Warning: If you aren’t a hip hop / rap fan of the 90’s, you aren’t cool. Just kidding…. you might be cool but you are so white.
Born in January of ’85, I grew up in the sticks of central Pennsylvania. I played football, baseball, and shot BB guns. I tried chewing tobacco when I was 12 and had my first beer when I was 15. Bon Jovi, Journey, Guns n Roses and Metallica were on constant repeat in town. I hated them. Actually Guns n Roses is alright. Metallica is alright too. Bon Jovi and Journey are pretty awful to my ears, even to this day. I just want to jump out into traffic every time I hear crowds of frat-boy type white folk half drunk sing “OHHHHHH, WE’RE HALFWAYYYY THEEERRRREE… OHHHHH OHHHHHHH, LIVINGGGGG ON A PRRAAAAAAYYYYER.”
Oh man, typing that was painful. Fuck.
So my guilty pleasure….. rap music. My dad hated it, my friends hated it and I probably would’ve been called names for listening to it. But I loved it. I remember saving up money to buy my first rap album and probably my favorite of all time. DMX – It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. Got damn, that was such a good album. I’d rock that on my Sony Discman ESP with 10 second skip protection on repeat for months. I’d tap the top of my CD player to see how long it would go until it started skipping. And it took AA batteries. I’d go through those Duracell AA’s like a hot knife through butter. Oh man, some of the best times ever.
I remember listening to the DMX track “Intro,” before getting into my first fist fight. It was one of those scheduled fights like “yo, meet me out back at 1:00PM tomorrow.” I put on that DMX track, felt the adrenaline surge, the hype of motivation, rolled up and one punch later, I was standing over a body with a smirk on my face. Alright, maybe it didn’t happen like that. Not at all. But Mike Tyson and Chuck Liddell both had it as their entrance song so that’s saying something, no?
And then I listen to this garbage they put out now. Man, no wonder why so many people hate on hip hop and rap. The stuff that’s on the airwaves now just makes me want to punch myself in the balls. It’s so awful.
So to defend some good hip hop and bring back some nostalgia, I’m going to list some of my favorite artists and albums growing up:
Ludacris – Word of Mouf. Oh man, I had 2 12 inch subwoofers in my Jeep at the time. This album bumped serious bass. “Move bitch! Get out the way, get out the way, bitch, get out the way!” sounds way better than “Take my haannnnnddddd…..we’ll make it…. I swear?” Oh god, I just gagged.
Busta Rhymes – Had a few good albums. Loved Bussa bus. Woo HA gotcha all in check!
Method Man and Redman – “Zeem Zeeema who got the keys to my beema?” Hahahahaha. Love it
Ja Rule? Yeah he was corny, but we all enjoyed his jams whether you admit it or not.
2pac and Biggie – No need to say more. Although I can’t say I prefer one over the other. I enjoy both as much as the other.
Wu-Tang, Rakim, NWA. Older but some of the best stuff out there.
Snoop and Dre before they went soft with the mainstream garbage they put out now. Same with Eminem. Music industry has its way of making the greats bow down and s some d. Poor Snoop. Poor Dre. Eminem. *sob* S’ing some D now.
Nas. Rakim. LL Cool J. Mobb Deep. Heavy hitting. Loved it.
Remember Ski-lo? I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…. haha.
Even the Beastie Boys. Damn. I really think the 90s were awesome for music. But of course maybe it’s because I grew up in the 90s. Anyway, just had a nostalgic moment. I hope you guys enjoyed the music of that era as well.
If you got some more you’d like to add, please comment. I think the next time I hear a Bon Jovi song I’m going to hit my head off of my fist. Really hard. Ugh.
If you don’t know, I’m currently living in Korea. Obviously south because Scottrade doesn’t have local offices in North Korea or I might have considered a move there – I hear their beer is excellent.
So that means that I need to get my trades done before 12PM EST as that’s about 1 AM locally here and I gotta get my ass up to go to work at 8 AM local. Most of my trades are swings and I usually set my stops and targets before going to bed.
