In Forex and Futures Commentary, Trading Routine and Psychology

This is year #8 of yours truly maintaining a blog. And that's about all I have been doing, quite frankly. Maintaining.

I wasn't sure how to start writing this post today because I realize the audience actually reading this is so vast, the question of “how do you direct this” just gets convoluted in a sea of other people's emotions.

So here it goes:

This site took me down a path I never thought imaginable 8 years ago. I have certainly learned a lot. But a surefire way to confuse me is to ask the question “has it been rewarding?”. Honestly, I have no clear answer to that.

So I am going to start this with what I know:

Half of my social media followers are peddling 1-3 rated products on a scale of 1-10. Seriously, like half. And about half of those are out of business.

Are these “bad” people? Of course not. This is just the way life has more or less set them up and they way they see as a means of a solution, to something they got involved with.

So what can I learn from this? There is a very skewed ratio of marketing efforts to consumers in this business. Overwhelming. So how does it all effect the end consumer (trader)?

Quite alarmingly, I think. Frankly, there is a problem out there that doesn't nearly get the attention it deserves. The language used on many of these sites fits the bill of any other advertising: intended to strike a nerve and get the consumer to take action. Today I wanted to talk about it in a new light.

My Background

I didn't work, or really even have exposure to the retail trading world until I started this site. And back then, I probably shouldn't have even been posting what I was, because there were so many educational gaps to fill.

Last week, I received an email that shook me pretty hard.  I have seen countless examples of the online marketing that goes on in this business, and realize how much of it changes the way people approach sites like this one.

People lie.

I can point you in the direction of hundreds of sites that are riddled with them. The “honest” guys, with the charity links and all this other stuff, lie. The chest puffers still living 15 years ago, lie. Politicians lie. Journalists lie. Tons of people lie, most times for the purpose of suiting their own motives.

They key, of course, is to perform better mentally than most others out there, and be extremely grateful for what you already have.

The email I received was riddled with skepticism.

I “know” this email type by now and don't feel the need to get into details. But the bottom line was that this person had an image of me based on another image created by all these other people on the internet, which was basically the complete opposite of who I was.

I looked around myself and saw a half eaten bag of tortilla chips to my left, fluorescent lights above my head, empty water cups, a stack of papers riddled with notes in front of me, oh, and six monitors, and asked “what the hell do these people think I am?”. My eyes are always bloodshot from staring at monitors all day. Put an image of me on a beach, with bikini clad women all around me like this and most of you would be laughing your butts off.

I googled the email address and immediate became quite sad. I'm definitely not sharing details but I read something that told me a lot about this person's struggles and got me working on my own personal journey, thinking “what am I going to do about all of this?” Obviously, it was the motivation for everything you're reading right now.

The Problem

The underlying problem with a site like this are the primary means of attraction to it. I am not the one that will ever tell you that trading is a “way out” of damn near anything. In fact, it is a very easy way IN to further complications and stresses.

But what work isn't?

The difference with active daytrading is that the risk/reward (of the activity) is very poor for beginners. Obviously this is the complete opposite of everything we are consistently fed and told. But its the truth.

I can't concede to this because its just not in my DNA. You will never hear me telling anyone otherwise: my personal journey of failure and how I reached up to the sky and grabbed the bull by horns like I'm some kind of messiah, or some other ridiculous story that is written like a movie script. Its ^%$*ing hard. Period.

And you should only be doing it if you can actually afford to. This is written in the standard CFTC disclaimer found at the bottom of all registered offerings (that nobody reads). I'm here to tell you there is a reason its there, and thensome.

The Even Bigger Problem

People love a quick fix. I don't think there is any such thing as a quick, permanent fix, for anything in life, however.

The bigger problem here is that many people are drawn to this business for the absolute wrong reasons. Not everyone, but many.

There is this illusion that trading is a “way out” of something. Obviously finances are the primary motive here.

Money troubles are some of the worst troubles, and I will tell you that your odds of handsomely donating your hard earned cash to a market maker are extremely high if you think this way.

So why do the rich get richer? One of the main reasons is because they have excess capital to invest in riskier ventures, some of which produce a very high ROI, but not all. They have the means to the opportunity. They can take the risk, while still maintaining their current, cushy lifestyle.

Daytrading is, unequivocally and without question, classified as a risky venture. And unless you “hit it” right from the beginning (some, but very few, do), your path is going to be rough. The learning curve in this business is very high, partly because we fight against everything society tells us is the “right” thing to do, the way its set up.

So there is a deeper root that we need to take care of. Stability. Acceptance. Long-term growth. Everyone has ego, drive, fear, disappointment, etc. We're a bunch of basket cases…….I get it.

