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Obstacles to Success in the Market

01/09/01 02:45:02 PM
by Dr. RM Sidewitz

It's not what the market is doing TO you but rather what you are doing in the market

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Your trading journey, from the starting line to the finish will be filled with detours, obstacles, pitfalls and traps that can keep one from ever reaching your desired destination.

Two of these that standout are the losses the trader wants to avoid and the profits that she/he wants to gain. Both can be quite dangerous. In the case of the former, the wish to avoid losses causes the trader to try to make adjustments in his/her method so as to recoup what is now "in the red". In so doing, more times than not, the small losses are converted into huge losses. Huge losses are the ones that end trading careers.

On the other side, is the trader who is overly focused on profits. This trader wants to wring every last point out of the trade before exiting. To do that, they loosen up on stop loss placement and abandon other sound money management practices. The end result here is that most, if not all, of the profits evaporate into thin air when the market corrects.

With these two standouts, as is the case with so many others, the market isn't doing anything "to them". Actually, the market isn't doing anything at all. What is going on is being played out on the real battlefield for traders, and that battlefield is inside their heads.

This is not a territory many traders are willing to spend time in or even visit. This insightful approach to trading is simply too painful for most, because they have to acknowledge that they are flawed and no one likes to do that. So instead, they go out and buy a different trading system, or they subscribe to a different service. But all the while, the real culprit lives and breathes and continues to do damage.

Another pitfall for traders surrounds focus, or, more specifically, its lack. Many trade as a hobby or as a part time venture. In so doing, they don't bring the degree of concentration and attention that is necessary to be a consistent winner.

You can't treat trading like a hobby. You must treat it as a full time business venture for you whether it is or it isn't. You must immerse yourself in your trading so that you can throw everything that you have into it. Don't let trading become some kind of soap opera that you can have the lead role in. Don't let trading be the mirror for all the internal contradictions and discordance that you may carry around.

Instead, make trading the vehicle for your own improvement, both financially and as a person. Begin by identifying what the obstacles to your success are and write them down in the form of a list. Are there common elements to most or all of your obstacles? Do you:

  • Feel scared too quickly

  • Stay in a trade too long

  • Get sloppy

  • Change the rules to suit the situation?

  • Once you've got a handle on what's going on inside, you can take the necessary steps to correct the errant messages that are sabotaging your success.

    If you want to become a trader, it means you have to be willing to clean up the baggage that's an obstacle to reaching your goal. Traders who are unwilling to do this might just as well go to Las Vegas, where the likelihood of their coming away a winner is about the same.

    Dr. RM Sidewitz

    Dr. Sidewitz is the President, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Qi2 Technologies, LLC, an investment management company and the Managing Member of Qi2 Partners LP, a domestic hedge fund. Dr. Sidewitz began his career on Wall Street in the mid-1960s with Moody's Investors Service. He then served as the Assistant Director of Research for a registered broker/dealer until 1971. In the ensuing years, he continued his pursuits as a private investor during which time he developed the proprietary methodology that is used by the Limited Partnership. Dr. Sidewitz is the author of two books, "How I Double My Money Annually in the Market" and "How to Stop Sabotaging Your Trading Success: Mastering the Inner Realm". He is a frequent contributor to numerous financial publications and continues to work closely with private clients.

    Title: Managing Partner
    Company: Qi2 Technologies LLC
    Address: 4800 Baseline Road, Suites E104-370
    Boulder, CO 80303
    E-mail address:

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    Comments or Questions? Article Usefulness
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    Date: / /Rank: 4Comment: 
    Date: 01/30/01Rank: 4Comment: 
    Date: 04/10/01Rank: 5Comment: although i am a novic.I find your article very useful.The service provided is unmatchable.

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