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Bullshit runs a marathon

Bullshit runs a marathon

by ScottOctober 10, 2015

We have quite a lot of talk on the board at the moment, calling people out on this and that. If you want to know if someone is a good trader, you shouldΒ observe what they say and do. Good traders focus on method, record keeping and objectivity. Bad traders talk about what the market will do next.

End of story. It is that simple. I’m going to lead the way by showing you my trade logs and real world trades for the month of October so far, where I lost money.

Good trading is 1) Having a system 2) Trading that system well 3) Monitoring both personal and system performance 4) Maintaining or developing superior trading psychology. If you picture your system on a scale from subjective to totally objective, the more subjective your system is, the more critical it is that your record keeping is constantly up to date.

This is my trade log for the period in question, and I will go through every trade opened or closed in the month of October

trade logs


This was a rule based short, which made 1.2R and reversed, stopping me out according to my rules. 0R


At the same time I was stopped out of my equity short, a long setup appeared, and I took it in YM (the strongest). When placing the trade I used discretion to avoid going for a 4R win (like I ordinarily do), instead opting for a 2R limit exit on the whole position. I used discretion (according to my rules allowable in limited situations) to exit 2/3 of the position at the upper bollinger and move stop to breakeven. This was a correct decision for me, even though the market continued to rise. I have a nominal 1 contract long position remaining. At this juncture it should be noted that we have a spike and channel price action heading into overhead supply. This market could fall off the plate at any time. Stop is at breakeven, nothing to do.


I took this NG X5 short in September, but exited in October. Exit was at the daily spike high, a near perfect trade.


Note a rule of my system is to become cautious when larger candles appear at the end of a move and to consider standing aside from textbook looking setups in that situation. For this reason I stood aside from the follow up short setup which saved me a -1R loss. I am happy about this, it was excellent trading according to my ruleset. Below is the discretion tab of my trade sheet


A rule of my system is that I need 1.2R to a flat upper bollinger to consider taking a trade. Given that the sideways period had gone on so long, I opted to waive that condition (it was 1.1R). This turned out to be a correct decision. Partial profits banked at 2R, this is behaving like a solid move.


HG Has been a very good market lately, after a big short winner last week we have a long trade, which is now at breakeven. Target is the upper daily bollinger, and looks odds on to hit it.


6B (GBPUSD futures) entered yesterday, in loss, stop at ISL. Probably will lose. Good trade.


PL F6 – This is an excellent trade from Friday, stop has to be moved to breakeven Monday morning, and targets should be adjusted from the upper bollinger.


Conclusions. So far in October, equity is down slightly, but have made no trading mistakes. Use of discretion is way more than usual, but in most instances discretion has been spot on.

last 30 days equity

The only setups for Monday are in Bonds – obviously highly correlated


Understand the point I am trying to make here people. If you don’t do something like what I did above at regular intervals, you are NOT a good trader. There are things to learn about every trade, both winning and losing. If you lose money you can gain knowledge, and knowledge, over time, leads you towards incremental development of your systems.

If you are an intraday trader, this should be done every single day. On the intraday systems Dudeplunger trades with me, we do the above EVERY DAY. No exceptions.

Scott Phillips


About The Author

  • hellbent

    Cool, that’s much appreciated.

    Can I ask if you have to put much work into finding setups or do you have Market Analyzer set up to give you red/green lights across all instruments?

  • Ivan K

    Process, Process and more Process

    Whilst most people focus on the outcome of their current position / action … or outcomes of a series of positions / actions … this generally does not lead to a stress-free Journey … in risk-taking … or with playing golf or public speaking or trading the financial markets! The subC is extremely powerful in playing the ‘what-if’ game.

    Unsaid in my opening paragraph is the fact that one has a valid and robust approach or RBT … implying (a lot of) work to design and test or to simply internalise one’s own or someone else’s. That for many people is the fun part … fun or not it is an imperative part in the quest to producing repeatable and consistently positive results … in any field of endeavour.

    In the case of applying my L.I.V.E. approach (consisting of a core of 12 setups) part of the Process is to record in real time each and every setup on the charts … as well as placing the appropriate order or orders, as the case may be. This can be a big ask, yet certainly very doable … after perhaps overcoming the initial doubts and frustrations … as demonstrated by (some of) my students … a chart below illustrates this idea … filled with appropriate shorthand notations.

