There are many lessons in trading. Hundreds in fact but they can all be narrowed down to just a few points.
This learning can take place through backtesting, demo trading, live trading and reading the right material.
Ultimately it centers down to risk management and risk management is not fully understood. People think that if they just limit their risk to 1% they will be okay - this is only a quarter of the equation. Having an edge and executing it to the best of your ability allows the variables to remain consistent. Understand the long term win to loss ratio so that you know how much your average win needs to be comparatively to your average loss. Do not overtrade - in most cases many traders cannot sustain dozens of trades every day. Risk management means fulfilling the plan of your trade the minute you are in it. Our emotions suddenly change when we are in a trade and it is important to be aware. Why is this the case? It is down to our expectation. We expect to be right. This is our greatest downfall as people. We have expectations. Once we accept that ANYTHING can happen, only then do we truly accept the fate of the market.
I cannot recommend the book, 'Trading in the Zone' by Mark Douglas, strongly enough
I finally finished this book after discovering it 8 years ago and it teaches some absolutely incredible lessons that will resonate with many of you. The book touches on the 5 fundamental truths of trading:
1. Anything can happen.
2. You don’t need to know what is going to happen next to make money.
3. There is a random distribution between wins and losses for any given set of
variables that define an edge.
4. An edge is nothing more than an indication of a higher probability of one thing
happening over another.
5. Every moment in the market is unique.
In order to be consistent, 7 principles must be followed:
1. I objectively identify my edges.
2. I predefine the risk of every trade.
3. I completely accept the risk or I am willing to let go of the trade.
4. I act on my edges without reservation or hesitation.
5. I pay myself as the market makes money available to me.
6. I continually monitor my susceptibility for making errors.
7. I understand the absolute necessity of these principles of consistent success
and, therefore, I never violate them.
This is all courtesy of Mark Douglas - do check him out
When you lose, don't lose the Lesson