Archive | October, 2015

How Running Has Helped Me Become a Better Trader

Ever been stuck in the slumps? Yeah, me too.

tired-runner

For the past couple of months I’ve felt like the man in this picture. When I ran, I was just going through the motions-just trying to finish my work out. Sure, there were some good days here and there, but I knew that I wasn’t reaching my potential as a runner. I also wasn’t feeling the happiness and energy I usually felt after a good run. I approached my coach, and he gave me some steps to help me out of this rut I’d gotten myself into. However, I realized that these steps wouldn’t just help me in my running; they could help me with my profession, my social life, and (of course) my trading.

  1. Set my sights higher than just the next race

I know you’ve all probably heard more than your fair share of motivational speeches centered on goal setting, but honestly there is something about a goal that just helps you focus on improvement. When I stopped and focused on what I was going to accomplish the racing season, I saw each race as a step to reaching my personal record. When trading, you have to look further down the road than your next trade.   What do you want to accomplish today?  This week?  This month? You have to set your sights higher than a single trade and discover what you can do to accomplish your personal best.

  1. Stop running so much

What? To improve running you need to stop running? To a degree, yes. Running daily is very important, but I always reserve one day of the week to resting and recovery. Without this break, I would end up running less during the week because my legs would become overworked. Sometimes, you need a little break from trading. Don’t spend all day with your eyes glued to the candles on your screen-go for a run or something 😉

  1. Track your mileage

I always track my mileage – along with how much sleep I get, and the food I eat. This not only helps me feel good throughout the season, but I can look back and see when I was struggling or doing good. By tracking my progress this way I can see what made me sick or tired and what made me feel good and energized. Track your trades. Notice what setups work for you, and what triggers an unwanted emotional response. Besides, whether your profitable or not, it always feels good to look back and see the progress you’re making.

  1. Mix it up

Contrary to what some may imagine of a typical cross country runner, I actually lift a lot weights. My core and upper body strength is just as important as having strong legs when I run. Sometimes, at the end of a race, if your legs feel like they don’t have the energy you can pump your arms, and ,crazily enough, your legs will follow! When you’re trading you need to be prepared for different market events. Learn to trade in long summer doldrums, as well as high votility markets.

  1. Change your attitude

One of my pet peeves is when I go to a race, and hear runners complain that they have to run. Don’t you run because you like it? If you don’t like it, then why are you here running?! I like feeling strong, the runner’s high, and swelling accomplishment that fills you up and makes you feel like floating. What do you like about trading? If you can’t answer this question, then you need to find out why you’re trading. Identifying why you’re trading will help get you through the slumps.

I hope if you’re feeling a little bit stuck in a rut in your trading, that you can try these out. Make trading enjoyable again, and go make some pips.

Happy Trading!

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Demo Accounts Hold You Responsible

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Thomas Edison

Hello Traders,

Take a look at this equity curve from one of Apiary’s demo accounts:

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 9.52.03 AM

What do you see?

I see someone with a mental block. However, I also see that they kept trying. Go back and take a look at that quote I’m sure most of you just skimmed over. Perspiration (i.e. hard work) is the key to becoming “genius.” This definitely applies to trading. Apiary Fund’s demo accounts offer a chance to become a genius at trading.  It gives you real life trading scenarios and demands without any of the pressure of trading real money. This teaches you to think and develop strategy instead of relying on luck. Luck will run out eventually, and it will be necessary to develop a strategy.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this is one of my demo accounts. Personally, I like to use a consolidation breakout strategy, and when I use it right it produces a nice equity curve. Using this, or any strategy, requires discipline and hard work. A friend gave me 7 steps to consider before placing any trade.

  1. Proper preparation
  2. Hard Work
  3. Patience
  4. A detailed plan before every trade
  5. Discipline
  6. Communication
  7. Replaying important trades

While each of these steps may mean something different to each of you, everyone could benefit by considering them before entering a trade.  With each of my big losing trades, I missed applying at least one of these seven steps.  My rebounding wins happened because I chose to follow these steps. I’ve learned that I can’t control what happens with a trade after I’ve placed it, but I can control what I do before placing it. My 6 biggest losing trades in this account are responsible for over half of the total equity lost. That’s out of 50 losing trades! Whether I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the right setup, or I didn’t have an exit plan, some step was overlooked. That is something I CAN fix. There is nothing wrong with losing a trade, that’s just part of the game. What’s important is that I follow my trade plan and stick to it-no matter the temptation to jump into a trade without proper preparation. I can handle the other 44 losses. They wouldn’t amount to much because I followed an exit strategy in each of them.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes, and hopefully you can all apply it to your trading:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” -Rocky Balboa

Happy Trading!

Jacob Johnson

Trader Support

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