    Another part of the Process is to record all the details of each campaign into a spreadsheet or journal … for retrospection and analysis on a regular basis … the nature and complexity of the recording obviously will differ from person to person … in part based on their own abilities … as well as the openness and / or ability to acquire new skills or to outsource all, or part of this part of the Process. From the spreadsheet an EqC, Histogram of the sequential R-based losses and wins and attendant stats can be also be produced for analysis and monitoring moving forward.

    Additionally it can be very beneficial to simultaneously monitor the results of different RBTs and Campaign Management strategies … to help identify subtle changes in the character of a market. To ‘blame’ a market changing in character …

    An example of the up-to-date results of a RBT of a student is below. As a point of reference, this RBT was about 15 months in the making.

    A final part of the Process (for a student) is a mandatory debriefing (dB) session on a regular basis … daily for one who is taking campaigns on an intraday basis and once a week for one using daily charts as their timeframe for actions. This is accomplished courtesy of the internet, the magic of the cloud … as well as screensharing and VoIP software. In fact these allow me to monitor the actions and progress of a student as they are proceeding with the Process in real time … I can see what they are marking on their chart or charts 1,000s of miles away from where I am … as well as the orders being placed and filled … with obviously a few seconds delay.

    The example below of what is reviewed on a regular basis shows 4 important aspects of the dB … 1) Learning 2) Done well 3) Improvements Required including ‘errors made 4) Missed Opportunities (by the RBT in use) … according to what the student perceives. A really challenging part is always to do a dispassionate assessment of oneself and one’s performance … in anything!

    A major part of any dB is a constant reminder that both life and risk-taking are a marathon … as opposed to a sprint.

    And quite often it does take my using my Size 12s to get the point home !

  • hellbent

    Hi Ivan, Thanks too for your piece. You two have my old gears turning… I guess like everyone I have some traits that are helpful and some that are unhelpful. On the helpful side I’ve been quite fortunate to have a good head (I think) for systems and a disinclination to fall into a lot of the BS traps that are set for us all. On the unhelpful side I’m a ‘jump in the deep end’, ‘learn the hard way’ type for sure. More by good luck than good management, I think the worst of that handicap is behind me now in so far as I know much better what it takes to be successful and I’m still in the game without being mortally wounded. To really start putting it together though I have two more major handicaps to overcome. Because you mention it it has occurred to me very clearly that I’ve always been 100% sprinter and precisely 0% marathon runner. I’m going to have to get some discipline going in that department. The other trait, which I think has always served me well, is being a stubborn bastard when the going gets tough. In trading this has often translated into taking too much risk too late in the day. My equity curve is a nasty saw tooth pattern as a result.

    Thanks to yourself, Scott, Mole, and Bobby too I reckon I’ve got a pretty good idea what I need to accomplish before I can expect to get myself properly on the rails. For that I am very thankful. Process, process, process – as you say. Lots of work but then I am intending to make this my occupation…

  • Scott Phillips

    Process, process and process indeed πŸ™‚ Professionals talk about process, amateurs talk about “market calls”. There is a clear and easy to distinguish difference.

    Well done to your student for trading through a 40R drawdown. That is a manly feat indeed, he should be very proud πŸ™‚

    FYI my system is based around a simplified version of your trend trade setup, with modified campaign management

  • BobbyLow

    This has been a challenging past few weeks and although I’m slightly positive for this past month at +4 R, my results for closed trades for this past week were not good. I made 2 mistakes and this is unacceptable. I’m attaching a snapshot of my trading journal for this past week. These closed trades are from my Forex Scalper. There is nothing magical about what I do with my scalper and the only thing I use on my Hourly Charts are 25 Period Exponential Bollinger Bands and Multiples of 6 Period ATR. I can also use this same format with shorter time frames or longer time frames by simply adjusting my ATR.

    Anyhow, my journal entries for this week will show Pair, Type, Entry, Exit, Results and Notes. OCO Stands for One Cancels the Other. I made no trades on Friday because setups have to be excellent and early on Fridays because I don’t carry these types of trades over the weekend. So if it isn’t there during the first couple of hours on Friday, I’ll pass. (My target stops on my Scalper are and probably will always be a work in progress :)) My only longer term trade that remains open is UCO (Long 2X ETF for Crude) and I’ve been carrying this thing for a month. I might regret not taking partial profits on Friday but we’ll see.

