Day Trading and Discipline, a Worthy Duo

by Edward C. Turner

Jukebox      As the song lyrics go, “You can’t have one without the other.” Unfortunately, I had never heard that tune, and I was dancing to my own music. I moved to the beat of song titles like, “Flip Flop Strategies,” “No Skill Thrills,” and “The Easy Road Moola.”  My trading jukebox played all the wrong songs, and I kept inserting the dollars – hoping to find that elusive hit, “Lucky Me.”  Of course, the song didn’t exist, and eventually I found a melody that did. It came from a mentor and a good day trading program.  In case you may be playing that same jukebox I played, unplug the thing, and I will share with you two day trading tips that I have learned.

        First, discipline is paramount!  If you are a potential day trader, there are rules you need to know to succeed, and discipline is huge.  This is the same kind of discipline that is required to run a business.  It’s focus and stick-to-it-iveness!  You must control impulsiveness; you need self-control; any poor addictive patterns of trading behaviors are left outside the trading room; you don’t wander from strategy to strategy (or worse, you have no strategy plan at all), and you keep your emotions in check before, during, and after placing a trade.  Need an “acid test” as to how you and discipline are getting along together?  Take a look at your trading results.  If things look a bit “iffy,” then stay with the long timeframes for awhile.  Improvement will arrive.

     Second, a subcomponent of discipline, is COMMITMENT.  Day trading is a skill, and pausing to learn that skill will be one of the finest investments you will make for yourself, the lives of your family, and your continuing future years of trading.  This is not a sideshow, a whim, a lark, a hobby, or a gambling occupation. This truly is a business (you may decide to form an LLC), and it will be one that – quite probably – will have a close association with you for the rest of your trading life.

     I enjoy day trading, and I am pleased that you are considering the same path.  It’s a tremendous feeling to know that you will have liquidity at the end of the trading day.  No more sleepless nights!  The returns can be greater (because you can trade several times a day), price patterns will form faster (I use three minute time frames), you will learn to respond to these signals quickly, and – as a disciplined (there’s that word again) trader – you should be able to leave less money on the table than with longer-term position trades.  For me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

     Day trading can bring great rewards, but those rewards are coupled with the prerequisites of discipline and commitment. If you are up to the challenge, then I wish you much success. Who knows, maybe the next song you play will be: “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang – nice choice!

About the Author Edward Turner

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