During my course work with my trading mentor Jason Stapleton (http://www.triplethreattrading.com/) it was engrained in my head that the most important rule of trading was not to go broke. The second most important rule of trading was also not to go broke. I remember him always saying that "as long as you have a chip and a chair, you have a way to make money."  I bring this up now because yesterday I was stopped out of a few trades for breakeven and it reminded me of some situations I faced when I first began trading live money.

When I first started trading my main objective was to make money.  If a trade lost or ended up at break even, it was a fail to me.  Of course I understood and was fully aware that I wasn't going to win every trade, nor did I expect too, but at the time I wasn't as comfortable emotionally handling loss after loss, unless I had a crap load of wins beforehand.  However in present day it's an entirely different story.

Losing trades no longer bother me, losing days no longer bother, and losing weeks no longer bother me. One thing that helped me obtain this mindset is focusing solely on my equity curve.  If you don't know what an equity curve is please look it up. But in brief, it's a line graph that keeps track of the amount of money in my account and how it changes on a trade to trade basis (or week to week, month to month, however you plan on customizing it).  Recently I have begun to look at my equity curve just as if it were a chart of a currency pair. I treat my equity curve as if it were any other trend.  I look for impulse legs, support, resistance, all of that good stuff, and as long as I continue to make higher highs, and higher lows, then I'm on the right path.  This is what has helped me to stomach some of drawdown periods. I know they're coming and as long as they don't break structure, I'm still in my uptrend.  It's really hard to explain without actually seeing and equity curve but if you Google the words: "Equity Curve" you will be given plenty of examples. 

Using an equity curve gives me a much better view of how my account is progression and it allows me to set mental checkpoints of where I want to go next. Instead of rushing and saying I want to go from a $5,000 account to a $10,000 account in one month, I now look at it as going from say $5,000 to $6,000 then back to $5,500, then up to $6,500 in a manner like that. So now I'm in no rush and I can visually see how trading isn't a get rich quick scheme, rather a slow grind upwards. 

For more of an inside look at trading visit my tumbr blog at http://iambusiness.tumblr.com/

The "Ah Ha experience" was a term that I learned while I was learning to become a professional trader.  Have you ever had a moment where out of the blue you just get it? Well it's that moment where you finally understand and say "ah" to yourself which is the "ah ha experience".  this experience can come in many ways. It could be an actor or actress, finally understanding the character they are to portray in a play or movie. It could be a golfer finally making that last adjustment to their stroke so that the ball doesn't shank all of the time. (By the way I'm still waiting for my golf ah ha moment). Or it could be an boss or employee that finally understands the right words needed to motivate their colleagues. There can be an "Ah Ha experience" in any aspect of life. And when it occurs, the feeling is similar to finally finding an answer to a question that has been bothering you for a while.

Neo in the Matrix is a great example of this experience.  In the first movie he was a novice and pretty much had no idea what was going on around him. He was taught many skills and was told that he could do this and could do that, but he struggled to realize his full potential.  After failing over and over again he finally had his "ah ha experience" where everything clicked and he was able to defeat his foes.  However, Neo didn't stop there.  Having that experience gave him a confidence that he never had before. And now that he believed in himself fully, he was able to take his skills to the next level and really master his craft.  To make  a long story short, eventually he got to the point where he was able to accomplish his goals blindfolded (literally). 

this is where my story comes in.  One month from now will be the anniversary of when I first signed up for Jason Stapleton's Forex trading course.  While I was in the course I was able to ask a lot of questions and receive answers instantaneously.  However, once I graduated in September 2010 I was out on my own. Don't get me wrong I still had support from Jason just an email or phone call away.  But as a person that was going on to be a professional trader, I didn't feel as if it was right to contact him with every question I had. I felt that I had to take my own bumps and bruises to succeed instead of having my hand held.  with that being said I spent the first six months of professional trading searching for an answer to a question that I wasn't even sure of.  However, I feel as if I have recently had my "ah ha experience."  Just as in Neo's case, I was taught everything I need to know  in order to be successful and I definitely have the passion and desire to succeed. It was simply a matter of time (call it experience in the market I guess) before it all clicked.  Now I follow the same pairs, look at the same charts, analyze the same patterns, but it all seems to be easy now.  Just as in the 3rd Matrix Neo was able to fight and fly with little effort, I feel as if my trading is taking the same steps.  Of course, I've only recently had this experience and I feel as if I need to trade well for a full year instead of a few months before I can really call myself a successful  trader. But hey it's a start and my desire to get better continues to increase with every trade I make, win lose or draw.
For a more in depth look at my trading visit  http://iambusiness.tumblr.com/

If you read my last trading post ("The Robot") then you should know that last week in April and the first week in  May were probably the two best  trading weeks of my life. Not just from a monetary perspective but from a mental one as well.  You'll also remember me noting that since those weeks were so positive I knew the losers would be coming soon.  Well just as I predicted the losers came last week.  Out of the 10 trades I placed last week only 3 were winners. Now I must note that because I was away on work, I wasn't able to trade my normal hours and that caused me to miss a few opportunities, but even if I would have caught those trades I still would have been below the 50% win percentage mark.  In the past losing 7 times in 10 trades would have destroyed me mentally.  However since I have now excepted the power of ratios (read "Flip of the Coin") I was not only prepared for this to happen, I was waiting for it.  Also, because I had a good first week of the month my equity curve was still above where it started at. I don't mind going back a step to jump forward two. At least that's my plan.

Now, to what this post was originally suppose to be about.  Going in with a positive mindset.  This morning I was put in a very good mood when my trading mentor sent me a message saying that he checked out this site and liked what I was doing.  Because I was in such a good mood my approach to the market this morning was care free.  I was able to trade strictly on muscle memory, meaning I didn't debate any decisions in my head at all.  I simply analyzed the charts in my normal fashion then set limits, stops, and targets when and where they needed to be put.  Will this turn out to be the best trading day ever? Probably not, but the point is I'm trading the way I want to, meaning without emotions or over thinking.  

From when I first started trading various sources always said to only trade when you in a good state of mind.  I never thought about that until today when trading just felt easy.  I mean, I have a set routine where I read over the trading philosophy & psychology part of my trading plan, but I always did that to remind myself of why I'm trading not necessarily to put myself in a good mental place.   With that being said I like the idea of going into my trading day happy and excited and I need to find a way to feel like that every day. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment and let me know.  I'm motivated a lot my visuals so I was thinking of printing out pictures of some of the things on my "goals" list.  I don't know.  I'll think of something. But today was a good day, no matter if the trades I have on win or lose. 

My trading mentor Jason Stapleton once told me that you know that you're a good trader when it's boring. During his classes he continued to emphasize the importance of taking emotion out of trading. Without going into details he has trained us to attack the market as if we were in the special forces (which he was a member of).  One of his main concepts was I.P.D.E. which stands for Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute. I bring this up because I have very quietly had an amazing past two weeks in the market and didn't even realize it. I don't know if it's because i'm becoming more confident in my craft or that I have just been concerned with the other events occurring in my life, but I didn't realize how good I have been doing until I recently opened my account statement a few minutes ago.  maybe trading has finally gotten boring for me. When I opened it I honestly thought that they sent me the wrong statement because I didn't remember placing that many trades.  But as I looked at my own spreadsheet it was correct.  I think it's because I've been acting on pure rules instead of getting emotionally involved with each trade. I have been entering them, setting my stops and targets, then forgetting about them while they do what they do. Maybe I have become the trading Robot. That would be pretty cool! With that being said a couple fantastic weeks doesn't make me a successful trader yet. I need to turn these weeks into months and months into years, then I will truly deserve the crown that I seek.