Goals

0 995

Picture the scene… 30something male heading down the motorway on a Sunday evening singing along to all his favourite Erasure songs…

Ok, so something not all together right about that thought but in all seriousness the album in particular was one of those live albums that you can purchase of the event to keep as a memory kinda thing. What struck me on this part of the journey was just how easily, after a long time, I can slip into full song, bearing in mind that it was tunes I had not listened to for a while. More importantly, as I skipped through the ipod tracks/ albums I began to notice a familiar theme running throughout.

What I had noticed was that pretty much most of the bands or singers all had a signature tune – the tune that literally can prompt a crowd of people into full song. Now, I’m not referring to just the chorus here as pretty much most songs can be sung to the chorus but here I am referring to a song that can literally lift you into full song without you even thinking about it.

But what about your trading? Do you have a method that can empower you in the same way & more specifically that you can slip into it without so much as a thought?

Throughout the many concerts I’ve been too I can think of numerous songs that do this, from Erasure’s “a little respect”, Howard Jones “new song” even dare I say it Depeche Mode’s “just cant get enough”. But even modern day bands& singers like Robbie Williams, Take That for example will have at least one tune, that in the event of a dull crowd they can pull out of the hat to induce an instant reaction.

The point I’m trying to get at here is that in trading we too need a signature tune, a method that we can rely on time after time, never tiring, never growing old. The kind of method we can slip into, anytime, anyplace.

But traders have an issue with this because many of them won’t be around long enough to realise what their signature tune/ method actually is. The reason for this is very simple – the process of moving from method to method without stopping to understand the implications of what they are doing. The underlying reason for this is the desire for instant gratification or more bluntly, success in an instant. The reality is that many methods, like tunes can take a while to develop, sometimes a slight twist here & there but following a logical path until it fits. As it is songs, just think of how many songs you actually didn’t like to begin with but after a while it becomes familiar almost. Let me give you a personal example of this; Depeche Mode had an album track from their 2001 Exciter album called “The dead of night” & I instantly hated this track. No matter which way I listened to it, I just couldn’t make it fit my taste. But when it was played live, it became a completely different song altogether & was just awesome – very strange I know but so it is in trading. Sometimes it will just take a little while for your tune to develop.

And time is something that many people in trading do not want to invest which is a real shame because often the one method that would have changed a traders life was right in front of them, just waiting to be developed, a bit like that tune when it was first released, constantly played o the radio & TV, being drip fed into your subconscious all the time until you reach a point where you can sing it word for word.

There are a few “must do’s” in trading & this is right up there with the top ones. The ability to take a method, make it your own but develop & grow with it. If you fail to stick with a method that suits your style of trading & simply discard it the second it has a losing trade it could be a vital error in your trading career.

When you develop a trading method & nurture it, it has a wonderful habit of rewarding you once it reaches full bloom, of that you can be guaranteed. Once developed, you will be trading a method much like your favourite artists tune, just letting your subconscious take over & your trading feeling completely natural.

Now, one of the key questions this will undoubtedly throw up is how long do you give yourself to develop a method? Great question but I guess the answer lies in how long are you prepared to give it?

When choosing a method or methods, it is just as important to decide how you will measure its progress & of course how often you review it, and when you implement changes. Again, so often traders will know what their preferred methods are but do not follow through with the nurturing part & simply expecting it to bloom brightly on its own accord.

Make sure you know what your signature tune is, develop your subconscious mind to recall it anytime you choose & instead of being a “song for whoever” make sure it becomes your “perfect 10”

Until next week, have a fantastic weekend & i’ll see you at the top!

Damon

0 934

Hi everyone!

Isn’t life an adventure? A really great adventure, after all, no video game in the world could raise you up, knock you down, challenge you & taunt you from so many angles. It is like Jim Rohn once said, life is like the four seasons and spring will always follow winter. Very true however one thing sprung out at me this week & that was the fact that trading has a habit of keeping people in autumn & winter for long periods. In fact for some it is probably like living in the ice age but rest assured as in life, so it is with trading. Spring will always follow winter.

But what happens to the trader during that barren time that is autumn & winter? This is where trading is actually a lot different to life. You see, in general, life will only hit you with a couple of knock backs, disappointments at one time whereas trading has a unique ability to hit you time & time again. Day after day, even hour after hour, so in order to survive this ice age the trader must learn how to deal with these knock backs.

It is all too easy to simply wish yourself somewhere better, perhaps even wish you were someone else, seeing the markets through another set of eyes, wishing you had more experience, perhaps even more confidence but this is simply a character trait we all have.

