Raise Your Standards

As many might know that only 5% of traders become successful. That means, 95% of people who started their trading journey, eventually either stopped trading completely or are still struggling to have a breakthrough. Of course, there are some of you who have also blown a few trading accounts and are still trying to figure out what went wrong.

For those of you who are still struggling but are still persistent about making trading a success, then today’s article is for you.

Every Step Counts

If you have been following my articles and/or reading my books (click here), you would easily notice the main theme here, and that is – I believe in (1) working on our internal noises, which will lead to (2) positive trading beliefs. And combining that with strong rituals, (3) we build positive trading habits.

Here’s the most important point to take away. You need to make sure that every step of the process counts.

Just to be clear, what I mean by that is, every step from working on internal noises, trading beliefs and eventually to trading habits, are all equally important when aiming to become a profession marketing trader. Not one is more important than the other and neither should be de-prioritised.

Make sense? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

With that, let’s take this another step deeper.

What Are Your Standards (in trading)?

In order to explain what I mean by standards, the easiest examples of standards is to know what are your expectations (in trading).

Example questions include: – What are your trading beliefs? What is your trading out come? What are your routines and rituals? What do you expect to gain from training? Are you spending too much time reading the charts? Are you reading any unnecessary (or non-value added) contents?

Note: If you need to, just take a few minutes off this article to write your answers.

All the answers to the questions will help you determine your standards in trading.

In my 30 day self-coaching program (see here), I talked about writing down your habits and routines. This is most basic process of self-exploration and self-learning.  You first understand what you expect, what you preach and what goes-with-the-flow in your routine.

However, that’s just the starting point.

You see, when you want to go from A to B, you must first know what is A, what it means to you and what it represents. Then having a clear vision of B (the destination) is the next step.  In the 30 day program, I explain how to write down clear routines and build discipline.

By the end of the program, you would have written and build a trading plan that is designed and customised for you. And that it self is or will become your new standard.

Amazing isn’t it?

Setting New and Better Standards

Now, if you understand even just a little bit about setting new standards, then today’s key message is about setting NEW and HIGHER standards than the one you’re having already. And when you do both of them simultaneously, that’s when you’re raising your standards.

More importantly, raising your own standards should be part of your routine.

Again, using the example of my 30 day program, at the end of each new completed trading plan, I usually invite readers to re-visit the program and review it every 6 to 18 months.

Why?

Because, I hope that, by the time the trader has already created a new habit (by virtual fact that they are already following the new trading plan), they would have already raised the standard to a higher one (compared to the old them when they first started).

If you can raise their own standard once, do you think you can do it again?

Absolutely yes!!

Hence, the raising our own standards should be done regularly and we should set this out in our calendar (or plan) so that it can be done at specific time intervals. I strongly recommend raising our standards at least once every year (or two years max).

The Opposite Is Not Attractive

Think about this, by mere fact that you have the same routines for more than 2 years, do you think you are becoming better? Worse than that, do you think you can become complacent?

You probably know the answer already. And this is the same when we are still trying to achieve success in trading.

Because, until we become that successful trader, doing the same sh*t every year will not help us to become any better. In fact, it has the potential (and I’m not suggesting this is the same for everyone) to make us worse.

Think about this. Even successful traders find a way to become better, why not those who are less successful.

Right?

And just to be clear, by raising your standards, you don’t necessarily have to change your trading strategy. You can work on your psychology, your investment size or even your risk management.

All you need is to think outside the box a little.

Raising Your Standards Systematically

Let’s talk about raising your standards.

Just like teaching a new trader, I’m not asking you to jump into every angle of trading and start changing things. This is especially true when you’re that near from producing consistent results.

For those who have already spend lots of time and money to mould your trading plan and habits, the small (yet important) fine tuning would take equally long.

However, don’t be discouraged, there’s ways and guidelines you can use to improve yourself systematically.

With that, here a few suggestions that you can use immediately.

  • Look at your lifestyle and figure out where are you less satisfied. Pick an area (assuming it’s affected by your trading) and work on that first.
  • Get your partner, siblings or family to work with you on the point above. Ask them where they think you’re frustrated. You’ll probably know the answer as soon as you ask them but ask them anyway. You’ll be surprise what answers you’ll get.
  • Apply the concept of the BCG Matrix (read here) and work on specific strategies – one at a time.
  • Re-visit the 30-day trading program (if you’ve already purchased it) or get one. This has been and it still is one of the best self-coaching trading books in the market. And I’m not saying it just because I wrote it but because I’ve done a lot of work /research when creating it.

Personal Examples

Here are some of the examples that I’ve applied for myself. Not sure if this is useful but I hope some of these can help trigger some ideas for you.

  • When I realised that my trades became more consistent and I was hitting my Reward:Risk target of 3:1 with more confidence, I raised my trading risk 1% to 3% per trade. I then had to revisit my psychology and emotions to ensure I was calm about.
  • I change my rules to find more momentum trades and have less trades that were “hanging”. I indirectly ended up with more intraday trades. I did this as I find it more peaceful to not have any open trades “hanging” around.

Note: these are just for illustration purposes and not meant to be used as examples to raise your own trading standards. Make sure to do your own homework before making any changes.

Food for Thought

Michael Jordan always raised his own standards by comparing himself now to his older habits. Rarely does he compare himself with other NBA basketball players. By doing so, he would always strive to become a better version of himself.

Tiger Woods had the same philosophy.

What about you?

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