Nov 05

4 Things I am Doing Right Now To Become A Kick-Ass Trader

You may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet around here, so let me reassure you that I’ve not, in fact, ditched my life and run off to join the Kalahari bushmen.  Although a simple life that involves a great deal of sitting about in the desert does at times seem rather appealing, it’s not that much different from my normal life, minus a laptop and clothes.

What I have been doing is sorting myself out.  You see, I’m not sure if I told you before, but I’m going to be a kick-ass trader.  Not just a normal old everyday trader making a few bucks here and there, but an absolute rock star trader.

But right now I’m not.  I’m probably just at the point where I feel like I might contemplate auditioning for the X-Factor – ie, not a total embarrassment, but no Beyonce, either.

The thing is, there is only so far you can go on your own before you just don’t know how to get to the next level. And without some kind of new input, you find yourself faffing about and going around in circles.

That’s pretty much where I am now.  Or was, last week.  So how the heck did I get some momentum to propel me from this point to the next?

I had a trader contact me out of the blue, and kick me in the butt.  Which wasn’t half as bad as it sounds, but sadly not many people have a butt-kicking trader fairy godmother who appears out of the blue right when you need them.

So, assuming you are butt-kickerless, what can you do?

Here are 4 things I’m doing right now to turbo-boost me into the next realm, which for me is full-time trading.

1. Planning

I thought I’d done enough planning – after all, I knew I was planning to be a full-time trader, so I had planned very carefully to turn my laptop on, sit down and trade full-time.

Then I had the fortune to be asked by my trading fairy – although he’d probably rather be known as something decidedly more manly – “So, how much do you want to earn through trading?”


I don’t know, really.

“What ever I manage to earn” had been my thought – I didn’t want to put a sum on it, in case that was all I managed to make.  I didn’t want to limit myself, but in doing so I had basically determined that I wanted to earn nothing.  Whoops.

So now I’m planning.  I’m planning how much I aim to earn, how much I need to give to the tax man, how much I am going to give to the kids living on rubbish dumps, and how much risk I am going to take to achieve that.

The thing is, if you don’t know what your end result will be, creating a plan to achieve it is impossible.

2. Make a Road Map

If I want to earn “x” amount a week, I need to know exactly what I’m going to do to earn that money.  I need a map to take me to my end destination, so I don’t get distracted and accidentally end up in Salt-Mine World.

For example, right now I have a very simple trading method, which I can trade right now.  However, I may want to add to it with a different type of signal to open up a few more opportunities which will of course require a getting to know you period with my new addition.  Because as I found out the hard way, it pays to know it intimately before I invite it into my life. Easy enough to say, but exactly how am I going to do that? That’s the path to my first destination.

And once that’s done, what then?  Am I going to trade with full risk right off the bat, or start off with just one contract and a teensy risk level to get some runs on the board?  At what point will I increase my risk level, and add in extra contracts?   Will I look for additional systems, or just focus on one thing for a period of time?

All this stuff is getting written down on a great big bit of paper, and it’s going up on the wall so I can look at it anytime I feel a little lost.  And everyone who comes to my house can look at it too, seeing as my office is in my lounge room.  At least  it will be a conversation starter.

3. Do something to move along the path every single weekday.

I don’t know about you, but some days I get to the end of the day and even though I was busy all day, I can’t think of a single thing I actually achieved.  Usually, it’s been a whole day of doing pointless stuff like shopping for groceries with a dodgy internet connection, or paying bills; writing emails and getting bogged on Twitter because I’m pining for conversation.

It’s kind of sad when you get to the end of the day only to realise you’ve done absolutely nothing to get yourself any closer at all to the things you really, truly want to achieve.

So, as of right now I have a list of my ongoing projects, as well as my road map stuck next to my head so that whenever I find myself spending more than 3 seconds on Facebook I can nip that rubbish in the bud and do something that will actually have a meaningful result in my life.

Not only that, but I get my secretary* to book out chunks of time that I devote totally and absolutely to the most important stuff which for me right now looks a lot like testing.

*My secretary is imaginary, and slightly incompetent.

4. Practice Discipline

This is connected with number 3, but deserves its own number because it’s probably the most important thing I’m doing.

More than anything, success requires discipline.  And I’m not just talking about trading success, it goes for success in everything.

The thing is, I’m a procrastinator.  I’m desperately social.  I love emails, and answer every one I get – especially when there is something else I should be doing like testing a method, or filing paperwork. 

It’s possible for me to waste hours exploring the internet, reading blogs, and doing things that don’t feel like a waste of time but actually are.

So I am making small changes that require me to excersise some level of discipline.

Little things like shutting down all my email, twitter and other distractions while I work seems like a pretty small and easy thing to do, but for me it’s like quitting drugs.  I’ve usually got at least 6 tabs open in my browser, along with spreadsheets, word docs, and charting software and to find myself without something to flick to every 20 seconds has me kind of freaking out.