Unless you was the super cool kid at school that had all the opposite sex drawing towards you like a magnet (maybe even the same sex too!), & yes every school has at least one of these super cool kids then you probably already realise what it is like to wish you had different talents or abilities. I often remember when I was at school wishing that I could have cool clothes, be one of the “in” crowd, go out with the prettiest girls etc etc.. but I didn’t have any of that. Instead I had to opt for hanging out with the super nerds in the music block. Looking back, probably the best decision as in those finer moments you start to form your own journey & views.

But this continues into our adult life too. When was the last time you wished for a bigger house, your own house, flash car, holidays, better partners, social lifestyle of others etc..

Is this productive? More importantly, is it going to progress your trading?..

Now, going back to early formings, I realised quite early on in my adult life that I didn’t need to be cool, great looking or have an amazing social circle. None of that mattered. In fact what I realised that the ONLY thing that matters is that you accept who you are, accept what your own failings are but more importantly, accept what your strengths are. So for most of my adult life, there has been no envy, no wishful thinking but action. If I want to achieve something then I set about doing it.

But what about you?

Do you accept who you are?… Really?

You see, when you accept you for what you are in every way possible, you will begin in my opinion the greatest journey of all. No fear of fitting in, making mistakes or being laughed at. In trading, this means that no obstacle is ever going to stop you achieving what you want. You start to dissolve barriers before they begin to exist.

We all experience failure, setbacks, disappointments & obstacles. All of us. Being human means that when this happens we hurt.

The key difference between us all is how long it keeps us down for. That’s all.

For some people, a set back in trading will knock them back weeks, for others it may be days but for an experienced full time trader it is seconds. The reason it is seconds, is because we have accepted the situation & moved on. No regrets, no tantrums, no fear. Just acceptance of our skills & our setups.

We replace the negative with something positive & we never allow ourselves to finish the day on a negative. Not ever.

So today please remember, it is ok to be knocked back, to experience defeat & experience the emotions of trading after all, we have all been there. We have all trudged across the snow plains of winter & had the wind trying to blow us backwards in autumn. What we did do in those times was to spend less & less time in the wind, melt some snow here & there until gradually we enter spring. And of course you know what comes after spring…

So whatever your thinking is currently, don’t bring yourself down, don’t be envious of others but work on your own skill sets & what works for you. You are indeed unique in every sense. Just accept it & begin the greatest journey of your life.

Oh, & if you are thinking that Autumn follows Summer….the full time traders have already up’d sticks & moved to somewhere like Florida with all year sunshine! We know when we are onto a good thing!!

Until next week, have a fantastic weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon

0 884

Hi everyone,

This week has seen the fall from grace of two football commentators in a very public way of course. Now amongst all the trivia & debate as to whether it was right or wrong or were they bad people or not lies the simple fact that as individuals & as a pair they did bring & develop so much to our screen in terms of analysis & expert commentary.

Clearly I’m not here to continue this debate but there are certain parallels with what we do as traders. In my opinion, they only made one error.

This error unfortunately undid all of the great work before them & one which they will be remembered for & not necessarily for all the good they did for armchair sports fans.

You see, as commentators & analysts, they practised their craft, day in day out, fine tuning & delivering pitch perfect responses each & every time.

But then they got sloppy. They started treating people in a manner they wouldn’t like to be treated themselves, they thought they knew it all & could do pretty much anything they like, to whom they like. Now, the problem with this, is that it happen subconsciously & clearly, looking back, they will be horrified with regard to their actions & to the manner in which it unfolded & here lies the error…

The error they made is very simple.

They took their eye off the ball (no pun intended). They lost focus & stopped doing the things that made them good at their trade.

So let’s start to look at this in relation to our trading.

If for example you knew that with constant focus & development you could be earning around £1.7m per year in twenty years as a result of your dedication to trading. Well, the reality is that we as traders can potentially earn this quicker & more of it. But it takes practice, dedication & persistence.

So we go about our craft, taking screenshots daily, analysing, feedback, trading, making observations, interacting with others & slowly but surely you start to earn the financial rewards until it gets to a point when you are comfortable with your trading.

At this point you are earning what you want, or more importantly, perhaps at this stage you are not but this is the critical point. Because at this point most people believe they can take the foot off the gas, take it easy & enjoy the rewards but it is not that simple. In my opinion, taking the foot off the gas is equal to losing that sharp focus & starting to undo the very things that make you successful.

Now, in order for your eye to be off the ball, firstly, it has to be on it. This is where most people in trading fall down as they simply follow the pack, looking for that elusive holy grail & then giving in. For those that remain, it can take some time to realise that in order to succeed in trading the eye must be truly & firmly “on the ball” at all times. That means doing the very things that make you successful , all the time. Times when you are tired, weary & all charted out. You still have to make those screenshots, give yourself feedback, seek out others knowledge & ultimately continue developing.

