The Rosy Picture
I know the idea of being a professional trader will seem like a rosy picture, but the fact of the matter is you are going to face some tough times as a trader. You will have to do many things to be a successful and professional trader (or successful/professional anything for that matter), but the most crucial things you do will be the little things in the big moments of time.
Bottom line is – you will have to deal with making mistakes that cost you money, and a lot of it. You will have to deal with some really tough losses, whether they be 4, 5 or 6 figures. Yes, you can make 5, 6 or 7 figures, but that will be totally dependent upon you remaining completely focused, confident and disciplined while you are going through the good times, as well as the really tough ones.
You will have flat periods, draw-downs, losses (perhaps several in a row), but regardless of what you face mentally, emotionally, or physically, you will have to keep proper money management.
You will likely have to take a trade shortly after getting hit by the market only minutes before. You will have to deal with getting stopped out by a pip or two, only to see the market move 100+ pips towards your target. You will have to be patient and sit on your ass, even though you want to get in.
And you will have to do all of this while the market is moving in real time, while there are large profits to be made, while your emotions are working completely against you, while you are experiencing fear, or worry, or impatience, or frustration, or absolute un-clarity.
You will have to make tough decisions in real time that may not be so evident as they unfold before you in a live trading environment. It is very easy and completely common to miss the best setups happening in real time, that follow your rules, or your price action system, because in real time all of the toughest things about trading are present.
I know it may seem like you are pushing up against something larger than yourself, like you are moving a large boulder up a mountain, but you are actually pushing up against yourself – not the market. There is a powerful, self-reflective & insightful quote from Sir Edmund Hillary (1st to ever reach the summit of Mt. Everest) which goes;
“It is not the mountain that we are conquering, but ourselves”
This is exactly what trading is, as you are not conquering the market – but yourself.
Safe Distance & The Monday Morning Quarterback
Hindsight is a free zone, a safe distance to evaluate things as there is no emotion involved, with no live triggers to activate your unconscious or limiting beliefs. When you look at a trade after the fact, there is always clarity, and it looks like the setup was literally put on a golf tee just waiting for you tee off.
However, the reality in trading is, the clarity so available in hindsight is often barely present when trading in real time.
You wouldn’t believe how many ‘authorities‘ or ‘masters of all things price action‘ (ironic considering no peer calls them that), talk about all these great setups after the fact.
They boast how it was ‘widely discussed in their members forum’ only to find out it never was & they never traded it themselves. This is despite the fact it was an ‘obvious’ pin bar setup, or engulfing bar setup, or some other ‘obvious‘ thing they didn’t trade, but lauded after the fact.
Anyone can be a Monday morning quarterback, but can they be a trader in real time is the question. This is why lately I have been almost weekly posting my actual setups here, here, here, here, here, and here of how I traded them in real time.
This is with all the success and mistakes made while managing that live trade, with my actual entry and exit from the brokers chart, based on all the thoughts, emotions and decisions that are involved in them.
If they’ve only shown you one trade in the last year, or a few in the last few months, without actually even showing you the entry and exit from their broker chart – then run away as they are hiding from the fact they do not trade. They should also be showing you successful trades from their students which you can find here, here, here, here, and a ton more here.
But make no mistake, there are many things you will have to do while trading, particularly managing, and managing two things which require practice and precision to do well. They are;
1) Managing Risk
2) Managing Your Emotions
Hopefully you already have a set of rule based systems that you follow to get in and out of a trade, so there is little management in that part. It is the two listed above that require most of your mental/emotional/psychological management and capital.
To repeat, you will have to endure tough times as a trader, with some tough losses, flat periods, draw-downs, making expensive mistakes. And you will have to do this while not investing all of yourself and success / failure in the last trade. You always have to be trading and thinking in probabilities.
Losses are inevitable, but how you deal with them is not. If you can learn to remain focused, confident and disciplined – regardless of what just happened in the last few minutes, hours or days, then you can find yourself back towards a winning trade. But more importantly, you can experience first hand a valuable lesson, which can pick you up after you fall, carry you towards winning trades, and feed your trading career for a lifetime.