars a year job at the end of it?”