If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

I like maxims and quips. Little phrases that tell a big story. I like the parables in the Bible because a child can say “I get it,” and an aged student can say “Oh… now I get it.” The principle of keeping it simple is a good one for most of life’s situations including trading. And while trading skills are not easy to master, they involve simple principles.

Mastery in most areas of life includes learning to conserve extraneous movement and effort. When it is done right it looks simple and onlookers often say “Well, I could do that.” But the “wanna be” soon finds that it is not as easy as it seems. Trading can be frustrating and discouraging, but when the market seems to get you down and you feel like you will never get it, remember Sean Connery’s famous line, “Impossible, but doable.”

Too often, traders experience real highs and real lows. While the give and take is normal and expected, big swings are usually the result of changing stride or technique inappropriately. Finding your stride or niche can really make the trading life a lot more consistent and smooth and therefore, profitable. Getting to know a few terrific trading stocks rather than collecting all the potential candidates from recommendations and scans begins to overwhelm a trader and changes the rifle shot accuracy to a shotgun splatter.

So, a while back in a Trader Talk Live training a student wrote “- the past 7 days of trading have been absolutely fantastic. I have confirmed again the value of following just a few stocks and getting to learn (as much as possible) their behavior. PD is one of my all time favorites”. She was referring to a principle that is trained in the Trader’s Forge two day trading camp that I conduct once a month. I advise students to build a stable of good trading stocks and get to know them. Pick your favorite 6-10 and back trade them repeatedly. Learn to recognize the patterns of behavior. Does it behave in similar ways around earnings? Does it make clean or sloppy turns? Does it have a tendency to throw certain chart patterns? In doing so, you get a feel for the traders who influence the stock and improve your chances to repeatedly tap that stock for pattern trades.

The patterns we observe are the behavior of people. Key Traders are interacting with various levels of traders, brokers, fund managers and the public. This cast of players is unique in each stock or group of stocks, bonds, commodities etc. Hence, unique patterns develop and that is the key. Instead of flitting around like a butterfly from bush to bush looking for a new flower, you can find certain flowers that keep producing on a regular cycle. You develop a routine and learn the cycle so that you can just stick around and harvest over and over again.

I have a friend who taught me this principle in a dramatic way. He had a very narrow group of stocks that he got to know and not only did he learn the patterns, but he also studied the company’s behavior. He knew how they acted around earnings, what products they were releasing, and how their stock responded to economic news and events. One year alone, he made over $750,000 trading one company. It was interesting to note that others seeing his success always wanted to know, “What’s it going to do next?” Like the children’s story of the Little Red Hen, most fellow traders wanted to cash in on his valuable insight and very few asked him to teach them how to trade like he traded. It was folly to think that if he gave them the information, they would also gain the skill it took to glean the information. That, however, is human nature.

It is the nature of most folks to want to find the easiest way. Most want to find a secret or a magic strategy. A good deal of the GDP of this country is based on selling the sizzle, not the steak. We search for the fountain of youth, the short cut, and the edge so to speak, but in the end one universal constant remains. Working smart is better than working hard. And in the end, the magic is usually finding the key or core of the matter and developing some simple and specialized skills.

If you can find a piece of good ground that can be cultivated and harvested over and over again, you find one of the jewels of trading. The secret of most millionaires is finding a stream of residual income. Patterns are there because people are creatures of habit and the market is just people. With six to ten good pattern trading stocks in the price range you like, there will always be something ready to trade. When you run across a great stock, you can replace the weakest one in your stable and place it on the bench until it warrants taking a position on the starting lineup.

The problems come when a trader chases the latest hot stock or lets their field of vision widen too far. When you find an account size and a group of stocks and a few strategies that work, stick with it!!! And don’t mess with it and Dance with what ‘brung ya’.

I would love to have you spend a couple days with me in the Trader’s Forge. As a trading coach, that is where I can do the most good for you. I train folks in the Trader Talk Live mentoring workshops each week but that training is most beneficial to the folks who have been to the two day training of the Forge. Last week was a terrific training in Tampa. This month is Denver and then on to Detroit.

I hope to see you in the online web training classes held throughout the week and soon in a two day FORGE Trading workshop.

Ryan with Better Trade