  • bullethead

    Process, process and process indeed πŸ™‚ Professionals talk about process, amateurs talk about “market calls”….completely agree with what you and Ivan are saying…..not any different in Sports, amateurs talk about winning games, winners talk about focusing on the process. It doesn’t matter what one is pursuing – the best odds of getting there are through consistent application of one’s processes. Somehow I got sucked into coaching a group of 10 year old girls in softball (my other full time job, lol) Four years later they were the top team in the country – we didn’t elevate until we shifted our focus to developing processes and insisting on adherence to them. Amazing transformation.

    Love him or hate him, people are passionate about college football in the US – Nick Saban at Alabama does just what you are talking about –

    I like what he says – “actually the easy way to winning is through focusing on each individual doing his job (focusing on his/her processes)”

  • Grant

    I trade hourly candles on the Eur.Usd exclusively. I prefer to keep my stats and sys extremely simple as I have very busy days. I trade from 2 am my time til 11 am my time which is roughly from the open of the European mkts. to lunch in NY. I keep a personal journal on my own successes and failures so that I may go back and see what I was doing a month ago or a year ago, etc… I will upload some diagrammed trades later today. This is a RBT that I am forward testing and as a personal rule, I add small amounts outside of earnings over time.

  • Grant

    Picture of my daily trading setup.

  • BobbyLow

    I like your style because it’s a lot like mine in its simplicity. My charts are pretty much naked with the exception of BB’s (which in itself is a moving average) and ATR. I used to have all kinds of indicators and stuff but after awhile I wasn’t even looking at them anymore so I took them off.

    And what Mole said about building muscle memory is true. After seeing a great number of charts. it only takes a few seconds to make decisions. I use a simple Daily chart on /CL to trade 2X UCO/SCO. I make entries and exits on these at the NYSE Close.

    I tailor my Forex Entries to between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM in real NYSE Time. This way the European market is around half way done when I begin and the NYSE markets are getting ready to rock and roll. I try to stick with two Pairs – The EUR/USD and the GBP/JPY. The GBP can roll with the EURO and hopefully the Japanese Financial Chairman is sleeping when I begin my day. πŸ™‚

  • Kishore Kumar

    As you may not hear from me for a while, I am here to express my thanks and my deepest gratitude to Mole and Scott for making me take a fresh look at my trading. Looking back at much of my trading, going back a few decades, I feel utterly disappointed with the results and feel thoroughly disgusted to learn that it was not because of my edge for entering a trade. My account is far from blown but extrapolating the past, that is a distinct possibility, something I will not allow to happen.

    As I have learned from Mole and Scott and all of the wonderful contributors to the comment section, I will be focusing on my internal work, i.e. psychology, habits, patience, record keeping and constant self evaluation. If I don’t see any improvement, I will quit trading for good, as it has been, so far, an utter waste of time and money.

  • molecool

    You have really made quite a shift since you’ve showed up here. I notice a much more professional and productive tone these days and it seems you’re making strides in the right direction.

  • Scott Phillips

    I concur. I have noticed the shift, and I’m certain he will be a survivor. One of the few

  • Scott Phillips

    Very cool, and similar in concept to most of Ivan’s students. Question, are you taking every one of the 12 setups, or filtering? (top down, or otherwise). And what campaign management do you feel is optimal for Ivan’s setups?

  • Scott Phillips

    Your system is very good Bobby, and a perfect match with your personality.

  • Scott Phillips

    I have a copy of Mole’s automated version of my stuff, which I generally don’t use basically because over time I want to build the muscle memory of “blink – is there a setup?”. To me the extra time to go over every chart in my universe is not wasted, and I would want to do it anyway.

    Also, the lingering problem with my system (and all daily chart systems) is correlations. I had a conversation last week with Andreas Clenow, (who wrote the book on trend following and manages 300 million) where he told me that he is not optimistic about trend following in the ZIRP environment as correlations have increased to an incredible degree.

  • Scott Phillips

    If you suggested you could be an architect, doctor, lawyer, carpenter, special forces soldier, etc by reading a few books and having a try….. that would be ludicrous.