It’s always like Christmas morning for me. I wake up and the first thing I do is roll over, grab my phone, log in to my mobile IB platform and check my P/L to make sure nothing drastic has happened. Some mornings is like real Christmas and all my positions show that oh-so-lovely tint of lime green indicating “Ima be a making it rain soon.” And some mornings I wake up with a bowl full of cheerios with a fat turd on top. Except one night I decided to go out for a burger and beer and not check my positions at market open until I got home which was about 11AM EST. I’ve never had any real “oh shit” moments so I didn’t feel worried. Yeah, it happened.
I had one position short the previous day gap the fuck up. I don’t mean a few cents. I mean gaaappppp the fuuuccckkkkkk up. Like a few dollars. And the bleeding didn’t stop there. Another long position I had gapped down about 5% as well. Da fuq. Like the Backstreet Boys song goes, “quit playing games with my heaaarrrrt.”
So here I was doing so well the past few months and now most of those profits have been wiped out. I didn’t hold the positions and just cut them ASAP – I wasn’t going to hold on hoping for a return. Such a heart breaking moment for me. All that hard work for the past few months of finding trades, placing entry orders staying strict and risking 1% of my capital and finding reasonable targets with good risk to reward ratios…. GONE.
I guess I’m not as heartbroken as I thought I would be. I am still net profitable since I started last September. I still have a steady income and I have a six pack of Budweiser in my fridge. Life is not so bad. This is why it’s vital to keep some sort of regular income while you make the journey to trade full time. If I wasn’t, I think this moment would’ve really taken its toll on me.
What I will do though is take the rest of the week off. It’s Thursday now so I’ll just watch, wait and get back on the horn on Monday.
Now I really know why so many people hate holding positions overnight.
It has been about 7 months now since I’ve started taking trading seriously as a potential means of earning a full time income. During that 7 months, I’ve gone from nose diving into trading/psychology books 8 hours a day, to sim-trading 8 hours a day, to reading more books for 8 hours a day, to re-trying old methods of trading, back to sim-trading some new shit, to dedicating time at developing my own methods for trading and on and on. It just seems like a vicious cycle to break out of. One which I think if you don’t break out of, you remain in the loser’s circle of non-successful traders. But it’s so fun to try out new shit! 😦
I liken it to the people who are unsuccessful at the gym. If I had to guess, I’d probably give it similar odds to trading that around 90% of people fail to stick to a gym routine, lose weight (or add if you’re a skinny bastard), add muscle and have it become part of their lifestyle. (To be honest it’s similar to any sport or activity – successful golfers, artists, musicians, etc.) But I choose the gym because I’ve become part of that winner’s circle….. and it was a long, grueling process. And I enjoyed it and it is still part of me today.
I started when I was about 14 years old. My dad dropped me off at the gym one day after school and paid for a monthly membership. He told me to spend an hour here each day, whether I wanted to make it productive or not was up to me.
So I started off by watching what the older guys were doing. Asked them what to do….tried out the bench press, squat rack, did some curls. After a week or so I started to enjoy it. The pump. The dopamine boost. The progress I was seeing in myself. The cheerleaders were all over me in math class hanging off my biceps, feeding me grapes and ironing my shirts on my stomach. Yep. True story.
I kept at it, 4 to 5 days a week. Weeks went by. Months went by. Years went by. I kept at it. Everyday, upping my weights, adding calories to my diet, focusing on certain movements/exercises and adding to my arsenal…. and most importantly, not getting lazy.
I started to get people complementing my physique.
“Wow, you must work out.”
“You look great. I wish I could build a body likes yours.”
But there is always one variation of a question that I think applies very much to trading.
“Hey man, what do I have to do to get big/lose weight/get a body like yours and how long did it take you?”
When I tell people it took me years, I almost always get an “oh shit!” response. As if it only takes a 3 month membership and some protein powder to look like Dwayne Johnson. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. And whenever I see the looks on their faces and their motivation almost immediately sink because of the work they realize has to be put in, I can’t help but to realize that the trading game is not so different.
But what is required to move forward? Well, I always tell people, just make sure to push yourself. Lift one week and track your progress. Increase your weight the following week or month. Stick to the basic lifts and don’t pay attention to what others are doing. You can add all those fancy lifts and stretches down the road. Don’t skip days too often. 0 And #1 – just keep at it and don’t give up.