Yet some people just handle these situations much easier than others, and they're usually the ones NOT taking on risky ventures. Funny how that works, right?

There are people that sacrifice extremely important things (education, long-term career, marriage, children) and so forth, for risky ventures. And a lot of these people don't even like what they're doing, but do it anyway.

So if you're going down this path, its time to become a realist. You can resume risky ventures anytime you want, but just make sure your priorities are set straight. The worst thing you can do is fail the loved ones around you, or letting yourself down because you deep-down knew better the entire time.

If you fit the above profile, I would say STOP WORRYING about what you're going to do 1 month from now and worry about what you're going to do 15 years from now. Because trust me, the older you get, the faster the time goes by. Your “lens on the world” changes, and with it, time skips by.

You just have to realize what you're capable of accomplishing outside of your regular comfort zone.

Being Prepared

Like anything else, there is a right way to trade, and a very wrong way. Once again, deep down, you know what this entails. Here is a list of cliches I wrote 2 weeks ago that answer this obvious question in case you're not entirely sure what I mean by that.

Most people completely avoid that little noise their head at all costs. Your conscious (taught by society) is trained to override your instinct. Formalities are a pain the butt sometimes.

That's 200,000 years of human evolution you shove down the shaft every day, if you're trading against your instincts.

And that's just one of the reasons trading can be so challenge. And yes, we all want to prove to the world what we can do, but it has to be done properly.

Many people are simply not prepared for this. And the people that should be telling you, typically are not, because they have their own motives. They want your cash. Duh.

I teach strategy. Tons of it. I could hand people a winning strategy, explain it to the best of my abilities, but they won't apply it properly because something else is wrong. Usually, I find, its because old habits hang around like chronic disease. And these habits are reinforced by societal instincts. Getting rid of them is extremely challenging.

There is no greater upset than to be spending so much time on something with little or no sense of accomplishment. We absolutely need accomplishment to feel fulfilled in life. We need to know that we're doing something right. In this business, it means focusing on the data and doing what makes sense, not any other way. The numbers are your truth, here.

This isn't to say you can't pursue this as a hobby, by taking no risk at all, in the meantime. I mean really, who's watching you? Who cares? But don't let it consume you or misrepresent what it really is at the end of the day.

I am here because I'm experienced. Other people are “here” because they have access to the right tools and resources, money, etc. Think of me as a pilot with a lot of time in the air. Nothing else.

Site Changes

The name “NoBrainerTrades” is going away. Why, you ask? Because its terrible, plain and simple. I have never, ever liked it, and it completely (if you can't tell by the tone of this post) completely misrepresents everything I am as a person. I came up with it in about 2 minutes, late one night, as the name of a forum thread.

So the new name? StrategyRoot.com. It's fine, generic, and fits perfectly in the world of “who cares”. I don't mind being a fly on the wall because there is more than enough noise out there already. But please come back if you're looking for a voice of reason.

I plan on changing a few things, but not too much. For starters, I want to open up the doors to 3rd parties. So if you have some stuff that isn't bottom shelf quality, please send it my way. Let's collaborate. No cheap sales pitches, that's my only rule. I will banish you faster than a lighting bolt if there's no true value.

FXSAnalytics is going to hang, but I definitely need to make some changes there as well. My time gets easily vacuumed away and I've been unable to progress on growing the depth of materials as much as I want to due to the way it is currently set up.

If you fit any of the above, I definitely want to hear from you. Tell me your story, and I'll see if we can't get something accomplished. But I'm not a shrink.

I'm a trader. I stare and numbers and charts and get stressed out and euphoric like a living seesaw on steroids. Its interesting to me and I like it that way. But its not for everybody. And I always have a backstop just in case.

Struggle Much?

There is far, far too much human energy wasted on negativity. Google any of our current presidential candidates and chuck every article you read into a positive and negative column. There is zero question it will be like comparing a mouse to an elephant in terms of size.

It is almost like we are taught to feel guilt, inadequate or assume the worst about other people. Most of the time we have no idea what's actually happening on the other end of the line and so it spawns a world of assumptions in our heads based on the way MOST other people think.

Open Twitter or Facebook right now. Count the positive to negative things being said. Everybody thinks they're a comedian at someone else's expense. No wonder we end up like we do :).

Naturally you need to dismiss all of that and focus on the truth when you're doing something like trading. But “hope” and “aspiration” is not enough to succeed in any venture. Obviously, you have to know the mechanics and be a staunch realist.

So use that energy to learn them, no matter what it is. Trading or anything else.

If it doesn't feel right, it is because something is off. Really, its your job and no one else's to figure it out.