But always remember, the error that many make, is simply losing focus when it matters, or of course, taking the eye off the ball. Even for a split second, or in the commentators case, around 30sec of banter can result in a wiped out account or the difference between a good week or a poor week.

Make sure you come to trading, well prepared, alert, trading plan intact & providing you with a clear direction. Not a might do, or maybe, but a clear defined path.

So make sure your eye is on the ball & then make sure you never lose that focus. But above all make sure your respect the markets remains intact at all times.

Until next week,

Have a great weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

0 787

…it’s the way that you do it, & that’s what gets results..

Hi everyone & no, I have not revealed my secret desire to be the 4th member of Banananananrama!

But let’s take another look at that statement;

“it aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it – & that’s what gets results”

In fact, much has been written in pop folklore about this for example “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the brawn, let’s make lots of money” or perhaps you can gloss it up in the world of business with super buzz phrases like “work smarter, not harder”.

So let’s bring this back into the realms of home trading & I believe that this theory still holds firm & this is where your real skill of persistence is truly tested. You may now be thinking that I’m referring to the persistence to keep going in the face of adversity but today I’m going to come in from another angle just to challenge the thought process.

I believe the answer to lasting success in trading is not down to doing more, but actually doing less. Or more simply, it’s not what you do, but how you do it.

Think of this for a moment. When was the last time you had achieved your daily target only to carry on because you felt good or you were riding high on the buzz of earning those pips? For some it is probably very recent but we do spend a lot of time focussing on the negatives & how to turn them around without giving much thought to those that are already consistently hitting their target only to undo it with lack of discipline in stopping.

So, for many, they are already standing at the door of success only to actually close it on themselves because they perhaps think that doing more is the way forward but what if you could create a driving vision, a focus so precise that you knew exactly what you were going for & once achieved you are out of there.

Now I’m going to make a very bold statement here. I believe that if you take any single method of trading, & I mean any, including those “holy grail” methods out there & if you practiced it for long enough, you would gather enough intelligence & market feedback to tune it into your very own 10pip machine, day in, day out. Think I’m wrong? Let me put it another way, take the very worst system on the face of the planet that loses every time you see a signal. Simply reverse the trade you should put on into the opposite direction & instead of losing it now wins for you.

It really is that simple but how long would you have given yourself to find that out, to work out that was your 10pip machine? A week, month, perhaps six months? The challenge for most is that we are all bombarded constantly with information from all directions, everything is trying to get your attention from PC’s, mail, email, television, radio, partners, children, good looking people of the opposite sex even flying airplanes with those silly banners that you strain your eyes to read & it’s usually pointless! The point being, is that we are all potentially distracted & hence why so many people tends to move around in trading, always looking for that easy route.

So for your target in trading & I’m using 10pips as this is all you need, you must create a “zone” whereby your focus is so intense & focussed, that you just become your very own 10pip machine. Once done you log out & break away from screens. After this you can return but only on another account or a demo account but never your primary trading account.

What’s going to be easier to earn £500 per day? 500pips at £1 stake or 10pips at £50 stake?

Ok, so that’s all the positives & up to the last sentence I’m sure everyone was still with me that is of course until we start talking pips & pounds. At this point some people (roughly around 33%…) will start thinking “yeh Damon, that’s great, but what about the losses?”

If this was you, & seriously this isn’t a big deal, then look again at the words in the bulk. Learn to define your trading by doing less not more. How long are you willing to commit? How long are you giving yourself to fine tune & develop something that you know inside out to give you a 10pip return day in day out.

So looking ahead, focus on doing less, not more or perhaps a case of…

“It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it”

& that’s “really saying something”…

Until next week, have a brilliant weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon 

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0 858

Hi all,

Most of you will know how I talk about how running your trading is exactly like running a business & that there are certain parallels within both arenas. Funnily enough, as I started to think about this I realise that there is another distinction in that when you start a business you don’t go looking for a “how to get rich in business” manual in the hope of being rich within 4 weeks so why is it many within trading do exactly this?.. I don’t know for sure & I’m not here today to discuss this but if trading has certain parallels with business then there is one aspect of this that I do want to explore & share with you & that is, that after a business is initially set up & running, many of the most successful businesses in the world have had very shaky starts – likewise, I believe that most if not all full time traders have at some stage suffered the same shaky start. The difference can lie in belief, passion, desire, persistence & various other attributes but let’s make this real for a moment;

  • Virgin Atlantic was virtually bust until the Megastore side was sold to shore up the finances – if you have read Sir Richard Branson books then you will realise how many times he stayed up late & continued driving forward
  • Donald Trump at one stage was billions of dollars in the red
  • Microsoft would never be the multi giant it is today if it wasn’t for the drive of Bill Gates & co selling their software
  • Steve Jobs & his passion for Apple is obvious but anyone remember Apple Cyberdog?.. Apples answer to Internet Explorer… mm didn’t think so
  • Walt Disney was fired early in his career for having lacking imagination & having no good ideas
  • The Beatles were told right at the start that “they didn’t like the music & besides… guitar music is on the way out”… hmm

So, maybe you are now thinking this is all great but you are no Richard Branson, Donald Trump or even a member of the Beatles but let me tell you something…

You are as equally as special as all of these people if not more special because the world of trading is your business arena, your music industry, your airline industry or property market. It is yours to totally shape & achieve all your dreams & goals within.

