A few years ago I had an interesting conversation with Joe about "what makes a trader a successful trader". We discussed this over several days because we wanted to find out how we can help struggling traders to enhance their trading. We finally came to the conclusion that "confidence" is what makes a huge difference.
A trader can have a good system, good money and risk management in place, good understanding about the markets and so on, but still lose money simply because he has no confidence in what he is doing. It's like this:
Successful Trader → Disciplined in his trading approach → He stays disciplined even after a long losing period because of his confidence → He overcomes the losing period because of his discipline → He gets back to winning – Successful Trader
The ones not so confident in what they are doing struggle especially during draw-downs. They do not trust there system anymore and they start to experiment. Because of experimenting they miss the good trades and they lose even more control over what they are doing. And of course, they get even less confident.
Have you ever wondered why beginning traders often start trading very successful and then lose everything they made and even more?
It is because they are very confident at the beginning but only until they run into the first draw-downs. They lose confidence quickly because they have never been in this situation and that's where the problem starts.
But what can a beginning or struggling trader do to get on the right track?
In my opinion, the best way is to get a mentor who will hold your hand during the bad times. Like a good trainer, he will know what you are going through, and will give you the right mindset and tools to overcome the fear of following your trading approach.
You will need a good trading approach of course, without it, it cannot work. But a good mentor (and we are talking about a mentor who is really trading) knows very quickly if your trading approach will work or not.
If you really want to make it in trading, work with a mentor. It is the only way to get to your trading goals without losing too much time looking for the "holy grail of trading".