If I can manage to wean myself from my tab-addiction and spend 1 solid hour of working tab-free, I will have achieved something.  And from there it will become 1 and a half hours, then 2 hours…you get the idea.

I know I can do discipline.  I get up to run every morning.  I eat good food.  I’ve cut back my alcohol intake.  I can do that stuff so now it’s time to apply what I know about living well and start applying it to working well and trading well.

These small acts of discipline are going to manifest themselves in my trading.  If I can work for an hour without clicking to a new tab, I can sit and watch the $EURUSD skyrocket and not chase it.

If I can run for an extra two minutes without slowing down, I can hold my winning trade for the extra 3 pips it’ll take to hit its target.

It’s all part of the training required  for what is undoubtably a performance sport – something I’m realising more and more every day.


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  • ValYouW

    “It’s possible for me to waste hours exploring the internet, reading blogs, and doing things that don’t feel like a waste of time but actually are” – ouch, I spend lots of time reading my RSS feeds just to find out it is totally worthless, it seems important but actually it doesn’t. Now when you try to stop you get that feeling you are “missing” something and boom you are reading it again… Ahh, addictions…

  • Edward Tran

    “Little things like shutting down all my email, twitter and other distractions while I work seems like a pretty small and easy thing to do, but for me it’s like quitting drugs. ”

    Ha ha ha … that’s so funny; actually got me laugh out loud. Very amazing post. I’m glad I found your site today!

  • maisie

    sounds familiar. you definitely have company. i’ve been trading better since i imposed a no-media-during-trading-hrs rule. actually as a day trader, *any* news is distraction. i am just trading the price action now, and finding out EOD the *why* and catch up with all the gossip. i think i felt insecure about my TA skills and kept looking for wiser heads on twitter. actually my own TA turns out to be just fine. trust yrself; u don’t need all the input.

  • Andrew r

    I think the online distractions are something to do with having an innate curiosity about the world, which is good, but the satisfaction gained from clicking the mouse is so ephemeral, and as you say, a hindrance to maintaining trading focus I tried a program called Stillness Buddy, which interrupts the computer session at intervals with imposed stillness moments and mindfulness pauses. Quite effective if I allow it to run….Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. Persistence I’m sure is the key. Good luck and thank you for sharing your experiences so openly.

  • derekhernquist

    one thing I’ve learned…if I walk into my office without a specific plan of thought I’m about to waste a lot of time. so I force myself to either read a trading book/magazine article, listen to an interview, or check my notes for a deep concept that’s ready for attention. I may only spend a short time in this mental state, but it sets up that session for something productive to emerge before the email/market/twitter flow distracts me

    • http://www.roguetraderette.com/ Jessica Peletier

      Are you a recovering tab addict too, Derek :) My new rule is the very first thing I do when I sit down at my computer is to get my days trading plan together. Once that’s done, and all my charts are marked and ready to go, then I can check my emails while I wait for the market to set up. I find if I do that, it gets me in work mode, rather than Saturday morning slob around at home mode :)

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  • http://twitter.com/Steven_Trades Stephen

    Can you really plan or control how much money your going to make from Trading shares,FX, property,cars or even nick nacks at the local markets? You can increase your odds of success for sure but you cant pick a dollar figure. I think that approach will lead to disappointment. Maybe 2% of traders can do that. I hope you make it into that elite group. Great Blog as usual.

    • http://www.roguetraderette.com/ Jessica Peletier

      I don’t think you can know for sure, but you can know on average. I just need a figure to work towards.

  • http://twitter.com/ppordengal Pablo Pordengal

    You are totally on track. To be successful you must have a plan. You must write the plan down and review it frequently. You have to follow the plan(This is the hardest part).You must be able to measure results against the plan. Looks like you are on your way!
    Good luck to you.

  • MrFancipants

    I think No. 2 can be dangerous. By viewing trades based on whether they get you to your “x” level of return, you may not be making the best decisions.

    • http://www.roguetraderette.com/ Jessica Peletier

      There is definitely the risk of that, and that’s why I never really took the time to bother doing it before.

      Knowing what I’m trying to achieve gives me something to work towards and a goal to fix myself on – personally I need a deadline, or an end marker or I’m just naturally inclined to tread water without getting anywhere.
      Having a monetary goal like that is mobilising for me – something to move toward.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkWolfinger MarkWolfinger

    Your ideas clear your mind and prepare you for the trading day.
    However, not one of those things has anything to do with trading.

    You have the tools, you have a clear desk and mind. You have your system. Now what?.

    • http://www.roguetraderette.com/ Jessica Peletier

      They aren’t specific to trading, sure – but they’ve got everything to do with it. If you want to be kick-ass anything, I don’t think you can get far without those things. They were (and are) the steps I need to take and am currently taking.

      You can have all the trading knowledge in the world, but if you can’t implement it, or don’t know how to get yourself together to run a business or stay focussed, it’s useless.