We are no different in so much that we all have exactly the same amount of minutes in the day & sure, some will have different challenges & time pressures but the net time remains the same & it is how YOU chose to live those minutes is what counts.

Remember this, professional traders go through several years of training before they are allowed near the clients’ money, doctors & medical people go through years of medical school, lawyers through law school & even footballers working their way through the various ranks.

The point I’m trying to make is quite simple really… if you are truly seeking the riches that trading can ultimately deliver then we obviously need to put in the hard graft also, the long hours & the many tired evenings of study. I’m afraid this is unavoidable but with all our different time pressures you need to mould it to your own requirements. The above people, plus some of the people you know within trading have got there through hard work & persistence… & time.

So keep plugging away & be persistent in your pursuit of success in your trading

Until next week , have a fantastic weekend!

Damon

0 680

…or perhaps it’s a case of electric nightmares?!

Hi everyone,

Electric dreams or nightmares.. who knows but what I do know is that in this busy crazy world where electronic communication was meant to make everything simpler, we actually live in a world of instant demand. Now this has a direct effect on your trading or, at is very core your ability to develop as a trader because, depending on your social or family environment you are being challenged from every single conceivable angle.

Emails, text messages, television commercials, leaflets through your door, telephone calls, voicemail, faxes (remember them!) but not only that, you are also being challenged from a more “hidden” level for example, bakery smells in supermarkets or even adverts with the latest celebrity where they don’t reveal the product until; the end (think pepsi & pop bands/ singers).

So with all this constant bombardment & power struggle for your decisions & thoughts is it any wonder that anyone trying to move forward in their trading is having to overcome obstacles at pretty much every junction. That’s why, to succeed in trading, a focus on your own psychological self is an absolute must.

Think about this for a second. Most people at some stage in their trading career have used 10-15pip stops until of course they realise that this isn’t the way forward or they crash & burn. But where did this crazy outlook of 10-15pip stops come from?.. Well, I don’t know for sure but I don’t recall reading it in any of the published trading books however I do recall seeing it a lot in the so called “holy grail” manuals that are pushed out practically all the time from the various “lets make loads of money” publishers. The point being, that your mind is always being penetrated, altered & most people are letting it happen with free will.

Before we move onto how this can affect us in trading, just think for a moment; when was the last time you was in the middle of something, received a text message/ email & stopped everything just to respond?.. versus, the last time you consciously picked up a self-development book or audio material?

For many this would be as recent as today & in order to take control of your trading & its development you must seize control & take back some of that stolen time to make your own. This is your time where you spend time on developing your trading. Now this isn’t the same as the time you spend at the charts because remember, trading time is exactly that – it isn’t a time to be learning or looking at other websites so see what others are doing.. it is a time to focus & put into practice what you have learnt in your development time away from the screen. Development time when you can switch the phone off, close down the email program & just work on you & your trading.

Also, a quality time you can spend developing trading plans, reviewing trading opportunities that didn’t work out & also reviewing the ones that did..

In trading I believe there is a “how” & a “why” of trading. This is foundationally what it drills down to.

The “how” part is the how to trade & this is taken care of via screenshots, coaching, live sessions & daily feedback to name a few but ultimately, this is where the process of learning & developing your “how” to trade takes place. This is generally a systematic process which can be pieced together in the traders own time, whether that is 6months or 6 years.

The “why” of trading is the tough part & unfortunately accounts for probably 80% of the workload & this is where most tend to go wrong. Most traders will focus 80% on the how & not on the why. If you create enough strength & depth to your very own “why” then you will have enough passion, enough desire to launch a space rocket!

So, in trading this is where most fall down in my belief. The 80% time for many is spent looking for the “how” & 20% or less is spent on the “why”.

If you make a decision to address this balance then your trading scales will start to tip in your favour.It will, however, require sometimes a complete tunnel focus where you block the world out from trying to steal your dreams but just ask the piptasticeer who has just landed in Australia to spend xmas & new year with his family down under if spending 80% on the “why” worth it. Or perhaps the piptasticeers who have just realised their dream of moving to France (& I’ve seen their goal scrapbook too!) or even the piptasticeer who pulled in over 300pips this week who still works in a retail environment.

