10 common ways trader beat themselves

Knowing the issue will help, I hope.

Let’s face it, trading isn’t as easy as it appears to be while trading either demo or (especially) on Instagram if you follow any of those gurus or even ever posted a photo with #forex and heard about how Mr. X. just sends you signals and you can become a multi-millionaire following them starting with 50$.

But it’s possible, I mean yes it’s hard, but running a mile under 4 minutes is possible, more than 1,400 individuals have beaten it, but no-one had ever managed until one person did – and he didn’t have any super powers knowing that others have now managed (and beaten him).

I’m in no way comparing running a mile under four minutes to being a profitable trader, I think the run is a hell of a lot harder – and the numbers probably prove that.

BUT, in both cases it required a lot of training, visualization and time in order to achieve it. I think it’s rather similar

Roger Bannister is the one that did it first!

Anyways, here’s what I think are ten small challenges that traders are often faced with


1- No patience, they expect to be profitable from the get-go

We all dream to be able to pick up trading within a month, but that’s not really the truth, I mean you can learn quite a lot in a month, (highly recommend reading Scott H Young blog) but a to become a lawyer you’ll have to study for around five years? A doctor? Even more no?

I mean, the same goes with anything, you can’t expect to become a professional footballer by just playing for a month

Another example would be video games, I mean if you start playing League of Legends to playing professionally within a month? It’s possible, but good luck

(I already wrote about this, but during the first three years I lost money every single time… Yep… That happened)


2- Do not understand the true nature of variance

Trading is all about probabilities, I mean screw that, it’s not even exact probabilities, but yep, it’s all about applying your edge over and over again.

Variance is the technical term that we use to describe the routine ups and downs that are built into trading, poker and so many different “industries” in which there is a large amount of short term luck involved.

It’s important to remember that it’s possible to “run bad”, sometimes even if you only take high quality trades you can still take three, four, five losses in a row, you need to accept it.

We need to think like a casino, don’t focus on one day, instead focus on the bigger picture

Even if you have a 60% probability of getting a winning trade (so 40% chance of a loss) you can still take a loss – I mean there’s a 1% chance of taking 5 losses in a row if you have a 60% probability of success.

There’s not much you can do about it, it’s just probabilities. That’s why you shouldn’t focus on the short term, instead look at your results on a monthly (and even that) basis, even better look at them on a quarterly and yearly basis.

Trading is and always will be a long term game. That not only applies to Forex trading, or penny stocks or even equity trading, anything that is a question of probability will be a long term game.


3- Failing to maintain their risk profile the same

The issue with changing your risk profile is that it screws up the entire probability model – if on one trade you risk 1% and another one 4% but the probabilities of them happening is the exact same – can you please tell me why?

The only reason I see is because somewhere your confidence increased or you wanted to make more money without really considering it

That being said, if one type of trade you take has a 70% probability of playing out, and another one a 40% and you know those stats because you have taken those trades a hundred times or more then that’s fair.

I personally only risk 1% while trading because I believe my trading plan is profitable.


4- Don’t stick to their trading plan

If you have a strategy, stick to it.

Don’t change your type of trading and chase a shiny object all the bloody time.

Don’t try tweaking your strategy after a month and decide to follow a completely different way of trading every month, that just isn’t going to workout sadly – you will just get stuck in this negative environment and get stuck – never fully seeing the results you want.

(Sorry not writing much on this one, it’s pretty straight forward).

Okay, I don’t have my trading plan on a white board, but you get the idea (I want a white board for that reason tho – I think it’s amazing)

5- Over-thinking

Don’t get me wrong, thinking and making sure you take the right trades is bloody important – but there’s a point where it’s too much.

If it’s in your trading plan, take the trade, if it’s not don’t.

Make sure you are a trader during the week, not an analyst.

By that I mean, during the weekend it’s really important to forecast all potential scenarios and figuring shit out. Once the market is live tho, you must be willing to jump into trades if they are in your plan. Don’t hesitate, just pull the trigger.

Another issue can be learning too many strategies – don’t get me wrong, I love learning more about macro trading, trading news and all those cool different ways to trade the FX market, afterall it’s my passion, but make sure you stick to what works fo you and don’t try to mix up too many things, find your niche and work on it. Once you have an extremely solid foundation then you can start adding more confluence factors on top of it, but it’s important to keep it simple.

