”Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”
Calvin Coolidge , US president (1923-29)
I often hear traders talk about how, when they started out they found the winning trades coming easy, and they wish they could get back to that original mindset, and rid of all the psychological baggage they have developed since. How many traders out there started out with this beginners luck that are still trading. I would suggest there are far more than those who started out with bad luck, who were demoralized from the start and headed straight for the door to try something else. Luck has a way of guiding our path though life, how we start out, how we develop, and the opportunities and misfortunes that are presented to us along the way. Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’ highlights this and so does his ‘David and Goliath’ (Were you lucky enough to be the big fish in a small pond?)
Books have been written about talent being over-rated, about nature versus nurture, and as mentioned above about luck. As John Wayne said, ‘Life is hard, it’s harder if you’re stupid.’ Gladwell also wrote about the advantages of having disadvantages. Having something great to overcome can make you greater, for the few who possibly in a way due to luck have the determination to overcome their disadvantageousness. Maybe for some being stupid is fortunate!
When we hear successful people telling us about how they got to where they are, how many of these were just the lucky ones? How many who took the exact same path failed? Taleb’s ‘Fooled by Randomness,’ highlights this in the trading arena. Depending on the environment, traders can be successful, then crash and burn when things change that they don’t understand. Top people in industry can also get where they are with luck, then sit on their laurels and look like they’re doing a wonderful job for quite a while, until the business environment changes, when they are found wanting.
So how many failed genius’s are out there compared to the slow and persistent success stories? Who knows the answer to that one. Put genius together with determination, you get something out of the ordinary, but put determination and persistence to almost any level and it appears to hold sway. Have a quick look at this 2 minute video and see what I mean.
Out of the 500 or so traders podcasts Rob Booker made before he moved to his radio show, the episode number 166 titled, ‘Climbing Through Discouragement to Achieve Greatness.’ is one of my all time favourites. With Rob, Jason Pyles, Scott Welsh and arm wrestling champion Kevin Buetts all adding to the mix, this is a must for anyone determined to see things through. http://traderspodcast.com/episode166/
When I first started trading I took out a demo account with Oanda and was trying to learn a correlation scalping system, taught to me by Welshman Sid Wyeman of forextrainingworks.com. I must have had about the worst run possible, with only 1 winning week in 30 weeks trading, and that was for one trade taken that week for +4 pips. In the whole of the 30 week period I only had about 4 winning trades with the +4 being the largest winner by far. The results here I show you are the sync with forex factory that I took a screenshot of at the time.
The course motto was GOWID. Get out when in doubt and I always seemed to be in doubt. In fact I was always entering at the exact spot the correlated move started reversing and at the worst possible moment. I felt like the worst possible trader at that moment in time and stopped to get help from Paul McKenna books and cd’s, Napoleon Hill, and some very good interactive bio feedback software I purchased to reduce my stress levels called relaxing rhythms with Dr Deepak Chopra from http://www.wilddivine.com .
So after all this misfortune, bad luck, lack of talent, etc, why didn’t I just head for the door and take up gardening or some other less stressful pursuit?
The answer is persistence my friends and the thought that if others could do it so could I. So you could say a bit of competitiveness too. My childhood with a father who studied the horse racing form book , which lead me to do the same and read everything I could about gambling and professional horse race punters was my background. I even wrote a little blog post some while about a childhood summer holiday attacking the amusement arcade penny push machines, if you haven’t you might like too, it got some of my best comments and my only ever post ‘like’ click. https://fxoutlier.com/2015/05/10/a-lesson-from-my-childhood-holidays/
Here’s the very machine I played with success as a child.
Now sometimes we need a lucky break. We need a bit of a run of the ball to get the spirits up, and the juices flowing. We make do with being inspired by others whilst we wait for that bit of luck that can set us off. Then we need to blot out all the losing that came before and concentrate on preserving that which good fortune has given us.
The Trading Experiment
In the spirit of successful trader and fellow blogger Shonn Campbell https://tradinglifeownit.com/author/shonncampbell/ ,who has run two experiments I launched my own 14 weeks ago, after I had a tiny run of luck with my own trading. Since then I’ve been preserving this account and am determined not to let frustration boil over, to reckless trading. I am in the early stages of learning technical analysis with Steve Winiarski at http://fxsanalytics.com/ . I’ve had some ups and downs, once when I was riding home a winner, my office-style swivel-chair collapsed under me and I aggravated an old leg injury. The back and base is now stuck with superglue onto a dinning table chair for comfort during trading.
And after starting to make some headway after flat-lining for a while, I gave a little of it back when a bout of ill health struck this week. On Tuesday I started getting symptoms that effected my concentration. On Wednesday an ambulance took me to the City hospital after I developed paralysis of the left side of the face. A condition called Bell’s Palsy that hopefully will recover in a few weeks rather that far worse suspected stroke with similar symptoms. Lucky for me I suppose. Being off work, I decided to carry on trading like the wrestler in the podcast 166, nothing will get in my way. After all I am learning and only risking 0.3% per trade and in the end not too much damage done. Here are my results for the 14 weeks.
And finally a quote from Mr Rob Booker
He’s not actually commenting on my trading or this blog, but it’s nice to think he did.
Each trade in the last 14 weeks has been recorded on my 11th April+ journal on the menu bar, with before and after screenshots and all notes written up on them with microsoft paint. I’ve got a very rough plan on my plan page which I will continue to review. I’ve kept up with my daily range analysis on the ranges page and am going to introduce a new longer term analysis page to see if any of my ideas work out. It’s all here to see, warts an all, and I don’t give a shit what others think, as very few want to read the blog of a losing / aspiring trader anyhow.
See ya. I’m outta here.