Think About Your Trading

After the Close I was talking with two veteran traders. Both trade with us. Both are very wealthy from years of successful trading. You know how the NBA named its 50 best all-time players? Well one of these traders I describe as one of the 50 best day traders of all time. He actually taught me how to trade. Though as a novice it was a bit challenging following someone with five open positions of 10k shares or more. Both of these traders were sitting around after the close talking about their trading with each other and me.

One of these successful traders was a bit disappointed in his day. And he talked about how all night he will be thinking about how he could have traded better. He told a funny story about driving to a FedEx store in Texas recently and trading from a borrowed laptop. He put up 5k under those conditions. And yet after the Close he stared at the ceiling in his hotel room running through his work for hours. He was thirsting for answers on how to get better.

After the Close I called out the desk on their performance today. It has been a very long time since I have done this. And I am hesitant to do so for many reasons. Most of all since we have a young desk of traders who are still getting better and should be focusing on improving everyday and not necessarily their results. But it also my job to set standards. And it is my job to always tell the truth. There were many who should have performed better.

Of course when I got home the first email in my inbox was from our best trader talking about what he needed to do better. These are the emails that great traders write. Great traders review their days and trades. They visualize trading scenarios that they will encounter tomorrow. As I write they are considering the stocks they will trade. They are ripping through charts finding the best stocks and levels for the next trading day. They are running through different trades that they can and will make tomorrow. They are preparing their mind for success. They are thinking about their trading.

Old School traders used to think through all of their trades for a day. We didn’t have video of our trades like we do today. But we kept trading journals religiously. We kept index cards on our desk reminding us of our trading rules. We recognized that thinking through your trades made you a better trader.

After the Close it is easy to just go home and leave your trading at the office. But to get better you should be almost obsessive about your trading. What did I do well today? What levels will I trade off of tomorrow? What setups will work well tomorrow? What are the best stocks for me tomorrow? As I write I am considering whether to focus on AMZN or AAPL. AAPL will offer me safer plays but AMZN may offer more violent moves. But then again maybe that isn’t correct. And I will think about that some more until I fall asleep. And I will see the setups that will work for me tomorrow. And the plays where I will be aggressive. I am thinking about my trading.

Look there are a lot of people who talk a good game about wanting to be a great trader. Great traders do the thousand little things necessary to be great. And this is one of those things. Think about your trading.

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