There’s a very common issue I notice among traders. It’s worst in those who are newer or have not discovered a working process to reach a level of consistency/profitability yet. But it can bite even experienced traders at times. The issue is the preference for trading, vs. making money.
Now I totally understand if that seems confusing at first blush. Isn’t the whole point of trading, to make money? Aren’t they the same thing? Why is anyone trading, except to make money?
And that right there is the crux of what I’m getting at. People go into trading for a great many reasons and while it would seem like making money would be above all the primary one, in my experience and observations… it isn’t always.
Years ago I had a student I was teaching as part of a group of I think 6 or 7 people. He definitely had money, but knew absolutely nothing of trading. Listened to all the usual media outlets for “stock tips” and the like, and would go on at length any chance he could when he had a winner, but on balance he just kept losing money.
As part of the class, I naturally introduced the group to simulated trading and explained all the reasons it was the best place to start. And yet each several-hour day of class (it spanned several days), he would come in and mention that he had lost money again the previous day. Real, actual money. So I asked him… “Why aren’t you using the sim?”
It’s no fun if there’s no money on the line.
And there it was. His reason for trading. He wasn’t actually interested in making money! He just wanted to have fun! The markets were (probably still are) just a big casino to him, and he was a big gambler. He was trading purely for the thrill, the excitement, the adrenaline rush. And so even if he lost… he won because he got what he came for.
Of course, he was totally unaware of any of this. But I don’t think I was ever able to get through to him on why this was such a problem. He had “too much” money and so was never really going to feel any pain from the losses, or certainly not enough pain to overcome the fun of playing in the markets.
Does this apply to you at all? Do you understand the real underlying reasons why you’re drawn to trading?
And I don’t want to suggest that it even should be all about the money, because it shouldn’t. Money in trading is a side effect. It’s an output. A result. The input – the thing that makes the money happen – is your process. A good process will by definition produce monetary gains. A poor process (or frankly, a good process executed poorly) will produce losses. And a process is not “when indicator A is green and indicator B is red and these two lines cross, I get long…” or anything similar. That’s (maybe) a trade setup, but it’s absolutely not a process.
Personally, I’ve always been highly “process oriented”. As far back as I can remember I’ve always considered more optimal ways to do everything, from tying my shoes, to brushing my teeth, to loading the dishwasher, to walking and breathing. I never thought about it, I just always noticed inefficiencies in my life and any time I could improve on and optimize them, I did so. I have a process for basically every single thing I ever do, down to the smallest thing.
This is why TRG resonated so strongly with me when I stumbled onto it just over 2 years ago. We are so heavily focused on process, because we understand that it’s the dominant thing that will determine success or failure as a trader. Without a process to our trading, we’re all doomed.
I got messaged by someone this morning in fact who saw me posting in a Facebook trading group about some recent results I shared. He wanted to know if I would “share my strategy with him” and “show him a chart with my entries and exits” because he kept losing money. According to him, he had tried “robots, EAs, experts , systems, indicators , strategys, copiers, signals, brokers , forex, binary, futures, crypto, index” and was still losing money. I noticed however, that he did not include order flow in his list. So I tried to steer him towards a better path, and suggested joining TRG and dedicating himself to the study of order flow, and learning to actually read the markets. But I advised him up front that he’d need to expect at least a 1 year commitment to study and practice, probably longer, to developing the skill of a trader. His response?
ok so its not for me so .. if need learn 1 year or more
So in other words, “I just want quick money without having to do anything difficult.”
But then things got interesting. He went on to explain that he had already passed evaluations twice before with his existing “skills”. But he never got to the point of withdrawal because he would get emotional, angry and do crazy things and blow up the funded account.
This person quite clearly has no process whatsoever. Passing the evaluation stage is frankly something that a little luck can take care of. But getting to withdrawal, requires consistency. It requires a process. And even with the help of TRG’s excellent information on how to get funded and stay funded, nobody is going to get to the point of withdrawing cold hard cash, without a process. And that process can’t be focused on making money. It has to be focused on executing well. Managing risk. Getting good entries, good reads. Knowing when to “Sit On Hands” because conditions are simply not favorable to your process.
So do you have a process? Have you maybe tried and failed to come up with one that worked for you? Would you like help in creating your own process? If so, we’re here for you at TRG and would be glad to welcome you as our newest member. Worst case, check out our free courses and see what you might discover!
Until next time, good trading!
Jonathan van Clute
Community Manager, Trading Research Group