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  1. If you're a new trader, you've got to pay your dues. Seasoned traders know this and that's why we love you so much. Look at your charts, mimic the experts, and buy those expensive trade-recommendation newsletters. Dream your dreams. But PLEASE just keep trading, because as you trade, we'll be on the other side, putting your cash into our pockets. I'm not kidding. So the thing is, you don't want to stay a “new trader” for long. What is a “new trader”? A new trader, the way I refer to it here, is either someone who has just begun trading and has yet to make the mistakes of a beginner, OR someone who keep making the beginner's mistakes over and over again and never learns. Most traders that I've come across over my 22 years as a trader and CTA(3 years as a “new trader” and 19 years as a “seasoned trader”) never got out of the “new trader” category. It's hard to transcend. To some, it's impossible and they wind up walking away blaming the “volatility” or the “institutional traders” for their failure. OK, here's the key to taking the leap from newbee to successful trader: Your mental discipline. The fact is, the beginner who's done his/her homework before trading is (largely) using the same indicators and techniques that the successful trader is using. The difference is that the successful trader is in control. The “new trader” is not. The beginner is controlled by emotions and fears and has not learned… I mean REALLY learned… that trading the market is a math game. It's an exercise in probability and statistics and you must keep the odds on your side, even if, from time to time, it hurts. If you've back-tested your system properly… if you've followed your guru's past recommendations carefully… and you're ready to start trading…then you have one job and that is to follow your system like the IceMan. If, over your chosen period of time, the system is not working, then change the system. Never change your commitment to following your system to the letter once you've decided to trade it. All this is MUCH easier said than done. Fears and emotions can easily overtake you. We're humans, not machines. You must TRAIN your mind to be disciplined. That's what seasoned traders do. They train their minds because they know that habit patterns are simply neuro-pathways that are etched into your brain and when one identifies a poor trading habit (and you know who you are) all that needs be done is to train your mind to create a new neuro-pathway to replace the old one. It's science, man, just science. Good trading system and the mental strength to commit to and execute the signals that system gives you is the way of the seasoned trader. Most seasoned traders won't admit it. Why? Yum, yum! My best, Norman Hallett
  2. Any experienced trader will tell you that being successful is, in large part, a matter of overcoming all the hurdles that get in your way. Now there are two basic types of hurdles: the physical ones and the mental ones… and actually some- times they get intertwined. Let's look at a few of them: ** A big thunderstorm causes an electrical surge or outage. You're in the middle of a trade, and you're scrambling around groping for your cell phone so that you can call the floor directly and have them be your eyes and ears. That's stress, man. ** You've got your eyes peeled on the charts, waiting for the signal so you can pull the trigger. A phone call comes in about something other than the trade you are concentrating on. You know you can't talk, but you don't want to be rude. Well, being polite just may cost you. Trade missed. You've waited all morning for everything to fall into place and you missed it. You're angry. ** Today's a good day. Your primary trade is going well. You're getting close to your target but the RSI seems nowhere near a peak. You don't want to take the profit quite yet even though you're right on top of your price target. Hey, let's let it ride a little and we'll just trail it with a stop. Surprise news and “el dropo” and the market blows through your stop. You feel like a jerk. As you know, I could go on forever. So, what's my point? Distractions to following your system come from outside (lightning and phone calls) and inside (your “feelings” about what could happen). It's your job to MAKE THE COMMITMENT to follow your tested trading system. You've got to be deadly serious about it. Get caller ID so that you take only the calls that you HAVE TO take. Have a contingency plan when the lights go out. Note: I knew a trader that held to the concept of “mental stops”. He was lucky for a while, but when a power outage hit in his part of New York City, he couldn't get through to the floor. The lights went back on in about 15 minutes but by that time he had lost a bundle. His “mental stop” turned to “mental anguish”. After that, he put his stops in… but just for a week and he was back to his old habits. He doesn't trade anymore. The sad part is that the guy had talent. Trading is a business. Treat it like one. You've worked hard to arrive at a system that you can trust… well then, do everything in your power to stay focused on the ONE TASK of following that system to the tee. To do otherwise is to be out of control. Maintain your Focus. Maintain your Discipline. At all times. My best, Norman Hallett
