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Being in a positive state of mind

Being in a positive state of mind
Being in a good mood won't necessarily make you a winner, but being in a bad mood will almost assuredly make you a loser. Starting since time began, the number of people who have won large sums of money through trading while feeling depressed, irritable, or angry could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand! In short, try to trade when you are in a good mood. Restrict yourself to times whe...
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Who's next in line?

Who's next in line?
"Buy low, sell high" is one of the most popular memes in the investment and trading world. And obviously, it does make sense, who wouldn't like to buy low and sell high all the time? I found this to be quite a helpful advice to invest in stocks for example. Wait for a crash, buy it and sell again when prices are back to old highs. Of course, the problem often is to figure out what's actually a low...
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Patience as a Central Pillar of Your Strategy

Patience as a Central Pillar of Your Strategy
Think of patience as a primary part of your trading strategy. Don't assign it a secondary or lesser role, elevate it on the list of what you consider important. And don't be put off by it when it doesn't seem to be working — it's working. Don't start feeling self-righteous about not trading, as if now it owes you (because you have been so disciplined and patient). This is a trap. Don't start to fe...
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Plans and Objectives

Plans and Objectives
I was watching an old movie "Coach Carter," starring Samuel L. Jackson. I couldn't help thinking about the many similarities between what a coach must do to prepare his players and what a trader must do to prepare to trade. Since trading is largely a self-directed business venture, embarking on a trading career requires that you are able to set clearly defined objectives and develop a specific pla...
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Achieving Self-Esteem

Achieving Self-Esteem
The single most important component of the personality related to personal achievement is self-esteem. Self-esteem is simply how much an individual likes himself and correlates to high achievement on a one-to-one basis. The more an individual likes himself the higher levels of performance he can achieve in any area of his life. Traders should always have at least one physical or mental activity ev...
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The right mindset to deal with drawdowns

The right mindset to deal with drawdowns
Drawdowns are an unavoidable fact in trading that's tough to deal with. But you probably already noticed that and might have encountered some of the serious issues this can lead to during your trading career. Maybe you tend to stop trading a system or switch systems always at the wrong time. Or worse. But as I've written about these issues before, here's a mindset that has helped me a lot to deal ...
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Emotional Extremes

Emotional Extremes
Many beginning traders undergo emotional extremes, feeling sheer ecstasy after a win, but crushing disappointment after a loss. However, as a mature trader, you grow to realize the folly of allowing the natural ups and downs of trading to impact your emotions. Although as a winning professional trader you may stay calm and relaxed even after a series of losses, remaining rational and composed can ...
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Don’t get married to a market!

Don’t get married to a market!
There are so many different instruments to trade like stocks, bonds, futures, spot forex, options and so on. And even when you decide to get into futures, there are tons of futures out there! So where to even start? I was as confused as anyone else about this when I started trading. That's why it probably feels good to focus on just one market in the beginning. "I just trade the EUR/USD" or "I onl...
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Contrarian Trader

Contrarian Trader
Being a contrarian trader means not just following the crowd. It means being willing to break the rules when necessary! Statistics show that the “crowd” loses close to 80% of the time position trading, and very close to 90% of the time day trading.  Why would anyone want to do what all those people are doing? So, what is it the crowd is doing?  For the most part they are struggling with ...
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Admit when you are wrong

Admit when you are wrong
Recently I heard another tale of woe involving the failure to admit being wrong. This man followed a familiar path. As a day trader in the E-mini S&P 500, he first contacted me to tell me that he was unhappy with the data he was receiving. He wanted to know if I could recommend a good trading program for him. I mentioned a couple of them to him and he decided on one. Another interval of time w...
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The Nature of the Trading Business

The Nature of the Trading Business
Consider the following: As a trader you are in a business. Your strongest opponent has plenty of capital. He follows a program and he does it without emotion. He is totally aware of the fact that no one knows where the next tick will fall. Whereas he usually has good insights regarding the major forces that drive the market, he does not fool himself into thinking he can explain the vagrancies of p...
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Overtrading

Overtrading
Overtrading is putting on trades unnecessarily, arbitrarily, and without a specific trading plan. Overtrading can also be trading with more risk than you can afford, and trading more contracts than you can effectively manage physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mistake #1: Assuming a real trader trades all day. Mistake #2: Trading for excitement. Mistake #3: Trading because you are frustrated. M...
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Pulling the Trigger

Pulling the Trigger
Dear Joe, Sometimes I absolutely dread sitting down to trade. I have had so many bad experiences that I’m not sure I can pull the trigger. Is there anything I can do about it? What happens to us as we trade colors the way we see things in the market and influences the way we approach them. We take a big hit in a particular market, and we decide never to trade there again. Or, when we have a great ...
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Some things that keep traders from “making it”

Some things that keep traders from “making it”
Three psychological traits prevent traders from becoming consistently successful, fear, anger and guilt. Fear blocks the trade decision making process due to worry about negative events that may or may not occur in the future. Guilt blocks the trade decision making process with unresolved concern about something that happened in the past. Anger is an emotional response to guilt, fear, the indecisi...
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Developing a Trading Style

Developing a Trading Style
Master Traders develop a style that is a reflection of their education and character. Most individual trading styles are either positional or combinational and, rarely, a synthesis of both. However, there are other styles.  Positional traders take x amount of positions within a specific price area where the market is thought to be favorable to their trading strategy. This may occur on short t...
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A Great Lesson

A Great Lesson
From a longtime friend and student:  "I thought that I’d pass on something that you might want to share with your trading community.  I spent way too long thinking that range bars and/or tick bars were my way to the holy grail and I would like to tell you what I realized and why I think I was wrong." "First some background:  I got started down that path, because wasn’t seeing format...
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The Crush Spread

The Crush Spread
The spread is defined as buying one futures contract, and selling a different, but related futures contract. Specifically, when trading the crush spread, you would buy soybeans and sell its respective products, the soybean meal and soybean oil. This is what is referred to as being crushed. If you buy the soybean meal or the soybean oil and sells soybeans, that is what is referred to as being rever...
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5 Tips to Improve your Day Trading

5 Tips to Improve your Day Trading
Day trading has always been a tough game, requiring a very strong psyche, discipline and a high level of trading skills to succeed in.  Nowadays though it's even harder due to the stronger competition, not only by humans but especially by computers trading at a speed a human trader simply can not match up to. High-Frequency Trading is happening in literally all of the popular markets out ther...
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More About Losses

More About Losses
How should you feel about losses? I once read somewhere that you are supposed to love losses. Does that make sense to you? It doesn't to me. The worst aspect of losing is that it tends to create pessimism. Traders should feel bad when they lose money only if they fought the market trend, or violated their own trading strategies. The best traders have a healthy "so what, big deal!" attitude that ma...
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What kinds of emotions go with winning and losing?

What kinds of emotions go with winning and losing?
Once a trade is entered, there are two possible outcomes: Win or lose. Between the two is the breakeven point, and because it is in-between, it’s psychologically significant. Losing is involved with fear and hope. Winning is involved with greed. When on the losing side of a trade, the breakeven point is a place that inspires hope. Being human we have a natural tendency to avoid risk and loss. When...
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Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry a high degree of risk. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results, and all of which can adversely affect actual trading results. For more information, see the Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options.