September 2015

Goals are like leaders. Everyone knows they can be powerful parts of success, but because the term is used in such broad ways, vagueness can surround the term. Have you ever heard a one word definition of leader? John Maxwell says leadership is simply “influence.” This may not be a sufficient definition for some, but for me it was very clarifying. I’d like to share a similar epiphany I had when I thought deeply about goals.

Let’s start with a few semantics. To become financially free is what many people would consider to be a “goal” in life. It’s not mine. I want to become financially free so that my wife can stay at home with the kids, I can pursue my desire to coach full-time, and we can live a lifestyle that supports health, happiness and peace.  These are huge motivating forces in my life.  They are what get me excited and help me persevere through hard times. But they describe my dream… not my goal.

What is the difference?

I want my goals to be something over which I have complete control. So my one word definition for goals is “steps.” Maybe it’s my competitive nature or my competitive nurture growing up in sports, but I like there to be a winner and a loser…a yes or a no…did I accomplish the goal or didn’t I? I typically ask my teams, “What are your goals for the season?” Many times they’ll say, “To go undefeated.” Then they lose the first game. Does that make them failures? Should they quit improving and stop trying because their goal can’t be realized? Sounds preposterous, but I’ve seen it happen all too often.

So their understanding of goals (or lack of understanding) actually prevented growth. They didn’t have complete control over their goal. They had no idea if the goal was attainable because they  couldn’t control how good their opponents were that season, who was going to get a season ending injury, etc. So why not call it a dream, not a goal, so it still has the purpose of motivation but doesn’t make you a failure if you don’t reach it? And here it is…the “certain aspect” that was so helpful to me in having goals play a meaningful part of success in my life: It is the fact that my goals are process oriented and not outcome oriented. Processes are actions by me that I can control.

The processes may be difficult for me to accomplish, but that is OK because they are completely within my control. Outcomes are not always in my control. For example: My goal is NOT 50 pips a week. That is where I want to be, but right now I don’t have the skill to accomplish it. So my goal for the week is to make all of my entries with a physical risk out. Because I don’t always recognize good entries or exits, because I don’t always measure from the right spot, because I trade emotionally, I don’t have 50 pips a week as my goal. But 50 pips will be an outcome of my behavior.

So if I’m going to improve my outcomes, I must improve my behavior as a trader. I must do things (take actions) that will improve my chances of positive outcomes. A high level trader, Billy Himan, looked at my screenshots and made the recommendation “never take a trade without a physical risk out.” So that has been my goal in the last 4 weeks. My trading has improved vastly. Only one of those weeks did I reach 50 pips, but I felt successful every week because I reached my goal and saw improvement. I am closer to my dream which is a great feeling! An addicting feeling actually.

And it was that simple goal or “step” that caused growth.

If you’re a new student don’t make your goal to get 10 pips this week. That is an outcome that you don’t have complete control over.  You don’t have the skill to do that yet. You may get lucky and get 50 pips, but that doesn’t make you a better trader or get you closer to your dream. Instead, make your goal, “I’m going to ask two questions of the instructor every day this week.” Or, “I’m going to see if I can sit and watch the market for one whole session and NOT make a single trade.” Or, “I’m going to get to the classroom three times this week.” These were all goals for me because even though they were difficult for me as a new student they were completely within my control.

For some of you more experienced traders you know that 50 pips a week is a great goal for you because you know the process you need to follow to get that goal. I would still make the case that you should make other goals that focus on the process itself. My guarantee is not that you will gain more pips this month but that you will learn and grow – so that dream of yours will become a reality much sooner.

One of the rules I have for entering a trade is, “I understand the set up for the trade that I am about to enter.”  Despite this rule, I realize that I have never taken the time to actually write down exactly what those trade set-ups and entries look like on the SMP platform.  Wow, that’s pretty shocking.  How have I not done this yet?  I should be doing this on an ongoing basis.  So that settles it: my mission over the coming days and weeks is to specifically write, diagram, and (hopefully!) screen-shot successful trades that exemplify exactly what I’m looking for in trades.  My hope and belief is that as I write out more and more of these set-ups, I will recognize them better when I see them, I will stay OUT of trades that don’t fit the criteria, my approach towards each of the trades will be refined, and my overall trading will improve dramatically.  Today I am just going to start with one very simple trade.

