Background: Standing up and falling like a kid: I started trading in 2009 and have had many blow-ups since then. The biggest reason for blow-ups was I did not understand risk. Some of my initial blow-ups: 1. blew up one 5k account within 15 days of opening 2. blew up another 4k "testing the waters" account within 5 days of opening - actual blow up happened within one night - trading Norwegian Krone. 3. Took another 3k "testing the waters" account to 20k in 1 month, then blew it again within a week. Multiple losing trades. I was convinced now I have discovered the way to trade and so: 4. Put all my savings, borrowed money and opened an account with 55k. Had a 70% drawdown within a month. Then recovered and went to 80k and since history repeats itself - very quickly came back to 10k. Basically another blow up - caused by a lot of futures in gold and silver. Till this point I did not understand position sizing. Learning to Walk: All the above was enough to get this into my head that I need to find a positive expectancy strategy before I trade ever again. I started back-testing and quickly found a strategy (within 2 days) that was able to produce high 200-300% profits with big 25-40% drawdowns. I read Ralph Vince books and absorbed them. I read many books since I didn't have any money left to trade, including Soros, Livermore, Market wizards, Inside the house of money etc. At this point, I was 6 months into my trading career and had following positive and negative things: Positives: Understood position sizing, some understanding of global macro, what great traders had written about their approach to markets etc., a very strong numbers background Negatives: Casual attitude towards money, ZERO discipline Walking on a ridge: Funded a 3k account and started to trade again, following the back-tested strategy and improving it on the go. Very good results for 2 months, went to 6k with 10% drawdown in 2 months and 70% positive days. Prototype testing was successful and it was clear that if I only do this, I should have made 8x-12x my money in 1 year. However, my confidence was going high and I decided to take a discretionary long term trade and let the trade go against me and I was leveraged. Quickly lost 80% again But the upshot was my strategy was proven, negative thing was my discipline was so outrageously bad. (as a digression - It was a highly curve-fitted strategy and I was very well aware of it, but I was still trading it since I understood strategy so intuitively that I was able to change the conditions of strategy just by looking at the current market. Also I was very conscious to note any regime change and was looking to modify/stop my strategy if a regime change happened). Meanwhile, I had an epiphany and discovered one more strategy, which in back-tests and forward tests has proven to be very reliable. This experience gave me a lot of strength but I was broke by now. It was middle of 2010. By this time, I had developed 3 to 4 strategies in all. I went and took a job, funded my account twice again in 2010, and both times lost the account again. The culprit these two time were again the same : doing things other than my strategy and too high a leverage. After this I went and traded under the strict observation of another trader, and I was to report my results to him every day. It was purely discretionary trading, but I made money in 3 out of 4 months and came out highly positive overall. That experienced trader began to respect me for my market insights and my risk management. End results: I proved that I can make money doing both systematic trading and discretionary trading. Also, I believe my risk management has improved a lot since then. Before elite traders attack on this claim on the premise that 4 month is too short a period to claim that I can successfully trade markets discretionarily, I ask you to wait and see after 6 months and again 6 months after that and so on.