Trading Traps

We have the benefit of learning from my good friend and awesome professional trader Akil Stokes.

“Trading Traps”

Many of us grew up as competitors whether it was on an athletic field, in a classroom, or at our first job. However, as we grow older some of us start to slowly lose that competitive drive as we become content with our current situations. I’ve come to notice that those who lose their drive usually fall into one of three main groups, Blamers, Settlers and Achievers. The Blamers group consist of people who have made no strides towards reaching their goals in life, (if they have any goals at all) and day in and day out they create an excuse for why their stuck in their current situation. They will often blame everything and everyone else for why they haven’t progressed instead of looking for a solution on how to better themselves and move forward . The second category is called the Settlers, which consist of those who have achieved their initial goals and have become comfortable with where they’re at in life. The fear of pushing forward and the thought that stepping out of that comfort zone may ruin their current situation keeps them content with where they’re at which is never taking any steps backwards, but not progressing either. The third and final category are called the Achievers. These lucky few have achieved more than they could ever imagine and have accomplished every goal that they’ve set for themselves. However, the problem is that they’ve achieved so much that they not only become bored with their current situation but they run into problems when trying to figure out what to shoot for next.

The same issue of losing our drive is one of the biggest factors that affects us in our trading journey. As experienced traders know, and newer traders will find out, this skill has a long learning curve and if you’re not 100% dedicated to becoming a successful trader then the chances are you’re going to fail. The number floating around out there says that only 10 -20% of traders become successful and those very same groups that I mentioned above, are the traps that the other 80% of traders fall into at some point during their journey.
Many new traders become stuck in the Blamers group trap right away because as soon as things get difficult they find an excuse for why they can’t be successful. “I just don’t have the time,” “I guess I’m just not smart enough,” “The markets are just against me,” etc. Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! And in all honesty anyone that wants to become a successful trader CAN one, it just doesn’t happen overnight.

Hopefully you’re dedicated enough to dodge the Blamers trap, but be warned because there is another one right around the corner called the Settlers group trap. However, when it comes to trading, this trap is almost the complete opposite of what I mentioned above. Instead of settling many traders actually become frustrated because a strategy isn’t showing the results that they anticipated. Therefore they bounce around from system to system only to get similar results. Many traders are very uncomfortable accepting the fact that it takes time to master any one strategy and there is NO GET RICH QUICK SCHEME in trading (despite what you may read online). So instead of taking their bumps and bruises mastering a strategy, they waste time by jumping ship only to struggle once more and repeat the process. In my trading journey I spent the better part of my training mastering a single strategy. However, as soon as I started trading live and it didn’t give me the initial results I wanted, I decided to jumped ship and go to another one. Like many of you out there, I didn’t want to put in the time necessary to master my strategy, I just wanted to make money and make money fast. To make a long story short I ended up losing a over $30,000 of someone else’s money in just a few months. OUCH indeed but as I look back I now realize that it was this event that lead me to refocus, chose a single trading strategy and really work on mastering it (along with my trading psychology). After making the switch I still struggled for about 3 months but I stuck with it because I could feel myself improving, even if my trading account said otherwise. Every once in a while I did get the urge to jump ship and try something new, but in the back of my head I knew that I would simply be starting the cycle over again and seeing how I was running low on capital, I didn’t have the time to take that chance. It was in the fourth month when everything took off and I’ve been a consistently profitable trader ever since.

This brings me into the last group, the Achievers. The traders that get stuck in this trap are the ones who have mastered a strategy and have been consistently profitable. You’re probably asking yourself, what’s so bad about that. The trap comes in the question of what’s next? I personally believe that staying in a single place for too long makes one comfortable, and when one becomes comfortable they often become lazy, and a lazy trader is just asking for trouble. I don’t care how experienced you are, it takes a certain amount of focus and dedication to be good at trading and if those things start to slip, so will your results.

So the question is how do I avoid falling into one of these trading traps? My answer… set goals and lots of them. We talk a lot about setting long term goals for what you want to achieve both in and outside of trading, and those are very important. But what I feel are just as important are the small, easily achievable everyday goals that we set for ourselves. Having a list of goals to attack everyday is a great way to stay motivated day in and day out. Also if you make these goals achievable, that feeling of accomplishment can do wonders for your psyche. As a kid in elementary school, I had a foreign language teacher that would give us candy each time we used a word correctly. Although it was my long term goal to learn how to speak this language fluently, I centered my focus on learning one new word each day so I could receive more candy. Setting and achieving these small goals kept me motivated and without knowing it I was slowly working my way towards my bigger ones. Trading isn’t any different.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and as always a big thanks to The Pro Trader Network for presenting me with an audience and a platform to share my thoughts.

-Akil L. Stokes

Thanks Akil . . . another great read with very valuable insights!


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