Most of the time, you want to own the stock before it breaks out, then sell it to the momentum players after it breaks out. If you buy breakouts, realize that professional traders are handing off their positions to you in order to test the strength of the trend. They will typically buy it back below the breakout point—which is typically where you will set your stop when you buy a breakout. Greed comes into play when the stock breaks out again, and the momentum players are forced to chase it and “pay up” for the stock. Be aware of how trends are established and use that to your advantage to enter and exit positions.
Embracing your opinion leads to financial ruin. When you find yourself rationalizing or justifying a decline by saying things like, “They are just shaking out weak hands here,” or “The market makers are just dropping the bid here,” then you are embracing your opinion. Don’t hang onto a loser. Cut your losses. You can always get back in.
Unfortunately, discipline is typically not learned until you have wiped out a trading account. Until you have wiped out an account, you typically think it cannot happen to you. It is precisely that attitude that makes you hold onto losers and rationalize them all the way into the ground.
Siphoning out your trading profits each month and sticking them in a money market account is a good practice. This action helps to focus your attitude that this is a business, and your business should generate profits on a monthly basis.
“Professional traders only place a small portion of their assets into 1 position. Or if they take on a large position, then they strictly limit their risk to 1-2% of their current equity. Amateurs typically place a large portion of their assets into 1 position, and they give it “room to move” in case they are actually right. This type of situation creates emotions that ruin accounts, while professionals are able to make decisions and cut losses because they strictly define their risk.”