The High Performance Trading Blog

How This Trader Kept Stuck Feeling Like A Failure

Mar 02, 2024

A Trader contacted me recently saying: "I am feeling so frustrated! Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again? I really doubt that I have what it takes to become a consistently profitable trader.. "   

So we went through some of his trades that are an example of his most common mistakes.

He said things like:

"I should have gotten out earlier of this losing trade!" 

"Here I finally had a winning trade but I didn’t let it run, I cut it far too early and missed out on a whole lot of profits because I got spooked by 1 red candle.. this trade would have recovered all of this week's losses!"

"And finally this trade here was an A+ setup, why didn’t I put on a bigger position? I could have made all my losses back!! 

I said to him: "This way of thinking is a very effective way to keep yourself small and feeling like a failure because you will never know when you have reached your optimum performance."

Let me explain: 

If you say “I should have cut the profits earlier”, what does it even mean? What is earlier? See there is always a time earlier than earlier and you will never know when early was early enough. 

The same with “I should have let my profits run further”.. what is further? If we look at the big picture markets go only up.. is that what you mean? Let it run for the next 20 years? 

I should have traded bigger.. what is bigger? When is big big enough? 

Got the conundrum that is keeping you stuck?

Using The Power Of Your Words To Boost Your Trading Performance

The words you are using are ambiguous and general, which makes it hard to measure if you improve or not. There are no benchmarks that can be reached so you know that you have progressed.

We adjusted his observations about his trading mistakes like this to make it really specific and set as little milestones for him to achieve:

“Next time I will exit my losing trade at this technical exit (price action on chart for example) or I will strictly take a half a percent stop loss, or a combination of it, or if it hasn’t moved for 2 days I exit and look for a new opportunity."

"For this trade the optimal position sizing would have been 5 contracts instead of 8, and here with the A+ setup the 8 contracts are the perfect size because I can keep my risk management small."

 Do you feel the difference? 

From now on, do more of that! What is 'that' I hear you ask?  - exactly! 

Be precise with your language, this way you make your goals measurable and you know when you miss or hit the benchmarks and you will also be able to assess what parts of your methodology work well and what needs to be adjusted. 


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