All examples of ordinary people like you & I, who have made a change in their thinking & blocked out the constant bombardment in favour of what THEY want & especially within their trading.

So, until next week, carve out some YOU time & start thinking & committing on paper what your “why” of trading actually is.

Have a fantastic weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon

“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms – not one that others, or the environment have scripted for you”

–       Anthony Robbins

0 775

Hi everyone!

So often in trading we here this term “holy grail” & for so long I’ve been saying there is no holy grail just hard work , dedication & commitment to learning & developing which is absolutely my belief.

But what if there was a Holy Grail?.. Something so magical, so awesome, so powerful? Perhaps the feather that floats gently down into Forrest Gump’s book & changes his life, a magic bean that keeps growing when you plant it or perhaps you are just the chosen one; a neo, or a Harry Potter.

Fascinating isn’t it? Even though we are adults, at some point we will all have thought, felt or even currently wish that life was some sort of fairy tale film where the story just gets better & better..

Well, my friend, I have news for you! You see, I think I’ve found the Holy Grail…

Seriously, I believe I have found something that ultimately could be it & what’s more, I’m going to give it to you for free. The reason is simple.. its still a little rough around the edges, & it may take some time to polish it up & make it all pristine & function as the grail but nonetheless I want you to have it now. I want you to keep it, look after it, sharpen it, polish it & really make it your own. Now if I gave this to you, would you make this promise… really?.. I mean truly & endearingly promise me you will do all of the above and promise me you will not just grab it & rush out to seek advantage before it is ready to so so?

Hmmm, ok, I’m still not sure but I do want you to have it & I really hope you will do all the things you promised me.

So you want to know where it is? Ahhh , sorry I almost forgot to tell you in all my excitement. You see, I’ve left it for you in your bathroom. Yep, that’s right, it’s been in your house all this time & you didn’t even notice, did you. That’s ok because it has this habit of blending into the background.

Oh, you’ve been looking for a book, a manual? Noooo it’s much better than that, now what I’d like you to do is go into the bathroom & I’m going to show you where to find it.

You in there yet?

Ok, take a look in the bathroom mirror. That’s right keep looking…still can’t see it?  Well stay there until you can because like Napoleon Hill hid the secret to success in “Think & Grow Rich” the hidden holy grail in trading is YOU!

That’s right, it’s YOU!

Take another look. the person you are staring at is the holy grail in your trading. As I said before, it’s a little rough around the edges, needs polishing but ultimately with love & care will develop into the holy grail.

So by now you are thinking, “cheers dude” or “thanks for nothing you idiot, now where was that latest email offer from xxx publisher” or perhaps you have got it, just maybe it has suddenly hit you like an express train after all this time?

But allow me to delve a little deeper into this. You see, it is YOUR limitations that hold you back in trading. Not mine, but YOURS. YOU are the problem, the challenge, the solution & the success. YOU.

To illustrate this, think of something that is alive & something you fear or hate. (I’m not referring to partners here!). For me, this would probably have to be one of those huge hairy spiders & I mean HUGE. So if someone was to give me one of these & told me I could have £1m if I ate this spider whilst it was still alive do you think I could do it? Possibly, but it would take a long time & I would have to overcome some serious underlying & deep phobias plus I have to live with that thought for the rest of my life.

If you have a fear of heights, what if I came to you with a 20ft plank, laid it on the pavement & asked you to walk across it for £1m? You would have no issues & would literally run across it. But what if I laid it across a gap with a mile long drop beneath it?.. well, the length or width of plank hasn’t changed nor has your ability to walk however YOUR limitations have and this is what holds so many people back in trading.

If you understand & accept that it is YOU who is the holy grail, then it is time to start polishing & making pristine before it starts delivering. If you don’t see this right now, then it is no problem because the mirror in the bathroom will always be there for you whenever you choose to accept this.

But I already know the answer don’t I? Remember my own version of the 80/20 theory which is;

  • 33% Will
  • 33% Won’t
  • 33% Will think about & put it off until later

Which 33% do YOU choose to be in & more importantly, are you starting to prepare for 2011 to make it your year? If so, then the next few weeks are going to make a huge difference & I’m going to be handing you a virtual cloth to polish your holy grail with.

Until next week,

Have a fantastic weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon

0 804

Hi,

Judging by the title you are already imagining yourself, strutting down a sidewalk, wearing flared trousers & a flat cap to the tune of Rocky & just occasionally glance round to check no one is looking before throwing a one- two into the air…you feel good, you look good & if you are of to a nightclub enroute you sure smell good!

The bottom line is this, you are prepared, you are at your peak performance, you have an edge, you have prepared well & you are ready…

Or, and of course lets bring this back into the realms of reality, not so much “Eye of the Tiger” but more of “Achtung Baby” I suspect.

