Reflecting on 8 Months as a Futures Prop Firm Trader
Today marks 8 months since I began my journey as a Futures Trader, starting on September 28th, 2022. This period has been quite a roller coaster, filled with challenges both on my trading screen and in my personal life.
I am immensely grateful for the highs I've experienced along the way. I appreciate the support from those who have been with me since January of this year, and I warmly welcome all the new followers.
In this article, I want to be completely transparent about two significant realizations I've had about myself and my journey during these 8 months. If you can relate to my experiences, please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'm genuinely interested in hearing about your journey, whether you've just started or have been trading for years.
Let's dive right into it!
The Importance of Trading Psychology
One topic I frequently discuss on this website and all my social media platforms is trading psychology. I firmly believe that trading psychology is akin to your mental health, personal well-being, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. If you're not in a good place in your personal life, it's unlikely that your trading psychology will be picture-perfect.
Speaking about my own journey, I have a lot to work through, and I've mentioned seeking therapy to address these issues. The path I'm on is challenging, and because my personal life has its ups and downs, it directly impacts my trading psychology.
With that in mind, I've realized two things about my trading psychology that have helped me improve it, even if it's just by a small fraction. The first is the importance of consistently stimulating my brain with educational or self-help articles. This approach signifies a commitment to self-improvement and applying the knowledge gained from these articles, as well as insights from therapy.
Education can encompass a wide range of topics, including aspects of my personal life and everything related to trading, such as podcasts, trader experiences, success stories, struggles, strategy breakdowns, back testing, screen time, chart analysis, and more. Self-help, on the other hand, focuses on my personal well-being.
The Impact of Personal Events on Trading Psychology
The second aspect I've come to realize is that significant personal events in my life have a substantial influence on the way I trade, both on the screen and in my mental state. During such times, it's often best to take a break.
I won't claim to always step away 100% of the time when I know I should take a break. That wouldn't be truthful. I still grapple with my gambling tendencies in trading and the addiction to overtrading. Moreover, when I find myself transitioning from profitable trades to being in a drawdown, the temptation to keep trading can be strong. So, I acknowledge that I don't always follow the best course of action, even though I know what's right.
This is part of being human, and it's something I'm actively working on. I believe that if I can improve this aspect of my trading habits, it will ultimately have a positive impact on my trading psychology.
Overall, the key idea is that when significant life events occur, taking a break is essential. There's nothing wrong with stepping away for a few hours, days, weeks, or even months. Taking a break allows you to regather yourself, gain clarity, and return feeling more refreshed. Perhaps then, you'll be better prepared to resume your trading journey.
These are the two aspects of my trading psychology that I'm focusing on. As mentioned earlier, my journey in psychology is a bit turbulent right now, and I'm diligently working on it. Some days are more challenging than others, but that's all part of the growth process.
Addressing Bad Trading Habits
The next important point I want to address, which was a tough pill to swallow, is that I've held onto bad trading habits for approximately six to seven months.
It all began when I mistakenly believed that trading was a get-rich-quick scheme. I understand this might sound a bit strange, especially given my affiliations with certain companies and trading on Prop Firms' accounts in the past. Let me clarify this for you.
Starting with the get-rich-quick notion, it's safe to say that many beginners enter the world of trading with the idea that they can achieve overnight wealth. They see individuals driving Lamborghinis, living in mansions, going on extravagant vacations, or supporting their families, all thanks to being full-time day traders. There's a lot of hype about escaping the 9-to-5 grind and making a fortune overnight. The internet is filled with scammy posts and stories of people becoming millionaires seemingly overnight, especially during the 2020 pandemic. I, too, fell for the misconception that trading was a quick path to riches, but that's far from reality.
After eight months, I'm still not consistently profitable, and I know many other traders, both online and offline, took a considerable amount of time before achieving success, at least by their own standards.
This misguided belief in quick riches led to the development of my bad trading habits. I initially thought trading involved placing bets to make money without the need for technical or fundamental analysis. I didn't think there was a need for strategies or trading psychology. I was essentially clueless. This misunderstanding set me off on the wrong foot.
Now, let's move on to the part about Prop Firms and how it contributed to my bad trading habits. Already trapped in the get-rich-quick mindset and lacking any proper trading knowledge, I started buying these accounts, attempting to mimic the trading styles of YouTubers like Trades by Matt, whom I greatly admire. I thought it was as simple as copying their moves, but it wasn't.
Consequently, I blew one account after another, never grasping the deeper aspects of trading. By the time I realized there was more to the game, months had passed, roughly from December to January. A significant amount of time had elapsed, and it only takes 21 days to form a habit. I had already gone far beyond that. I continued with these bad trading habits—gambling, aggressiveness, overleveraging with numerous contracts, and a lack of understanding of risk management, particularly in relation to take profit and stop loss levels.
I had failed to establish a clear risk-to-reward strategy, whether it was one-to-one, one-to-two, or one-to-three. My trading plan lacked structure, and this set me up for repeated failures. These bad habits persisted, and it was only around the third or fourth month, approximately in March, when I admitted my gambling addiction in a YouTube video. It was a wake-up call. I realized that without changing my actions and striving to improve, I couldn't expect different results.
Progress and Lessons Learned
As I moved from March onwards, I began to gain a better understanding of what a trading strategy involved and delved a bit deeper into technical analysis. My trading psychology still wasn't at its best due to ongoing personal issues outside of my trading endeavors.
Nevertheless, things started to improve gradually. I firmly believe that because I was working on dismantling those bad habits, I eventually realized that I couldn't continue down the same path. By July, I had a new funded account that resulted in multiple payouts, and I thought, "Look what happens when you genuinely commit to improving. Those 0.001% progress days add up, allowing you to withdraw profits from the market." It was quite an exhilarating experience.
However, the challenge lay in the fact that my bad habits had lingered for so long that they influenced how I handled my funded and performance accounts. While I successfully took multiple payouts from July to September, I reflected on the many challenges I had passed earlier. Some of them had been converted into funded accounts or performance accounts, while others were lost shortly after activation, often just a few hours or days before the scheduled payout. There was even a challenge with "Bulenox" where I was on the brink of victory but didn't realize it and lost the account.
There's always that bittersweet taste of almost achieving victory, only to have it snatched away. I attribute this to my prolonged bad habits, which extended the timeline of my journey to becoming a consistently profitable trader. All of this happened because I allowed those habits to persist for an extended period.
A Final Thought on Your Trading Journey
Before we wrap up, I want you to consider this: Imagine if the way you're trading right now was on your personal live account. I'm talking about an account where every dollar you have to your name is at stake, whether it's $10, $500, or $10,000. Would you trade the exact same way on your personal live account? This question has a profound impact on me every day I trade, and I leave it with you to ponder.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that trading is undeniably a journey, not a get-rich-quick scheme. It involves a plethora of factors and requires dedication, similar to how individuals invest years in college to become experts in their chosen fields. These experts amass hands-on experience, technical know-how, and the necessary characteristics to excel in their craft. Trading follows the same principle.
I genuinely appreciate your time and support. I hope this article has provided you with insights into my last 8 months as a futures trader and the two major challenges I'm currently facing on my path to the next level.
Thank you for your time and support. I wish you the very best and hope for your continued success in everything you do. Let's support one another because the stress of the markets is more than enough to contend with. I'll see you in the next article.