Disclaimer: This blog only represents my opinion.  Although my opinions are based on what I have learned at Fx365i, none of this necessarily represents the official views of the institute.

Bounce Off Average Price:

  • Entry:
    • When this trade works out, it can lead to awesome trades.  Very simply, if price has moved significantly away from an accumulation area and then reaches a larger average price line, if it appears to be bouncing cleanly off that average price, I believe you must GET IN QUICKLY!
    • If you wait too long, and the bounce is aggressive, then all of a sudden there are 15 or 20 pips of risk.  To use our bus stop analogy, if you get on quickly, you’re along for the ride.  If you wait too long, you’re either a) going to take a big dumb risk and try and jump on the back bumper of the bus (chase the trade), or b) get left at the bus stop sucking fumes as the bus takes off.
    • One key to entering this trade is keeping up with measuring.  It is not every day that we see a perfect 90 pips between the dot on the hour that price just rotated off and an average price line.  More frequently, we will be somewhere in the 90 pip ballpark.  Maybe we’ve only run about 82-85 from the dot, but if you measure from the high to the average price, it’s 108 pips.
    • As such, I believe that once we’ve run 90’ish pips and are possibly getting an exact bounce off average price, you can’t hesitate to get in.  The worst case scenario is to take a small negative (stop should be no more than roughly a pip off average price).  If you have 5 pips of risk vs a 30 pip profit target, that’s an outstanding 6:1 ratio.  On top of that, a clean bounce off average price can often result in a much larger run, so you may even have better than a 6:1 ratio.  Pretty awesome!
  • Exit:
    • I’m trying to refine my technique for when to exit this trade.  The image above is shows a trade I was in recently where I got solid entry off average price.  I got in 4 pips from the bottom (which was exactly at average price).  My current rule is that if it doesn’t give me a strong initial bounce, then if I see a small positive, I’m getting out.  On that trade, I took a +5 because price did not move much for the first couple of minutes after I entered the trade. Then, on the same 5 minute candle, the trade ran 20+ pips.  After an 11 pip breath to begin the next candle, price pushed up to the point where I could have taken a 40+ pip trade (in less than 10 minutes) based on my entry.
    • One reason I got out quickly on this trade was because we had already tested that same daily average price 1 day earlier.  This made me believe we might be ready to blow through it this time.
  • Refinement:
    • One reason why I’m somewhat willing to get out with these small positives is I’m concerned about the market just taking a minuscule breath and then smashing hard through average price before breathing back.
    • On one hand, I need to realize that if we have run 90 and are now hitting a significant average price, there is a great chance we will see at least a 30 pip breath. As I mentioned earlier, a 6:1 or better reward to risk ratio is incredible.
    • On the flip side, from an overall money management viewpoint, if I end up taking a fair number of +5’s along with a few -5’s – and put those together with the occasional +30 or more, that’s a long-term winning recipe.
    • I have to admit though, it’s really stinks to get out of a trade just to watch it run straight to my profit target 30 or 60 pips away when I hadexcellent entry into the trade.
    • I’m trying to decide whether it’s better to a) play it more conservatively by taking the little +5’s and dealing with the risk that I’m about watch the market run 60 pips in my direction, or b) be more aggressive and let the trades play out while sticking my stop right under the average price so that I KNOW that I was wrong in the trade. I would take more negatives, but I would also see more 20+ pip trades.  I’m really torn on figuring out which way to play this.

Well, “Bounce off Average Price” is the first trade I have mapped out like this.  Hopefully there will be several more to come over the coming weeks.  As always, all traders’ thoughts and comments are tremendously appreciated.  Please feel free to contact me at pipaddict73@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you.

 

-Cyrus Sidhwa

Fx365i Student

Smart Money Profile Trader