I wonder how many traders at some point this week, rolled out of bed, switched on or just awoke the second partner (the PC!!), grabbed a coffee & just sat down to trade?.. By lunchtime of course you realise that you still havn’t brushed your teeth or got dressed for the day..sound familiar?..for some it may have more recent than others but don’t despair, we have all been there & it is a perfectly normal part of becoming the trader you crave to be.

But would you agree that this makes you sharp, ready for action, attentive, even having the “eye of the tiger”?

Let’s look at this from another angle.. if you have ever been trading in this situation have you found it easier to take a loss versus when you were sharp & alert?.. You see, in trading the inability of a trader to take a loss is alike to a surgeon who doesn’t like the sight of blood or perhaps a window cleaner who is scared of heights. Either way, in trading you have to learn to accept there will be losses along the way.

Now the biggest challenge traders when learning to accept that there is losses is the mindset. Forget about looking for the perfect system or the holy grail but working on yourself & your approach to trading.

Let me repeat that.. Working on yourself & YOUR approach to trading.

Working on yourself requires constant attention & the best way to make a start i by having a structure to your day. If you don’t have one currently then it is a good time to start looking at developing one. From what time you get up for the day trader to what time you open up the charts in the evening for the evening trader. All successful traders will have a structure to their day & I’m willing to state, that very few achieve greatness in trading whilst sat at the PC at lunchtime without having eaten breakfast or got dressed for the day.

As I was saying in previous weeks, much of the full time traders “work” isn’t done during trading time, it is done during the down time; the reading & listening of motivational work, the back testing, the preparation, the routine. Nothing is left to chance, after all you are in this to develop your dreams into reality. There may be sacrifices required along the way & as an example, many of you will know that I gave up alcohol so that I could be at my charts with a fresh mind every day. Now I’m not suggesting you give up your favourite tipple but this is just an example. You may have to give up junk food in favour of healthy options or exercise more (still working on that one!) but the point is this; you can never stop working on yourself, your mindset or your approach to the charts.

The next stage is developing your own record of what is happening in the markets during your sessions, what are you spotting, what are your thoughts, what trades didn’t you take & for what reason?.. all of this is vital feedback that you will analyse when away from the charts. Put in the hard work in the down time so that the screen time is the easy part of your trading day.

If you choose to work on yourself & on developing your trading skills then the money will take care of itself however many traders get this the wrong way round. They focus on the money without realising that the critical component is themselves. People fail in trading not because of poor systems but because of themselves. Failure to structure & prepare for the lifelong marathon. The goal of any professional , be it, sportsperson, doctor, pilot or indeed trader is to reach their very best & in our case to trade correctly & in accordance with out trading plans.

Trading in your pyjamas is fun for a short while but it cannot stay that way as you look to provide a future for yourself & your loved ones.

But change can take a little while so why not start thinking now about how you are going to structure yourself going into 2011. Many of you will know that I do not trade before 9am in the morning. Not because I’m still fast asleep in bed but because I can eat breakfast with the kids & some mornings take them school. It affords me a daily routine that I stick to like glue & ensures that when I reach the charts I am in the right frame of mind to proceed & earn my pips for that session. If anything messes with that routine then it becomes a no trade session for example, an internet connection that goes down which will invariably disrupt your mindset.

So the key is not to become a sober, celibate monk just to trade but to know what works for you, what steps, sacrifices if any & what routines work best for you & this way you can start each trading session with a fresh mind & ready for anything.

Until next week, have a fantastic weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon

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Hi everyone!

This week there was one question that was like a sharp arrow being flighted through the crowd towards me. Not the sort of arrow that was designed to harm but metaphorically speaking, an arrow of a question that cut straight through & caught my attention with immediate impact. Now this question wasn’t a direct question, it was just one line amongst several paragraphs, in fact, very easily missable but as I was in a hurry to read through & then travel up the country, I scanned through the message, & several minutes later was on the road when all of a sudden the question shone out like a beam of light.. or perhaps an arrow!

Oh, the question?… well I’m not telling you.. ok, only kidding but it was very simple…

“was there a point when everything just dropped into place for you”

Simple enough question which many would think may require a simple answer however after over 12 hours of constant pondering I’m still not entirely convinced there was a point in which it all did actually drop into place. So for this week I’m going to rewind this process & hopefully at least explain a little.

I know that in order to trade successfully you need to have a really good (&perhaps) deeper understanding of yourself as an individual. Even perhaps a lot deeper than you think after all, some of my character traits can be traced right back to childhood; many of you will know that I often joke that I’m not a morning person & cannot get started until at least 0830-9am. Perhaps this is attributed to a father who insisted I got up at 5am every morning during my school years? Seriously, an entire growing up phase where lie ins were banned & don’t panic, I’m not about to go down the route of poor childhood etc but growing up in the early eighties with no money would have been a daunting prospect for many however for me it gave me a sense of adventure & more importantly freedom.