    Trading is a real job, and success goes to those who treat it as such. Adventurers and dilletantes need not apply

  • Scott Phillips

    Great words from Brett Steenbarger today
    I’ll give you a view you won’t hear from any mentor, coach, guru, or furu.

    Why do so many traders talk about trading being a mental game and making bad trades because of emotions? Why do you find yourself making the same mistakes again and again, making money only to lose it?

    Is it because you lack discipline? Is it because you cannot control your emotions? Is it because you don’t stick with a trading process?


    You have emotional problems in markets because you’re the market’s bitch.

    You heard me right, Mr. Independent Trader who doesn’t want a 9 to 5 job and wants to only work for himself. You’re the market’s bitch.

    From open to close, you’re hanging on every market tick, letting it sway your thoughts and feelings.

    When the market treats you well, you feel good. When it treats you poorly, you feel like crap. When the market’s not moving, you don’t know what to do.

    If you behaved that way in any relationship–with your boss at work or your spouse at home–everyone would see that you’re someone else’s bitch. But with markets, you tell yourself it’s dedication, it’s a passion for trading.

    Bullshit. You the market’s bitch.

    You have a relationship with the market and anytime you’re controlled in a relationship, you’re the bitch.

    The only way to have an even relationship with the market is to control when you play, so that you don’t get played.

    That takes rules, that takes finding and sticking to edges–and it takes the willingness to not play when your edges aren’t screamingly apparent.

    What you got ain’t passion for trading; it’s a need to play.

    If you need to play, you’re going to get played. You’re going to be controlled by market behavior. You’re going to be the market’s bitch.

  • Grant

    Thank you and your expertise and encouragement as well as wisdom are a value to everyone here.

  • Grant

    I use all 12. Ivan’s setups are great for following the trend as well as reversing direction. For me, it’s not necessarily which setup or trend but when the “gas is thrown on the fire” that matters. Credit for what I am doing mostly goes to Ivan as he and his website have a ton of info if one will take the time to go through it. The chart above should be a dead giveaway as far as my strategy for when to start taking trades and the CM for the initial trade. I use a combo of his CM tools depending the stage of what I call a simple “cycle.” If I state much more, I would be giving away the “secret sauce” that I have been working on for sooo long. As far as I know, what I am doing is unique and I am one of Ivan’s students; however, I would consider myself to be a “C” student and one of the clowns that sat in the back with dudeplunger. Shoot me a line at Thanks for the compliment.

  • molecool

    That’s right – no go in the kitchen and make me a sammich, bitch!

  • Scott Phillips

    For those who don’t know Ivan’s setups always enter on a break of the bar high for longs, or low for shorts. How do you deal with the periods with lots of overlapping bars, where you tend to get chopped long then short, then long, then short, for small losses.

    Personally when I was trading Ivan based systems I found these periods quite difficult emotionally. Lots of work, difficult trading, and going backwards in equity.

  • hellbent

    NT won’t cough up the period I want so I’ll post this previously saved one instead. It’s futures only from the start of my first and only futures account – 50 or so trades. The ratchet up then take a dive theme has continued and dipped me into negative territory a week or so back and I’ve hardly traded since. This pattern is not a function of my rule set or system. Rather, I just go off the rails sometimes. Journal and spreadsheet? SFA in that department. Please spare me the chastisement – I can easily blow up the way I am going I know full well. It’s time to dig deep and lay some foundation stones in this endeavor. Will show them off in due course.

  • Scott Phillips

    Well done for acknowledging the problem, this is actually quite hard πŸ™‚

    The first thing to do is to stop trading. If you cannot, or you feel a very strong resistance to stopping (like a 5 year old going “I won’t eat my broccoli) then your trading now has the character of addiction and you must stop.

    Typically, there is some unpleasant feeling in your life you are avoiding, and your subconscious is arranging bad trades so you get to experience that feeling. When you make friends with that feeling whatever it is, the tension dissipates, and the bad trading stops.

    For example the classic one is “those who are prepared to feel shame in trading rarely have to”. Ed Seykota’s trading tribe book and meetings are an excellent place to deal with this. I used to fly 1000km every few weeks to do them.