So…..a few take away’s I am really trying to focus on:
Reduce/limit information overload. I know enough to be successful at trading. Reading books on lifting and watching Arnold movies aren’t going to do much for your success in the gym and the same goes for trading.
Focus on tracking my progress. I actually got away with this early in my fitness life. Although I didn’t track my weights in a notebook, I knew week to week what my previous weeks weights were. If I wasn’t able to increase it in the next few weeks, I knew something was wrong and I had to find ways to correct it – diet, supplementing other supporting muscles or maybe just getting more sleep. Same for trading. I need to track my progress and find where my weaknesses are. Are a majority of my short trades losing? Am I getting burned during certain parts of the day? Am I up on the day and losing it all because of over trading?
Frustrating days will come and come frequently. Days when I think what I’m doing isn’t working. Days when the lows are much lower than the highs of the high days. Stepping on that scale and seeing that you didn’t lose any weight. Checking your body fat and seeing that you actually gained 1%. I’m doing all the right things, why aren’t I making progress? What many don’t know is that sometimes your body holds onto that last pound or percentage dearly and when it comes off, it’ll come off quick with drastic results. The only thing needed is some perseverance. And perhaps those big hits will come and they are just right over the hill. Key is to not change or overhaul what I’m doing because of a few speed bumps.
And that’s it for this post. My trading lately has been steady. I am still focusing on equities. Swing trades and the occasional day trade. I keep my risk limited and let my winners run (taking partial profits along the way). Trying to build my account so that I can take an income from it some day.
I just wish I could fast forward this learning and development stage to the part where I get to party on my yacht with the helicopter pad and smoke some cubans with my homeboys and sip champagne with my bishes and upload it to Tim Sykes instagram page, owing all my successes to him. Uh huh. No.
I’m going to take a little break from posting charts for a little bit. I’ve pretty much been grinding back and forth between profitability and loss. So, nothing new or groundbreaking there.
I want to reflect on the importance of having strict rules to abide by before entering trades. I’ve written them down from time to time but never really gave them much thought. They’re sitting somewhere in “My Documents” folder on my PC in a sub-folder I don’t even know. But it’s not in the “Untitled” folder, because that’s where I like to keep my porn. So inconspicuous, right? Untitled. Nobody is going to look there. Haha, wrong! I bet you guys do the same shit, huh? Or maybe you like to keep it in “New Folder.” Or “Misc.” or “Stuff.” Hah. Derp.
And it’s either that or you have the rules in your head. But again, we all know that doesn’t work. Oh yeah, sure, I’m only going to enter when this this and this occurs. Oh, wait, this setup looks tempting….. lemme just do it one…. yeah, just one time. Rrrrrrrrrright.
Usually, I develop an idea of how I want to trade and sample it out and see if it works. Putting down a strict set of rules was never on my radar though and now I am understanding how important it is. Derp. I like this word. If you’re curious, here’s what a derp is. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?page=2&term=derp
So this week I have been developing a strict guideline for how I want to take trades. This will allow me to stop chasing trades, stop wanting to get in when I see that I just missed a trade and also keep me from micro-managing a trade that I have no business touching. Derp.
When I see a trade take off, my first thought it “Oh, shit balls, I should’ve taken that trade.” I hate getting left out, don’t you? But what I fail to see is that the trade didn’t fit my guidelines for entering a trade. Then the next trade that shows up resembling the last one, which isn’t even part of my rules, I try and enter, expecting the same results. Derp. Shit, so much for having rules.
And having strict guidelines for entering a trade also leaves you with no trades to take on many days. I know my rules will give me winners 60% of the time but if I only take 5 day trades a week, I ain’t gon’ make no money. So I think. But what’s better? Taking 5 day trades, 3 winners and 2 losers for let’s say +14 pips or taking 12 trades where I may have 5 winners and 7 losers giving me a total of -1 or maybe +2 or 3 pips (that’s what I’m doing right now). Taking +14 pips, depending on how many lots your trading, can be very lucrative. So the volume of trades is not as important here. And my trading rules should give about 3-4 trades a day, unless it’s just one of those shit show kind of announcement days where the chart looks like dog shit. Derp.