So, when it comes to trading, it is not the money that actually drives but the aspect of freedom (oh, & I can have the occasional lie i!!) but this goes a long way to answer perhaps the foundation of the above question & lies in the fact that I am not financially driven & therefore do not place the same pressures on myself that others might.

One of the most common burn out reasons or pressures in trading can be attributed to “performance anxiety” or more importantly, broken down into a couple of areas;

  1. Perfectionism – Waiting for the perfect trade setup which never occurs thus forcing the trader to take on trades “for the sake of”
  2. Fear of loss – Inability to take the trade as the fear of taking a loss is real
  3. Fear of profit – strange one, but are your self-limiting beliefs holding you back? Perhaps you continually tell yourself you will never be wealthy & thus either don’t take trade or take any trades without care if it wins & loses?
  4. Motivating yourself whilst actually trading – How many times have you reached the screens in a foul mood hoping that one good trade will make life all the more better?

Ok, so lets take a look at the responses to these areas;

Perfectionism – Yes, there will always be “textbook” trades creeping around the market however, how can they be textbook until they have formed & gone? So therefore, technically, there is no such thing as the perfect setup so as Nike once said.. just do it… Really, what have you got to lose? £1.50?… £15, £150?.. it doesn’t matter as it wil all be relative to your trading pot. Or at least it should be.

Start small in your stakes sizes & build up. This will then reduce your reliance on waiting for those perfect set ups. Sounds simple but how can you build up when you don’t have a framework like a trading plan/ journal/ log to use to guide you.

Fear of loss – As above really. The only way you are ever going to eradicate the fear of loss is to literally bash it out of your system & the only way to do this is to have a way of taking trade after trade after trade where you literally condition yourself to accept losses. There is an easy way to achieve this & make sure you have an account where you can trade at very low stakes like 10p for example & just pencil in one day each month for conditioning training. The pick a set up you like & just trade it all day. No stopping & willing to accept whatever happens but never deviate from the 10p. It may not have an effect after one session but how about after six months? I have spoken to people who have been trading for several years & still are unable to accept a loss. Perhaps this would have made headway?

Fear of Profit – Sounds funny right?.. well, the great news is that this is inbuilt into all of us & it is commonly called the glass ceiling. It’s there but it can be broken. Think about how anyone struggles to move above £1 – £2 in their staking. Well sometimes this can be attributed to fear of profit. And likewise when you start moving on upwards, there will always be a figure you have to test a few times in order to step up to the next level. Goals also play a massive part in this.

Self motivation whilst trading – NO! you should be motivated by the time you reach the markets. The time for self motivation is in your pre flight checklist or your pre trading checklist. Trading time is exactly that & this is where all the hours of study & screenshot analysing kick in. Most of your trading at this point will become largely autopilot to a degree. You see a set up, you take it, you then analyse the trade to check it was within your trading plan, you then adjust stop if necessary, you then take profit (or get stopped), you then note in trade journal, you then look for next trade.. & so on. But the point here is simple. When at the screens, the markets cannot motivate you. They move up or they move down. Fact. It is your role to be ready, sharp & well practised to pick up the trades as & when they occur & not look to these funny green & red bars to motivate you. If you find yourself in a state of low motivation then don’t trade.

So let’s go back to the original question – “was there a point when everything just dropped into place for you”

You see, I don’t actually believe there is ever a point where anything just “drops” into place but I truly believe that success in trading is a continual journey of development & understanding. I also believe that in order to be successful within trading you need to take your learning & development outside of the screens & develop as a person too. You have to have a far greater insight into yourself, your reactions & know what makes you tick deep down. If this all seems a little “wooly” then ask yourself these questions;

  1. Do you have goals?
  2. Do you have a trading journal/ log/ plan?
  3. Do you read or listen to motivational material?
  4. Do you know yourself?

This list could go on forever so I’ll stop with these basics & ask yourself this. If you have these do you stop & analyse? Do you really stop to analyse or do you just do them for the tick in the box?..

So this week, think about this.. there is no definitive point in time where it all drops into place but we are all merely on different rungs of the ladder. Rung by rung you will get there, sometimes moving down a rung to allow someone through that doesn’t want to keep climbing but ultimately keep moving one rung at a time & if you do that….

I’ll see you at the top!

Until next week, have a fantastic weekend!

Note: This is also published as an audio podcast within the Members section. Please click here for details

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Good evening!

Well its Friday & that can only mean one thing & this week I’d like to share a little secret with you however I suspect it is a little secret that you would prefer not to know or perhaps do know it but don’t wish to acknowledge it.

