When I started out trading, there were two common “wisdoms” that absolutely confused me for a very long time.
- Only take the easy trades
- The best trades are the hardest ones to take
Those two statements are very contradicting yet they pop up in a lot of trading books and every trader seems to have a different opinion on this, no matter how experienced. I’d like to believe that I am not the only one out there confused by this and I can safely say that one of the statements cost me a lot of money, and the other statement was a huge help for me to become profitable. What’s what?
Well, we might agree to disagree, but the one statement which in my opinion is complete and utter nonsense, is The best trades are the hardest ones to take. Making this statement should actually be classified as a crime against the trader community and be punished with 100 burpees.
Let’s assume we have a gameplan and a checklist, and we know exactly what we are looking for. Then we wait for hours. Then, finally our trade shows up, all the conditions are there for us – how could it ever be hard to take that trade, if we have done that hundreds of times before? Good traders master one setup, and they trade it over and over and over again. No trade is ever hard for them. There are the easy ones and the easier ones. If you believe in your system and in your ability to execute your system, trading will never be hard if you follow the right money management (to get that kind of belief in your system and in yourself and to develop a system that works for you, THAT is the hard part).
Now, let’s assume we are just starting out, we neither have a gameplan, nor a clue what we are doing. Suddenly, every trade is hard. And every trade will cost us money. But if you are a beginner, and just read in a book that a professional somewhere said that the hard trades are the best to take, then you must be doing something right, right? Have some balls! This trade doesn’t look great, it will be hard to manage, probably a lot of drawdown will ensue. But it’s a hard one, and I’m a tough guy. The market will bend to my will. Boom, and your bankroll is busted.
See where I’m going with this? This statement is incredibly misleading to new traders. And to this day, I don’t understand what it means. Maybe someone can enlighten me. Trading is not about being a rockstar and punching holes into walls, trading is not about making it as complicated as possible. My gameplan is clear and concise, I know EXACTLY what I am looking for, and yes, trading is incredibly boring that way. There is no romanticism to it when you trade to put food on the table. You wait for a trade, the easiest trade you can imagine, and then you take it. Nothing to be proud of, there is no glamorous to it – or to say it in the words of Peter Brandt, we are nothing but “glorified order enterers”. That’s it.
In Poker, I always wanted to play everyone to prove that I am the best. I could have made much more money, had I only played the weak spots (but playing better players still makes sense as you can learn something from them). My ego was too big. In the martial arts, it was the same. And when I came into trading, I tried the same approach. I tried to force my way through the markets, take the hardest trades, just to prove something. There is nothing to prove, not to anyone. The only thing that defines your success as a trader is how much money you make, and you will only make money if you take the path of least resistance. You will learn NOTHING by taking the trades that seem difficult to you, you will only pay a lot of money to feed your ego.
If you truly want to commit to trading, you have to completely dissolve your ego into nothingness and ONLY the take the trades that you REALLY love. Once you can comfortably miss a trade, because you don’t love it 100%, that is when you will start making money. Make a commitment to your trading account, treat it like a baby. You would never expect of your baby to take on hard tasks, right? You would make life as easy as possible for your baby. And that is how you want to treat your trading account, you want to nurture it in the best possible way, make life as easy as possible for it so it can grow and prosper and one day pay you back with a lot of love (and dollars ;-)).
So, please, forget about that ridiculously wrong, romantic idea, that the best trades are the hardest ones. Right now. Don’t do anything stupid, keep your momentum going forwards, only take the easy ones, never stop learning and improving, and you will make progress in no time. The path of least resistance is the right path in trading. The ONLY right path in trading.
I hope I made myself clear, but I will repeat it one more time. Write a small post-it note and stick it to the side of your monitor. And you look at it every single time before taking a trade: DO YOU LOVE THIS TRADE? If you cannot say yes from the bottom of your heart, you scratch it, period. If you can truly follow this advice, you will – at least – go from losing trader to break even trader, this is how important I believe this statement is. And it is much easier said than done. Everyone in this world is ego-tripping as this is how we are being raised these days, we are all clinically sick narcissists, taking selfies at every occasion and hunting likes on Facebook. Humbleness and humility are not sexy. But this attitude will destroy you in trading. The truth is, you are nothing. You come from nothing and you will be nothing. Realize this and start making money. Good luck to you, order enterer.