"It's a fundamental shift in attitude that accounts for their success, not some brilliant realization about the market, as most people erroneously assume. This erroneous assumption is prevalent among traders simply because very few of them really understand, at the deepest levels, just how critical a component attitude is in determining one's success." – Mark Douglas, Trading in the Zone

Weekend Review

August has come and gone in the blink of an eye, but I feel like I made quite a bit of progress.

I did a coin flip exercise in the first half of this month which revealed to me something different than I expected. Rather than showing me how a coin flip decision can make money in the market, it revealed to me some of the attitudes and expectations I've held about trading. Attitudes and expectations that have hindered my development.

I didn't really know what to do with this new information at first, but on Friday the 16th*, I had some powerful clarity come to me. It came in the forms of clarity about how I had been approaching the act of taking a trade and clarity about how I might trade in a style that is both comfortable for me and something that I might be able to consistently apply. On the following Monday I started the simulated Topstep Trader Combine that I just finished yesterday.

My trading during these past two weeks has been wildly different than the “normal” trading I’ve been doing this year.

  • It’s different because I’m doing something now that I believe I can replicate fairly consistently (rather than doing something that I really have no confidence in, and so either pass on planned trades or take trades outside of the plan).
  • It’s different because I’m not expecting it to catch every move (as opposed to continually changing strategies, indicators, etc., in order to avoid missing out on any moves).
  • It’s different because I expect to have losing trades (rather than doing everything possible to try to avoid them).
  • It’s different because I have data that is showing me that losing trades are not going to kill my account (rather than having no clue whether I can overcome losses from losing trades).
  • It’s different because I know and accept that there is going to be a lot of discretion involved in my approach (rather than trying to make it 100% mechanical – which I’ve discovered just doesn’t seem to work out for me).

As I discussed mid-month*, some of my clarity came in the form of questions that I began to ask before I put on each trade. These questions had the effect of not only helping me to stay out of poor trades, but helping me to relax and have more confidence in the trades that I did decide to take.

Simulated Combine Stats

I finished my simulated combine this week and I’m actually pretty pleased with the results. I “passed” all of the Scouting Criteria requirements except one: I came up short on the profit target.

However, I was only using 1 contract per trade. The combine allows for up to 3 contracts per trade, and if I had used 2 contracts, I would have easily met the profit target while staying well within the Daily Loss Limit and Drawdown Limit parameters. Taking that into consideration, I see this combine as a success. (Also note that I calculate my drawdown from any profit peak, not just from zero or during the TST cushion build-up period.)

This weekend I'll be making plans for my trading in September. I'll talk more about that next week.

Cultivating A New Attitude

The middle of this month marked an important turning point for me. I talked about how things just seemed to “come together*,” and this, I believe, is the far more important aspect of what’s going on with me lately.

This “more important aspect” has everything to do with the attitude about trading, and about life, that I’ve been working to develop over the past 10 months or so.

I created this site, and I work to maintain it, for two main reasons: 1) To attempt to help myself by recording what I’m doing, and 2) to attempt to help others by recording what I’m doing.

So the one thing that I want to reiterate in this post to try to help myself remember; the one thing I want to reemphasize to try to help other traders move toward their own success, is that I have found no more important trading-related work than that of modifying my attitude. Modifying my attitude about trading and about life.

“Attitude” is nothing more than the way we consistently view, or more specifically, the way we consistently think about, any subject.

I’m finding that when I begin to consistently change the way I think about a particular thing – especially something that seems to be “wrong” in my life – that thing seems to gradually, miraculously, change.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” - Wayne W. Dyer
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” - Norman Vincent Peale
To be more specific, the attitude that I’ve been cultivating lately is one of gratitude.

I’ve always considered myself grateful, but I discovered that I didn’t really know what being grateful is. I do now. And the more I practice it – the better I get at it – the more I’m seeing things change for the better in my life.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” - Willie Nelson
Tomorrow starts a new month and because it's easy to know what day I'm on when I begin on the first of the month, I'll be starting The Magic over again tomorrow too.

I think that there is no more important work that I can do toward my development as a trader than this - it's always just a matter of whether I'm going to do it or not.
“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” - Johannes Gaertner
“I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because what you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” - Oprah Winfrey
* I’m referring to the post I made on August 16th.

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