I like to call this “The Brick Wall”

Now unfortunately this brick wall, oh, that You built by the way, has no blueprint plans & you cannot go over, around or under. The only way forward is through.

Now on the other side of this wall is the promised land, a land of flowing milk & honey, a land of beautiful women, hunky men & pound notes literally growing off the trees. And, they are wearing Piptastic swimwear of course! This is what many would call utopia. Whatever the creation, it doesn’t matter as you have created this.

So now you stand, hands on hips, staring up at this marvellous creation of a brick wall. At first you stand just admiring, listening to tales of those that have made it to the “other side”, & then slowly but surely you attempt to climb over. But remember, they told you that you cannot climb over.. but still you climb desperate to prove the wrong. Until you realise that you have been climbing a long time with no top of the wall in sight.

So, back to the drawing board & down you climb( or fall!). Next, you have a great idea, you will go the simple route & just walk around… & so you start walking… & walking… & walking… & then realise that you are still no closer to “the other side”.

By this time, you are starting to feel a little puzzled, after all, you created this wall but cannot remember what you did to construct it. So, you think, you’ve tried climbing, you’ve tried to walk around so then the only solution is to buy in expensive machinery & dig under. In comes the big machinery.. ha! This time its for real & you are already flicking through the brochures of the Ferrari brochure as the machinery roars into life. Until of course you discover that the foundations for this wall YOU constructed is as wide & tall as the wall that sits on it.

Now this truly is puzzling!

But you are a clever person & so go about reconstructing the blueprints to how you think you created it only to discover weeks later you thought you were wrong & go about putting together another set… & another… & another.. constantly measuring, sizing up, scratching your head & analysing. Until of course you do one of two things.

  • You walk away resigning yourself to the fact that this wall will never be penetrated
  • You realise that there is only one way through this wall & it is going to be painful… very painful

So, do you walk away or are you prepared for pain? Are you prepared for what lies ahead?… either spending hours upon hours, scratching away at the mortar until you can pull a brick out or perhaps you want “the other side” so much you are prepared to headbutt your way through this wall. Whatever, but this wall is not going to beat you!

And perhaps, here lies the biggest secret in home trading? The very fact that most of us will, at some stage have to endure pain of some description to succeed & reach “the other side”. Now of course, I’m not referring to physical pain although sometimes that will happen, I am of course referring to emotional pain, when trading has you against the ropes, that “Rocky” moment when all seems lost, when “the other side” has won, defeated you… but something is stirring inside, something quite extraordinary, almost magical. You see, I believe, it is in these key moments that your true success is born, something breaks, gives way, snaps even, inside your psychological profile which makes you so strong you are ready to run at full sprint to headbutt that wall.. & again…& again.. until you are through.

Ok, in case you are wondering I have not gone insane this week asking you to find the nearest brick wall & start running at it, instead lets re construct this in a familiar fashion.

We know by now that only 20%approx “make it” in trading. The good news is that I believe you are in that club so now I want to dissect a little further. You see within this 20% there will be a very small group of people who do not have to endure the pain to reach “the other side” as they can cleverly reconstruct the blueprints & analyse what the successful have done previously – this group of people is very tiny by the way. At the other end of the spectrum is a group of people who will spend lots of time tip toeing forward, inch by inch, slowly but surely. Same result but just a little slower & nothing at all wrong with that. And then there is the middle, lets say 18% who are the runners & head butters. Most, if not all full time traders I have spoken to have felt this at some point, I’ve been there & believe me, even as big as I am, I was a complete blubber baby!

But like I say, it is these key moments that define us, that shape our destiny,, the point of no return.

By now, you are thinking, “Thank’s Damon, thank you for that message of doom & gloom!” & yes it is, however, forewarned is forearmed as they say, so now you can expect the pain & of course realise when it is happening. Print this off & stick it somewhere you can find it when you most need it.

So how come nobody tells you about this pain in trading?.. well, you are clever people & i’ll let you work that one out but for now we still have the issue of your wall, remember? The wall YOU created.

The great news is that I care.. I don’t want you to head butt that wall but instead look at Piptastic as your hammer & chisel. You still have to do the dirty work in chiselling away the mortar & yes, you will get bruised hands, broken nails & blisters but slowly but surely you will chisel away at that mortar until you can prise one brick free.The hammer & chisel just make the dirty work a little easier

So, my message this week is simple. The wall is there in front of you, you have the hammer & chisel available but are you willing to accept there will be some degree of emotional pain & pick up the hammer & chisel to start or are you willing to carry on looking for a way over, around or under YOUR wall.

Either way, if you are serious about designing a life for yourself from trading, then accept that YOUR wall is for real. It may close or may be afar but it is there. Just be ready with your hammer & chisel because there is only one way through it!

Until next week, have a brilliant weekend & I’ll see you at the top!

Damon

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