Conclusion

There is no conclusion. Let's keep going but be smart about what we're doing. I feel like Tony Robbins today, but whatever. And for the record, I'm not going to say I am any kind of Mahatma Gandhi when it comes to all this, either. I am just as susceptible as anyone else. But some things just need to be said. If there is one thing that bugs me, its putting on a facade as if I'm on a Broadway stage. Trust me, I am no Billy Crystal, either.

Thank you as usual for the continued support, and catch you soon.

Thanks,

Steve

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Showing 27 comments
  • Lee Paulison Jr
    Reply

    I met you years ago in North Carolina at a Chris Lori event. You spoke plainly and straight then, and I am happy to see you still do so. I’ll continue to follow and watch NBT, excuse me, StrategyRoot. Thank you for all your work over the years.

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Hi Lee, Happy to “see an old friend” and thanks for dropping the note! All the best,

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    I’ve got one question. I read a lot about singularity, artificial intelligence etc.
    Also in finance it seems that an increasing turnover is generated by algos which are (or will be) much more sophisticated than the human brain. Considering that this trend will rather accelerate than anything else don’t you think becoming a manual is a lost path? What’s the future of trading for you or anyone else who is interested in learning?

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Hi Mark, I don’t. And that’s because the basics are still the same. Prices as a function of volumes, etc., these are consistent and cannot ever be changed. Price action will look different, but what causes prices to propel and turn (in terms of trading activity) will not. Volume is volume. Finance is a very slow-to-evolve industry overall. It doesn’t keep up with technology like articles might lead you to believe. The same problems still exist for the retail trader as they have years ago: HFT and related arbitrage strategies, reliant on latency, are likely going to be ineffective without dishing out serious cash. For everything else, its like anything else: smarter technologies are accessible to those who go looking for them. And if you have the time to invest, why not…

  • Emma Love
    Reply

    I understand your frustration and I know for myself it’s very hard when someone assumes I am acting without integrity when I’m trying very hard to do the most integrous thing possible in a world where integrity is hard to find.

    I’ve run my own business my whole adult life so I haven’t really been impressed with the scammy stuff out there. I bought your course and Al Brooks and haven’t seen the need to spend money on any others yet. There is a lot of free information and at this point I mostly need to study and practice. Trading looks like anything else to me, a discipline that requires hard work to master. Difficult but do-able. So I looked for the people who seem to be actually doing it, have hard earned wisdom they are sharing, and are not trying to hook people’s emotions with promises of it being easy. Not that I haven’t had my moments with dollar signs in my eyes, but I try to laugh at myself when it happens and recognize it as just something humans do. This is a career change for me and it’s as simple as that, any new career will take years of training to get good at. I look for the best materials to shorten the learning curve if possible, but I don’t expect it will be easy. But I appreciate this blog post as a reminder to not be so hard on myself when I fail because failure is part of learning.

    So I get your frustration, but I think you are selling yourself short to go with such a generic name and plan to be a fly on the wall. Have you heard the phrase, “Don’t hide your light under a basket”? In a world full of scam artists, you are needed to be more than that. Just because others promote lies doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote the truth. The promotion part isn’t the problem, it’s the lying. The world needs you to speak the truth. Good branding exists to help a message be heard. Your message matters, and I think you should think about creating a brand that speaks to the truth you have to say. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for, and welcome the people who have been burned and are hurting. Be a lighthouse amongst treacherous waters.

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Hi Emma, Thanks very much for all of this and I agree on the difficult but do-able. Quick path seeking without the legwork is the usual stinger….as it is in most businesses. I think I may be downplaying the name selection also. It went through a decently long process and I actually ended up owning a few before settling. Still open though if anything solid comes along. What’s on the site will always stand well over the name and that’s why I try not to get too far into it. This was more of a reactionary post, albeit very easy to write because its the type of stuff I can’t ever question. On a side note, please feel free to reach out for a call if/when you ever feel up to it…I do them frequently. Also Al is a good choice as well. Like anything else you take what you can apply over the long haul and run with it. Thanks again for the positive words. Always glad to know people like yourself are listening.

    • Citi Kot (@citikot)
      Reply

      Dear Emma, I think, NBT is already such brand. I even don’t remember how long I’m with Stewe W and for me NBT is among top-5 most trusted resources of trading wisdom. I can not say is it good or bad that Stewe decided to change the name of the site and its concept but I can only welcome if the person is developing and moving forward. Anyway I will stay with Stewe under any banner )

  • Suhendro
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    I gotta say that the first time I get to know this website is because of its fancy name. But after all of these years, after following hundreds of website that sell the idea of get rich quick, I’m still here! Glad that you change the website name and hopefully it will represent more of your value and what you stand for.