I love the “KISS” acronym, I think that’s key to trading too – keep it simple stupid (short).


6- Not enough capital

If you are planning on going full-time within a year that’s more than possible, people have done and people will keep doing it, but it also depends on how much capital you have and how much you need to maintain your life style

If you need 4k per month to maintain your current lifestyle, trading with a 20k account is probably not enough, you’d need to make 20% per month to achieve that monetary return and that’s without even including taxes.

But if you have 100k accessible to you – it becomes a lot easier – instead of having to make 20% you could just make 4% – which is still a lot tho…

If you have a lot more then it becomes easier yep

Be like Scrooge 🙂

So make sure you don’t have unrealistic expectations, you will need some capital in order to make it & on top of that will need to have money saved up on the side – you don’t want to feel the need to make money every month, and accept the fact that you will never make the exact same amount month to month, this isn’t a job.


7- Not being willing to spend the time in front of the charts to learn

You will have to sacrifice a certain amount of time, would it be a few hundreds or more you will have to there’s no choice.

If you’re reading this pretty obscure blog I’m sure you’ve already heard of the 10,000 hour idea to become a master at any craft – would that number be right or not, it’s for sure going to take time.

As much as I wish you could learn all about it by reading blogs and books it’s not really possible. You will definitely have to spend time back testing your strategy but also spend time learning in a live environment, it’s way different than paper trading, trust me on that.

On top of that, even once you are full-time you’ll need to actually be in front of the charts when there’s a trade.

The 4hour work week isn’t really a thing, you will have to be in front of the charts when a trade alert is triggered. But sadly, trade alerts don’t always happen exactly when you want. It’s important to realize that. A lot of people talk about taking trades while going to the bathroom while working – it’s never been to that point for me, I just have trading view open on my laptop but… It could be your reality


8- Not studying their past trades – both willing and losses

Best way to discover what you are good at and also missing out on is to review your own actions. It’s great to learn how someone else trades and getting their own perspective on how to do something, but in the tend trading is a lonely game, it’s all about you.

The only way to get to the next step is review what you do right and what you do wrong and work on improving those things.

Jared Tendler (he has a cool interview with Chat with Traders) has a great concept, the inchworm, I’m going to do a blog post about it in the future, but it’s mainly about this:

In life we are the average of what’s great and what’s shit about us. To improve you need to get your positive even further along that side of “greatness” but you also need to improve the lower end on that curve, things you suck at, because once again, you are the average of those great and “shitty” things.

Make sure you know what you are doing good, and what you suck at, that’s the only way to improve.

Airports are actually rather good for those sessions

9- Revenge trading

It feels good to take another trade after being tagged out – I swear – it gives you control on what’s happening instead of being incapable of controlling the market (I wish my trading account was big enough, SEC come to me (please don’t use this against me in a case).

But, taking a trade because you just got tagged out isn’t the best thing, make sure it’s a valid trade, heck, sometimes it’s worth taking another shot at a potential trade, but… as a rule of thumb, it’s not.

Understanding your emotions is key, acting on them less so, especially in trading, when it comes to relationships it can be useful, but not for trading.

Denise Shull is my go to when it comes to emotions and trading, highly recommend it. I think it’s called Market Mind Games – it’s basically Wendy Rhoades in Billions.

Denise Shull has a great series of videos with Real Vision


10- Not knowing when to disconnect from the charts

That’s one of my favorites, the reason most people get stuck into a bad spree is that they decide to micro-manage all their positions, jump on the 15 minutes then the 5minutes.

Not disconnecting from the charts will really make you want to trade more often, it will also make you want to micro-manage your positions, it’s really not going to be any good.

Go out, enjoy life, spend time with friends and family, learn how to do something new, enjoy it.

Enjoying beers during sunset seems like a rather good way to disconnect to me

Who’s behind this? It’s me, Max Sydney

After posting on Instagram asking for subjects people were interested in, it appears that quite a few of you would like to know more about me – kinda weird but okay, let’s dive into the more personal side!

