If you are reading this post right now after seeing my linkbait-ish title you probably fall roughly into one of three categories;
The first would be those of you who said, “whoa, a quick and easy way to make money in trading, that is just what I am looking for. As soon as I order my new Ferrari that I will pay for with the quick and easy money I am going to make in trading I will check it out.”
The next group is here no doubt because they thought, “Yeah right! What a bunch of bullshit that is. Nobody can make quick and easy money trading. In fact nobody can make money in trading or the markets. The system is rigged, the game is stacked against me, there’s no way we actually landed on the moon, Kate Upton is a guy…” and so on.
If you fall into one of those two groups first I am going to give you some insight and then I am going to give you something of tangible value.
For those in the first group you need a reality check. Technology and the democratization of information has made it easier to get access to knowledge about trading and to shorten your learning curve up incrementally, but there is no fast way, nor will there ever be an easy way to make money in the markets.
For those in the second group, well, you need to seriously relax. Though it is true that the vast majority of people who attempt to trade end up losing money, it’s not because there is some “Star Chamber” type of conspiracy going on, it’s because most people refuse to do the hard work that is needed in order to become proficient in the markets.
Everybody who has read this blog for any amount of time knows my back story. I was working nights at a dive bar when someone dared me to go up on stage on Karaoke night. A talent scout for Star Search happened to be in the audience and I was “discovered” and asked to be on the show. I quickly became a fan favorite and America’s sweetheart, but because I refused to “play ball” with Ed McMahon in the green room he sabotaged my final performance, sending me into a downward spiral of pills and booze that left me a broken shell of a man.
Wait, that was my second cousin Ryan’s story.
My story is that I bought my first stock when I was eighteen and traded consistently for twenty years until I decided to sell my business and trade full-time. It was a big risk and it meant that it I had to make a serious commitment towards taking things to the next level. I did that by doing a lot of woodshedding, meaning I went through hundreds of charts each month, deconstructing what things worked and what things didn’t.
Most of those charts came from two blogs that I followed and have written about before, “Trader-X” and the “Wall St. Warrior.” But I didn’t just look at their charts on-line, I downloaded their images, cut-and-pasted the commentary and analysis for each, added it to the images, and printed them out individually. Then I put them into individual plastic folders grouped by long and short trades.
This was before Ipads, smart phones, or mini-notebooks and I carried that plastic folder everywhere I went.
I reviewed it while waiting for my wife to shop at the mall. I reviewed it while my car was being washed. I reviewed it at boring family functions. I reviewed it til I knew the setups backwards and forwards, and then I began incorporating them into my own trading, building on ones that fit my style and cutting out ones that didn’t. It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy, but it worked.
So what is the point of this story, just to say “look at me, see how cool I am?” Well, of course it is; that’s always the point of my blog posts….duh! But besides that it is to tell you that there is no shortcut to success in the markets.
Doyle Brunson once said that he had to play twenty thousand hands of poker before he felt he had really mastered the game. And he went on to say that today with the advent of online poker, new players to the game could go through that many hands in one tenth the time he did, but, they still had to go through the same amount of hands in order to have a chance to achieve success. It’s the same with trading.
Technology gives you the ability to get more information and knowledge in fast, but you still have a minimum threshold that you have to consume in order to give yourself a chance in the markets. Now, for that “tangible value” I referred to earlier….
While cleaning out some closets recently I came across my folders full of those trading charts and commentary I mentioned, and being the giver that I am, I took them down to Kinko’s and had them scanned so your could have copies for yourself. The markets have changed since these charts were made, but some of the core ideas on setups, trade management, and risk are still of value. In fact you can’t put a price on this stuff, although it did cost me thirty-five bucks to scan it all in.
There are four files in all and you are welcome to download any or all of them as many times as you want. Note: I am assuming this will not upset Trader-X or the Wall Street Warrior because A) All this stuff is public B) it was all offered free of charge C) I am giving full credit to them, and D) they have both shown themselves to be very generous individuals who are willing to help others learn.
Oh, and those of you who make up that third group, the ones who read the title of this post and said, “there is no way Brian could be writing a serious post on THAT topic, but I know he is going to take it somewhere good so I have to check it out…” Well then congratulations, you have a balanced view of the markets and I greatly appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt that this post would be of value to you.
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