So, I know my rules *should* give me at least 2-3 trades a day. If I stay strict to them, and not let the trades that rocket off without me affect my mental game and improve the process from there, I’ll be driving Lambos and wearing gold grills up to the gills. Derp.
Alright. Going forward:
Stay strict to the rules you’ve developed over the past 3 months. You put in the work and know that it will be profitable in the long run.
If I miss out on a trade that didn’t fit my rules, don’t get my panties in a bunch
If I don’t take a trade that does fit my rules, slap myself in the balls
After a few weeks, if I’m still having issues with the actual rules not being profitable, revise them to address what issues I’m coming across to make them (potentially) more profitable.
Don’t get ADHD and try other new shit out thinking yours doesn’t work anymore
Don’t get ADHD and try other new shit out
I repeat, as much as you love to *SQUIRREL!!!!*…..
Sorry, I have ADHD
When you are tempted to quit your rules and try other new shit, I REPEAT DON’T FUCKING DO IT. STICK TO YOUR ORIGINAL RULES. DERP
When you come back to read this thinking “ah my shit strategy and rules don’t work,” KEEP DOING IT. STOP YOUR ADHD SHIT!
I’ve been having the frustratingly, hair-pulling, profanity-inducing problem of having my stops “tapped” and taking off so frequently in the past few weeks that I wanted to make a post on it. This blog is pretty new so nobody is even reading except for myself but I need to get this off my chest. I’ve added a few charts that are only from the past 2 days. I could attach days worth of these. No lie. And before you call me a pansy, or that I’m such an amateur, I’d like to tell you to eat a turd.
I’ve traded futures, I currently swing trade stocks and now I day trade Forex with real money. Never have I experienced this kind of frustration over having my stop hit and take off. Trading the ES, usually my stop losses were good stops. When they were hit, it saved my back or at least was broken by a few more ticks before maybe going back in my intended direction. Fair enough. When I swing trade stocks, usually when my stops are hit, they’re pretty good indicators at telling me I made a wrong read of the market. Once in a while, it’ll be a sort of stop hunt but I think more coincidence. With Forex, it’s a whole different story.
I have kept track of and calculated my trades over the past month – wins, losses and losses where the stop was hit within 1 pip and ended up hitting my original target.
Wait until you hear this.
So for the previous month I have made a tiny profit with 50% winning trades. 14 wins. 14 losses. 5 scratch trades (less than 2 pips profit). Here it comes…. wait for it…. wait for it…..
7 of those losses were stop taps and go. Let me say that again. Of my 14 losing trades, half of them, 50%, had the stops hit within 1 pip of where I set them and took off in my originally intended direction and hit my target. WOW.
How do I know they were stop hunts? Because after finding a pocket of buy/sell orders, the prices SURGE. I mean take the fuck off. It’s not like my stops are hit and prices dilly dally upwards/downwards for a few minutes and oscillate around and make a smooth transition until my target is hit. I’m saying these fuckheads find the pockets of liquidity, run prices down or up to them, hit the stops and then just dump their orders in creating a huge surge.
I’d be a very profitable trader right now if it weren’t for those stop hunts. But rather than feel sorry for myself, I’ve got to come up with a way to trade with it. It’s the biggest wall I’m facing right now to becoming a consistently profitable trader.
Does that not raise any eyebrows? Is this a coincidence that prices just seem to tap my stop and have a huge surge right after? I think absofuckinglutely not. So I did some digging.
Here is a video that makes a lot of sense.
If anyone is reading, please give it a watch.
So, I need to formulate entries or something to ride these big surges. I’m tired of getting bent over by these dildos working at the banks and funds. I know the type too because I used to work at one. “I drive a beemer, bro. See this? Tag Heuer Carerra. And my dad’s having us over this weekend for a bbq so we can wear polo shirts tucked into our Banana Republic douche-a-roonie shorts and drink shitty European beer.” Yeah if you’re sitting there reading this asking yourself “what’s wrong with driving a Beemer? Or Banana Republic…. He’s just jealous.” Yeah you’re a circle jerker. Fuck.