  • mugabe

    This is just a record of monthly returns – v. conservative monthly momentum system. It’s the system I’ve got the longest record for.
    not real account size – 100K not actual figure but monthly % returns are real

  • Scott Phillips

    Respect to anyone who posts their real world results πŸ™‚ Thanks

  • Scott Phillips

    Actually that equity curve may not be bad, depending on the scale in R/ bet size

  • BobbyLow

    As you might be able to tell by my avatar, I have been a New England Patriot Fan for many years. Back when the team was a hapless loser and began to improve, people cheered for the underdog and they became a favorite in the league. Then under Bill Belichick the team began to win and win and win and subsequently the Patriots became the team people loved to hate. Stupid shit comes out like “they win all the time so they must be cheating”. Bull fucking shit! They win most of the time because all they do is work their ass off and practice situational football. When undrafted rookie Malcom Butler interercepted the Seahawk’s ball at the end of the game that wasn’t luck. They had practiced that EXACT play during the week prior to the Super Bowl.

    In the mean time, Roger Goodell and a lot of owners, are striving for league parity. But it won’t work. Losers talk, bitch and moan while winners practice the right thing hard and execute.

  • BobbyLow

    Thanks for all of your help Scott. It’s been a long journey indeed. πŸ™‚

  • newbfxtrader

    Just one of the accounts for a year. Theres 15k deposits in there since last year, but the numbers are actual.

  • hellbent

    Peak is 10% of account size, 10R. Leg down includes a loss of 4.5R. I tend to spiral out of control after short string of losers. The market punches back when you try and fight it. Snots me good on the nose every time I break my risk rules.

  • Scott Phillips

    Do you have actual trade logs?

  • Scott Phillips

    GREAT return!!!

  • newbfxtrader

    Havent been good keeping logs. Its hard. I have multiple accounts also. Plus I work full time. And on every third weekend.

  • newbfxtrader

    Last year was good. The one before wasnt. The year before that was good but methods were bad. This time I am happy. Less indicators. Better setups. Clean charts. Less losers. You can see from the charts I post it has to be a good setup and lots of room for the trade to move for me to enter.

  • newbfxtrader

    Can I have your email. I have been trying my hand at some option trades. Higher risk tolerance in that one.

  • Scott Phillips

    Ahhh – then you know where you can improve, right?

    You obviously have a system with an edge (and its a trend following system so it is likely to have an inherent edge) but there will certainly be ways to improve, and things you are doing wrong. Without keeping records you are just flailing around, and eventually you hit a patch of poor performance and can’t work it out.

    With records you can say “oh my system is still an edge I’m just making mistakes” or “oh shit correlations have gone up” or “fuck my system isn’t an edge right now, lets reduce position size”

    Also without regular reviews your trading skill remains static. You could be as good as you are now in a year’s time, or you could be much better.

  • Scott Phillips

    888rewards at gmail

  • newbfxtrader

    Yes of course. I hear you.

  • Scott Phillips

    I’m a terrible options trader, Mole and Bobby are way better than me. I get spanked every time I go near those devil dog things

  • Scott Phillips

    Improving from an excellent result to world class consistency would let you double that account again a few times over the next few years. Then you would be a full time trader making a substantial living. Well done so far πŸ™‚

  • newbfxtrader

    Use to lose money trading options. Been different now. I am getting better every year.

  • Scott Phillips

    I think this drawdown would be normal for most systems, it certainly would be for mine.

    Generally the more subjective the system is the better the potential results (mechanical systems are by definition harder to get right) but the problem is that one bit of bad trading can set off a chain reaction, exacerbating drawdowns.

  • newbfxtrader

    Well I need a couple good years to cover all my losses. So to be honest the returns are just getting good.

  • Scott Phillips

    You are a trend trader. Most of the trend traders use futures exclusively, they have incredible leverage, close to 30:1. Why not do that?

  • Scott Phillips

    Sounds like my story πŸ™‚

  • newbfxtrader

    The above one is futures and FX in one account.

  • newbfxtrader

    I take whichever chart looks the best. By FX I mean futures in FX along with other trades I have posted.

  • TheRooster

    good work fella

  • TheRooster

    ok, I’ll play and risk some ridicule – red line is mistake free performance. Green line is actual performance in R. It covers the 14th August on, which was when I made a major rule change to my exits.

