Traders always say virtually the same thing. I’m on the simulator. I am trading well. I have very few bad trades. It does not matter if I am trading stocks, ETF’s, trading futures, day trading or night trading. I change to trade with live money and I can’t make a good trade to save my sole from the devil.
The odd part about this comment is that it is harder to trade with the simulator than it is to trade with live money. The simulator has a built in bug. If you are waiting to get filled with a limit order off the bid and the market trades off the ask, when the market comes back to the bid, the simulator puts you back to the rear of the line of those traders waiting to get filled. This does not happen when you trade live. You do not lose your place in line.
These same traders tell me that when they go back to the simulator after a few bad trades with real money, they trade just fine again. So what is the problem?
These traders have fallen prey to the evil “I can – I can’t syndrome”. Here’s how it works.
Trading with the simulator, you learn the indicators, you see the market setups, you enter trades based upon what you see at the time you see it.
Now comes trading with money. Oh, you see the trades ok, you see the market setups, but you can’t enter the trade. You want to enter but you can’t. I can – I can’t. I can – I can’t.
You begin to doubt yourself. You doubt you know what you see. You doubt your indicators are telling you accurately. You doubt you will ever be a professional trader who trades for a living. And most importantly, you doubt this will be a profitable trade.
Finally you begin to conquer your doubt and make the trade. But by the time you overcome your own emotions, it is too late. The trade has passed you by. Entering late, you now have a bad trade. You have successfully self-fulfilled your own prophecy that you can’t make a good trade to save your sole from the devil.
How do you overcome your own doubts? By undercutting.
Underneath that “I can – I can’t syndrome” is an underlying doubt that your indicators are trustworthy. If you felt that your indicators were reliable, and that you could reliably identify market patterns, you would not fall prey to the “I can – I can’t syndrome.”
What you need to do is this. Stop trading. Even stop entering trades on the simulator. Spend 3 or 4 days, whatever you need, and watch the market. Watch your indicators give you the setups you need to be profitable. Just watch the charts and your indicators. Do nothing more. Don’t even make simulation trades. It may seem like you are just staring at the wall. That’s fine. You’ll know when you can trade again when the wall begins to talk to you.
Sometimes even entering simulation trades is above the undercut you need. That’s why you just want to sit and watch the market until you KNOW you can trust your indicators to give you reliable entry points. You have CERTAINTY that the indicators are identifying the trades correctly. At that point, begin to trade on the simulator again and then finally return to trading with real money. It may seem like you are just staring at the wall. That’s fine. You’ll know when you can trade again when the wall begins to talk to you.
Barbara Cohen CIO, Shadowtraders, and professional day trader, specializes in teaching students how they can be trading futures with their own trading system and trading strategies. Ms. Cohen has helped hundreds of traders achieve their goals trading. Find out if trading futures is for you by attending one of Ms. Cohen’s Free Webinars. Check out my Futures Trading Articles. For more information, send an email to email@example.com or call 866-617-2037 today.