  3. Believe it or not, it's true what they say … visualizing your future the way you want it, is much more likely to make that future a reality. I'm a “doubter” by nature and this notion of visualizing didn't really make much sense to me when I heard about it the first hundred times. I mean, come on! Sit in a quiet place and wish and hope and pray and all your dreams will come true? I think not. That's what my mathematician brain told me (University of Cincinnati, 1973, BA Mathematics). Then I met a subconscious trainer (whom I later married), who sat me down and stated, “Thoughts are things.” OK, what kind of things? I've seen Kreskin and other guys bending spoons with their thoughts… it that what she means? Rather than give you the entire exchange of words (I don't know that I remember all of them, as I was falling in love while I was listening), I'll give you the capsule. According to her, there is this stream of consciousness somewhere up there that if you plug into, and by directing your thoughts, you can harness this consciousness somehow to get what you want (as long as what you want is positive… you can't wish someone a losing trade!). This combined with the notion that time, as we know it, is not linear, we can affect the future from the present through this universal consciousness. That's all I'll say about that. Excuse me while I hug a tree. I'm back. I don't know that I understand all of this, let alone believe it, but I'll tell you one thing I DO KNOW… If you get your brain into an alpha brain wave state and you tell yourself (of have someone else suggest to you) what you'd like to happen in the future, say, the picture of you as a successful trader… you will head in the direction of that picture you've created in your head. At least that's what happened to me, and just about every successful trader I know. There are different ways to visualize. During a quiet time (I know you can't imagine any quiet time.. so start while seated in the bathroom), just see yourself living the Life of Riley (am I showing my age) and having people around you recognize you as that successful trader that everybody is talking about. You can move up the effectiveness ladder (get off the pot?) as you get used to the notion of visualization and get more and more affective with your thinking, but the idea is to get started. Once you start creating pictures of the money-bulging-pocketed- successful-trader-you, you will actually become less likely to allow your emotions to lead you to trading mistakes… because “doing the wrong thing”, like pulling your stops when the market comes close, or not taking your profit when your system tells you to, becomes inconsistent with your picture of who you are. Eventually, if you keep up your visualizations, you become that picture. Now THAT makes sense! My best, Norman Hallett
  4. HAVING A SUCCESSFUL TRADING PLAN is STEP ONE to becoming a consistently successful trader, AND… it is actually the simplest part to accomplish. The tough part, for the vast majority of traders, is to control your emotions enough to run your tested trading plan without DOUBTING IT MID-STREAM. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT… I’ve recently developed a concept called “Flashpoint!”™. The Flashpoint! for a trader is the moment in time where a trader makes the decision to either follow his/her trading plan command (good) or make an excuse not to (bad). In essence, all a trader does is make decisions at Flashpoints! … the plan gives you a signal, you take it (or not). Then after, say, taking the signal, a stop must be placed at a specific place according to plan.. another Flashpoint! A successful trader follows his or her plan without fail, where every Flashpoint! results in a decision to follow the plan… without hesitation. For most traders (every trader?).. this is a learned ability. Miriam Webster defines ‘flashpoint’ as… “a point at which someone or something bursts suddenly into action or being” WOW.. that’s perfect for a trader! OK… now I have a question for you…. “What Stops YOU From Making the RIGHT Decision Every Time (the decision to follow your trading plan)..when you reach a Flashpoint! ? I know that MOST of the time you may make the right Flashpoint decisions. But WHEN YOU DON’T.. what’s the reason? You see, your answer is VERY important. The market is not a forgiving environment.. and all it takes is one bad decision to ruin your trading results, and in extreme cases, even wipe out your account. Please dig deep and share your thought below.
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