by Rick Ratchford
The title of this article alone is likely to raise the hairs on the back of many necks. The thought of pushing away concepts and ideas used for decades may sound ludicrous to you, but allow me to elaborate.
Old and proven ideas should never be pushed aside. Rather, the old ideas that have not proven effective and have prevented many from progressing towards a positive goal, these need to be shed. And there are plenty of them.
Some of these old ideas are that the futures and commodity markets cannot be forecasted because the patterns are random. Other old ideas are that you cannot make a success at trading unless you know the fundamentals of the market you wish to trade. And there is the old ideas that to make a success you must depend on what everyone else is using, common indicators such as the moving average, bands, oscillators and the like. Sure, they have their place in market analysis, and I certainly find some of them very useful. But they fall short of the ideal. Everyone is using them and most are failing miserably in the process. The old ideas have not lived up to all the hype they continue to get today.
If you hold fast to these old ideas, you may be holding yourself back from reaching your full potential as a trader. False concepts and beliefs are negative ones; negative ideas and beliefs can deaden your insights and blind your way. Taking a dogmatic stand that these old ideas are the only way leaves no room for greater insight and growth.
The world around us is bigger than we can ever imagine, with its many secrets waiting to be tapped by the individual not afraid to break the mode of adhering to old ideas and take some radical steps. W.D. Gann was recorded to be such an individual, and reading his material only exposes part of the psyche that made up this man’s drive for perfection. He stepped outside the bounds of acceptable trading approaches and was greatly rewarded. As we say today, he thought 'outside the box'.
Many traders having a hard time gaining confidence in their own trading and not achieving their goals in this business, often find themselves relying on others to tell them what to do.
It is one thing to be taught by someone and another to allow someone to lead you by your nose every trading minute of your life. It is one thing to read books and newsletters providing useful content and then make the final decision your own, than to simply enter and exit trades on the words of another without ever giving thought as to what you just did.
If you are one who has very little confidence making your own trading decisions, then it is likely you are not working to break out of the mold that has so many trapped with indecision. It is time to break free and expand your horizons.Think back to all that others told you was no good in trading and consider the possibility; could they have led me astray by believing them?
Do something different, something that may even be against your grain. Weight trainers know that at times you are going to reach a plateau and not get any bigger or stronger. Dieters have also found their weight loss stopping at some mid-goal value. The solution to these problems has always been to 'change' something. If what you are doing now is not changing anything to your liking, do you think continuing to do the same thing is going to produce a different result? Of course not.
Trading is no different. Because it is heavily psychological, our thinking may reach a plateau because we keep to old ideas. Now if you are happy with where you are, then by all means you don’t want to make any changes. A weight lifter may like where he is at, or maybe the person losing weight. No changes of routine need be done at that point. However, since we are addressing those who have no confidence in their trading and have reached a plateau in their trading skills and development, it is time to shock the system.
T. F. Ellis (1860) once said, "Knowledge advances by steps, and not by leaps." Do not be overwhelmed by the amount of information available on trading. Be extremely happy it exists! Start studying subjects about trading you never thought you would have before.
Have you always stayed away from learning Cycle Analysis because of what Bob down the street told you a couple years ago, or what you read in some magazine or newsgroup? Then break free from listening to the Bob’s of the world and do it anyway. So why am I bringing up 'Cycle Analysis'? Because it is a subject that most traders know little about, and it is one of the most effective approaches towards precision timing your trades. The problem is, it requires that you 'break away from old ideas' and ignore the naysayers. Can you do that?
Even if you do not turn to cycle analysis for your timing needs, you will at least have expanded your horizon and given your body an extra boost to get past that plateau if you at least explore it indepth. But do not stop there, keep expanding, keep shocking your mind and body. Each plateau you overcome will bring you closer to becoming a more confident trader. It will also make you a better conversationalist over coffee or wine.
"Let knowledge grow from more to more, but more of reverence in us dwell; that mind and soul, according well, may make one music as before." In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850)