Not Perfection, But Perfect Effort

Perfect effort vs. perfect results.

Why do traders sabotage themselves by thinking that perfect results are not only possible but are the only allowable way? This is a question that I have been wrestling with and am finally coming to grips with so I wanted to share a few thoughts today.

Perfect Results:

I have been the type of trader that has been afraid of taking a stop loss. I’m just going to throw that out there. I have been terrified of losing money. Especially since I am now living on trading capital. Preservation of my money is the only way I survive so naturally I go to this place that expects perfection because I don’t want to see my precious capital leave the account under any circumstance.

Here is the dirty little secret though, I will never make it if I don’t lose. That sounds so crazy but it’s the truth. If I am afraid of the stop out, I will never ever hit the profit target.

Perfect Effort:

Perfect effort requires two things from any trader

  1. Submission- This may sound so ridiculous to you but it’s truth. You have to be able to submit to a system or a method of trading. You have to stop trying to be right and just do the job. If the job says follow rule 1 2 and 3 and then take the trade, put the stop and target in and then manage the trade with dynamic risk management, then you better be willing to do that. IF a trader takes that trade and then doesn’t submit to the method, they will never be successful
  2. Commitment- This actually comes before submission. A trader must be committed to a single way of trading. We are slot machine players that get to jump from machine to machine to see which one is “hot”. We must find a way of trading that fits us and commit to it. We must commit to the method, to the risk management and the money management. We must commit that we will see that method through to the end trusting that the work we have done to get there is sufficient and that all we have left to do is commit and then submit.

Lose the fear of stopping out

To truly give a perfect effort, I believe that we must find a way to be ok with coming up short. We must understand that not all things work every time and that no matter what you do, perfect effort will never produce perfect results and to want or expect that is simply childish. I can say that from painful, bloody, ugly experience so if that pisses you off, take a minute and then keep reading.

To lose the fear of stopping out SO THAT we can actually attain profitable trades, we must let go of some thought processes like fear and greed. Most of the most successful people I have ever been around don’t treat money like a commodity, like a possession. They treat it as a liquid with a flow. It comes, it goes, it moves, it amasses in low spots that allow it to and it flows fast from steep and unwelcome terrain. Be a lake not a canyon.

Anyway, these same people never ever view spending money on their business as a negative occurance UNLESS it’s an unexpected cost that falls out side of the normal operation of business. Take a trash removal company for example. Are they ever going to complain about repair and maintenance costs on their trucks? Not if they know what they are doing. They MUST spend that money to keep business going. It’s called operating costs and its a normal function of business. You may be sick of hearing me talk about this but its my soapbox and I’m going to stand on it.

That same trash company will, however, not be so pleased to spend money if one of their drivers caused an accident and they must spend money on an avoidable mistake. See the difference?

In trading terms, money spent in COMMITMENT to my system will never be viewed as wasted money. I must spend it sometimes just to be in business. Money spent in making mistakes and leaving my system to go chase profits will be highly problematic and will cause the destruction of my business eventually.

Operating costs vs. mistakes

How are you viewing your trades today? Did you commit to your method? Or try not to be wrong and take less pips to avoid a stop out when you know that if you would submit and commit that those trades would work out better than you had ever hoped?

Think about this over the weekend. I will be

perfect effort vs. perfect results

There is a huge difference

Good Trading to You



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