How to gain confidence letting profit ride?

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by a529612, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. I always get fearful that I'm just renting profit and exit some of my best trades early while they are going my way. Any suggestions?
  2. jho


    I'm having the same problem and trying to work it out. What I do is enter the trade, have a stop loss and sit on your hands. Don't touch your mouse until you get stopped out or the trade goes your way then starts to stall or turn around.

    It's tough hey?
  3. When you're in profit, sell 1/2 of the position and move the stop to breakeven.

    You have 2 demons perched on your shoulders, one named Fear and the other named Greed. They must be bribed daily to keep them from distracting you and losing money.
  4. Sitting on your hands is the difference between good returns as opposed to mediocre to no returns.

    You have to have a target price based on something whether it is the next major resistance level or some other scheme. Sure sitting on you hands may lose you a little profit, but you will always get back much more if you wait until at least your target is reached. Once you have some good results from sitting on your hands you will have no problem doing it in the future.
  5. Vince1


    To smooth the process you can start by taking quick profits on say 75% of the position and sit tight with a very small size, thus gaining confidence and eventually be able to sit tight full size++
  6. What's your trading plan? What does it say?

    You design a plan to take money from the markets and then you execute it. And, over time, it sucks money from the markets for you. You can adjust your plan (half off at target, half trailing as long as possible say) to meet your psychological needs as well as your financial needs but, whatever you do, it should be tested and included in your plan.

    If you traded according to your plan then there are no "extra points" to be had. If you didn't then you need to improve your performance :)
  7. Why do you have a problem holding onto your winners? Probably because you have some arbitrary, irrational attachment to the price level you entered at. It seems safe. The further away the market moves from your point of entry, the less comfort you can feel holding your position. The level you're entering at however is not safe at all nor any safer than the levels at which you want to prematurely exit; the probability of a reversal isn't any more likely, and if it is, then you should exit for that reason (becuase the market is telling you the probabilities are changing, not because the market is moving away from the level to which you have an irrational attachment). Rid yourself of these attachments and your problem is solved; next time you feel tempted to take your profits early, remind yourself that it's just your emotions being trained to attach themselves to the entry price. Remind yourself that trading is hard work and retraining your mind to act differently than it's biologically used to is the goal, and the longer you hold onto emotional attachments to given price levels the more you'll struggle with trading and ingrain bad habits. It doesn't have to be too much of a struggle, you just have to understand your behavior and act in accordance with rationality.
  8. I've always had this problem, i've been better about holding for intraday moves but still trying to improve substantially my multiday holds
  9. For me the solution was trading with the correct size.

    I trade ER2(Russell 200 futures). I am an intraday scalper/daytrader. I had the same issue you are describing. I solved the problem by reducing my maximum size. The size I trade with today ----- I never have the fear that one trade will destroy me.

    I will first describe what I mean by "max size". I trade using Trading Technologies(TT) as my front end. My clearing firm sets the max size I am able to trade using TT. Currently my max size in ER2 is 10 contracts. If for example I attempt to trade 11 contracts my order will be rejected.

    ER2 is a very volatile contract. On any given trade I could lose 20 ticks(2 points) in under 1 minute. Emotionally I have to be able to withstand a 20 tick loss. Trading 10 contracts this would be a $2000 loss. I would not be happy being down $2000, but I am confident that I could make this money back. If not by the end of the day at least by the end of the week.

    Even if the worst case scenario has never happened to you your subconscious is very aware of the chance of catastrophe. As long as your maximum trade size has the possibility of catastrophe fear will control your trading.

    I will describe my experience with catastrophic size. Before I reduced my size to 10 max size my max size was 20 contracts. With 20 contracts I could potentially lose $4,000 on any given trade in under 1 minute. I am not confident I can make $4,000 back by the end of the trading day or even by the end of the week. I also am not confident I would exit the trade if it became a $4,000 loser!! When my max size was 20 I was profitable, but not consistent. For example in July I was profitable 16 out of 20 days, but the 4 losing days were 5 times my average winning day. So subconsciously I was always fearful. S H I T even consciously I always felt stress! With this cloud of fear in my mind I never held trades long enough. No matter what size I was trading at the time I would always exit early.

    Since I reduced my max size to 10 contracts I have been profitable for 14 days straight!! By the way I did not just reduce my max size. I also reduced the amount of money I have in my trading account. This way if I am down money I cannot call the risk manager at my clearing firm to increase my size because I only have enough money in my account to cover the margin for max of 10 contracts.

    For the first time in my trading career I feel I am in complete control of my trading. I am trading much better because I am not afraid of a catastrophic loss. The most I have been down in the last 14 days was $2500. I can live with a losing day of 2-3 thousand. Again I would not be happy with this, but it would not destroy my confidence.

    So I would suggest the following.

    1) Calculate what the worst case scenario could be on any given trade. For me 20 ticks is what a trade could go against me before I could react. So I must be comfortable losing 20 ticks trading with my max size.

    2) Reduce your size to this comfortable size.

    3) Reduce the amount of money in your trading account to cover the margin for your max size.
  10. Tums


    great post.
    thanks for sharing.
    #10     Sep 29, 2006