Many of the lessons I have taught through this blog over the years referenced my experience as an options trader. I have been trading full time for well over 16 years. During that time I have made all the mistakes imaginable, and probably more than once. I learned the hard way, through the school of hard knocks. Now, I have advanced degrees from some outstanding universities, but nothing I learned at those institutions could prepare me for the daily battles I face in trading.
What is it about trading that continues to fascinate me? I love the action, I love the excitement and the challenge to put my knowledge on the line each day so I can make a buck. That's what it comes down to, really. Do I have an edge? Can I make money today and build my wealth for the future? I put it to the test each day, and usually the outcome is good but sometimes it's not so good. At times, I could beat my head against the wall wondering what is the matter.
Since nobody can predict the future with any sort of long term accuracy we must rely on other tools to help us make trading decisions. For me, it's the charts/technicals, time-tested historical data that assist me in creating a nice story/picture about the future action in a stock or index. This has been my 'go to' approach for years. I have been mostly successful reading the charts, and even wrote a book about it. But as mentioned earlier, sometimes stocks don't move when I want them to, and that could lead to losses, small then large if I'm not careful.
At times I get into a trading slump, which is no different than a professional athlete going through a cold spell. What I'll do is slow down, step back and watch more than be an active trader. I can learn just as much from watching the action with little/no risk on the line as I can while losing a nice stake.
It's not easy building an account. It takes hard work, discipline and extraordinary preparation just to survive and thrive. But your trading profits can be ripped away from you in a split second if you're not careful. If you find yourself in this situation now or in the future, take some time off, take a step back and reset yourself. I think you'll find when you come back to it you'll be in a much better place mentally, emotionally and financially.