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New trader advice with a story


Hello all. I've been here forever but never posted, but like many of the excellent members here I was once trying to "become" a trader myself. Having come thru the learning curve alive I feel I can share something of value. Apologies if any (or all) of these ramblings are redundant, but here goes...

I believe new traders need to embrace the right mentality FIRST, not learn about every indicator, chart pattern, trading system, etc... They think the more they know the closer they get to finding the Holy Grail. Yes, they need the basics, but my point is that it's not about the system, it's about having the right mindset. This is a true story that happened to me when I was 11 or 12 years old that I think sums it up nicely:

At the bowling alley near my house they had a video game called Karate Champ. It was one of the first fighter-style arcade games where you could fight the computer or another player. Anyway, I poured my allowance into that machine for an entire summer - I was pretty damn good. I learned every move - punches, jumping kicks, roundhouse kicks, front flips over your opponent, you name it. I thought I was a bad-ass.

Anyway, one day along comes this older kid - he was maybe 14 or 15 I guess, and we decide to play a match. I started off trying all the fanciest moves, and all he did was calmly block every one of them. Everything I tried he blocked, and every time he blocked one of my fancy attacks he calmly kicked me in the stomach. Now that's the first move you learn, the front kick. There were dozens of other moves, but the front kick was the simplest one. And that's all this kid did. EVERY. TIME. I couldn't beat him. EVER. He simply didn't care about any other move besides the simple, effective front kick. And he was unbeatable, with only that one move.

Trading is the same thing. The point isn't to learn all the fancy moves, the point is to win. If you take one kind of setup, regardless of what it is (as long as it has a statistical edge), and MASTER it, you will win.

You don't vary from your move, you don't care what happens without one of your setups being present. Whatever you define as a setup, that's all you look for - any market action besides this should be invisible to you. Learn to NOT care if the market moves without you. Don't go looking for new indicators to explain every move in the market. Keep it simple. Just play defense like my Karate Champ nemesis - wait for your spot and, when your setup happens, kick it in the stomach.

The fact is, you will NEVER find an indicator or combination of indicators or a system that works EVERY time. All you can control is how often you take a setup when you see it, that's it. As long as your setup has an edge (hell, even if it doesn't), with good money-management you'll win as long as you NEVER deviate and NEVER miss a setup. Put the odds in your favor and go about adding to your sample size - the more setups you take with an edge, the more you'll win.

You can add "moves" down the road, once you've mastered the front kick. By then you'll have won so much it will all become easy.

That's my $0.02, hopefully my ramblings help the light-bulb go on for at least one person trying to figure this crazy game out.
CONGRATULATIONS, you have written the best post for new traders and a refresher for experienced ones.
Yes, lots of truth and wisdom in what you say; I have lost lots of $ over the years by always looking for the runner; now slowly turning the corner by being patient and being content and sticking to some simple setups.....
Good post.. I also knew a guy in basketball that only had 1 move and would score repeatedly.. Everybody knew his move but he kept scoring regardless so play to your strengths..
Thanks for the insightful read... interesting indeed.