One of the main reasons why I decided to start this is because I am starting to really see and feel progress. I will get into the nitty gritty of exactly how I got up to this point soon, but for now, let’s just say that I’ve read the books you’re told to read, I joined the forums many join, paid for the strategies books, watched countless hours of video and I’ve thrown away a little bit of money tinkering on a few trades where I shouldn’t have. The moment I took what I needed from all of them and focused on me, is when I started to see and feel the work paying off. So yeah, no super millionaire penny stocker tradin’ for me. I guess I wasn’t up to the challenge. So sad that I won’t be uploading Ferrari pics on the Instragram with bricks of dolla bills stacked. Or on the beach in my undies, trading like a boss hog makin’ millions with my phone tethered 2g EDGE network on my iMac Pro 5 in a remote island in Mexico.
I am about 6 months into my journey. I started off around late June of 2016 really becoming interested in how this day trading thing works. I have an acquaintance who trades ES futures full time and when I decided that I am going to pursue this not as a quick buck, I had a sit down with him. Basically at the time he told me to take a look at Al Brooks’ stuff and concentrate on trading price action and not to get too caught up with indicators or other systems. He would later tell me that many of his friends would ask for trading advice, but just to make a quick buck – kind of like asking for the “hot tip.” And most wouldn’t return to see him after looking into or reading Brooks’ stuff (it’s not easy). So telling them to read Brooks was his filter to seeing what the person was really looking for. Smart. Because the Al really put me to sleep. I got all his books and couldn’t finish a single one of them. His voice, writing, his style… it’s just, well… *dozing off* huh?
So, I didn’t really have an immediate connection with what Brooks had to offer but it had me interested in price action. And I’m thankful to that friend for not getting me caught up in the wrong stuff. I would go on to purchase several other books and systems based around price action – sim trading them for a few weeks before moving onto the next one and so on….. because I need money to get rich. Quick.
This went on for a good 5 months. Mack’s PAT system, Lance Beggs YTC system, Al Brooks, Bob Volman, Adam Grimes, FT71, Tim Sykes, Nathan Michaud, Vince Virgil…. you name it and I’ve probably read it and tried it (again, will go into details with each in the future). I mean they’re all useful in one way or another. I wouldn’t get one thinking it’s gonna make you the next superstar trader.
Then towards the very end of 2016 in late December, I had been watching and following a guy who I said I like to e-mail as my therapy (will get to who this guy is in a later post). He does sell an eBook, which he offers your money back and although not really a system he has claimed to develop himself, it’s a book that compiles the strategies he has used throughout his years which he believes to hold an edge should you decide to focus your attention on trading one or a few of them. Anyway, I always felt a closer connection to the methods and way this guy would trade – and it’s not rocket science. Plus, he is a saint because he always answers my stupid ass e-mails that I don’t realize are pathetic and stupid until a few days later. I mean if I were him I probably would’ve told me to stop asking so many stupid f’n questions and to go play in traffic. So after I realized I should stop being lazy and expecting him to tell me some answer to the holy grail, I watched his videos 3, 4, 5 times, read the articles and combining pieces of information I had absorbed previously from other traders, had a small “light bulb” moment if you will.
I got on the simulator for Forex using MT4 trading the EUR/USD 1 min chart during the London session and gave it a week just really focusing my trades on the larger waves throughout the day and using prior tendencies as my guideline. I stayed as disciplined as possible, only taking the trades that met this criteria. I had a few winners and losers the first few days. To be honest, I was still kind of clueless and just entering where I felt might be a good spot – the typical price action areas like, oh it’s a pullback now, enter on a break of this. So I half knew what I was doing. Which is better than nothing. I suppose.
I reviewed my trades, saw my mistakes and worked on them. The following week though, it all came together. I could see and feel the moves and I planned ahead. I was able to enter a trade knowing exactly what I would do should the price do this or that. Super Saiyan mode, talkin like Goku vs Piccolo stuff. I had my exits and targets planned and I actively managed them. I knew what movement indicated a possible failure of my pattern and exited with small winners before it would stop me out. I could sit through a few “fakey” moves with complete confidence in the trade I entered, not wondering if I need to exit this. I could also re-enter a trade I just got stopped out on because it was still a good trade. So after 10 straight green days (a few were washes, to be honest) I have decided to take my trading live. It is so damn hard to stay disciplined. I can’t recall the number of times I was like that dog in UP, “squirrel!” It’s double topping, go short! OMG, ascending triangle, do it! The RSI is like totally oversold bro, total buy time dude. But no, I resisted.
