Jump to content

Welcome to the new Traders Laboratory! Please bear with us as we finish the migration over the next few days. If you find any issues, want to leave feedback, get in touch with us, or offer suggestions please post to the Support forum here.

  • Welcome Guests

    Welcome. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest which does not give you access to all the great features at Traders Laboratory such as interacting with members, access to all forums, downloading attachments, and eligibility to win free giveaways. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. Create a FREE Traders Laboratory account here.

Recommended Posts

"You must be rigid in your rules and flexible in your expectations. Most traders are flexible in their rules and rigid in their expectations". This is from Mark Douglas in his book, "Trading in the Zone". When I first read the above-mentioned book years ago, I did not highlight or remember this quote as anything special. It was not until recently when I saw it again that I had the experience to recognize the pure wisdom in the words. That is the reason I am devoting this commentary to this quote, so everyone reading can recognize its importance.


The reason I feel this advice is so important is because two of the most common problems among new or struggling traders are addressed here. The first problem raised is that most traders are flexible in their rules. Actually, the truth is most traders do not even have a firm set of rules they trade by. Sure, if you ask most traders they will say that they follow stops, and set targets. But very few have the rules that are generated by a quality trading plan. Those that do, usually view them as optional, which really defeats the purpose of having rules.


The second problem is that traders are rigid in their expectations. They form or acquire a market bias, or a 'feeling' about a particular stock, and hold to that expectation regardless of what the chart (reality) is telling them. When good news is released, they go long the stock and stay steadfast in their bullish view; even though the chart (reality) is telling them the stock is falling.


Some say that you can't follow rigid rules, because trading requires your expectations to be flexible and change as needed, as the second part of the quote implies. Obviously, I agree that trading requires you to be flexible. I just believe that all of the contemplated flexibility can be part of your plan and your rules. For example, you can decide ahead of time and define what a 'change in market direction' is and then define how you react to that new information. You could react by selling all of your position, selling half, raising the stop, etc.


I hope that those of you that have not embraced these concepts take new look at the quote above and use it to help improve your trading.


Jared Wesley

Contributing Editor

Interactive Trading Room Moderator

Gap and Intra-Day Trading Specialist

Instructor and Traders Coach


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Traders -- beginning and otherwise -- are flexible in their rules because they have no trading plans hence, no rules, or at least no rules that mean much. But it goes deeper than that: they have no plans because they believe that they are better traders than they really are, and since their record-keeping is spotty at best, they are perfectly capable of going on for years without much improvement (or none). In fact, their belief in their trading ability is so unshakeable that they don't hesitate to depart from their "plans" -- if any -- when they believe the occasion demands because they believe that they are smarter than their own plans (though one could argue that under these circumstances the plan can hardly be classified as such).


But it all works out in the end. This type of trader brings money to the market that traders with thoroughly tested and sound plans -- and rules -- can take from them, much like the kid in elementary school who gets beaten up on the playground for his lunch money.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.