Intelligent Trading : Answering Every “What if”

I believe that the worst characteristic a person can have as a trader is unfounded optimism. When I started trading I possesed this very undesirable character trait and it took me a long time to get rid of this pest that would keep profits away from my account. It is very easy for traders -especially new ones – to get lured into believing simulations or past live testing results and jump into systems with high risks believing that a certain scenario will not happen. I cannot tell you how big a mistake it is to ignore every possibility and to act on faith and hope. Time after time I have seen traders do this and get burned in the process with their hopes in one hand and their empty accounts on the other. On today’s post I want to talk to you about the great importance of the “What ifs” of trading and why it is important for you to answer every possible “what if” question you can ask until you are satisfied with every answer.

One of the most vital things when you want to succeed at something in life is definitely preparation and trading is simply not the exception to this rule. Often people will venture into trading manual or automated trading systems with little preparation and without a good plan for every possible outcome that can arise. The truth is that most people who attempt to succeed at trading with expert advisors don’t even have a clue of what they do if certain scenarios arise and in the worst cases they consider some scenarios “extremely unlikely” or “impossible to happen”.

I remember clearly how a person told me a few years ago that it was “almost impossible” that his Martingale system would get 7 consecutive loses since such a market situation was simply extremely rare and such a case would never appear. I told him that everytime a trade is entered the possibility to lose exists but he continued to tell me that it wouldn’t and that I was simply “not understanding” the nature of his system. The years passed and his system did trade profitably for a while and after a year or so of trading it took 8 consecutive loses and wiped his account clean. It was not the fact that the consecutive loses happened what killed my friend’s account, it was the obvious lack of preparation for such a scenario.

This happens all the time. People trade systems believing that a certain “what if” question does not deserve an answer because it is simply “extremely unlikely” when the truth is that the mere possibility of it happening should make a trader have a plan against it. If you are trading a system believing that A or B or C won’t happen then you are setting up yourself for disaster. Every unanswered “what if” question is a void in your system, a void that will one day be filled, catching you completely unprepared for the consequences.

I always answer any possible question about a trading system – especially losing situations – so that I can avoid having a situation where I am simply caught with no answer. What if system A has 6 consecutive loses ? I will suffer an X draw down and the system will be Y% away from a worst-case scenario. What if a draw down level of X% is reached ? I will stop trading the system since it is below the worst-case scenario which is double the max draw down infered from reliable simulation results, etc. One of the things I have found helps me keep up with my systems and maintain my success as a trader is to ALWAYS have a plan. The most important part of doing this is to answer EVERY “What if” question you can think about. What if you have 5 onsecutive loses ? What if you have a 2 year draw down ? What if… What if ?

As you see, one of the most important parts of success in trading is nothing more than preparation. Knowing the answer to every possible question about your system and having a plan for every possible trading outcome is vital for you to achieve success. There cannot be a lethal “What if” question. If there is any of these questions that ends in “I would lose my account” then there is something inherently wrong with your trading strategy, as a safety every system must be able to give signals of “being too risky and not worth trading” before reaching a wipeout status. For example, a system with a worst-case scenario of 30% will be stopped at this equity level, preserving the other 70%, while a system that wipes the account at 5 consecutive loses simply has no such “time” to warn its user about a problem before it is already to late. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

Are you answering all your “What if” questions ? Having an answer to all of them and having a plan for every draw down and profit outcome is vital for success, that is my humble advice. If you would like to learn more about automated trading and how you too can learn to design systems based on sound trading tactics please consider buying my ebook on automated trading or joining Asirikuy to receive all ebook purchase benefits, weekly updates, check the live accounts I am running with several expert advisors and get in the road towards long term success in the forex market using automated trading systems. I hope you enjoyed the article !

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One Response to “Intelligent Trading : Answering Every “What if””

  1. Andrea says:

    very good post.
    i agree with you.

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