The difference between a successful trader and one that is struggling is mindset. It’s true that we’re all trading the same markets, but pro traders just approach the markets differently.
Do you think like a pro trader?
Ask yourself these questions and see how you stack up:
Do you know what you’re looking for?
Pro traders have an edge, they know which setups have a high probability of success and worth risking money on.
Their edge could lie in being good at reading price patterns, breakouts, news events, momentum, mean-reversion and many other strategies.
The strategy that works for them might not work for you. However, it’s important to figure what YOUR edge is.
Now, if you’re new to trading than you are probably trying to figure out what kind of trading style fits your personality. For example, some traders thrive off trading volatile stocks while others don’t have the stomach to take the swings.
However, once you’ve discovered who you are as a trader then it boils down to waiting for your setups and taking them when they come.
A good way to speed up the process is by recording your trading history with a journal. Learn from your mistakes and figure out what you’re doing wrong.
For example, you can have the right trade idea but you’re not giving yourself enough time or enough margin for error to see the trade play out in your favor.
Pro traders are always tweaking their approach to adjust to the changing market conditions.
Are you okay with being wrong?
Some people hate rejection and avoid it at all costs.
Well, guess what?
Pro traders are okay with being wrong. They know it’s not about how many times you’re wrong that matters, but what your PnL says at the end of the day, month, and year.
For example, would you be okay if you lose $500 on 9 trades in a row and then on your tenth trade make $6,000?
Success is judged by the bottom line. However, so many new traders entering the markets are so scared to lose that they end up taking small wins and letting one or two trades destroy their account, they didn’t manage their risk properly,
Making $500 on 9 trades in a row and then losing $6,000 on one trade is a recipe for disaster.
Are you concerned about risk?
If you ask a pro what are they thinking about when they enter a trade, they’ll tell you it’s risk. They’ll ask themselves straight up– what is my risk here and what am I willing to lose on this trade.
There’s an old cliche in trading: “Live to fight another day” and that is the motto that many successful traders go by.
You see, too many newbies get caught up in the “home run” trade– the delusion that one good trade will be setting them up for the rest of their lives. Make no mistake about it, you can make ungodly amounts of money from trading, but it’s not going to happen overnight, embrace the grind.
In the first half of 2017 we’ve seen record lows in volatility. That said, opportunities have been slim, requiring greater patience for trade setups to develop.
Which leads to the next question you need to ask yourself.
Do you like money?
This is not a trick question, what sets pro traders apart from home gamer’s is self-control. A pro trades with one goal in mind– to make money. They don’t gamble on experiments or trade because they are bored and are looking for excitement.
How many times have you gotten into a trade because of the fear of missing out (FOMO), moved your stop because you didn’t want to take a loss, get in a trade not because you liked it but because you wanted to make the money you lost from a previous trade, or get in a trade and once you saw a tiny bit of profit you dumped your shares instead of sticking to the original plan.
These are all things that have happened to every trader at some point in their career. However, the pro has learned to have self-control.
Self-control can be learned by studying your trades and seeing what things you did right and wrong. The pro trader is quick to eliminate strategies that have proven to be losers for them and focus on getting bigger on their best trade setups.
They do this because they like money more than the excitement that trading brings them. They are trading to get paid not satisfy their egos.
Trading can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re making money. It can also be slow and boring. You’ll have times where you feel that you can do nothing wrong and others where you feel the entire world is against you.
It’s a journey and everyone is running their own race.
Trading can change your life, but you have to put in the work first. If you set your expectations correctly and start thinking like a pro trader, you too could be a success story.
Taylor Conway is the lead day trader at PennyPro.com. He is a short-term day trader of stocks and ETFs.