  • Scott Phillips

    This is very good, and thanks for posting. Just under 30 R from 90 trades is incredible. Drawdowns are acceptable, the only lingering question is whether the superperformance period is normal or an aberration πŸ™‚

  • TheRooster

    Based on backtesting this is an abnormal period in terms of no of trades (more than expected) but expectancy only slightly higher than the tests.

    Looking at the red vs green lines the obvious problem i need to resolve is the number of trading mistakes I have made in this period, which have cost me 9R in 2 months. The mistakes are as follows:

    Missed Trades: 9
    Order Entry Errors: 4
    Trade Entry Errors: 1
    Trade Exit Errors: 5
    Position Size Limitation: 3

    Far too many, but I am working on it

  • Scott Phillips

    This is the PERFECT example of why record keeping is so critical. If you were just looking superficially you would think (as I did) that you are doing great – expectancy is up, you are making money.

    When you get down in the weeds you can see 22 errors for 100 trades you should have taken. One error in 5 trades WILL send you broke over the long run, it will deepen drawdowns (and your mistake rate will be at its worst in drawdowns).

    The good news is, you know what you have to work on πŸ™‚ Van Tharp says (and I agree) that it is better to trade an average system with lower mistake rate than a very good system at a higher mistake rate.

  • TheRooster

    Thanks Scott. I am working on a detailed process to make it much harder for me to make these errors as I know banging my own head and saying ‘stop making mistakes’ just hasn’t worked.

    My 20 trade mov. ave of mistakes is at least falling now!

  • Scott Phillips

    The cause of mistakes is mostly unfelt feelings

  • phylum

    Scott, you should know the answer to this, especially since you’re trading a subset of same.

  • germatrix

    Stopped out on my Friday short – was not a well disciplined trade at all.
    However here is my current setup and trade. I am now only sticking to this one, and not taking lottery tickets – or challenging other πŸ™‚

    I love the 45 min, 3 hour and daily time scales they work for me. Most entries I make is based on those giving me the same signal confirmation.

    And that is basically as per the notes on the chart my system. I will pull my years results and format, to show the systems successes and failures – ongoing tweaking based on results.

  • Bernie

    Good stuff Scott! And the rest of the crew here seems all set for ‘glory’ or at least on the right path.

    I have to admit I don’t keep records and it is a miracle that I am still surviving this year. I started trading again early this year after a 2yr hiatus. This year has been up and down but as of now, I’m up (fortunately) by 40% using swing trading and I adopted some of Mole’s and Scott’s methods (bollingers, inside days breakout and hammers/gimme bars). I have decided to keep my gains and stop trading until year end. I think there are a few things that I have to sort out. First, being my own RBT. Second, start keeping records. Thank you everyone for all your comments have hit the right spots i.e. mistakes after mistakes

    I will still be lurking around as being in Asia makes day trading the ES a tad more difficult. Have not traded FX yet.. just index and commodity futures. All the best to all here! πŸ™‚

  • Billabong

    Sounds like everyone’s story … LOL

  • Billabong

    Excellent weekend material!

  • Billabong

    Mole, you may want to consider rerunning more of your older posts. Most of your posts are educational or inspirational and the older ones are no exception. It would also help cut down on your workload … πŸ™‚

  • CandleStickEmUpper

    Are all market open today? Its one of those half ass holidays today, like Presidents Day and Veterans Day. Some places are closed, others aren’t.

  • Skynard

    You are an animal:)

  • Skynard

    Heare comes crude oil, making her move. Need to break 49.00, keeps loosing that 50.00 mark:)

  • Skynard

    @ Scott, have been planning my trading out and it has been working fantastic. The first fall was missed and was planning to short the recovery rally which I have done. To be honest this event risk was learned from you:) Good trading Rats!

  • molecool

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    /(_)) /(_))) /(_))((_) ((_)() ) ((((_)( ( )(_))
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    |_| |_|_|___||___/ |_||_| |_| |_||___|/_/ _ |_|


  • molecool

    Yeah, maybe I just recycle the old charts again as well.


    Hey Skynard. I am replying to an old post so perhaps you get message. Hope you are well. I miss you brother. You can e-mail me at p.esquinasi at yahoo