I realize that many successful traders or people selling books tell you that you should have at least X months or weeks or whatever, of profitability before going live. I think prodding along, being up a few bucks a month doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready. By sheer luck and undisciplined trades, you could be up a few dollars after two months but by no means are you ready. I did it for a month just putting on 100 contracts on the ES and exiting after it went my way just 1 tick for a $1,250 gain and then giggling because I would just trade 1 contract the rest of the month and ended up +$13.50 after commissions on the month. C’mon.
In my opinion being ready to go live is a mental state – not a number of green days/months. Knowing exactly where, when and why you entered a trade, what movements constitute a failure of why you entered, not panicking at every small price movement and having the confidence to execute are the reasons you should go live. And I check all of these boxes and the only way to take my trading to the next level is to use real capital – I have to feel the burn. And with real money, it’ll be better for me. I won’t have those “squirrel!” moments take advantage of me because my hard earned real dollars are at work here.
Of course, using real capital is a whole new set of challenges that will be presented. This is the next stage of my journey. I’ve read the books, sim traded them and took what I needed from them to make something my own. I don’t need anymore information or strategies or anything. I need to focus on me. So it’s time to move on – to make the leap to working on my psychology. How does real money affect my trading? How will a string of losses affect my confidence? Will I get over confident after a string of wins? These are all yet to be seen and I hope to share with everyone in the near future my experiences on this journey. And if I stop updating after a few weeks, it means I probably lost all my money. Or got frustrated and moved onto another hokey pokey price action system. Or maybe don’t want to show you guys how much I suck. Or hit the lotto. But I don’t play the lotto so you won’t have to worry about that. Ok, see ya next time shithead.
As I make the constant effort to becoming a consistent, profitable and successful trader, I find that putting my thoughts down on paper is a good way to make better progress. I’ve always heard from other well known traders to make a journal – You can’t be successful if you don’t have a journal, yadda yadda.
And I’m not really the journal type of guy. I tried, but ultimately fail because it felt forced. It felt like a chore and we as humans just don’t wanna do things that we don’t wanna do. But I did realize it does feel therapeutic to sometimes talk to myself or get my feelings down on paper. Plus, it’s cool now. To blog. Take pictures of food. Instagram my sweet new Chinese character tattoo. Not be racist. I listen to hip hop. I’m definitely not racist.
I usually e-mail this guy (he’s a full time trader) with how my week has been going (more on him and that later on) and whether or not he replies, I always felt a little bit better about my progress and what I’ve accomplished so far when I go back to the “sent e-mail” section and re-read what I sent him. Sometimes I read it and think how retarded I sounded, so it makes for good fun. I will forever be grateful to him but I think it’s also time that I ween myself from that process (and save him my constant yammering) and add in some self reflection. He will probably thank the heavens as well. He probably would love to jab me in the nose. Or tell me to STFU sometimes. Poor guy. He’s super cool though.
Reviewing what I have learned, the mistakes that I have made and really, having the awareness of what needs to be done to make improvements are crucial to any trader’s success – I know this. So I hope that looking back on how I got here today and then putting my thoughts down going forward will not only benefit me, but hopefully anybody who stumbles across this site. I realize the journey will be different for everybody, and most do fail, so I hope my collaboration of thoughts and processes will not only help me but help others become a better, more successful trader. Plus, I get enjoyment out of making myself out to be some sort of blogger now. Hah – can I put in on my resume? Professional blogger? Just like people who take pictures with expensive cameras are professional photographers? Well at least I don’t upload pictures of my dinner from Applebees on Instagram…. or take selfies. Or drive a Prius. Actually I drove one in Japan. It was really nice. Maybe later I will even use some cuss werds on here. That’ll be the ultimate rush. Cuss werds on da blogosphere. Ooooooh can’t wait. Stay tuned. Phuckeroonies.