I’m Max, been to 32 (or is it 33…) countries, I’m young, drink way too much coffee and like meditating and deep conversations. Anyway, this isn’t my tinder description thankfully.

Okay, don’t judge me, I don’t have baby pictures of me on my laptop!

Anyway, to skip to the more interesting parts I guess 🙂

I was extremely lucky to be born in my family, (well born at all knowing the odds being born stand at 1 in 400 trillion) because my parents are English, but were living in France and had their own business in the wine trade. So that helped me become bilingual without really trying and put me ahead.

Plus, I was especially lucky since they love travelling and brought me along in many of their travels abroad, which really helped me expand my openness to the world and understanding of different cultures.

That being said, since you’re here you probably don’t really care about those amazing travels and early age but would want to know more about my passion in Finance?

I actually got interested in the industry really early since a broker took me to school one day in a soft top jaguar e-type, since then I’ve been keen to learn more about stocks and the world of finance!

And no, it wasn’t the Wolf of Wall Street that made me want to work in Finance, even if this scene is… ❤

First stock I made my dad buy was of Blizzard, mainly (entirely) because I spent countless hours playing World of Warcraft as did millions of other people – turned out to be a really good call so kinda proud that being a geek helped me make money 😀


More seriously tho, I started learning more and more about FOREX thanks to Babypips which is a fantastic free resource that I would recommend everyone to go through, but don’t expect them to give you any holy grail or anything like that, but they will cover most of the bases! FinVids was also an amazing free resource that helped me out a fair amount!

So yes, it’s actually possible to learn and get started for free (on top of YouTube videos) in the FX world, but I quickly realized I’d be way better off if I was to join a course, so I ended up joining Infinite Prosperity which was really helpful, I’m not going to vouch for it today because it’s been a while I left and I have no clue if they made changes… BUT it provided me with loads of learning opportunities and help me see my first few months of positive returns which was more than nice!

After being part of Infinite Prosperity for several years and being subscribed to “Active Trader” and “Live Trader” I came to realize that I was relying too much on other people analysis so I decided to jump ship

It’s all about finding a style that fits you

After a few months trading by myself I decided to join Falcon Trading to keep improving my skill and learn more since remaining a student and having an open mind was really important to me!

I ended up losing a fair amount the first two months after joining so I do wish I hadn’t kept trading with the same account size before even building my trading plan and backtesting it… I was overconfident! But hey, more than two years later I’m still in the community so something must be right!

It’s all about finding a style that fits your personality and then going from there, if you are happy with your trading that’s great, stick with it and push it even further!


Now I also got a fair amount of questions about studying at a good university (McGill) while also learning how to trade so I’ll address those

Most of the time there was snow – gotta love Canada

Do I recommend going to university if you already know that you want to go full-time?

YES, If you can go to university for free or your parents are offering to pay for it you should absolutely go for it – many people are saying you should drop-out and never go, sure you can do that, if you really need to spend all your time on your already successful business and you already know you want to do that.

Will you have time to work on your trading on top of university? Absolutely!

It’s now become cool to “drop-out” and say that university is bad – but that’s just falling to a trap of online courses that are more or less all copies of each other…

Are you going to learn loads of things? Maybe not, but you’ll meet amazing people, have the opportunity to live in a different country, learn a new language, get a higher paying job than a waiter, get black out drunk and network. Good days if you ask me 🙂

It will also teach you the importance to debate, present your findings and write, which is something that is lacking today. It’s quite funny to notice that most people that are against university aren’t able to debate on the subject, maybe because they never practised?

Will you have time to work on your trading on top of university? Absolutely! I had the time to pass all my classes (okay I had to re-take maths, fucking hated that class)

Usually people took 4 classes per term, the max was 5, I asked to take 6 classes in my last term…

Sure you probably won’t get the best grades if you are simultaneously trading, running a failing business, and doing some work on the side, and going out and partying but will you have the time? Absolutely.

Once you will be working a full-time job you won’t have the time to work on your trading between 8 am to 6 pm if we assume an hour commute – that’s way more time than I spent studying every day

If I hadn’t gone to that university, I wouldn’t have landed the jobs I did, which paid me a lot, which in turn would’ve meant I wouldn’t have been able to save up enough money to go trading and travelling – so I am incredibly grateful for university.