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Hi Suhendro, Good tohear from you and its a miracle I’ve actually let it go this long but still open to ideas before the final switch. Its super easy. Not even sure when I’ll do it exactly but thanks so much for hanging around so long its much appreciated

  • Nathan Armstrong
    Reply

    Refreshing honesty. In grappling over a career path, and having been a business owner for over 10 years – I am the kind of person who is looking to trade not so much as way out, but rather since love it, and really would like more income. Having said that – i soon realized i am undercapitalized and have had to take a break from trading to focus on working my business in order to build enough capital. More money is supposed to be a buffer, and help me to have more psychological ease, but as I pile up a bit of cash after working alot of long hours for the last six months, I am still confronted with the reality that it is scary to load up and account with this $$$, and start trading it. It represents alot of time and effort – and I don’t feel like blowing it. So your comments about the rich getting richer, risk etc. in this post are quite interesting to me in light of this situation, and how to handle things.

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Thanks Nathan and about that: under-capitalization can lead to a lot of unforeseen problems beyond the simple risk of losing the finite amount of money initially invested. I thought about mentioning it here but I have issues enough knowing when to stop talking. Again the bigger issue is the leap in risk, which most people hear, understand, etc., but doesn’t resonate. Thanks and let me know if I can help.

  • Simon
    Reply

    Hi
    Found and used the site in 2013, which moved my trading perhaps more than any other ressource has. To me the name was actually quite opposite of the frauds/get rich quick, as it sounded ‘unfancy’ to me and descriptive of the site af I saw it: effective, simple and not sexy.
    Good luck, S

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Thanks Simon and glad to have you. Worst case the book is still open but it has been for a long time 🙂 so I’m more or less drawing the line in the sand out of necessity than anything else. All the best.

  • Wouter
    Reply

    Hey Steve,

    Great read yet again. It clearly describes of my biggest frustrations with this industry: That it is hard, for a beginner, to discern honest wellmeant advice with the scammy/money driven advice. The knowledge and experience you share are like a treasure chest to me

    Anyways, I’m happy to see a little pilot reference in there 😉

    • Steve W.
      Reply

      Hi Wouter and thx…..jogging my memory here I actually owe you an email. I hope all is well where you are right now. This storm = nothing to mess with!

  • Douglas O
    Reply

    Hi Steve…fellow Denverite here…the sad fact is that 95% of the education and product sold on trading is a scam but the “get rich quick” presentation of these folks always lures desperate folks in. Thanks for being a beacon in the darkness.

  • Steve W.
    Reply

    Thanks for the positive note Douglas and hat tip to DEN

  • jammie
    Reply

    Excellent post bro. I count you on my short list of good guys. Nbt, kreslik, and mr seiden. Alot of predators out there. Thanks for everything!

  • Jason
    Reply

    Thankyou Steve, I really appreciate your articles. So much wisdom. The psychological part has been the greatest challenge that I was totally unaware of for years. Just like a poker player, I can play really good for days, sometimes weeks, then 1 night “tilt” and damage my account and confidence. I imagine this is quite common. There are some amazing trading psychology talks on youtube by, Dr. Andrew Menaker Thanks again for all you share!

  • Richard Angelo
    Reply

    Glad you’re staying in the blogging business Steve. You’re one of the great ones! I got a lot out of the seminar you gave in Orlando years ago.

    Rick (from California)

  • Chris Thiaine
    Reply

    Hey steve,

    Interesting post I loved it. There’s a section there that has caught my interest.
    How can one reach you?

    Thanks.
    Chris.

  • janek
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    I think the original name was a good choice for the thread on FF, those first posts represent real NBs, and they still work IMO

    BR

  • Manni
    Reply

    hi Steve congrats on your 8 yrs man. I try to keep tabs on the 1st yr of a president’s term to see how the market will react. It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

  • Jonny Pean
    Reply

    It’s heartening to know that one of the “surefire” ways to confuse you would be to ask you how “rewarding” your blog has been. Seriously, even I fail to understand how exactly can you quantify your rewards from your own blog – a happening trading guide (if I may say so) which has found its place among EA Coder’s Top 100 Forex blogs? That’s how I found you!

  • Andrew
    Reply

    I couldn’t agree more about what you are saying. I started this journey the same way everyone does the idea of kicking off my slippers and making a few thousand each morning without the need to get out of my PJ’s. If there is one thing that I have learned so far and I’m just at the beginning it’s about understanding yourself.

    The first bit of advice any person wishing to get into this area is go and read as many. Oils about ego, self help and planning before you even start with the trading

    The good news is that all these books will improve your life immensely and make you a more productive person in anything you choose to Perdue in life

  • preeti
    Reply

    Good post!

  • SnakeFx
    Reply

    thanks! very helpful

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