If you feel like the road to becoming a successful trader has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs you’re not alone. I have learned first hand (just like most successful traders) what it’s like to lose money to the markets, break rules, and take a profit too early, among many other trading mistakes.
The more I read and talk with other traders and investors (both in the stock market and real estate markets) I’ve found that all these skills are fundamental in becoming successful in most any profession.
This list of 38 steps to becoming a successful trader is pulled from The Way to Trade by John Piper, also published in Commodity Futures Trading Club News. I’ve found the steps easy to relate to along my trading journey and kept me from stopping 3 feet from gold.
Where are you on the list?
1. We accumulate trading information – buying books, going to seminars and researching.
2. We begin to trade with our ‘new’ knowledge.
3. We consistently ‘donate’ and then realize we may need more knowledge or information.
4. We accumulate more information.
5. We switch the commodities we are currently following.
6. We go back into the market and trade with our ‘updated’ knowledge.
7. We get ‘beat up’ again and begin to lose some of our confidence. Fear starts setting in.
8. We start to listen to ‘outside news’ & other traders.
9. We go back into the market and continue to donate.
10. We switch commodities again.
11. We search for more trading information.
12. We go back into the market and continue to donate.
13. We get ‘overconfident’ & market humbles us.
14. We start to understand that trading success fully is going to take more time and more knowledge then we anticipated.
Many Traders Will Give up at this Point as they Realize Work is Involved
15. We get serious and start concentrating on learning a ‘real’ methodology.
16. We trade our methodology with some success, but realize that something is missing.
17. We begin to understand the need for having rules to apply our methodology.
18. We take a sabbatical from trading to develop and research our trading rules.
19. We start trading again, this time with rules and find some success, but overall we still hesitate when it comes time to execute. We start trading again, this time with rules and find some success, but overall we still hesitate when it comes time to execute.
20. We add, subtract and modify rules as we see a need to be more proficient with our rules.
21. We go back into the market and continue to donate. We go back into the market and continue to donate.
22. We start to take responsibility for our trading results as we understand that our success is in us, not the trade methodology.
23. We continue to trade and become more proficient with our methodology and our rules.
24. As we trade we still have a tendency to violate our rules and our results are erratic.
25. We know we are close.
26. We go back and research our rules.
27. We build the confidence in our rules and go back into the market and trade.
28. Our trading results are getting better, but we are still hesitating in executing our rules.
29. We now see the importance of following our rules as we see the results of our trades when we don’t follow them.
30. We begin to see that our lack of success is within us (a lack of discipline in following the rules because of some kind of fear) and we begin to work on knowing ourselves better.
31. We continue to trade and the market teaches us more and more about ourselves.
32. We master our methodology and trading rules.
33. We begin to consistently make money. We begin to consistently make money.
34. We get a little overconfident and the market humbles us.
35. We continue to learn our lessons.
36. We stop thinking and allow our rules to trade for us (trading becomes boring, but successful) and our trading account continues to grow as we increase our contract size.
37. We are making more money then we ever dreamed to be possible.
38. We go on with our lives and accomplish many of the goals we had always dreamed of.
My trading, I feel is currently at number 36. I continue to learn my lessons from the market, but allow my system to direct my trading. There is no way to eliminate losing trades, but from a statistical standpoint letting the system work has proved to be consistently profitable. There is always room for improvement and I am always learning new things about the market and myself. Trader Jesse Livermore said it best,”A man may beat a stock or a group at a certain time, but no man living can beat the stock market.” Remain forever humble to the markets.