The reason why so many traders fail & give up.

Would it be surprising to you if I said: In my first year of trading I lost money every single quarter, same thing happened the second year, and the third year (yet I’m still here!)?

My first 2 years of live trading – ALSO FUCK TRADING COMMISIONS

Most people facing those results probably would’ve given up – that’s probably the reasonable thing to do. Afterall, the reason I started trading was because I wanted to make money, not lose money.

When you look at social media it’s easy to imagine yourself nailing it within a year, I personally know six people who managed to become consistent within a year and go full-time while quitting their jobs. But I have easily interacted with a thousand people over my five-year journey… That’s not even 1%.

Yet we expect to be able to go full-time within a year.

In my first year of trading I lost money every single quarter, and the second year, and the third year…

Focus on taking your time, there’s not a single way of trading, you can trade news, fundamentals, the price action, etc. But there’s not a single way to go, for example, if you trade technical analysis, you are able to trade support and resistance, Elliot wave, supply and demand, patterns, etc. I’m too lazy to write about all the different styles. You will have to try a lot of different styles before finding what works with you.

If you were building an e-commerce store you will have to try so many different landing pages, build an email list, find a way to utilize your email list to convert them into customers, figure out a way to transform them into repeat customers, test out loads of different ads and I could keep going.

Why would trading be so different? It will take loads of time and a lot of trial and error to move forward.

Focus on taking your time

Keep in mind that only 29% of Americans have a six-month cash buffer – and that’s the amount of cash I’d recommend you to have on hand before taking the step to go full-time on top of your trading account.

That means you’ll easily need to have around 2 years of living expenditures to go full-time (six months as a cash buffer and then the rest goes towards your trading account).

It will take time to build that amount of cash savings, so if you’re working or still studying understand that you will probably need to find a way to save more money but also that you will need to work for quite a long time before having the capital saved up.

If you enter the trading game telling yourself that it will take you three years to become consistent and five years before you are able to go full-time you will already have the right mindset. Take your time.

Focus on taking small steps every single day for instance: improving 1% every single day over the next five years you’ll become 80 million times better – and that’s why compound interest is amazing (even if I doubt you can become 80 million times better)

More realistically, if you find a way to improve by 1% per week, you’ll be 18 times better, and that’s a target you can achieve.

You will need to build up a large amount of savings anyway, and that will take time.

So don’t rush your trading

A lot of people blame their surroundings – for being negative and not supporting the dream. Yes, that may be true, but they are trying to protect you. They just see trading as a way to lose money, so be thankful, your friends are actually protecting you (in their own way)

You don’t need to convert all your friends to trading or business, I still have loads of friends working a 9 to 5 and I’m more than happy for them, because they love it.

Social media is a blessing (and a curse), because you can find loads of people on the same journey as you that are more than willing to talk and bounce ideas off each other while holding you accountable, so utilize it.

Find yourself a handful of full-time traders and ask them questions

Find other people that are at the same point in the journey as you are, and build relationships

Don’t blame your friends or family, they’re trying to protect you, instead take the step to reach out to others on the same journey and join communities of traders

The third key reason new traders fail is because they’re not willing to learn and pay a price to acquire a skill. You can either join a trading course, which in no-way will guarantee your succeed, or spend more time figuring it out by yourself and reading free content on babypips or finvids.

If you want to become a divemaster and go scuba-diving around the world for “work”, you will have to pay in order to obtain all the diplomas you need and all the dives you need to do to pass the exams. If you want to become a lawyer, you will need to pay for your university education. Everything you do as a cost, both in time and money.

By accepting the fact that you will lose money in the market for the first year or two will enable you to reduce your emotional attachment to the results you get and increase the likelihood that you will persist and see success in the future. Purchasing a course, will cost you money too, but if it shortens your journey by a few months is it worth it? I think so.

Accept that it will cost you money to become a full-time trader, the market will take a “tuition fee” from your account, and if you want to speed up the journey joining different trading courses may be worth it

Anyway, that’s my take on the subject, let me know what you think!

Onwards,