What did I do wrong? This is probably the single question I hear the most. It is also the question I don't hear nearly enough.
The past few days were particularly hard days for me. It was not because of my trading, but because I watched many peeps who have been doing well have some seriously bad days trading. As I pour over the charts of those smart enough to send them to me, I am trying to find the common thread that derailed so many traders over the same days. They were not particularly "hard" days to trade. Every trading day is a challenge, so what happened?
The first thing I notice is traders expecting there to be a trade everywhere. This is far from reality. There may not be a decent setup for a few hours or even most of a day. Let it go. You will not be in a trade every moment, and yes, you will miss some good ones when they do come. It happens to all of us. A person never goes fishing with the intent of catching every fish in the lake/ocean. Not. Going. To. Happen. Trading is no different. Each and every trade deserves a good setup. If there is not one there, don't force one. I promise, the market is just waiting to correct your "creative" entries. It seldom misses them, and the correction hurts. If you missed that great trade that "everyone else caught," don't force trades to try to make up for what you missed. You will find yourself blowing an account quickly. Market conditions will change from morning to afternoon, or even hour to hour; don't expect a good morning of profitable setups to yield a great afternoon of the same type of trades. It most likely is not going to happen. If the market is flat, WAIT, it will change. Walk away, sit on your hands, do what it takes to not force trades and wait for conditions to change. Trade to profit. Don't trade just to trade.
A few tips:
If trading directional trades with any system, learn to recognize chop and wait until the market moves past it before taking a trade. I see a lot of traders taking a buy trade, for example, going into the top of a chop zone only to get stopped out because it bounced right back down. If there was just a great trend and you missed it, be ready for chop. Until you are experienced with lots of hours in demo successfully trading chop, don't try it live. Traders tell me that I make it look so easy when I take chop bounces. What they don't see is the many hundreds of hours (literally) I have spent in replay practicing and learning it.
Stay focused. Don't jump from system to system. First and foremost, stick with what you know. Continue to do the same things you were doing when you were most profitable. Forget all else. Don't let anything distract you. Trade your normal time with your normal setups, then practice how to integrate new tools and setups in replay later. When you have figured out how to make them an asset to your trading, then use them. Until then, don't give in to what looks like "everyone else is doing" and lose your own focus. When confused, ask for help.
Ask for help. (Wait, where have I heard that before?) I hear the excuses, "I am embarrassed to show my bad trades." "I know what I did wrong." Really? Why did you take them in the first place? You learn by going over mistakes. PERIOD. Every experienced trader has probably made every mistake in the book. Nothing you are going to show us is going to be a surprise. Been there, done that. I can relate with every stupid mistake out there, I personally have made them ALL. I have asked Darrell and other experienced Apex traders so many questions that Darrell says I hold the record for questions asked. I am actually quite proud of that fact. He has done several radio shows and webinars based solely on my questions. Thank you for that Darrell!
If you have a choice between looking good or trading well, which do you choose? For a period of time in every trader's journey, you can't have both. There are plenty of Apex traders willing to answer your questions. Go to someone your comfortable with and ask questions, go over charts with them. You feel like you look stupid, but in reality, the up-and-coming traders who share their charts and ask questions look very smart! How else are you going to learn where your misconceptions are. A very wise trader once told me, you don't know what you don't know until someone who does tells you. Thank you for telling me Darrell Martin!