A Day in the Life of a Trader…

A Day in the Life of a Trader…

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A Day in the Life of a Trader…

At times it seems like more people want to know my schedule and how I go about trading than how I actually trade.

I think what’s happening is people are looking for structure, some way of adapting their life to this crazy business of speculating. Here’s how I go about it.

Most of my work is done after the markets close… I actually don’t do much in the way of trading while the market is open. In other words, once the markets close, I go through my charts, my strategies and techniques to find what I should be doing tomorrow.

Then I wait for the markets to re-open and place my orders for that trading session.

One thing I have learned is that looking at the markets during the day, hoping they will go in my direction, is meaningless. It is wasted energy.

While the markets are trading I do my writing and research. It is also when I reply to e-mails and questions from students. I will occasionally look to see what is taking place in the market. When in a trade I will look for one or two specific patterns, such as the formation of outside bars as I discuss in my courses. Other than that, once the dice are in the air and the market is trading, I have found it best not to interject myself into the ideas I arrived at from intense study.

That means of course that I force myself to work diligently prior to the markets opening, to come up with what my strategy should be for that day. Once I have that strategy, I do not want to switch horses in midstream while the market is trading to some other new idea. That leads to losses, that is the strategy of someone that does not trust his strategy or has an ineffective approach.

I have tried a variety of lifestyles to improve my trading. You name it, and I probably tried it. From meditation to mantras, psychological processes and stress reduction techniques. I have dabbled in just about everything to make me a better person and trader.

What have I learned from all this?

I have learned that when you are correct in the market you are not under much stress. In other words, while all of the above can be beneficial, nothing is more important to your sanity and well-being than being right in the market. That brings a tranquility that literally nothing else can achieve.

Since we are often wrong in the marketplace we need to learn to deal with stress and the pressures of being wrong, as well as losing money. 

I do believe my lifelong dedication to exercise and a healthy lifestyle has been extremely beneficial to me as a trader. I think my lifestyle has been responsible for helping me to be able to stay alive in this game for half a century.

If there was any one thing from my lifestyle that I would suggest you do, if you’re not doing it already, is exercise.

So what form of exercise? That probably depends on your age. When I was younger I ran marathons, 69 of them, and lots of road races. I like the competitive part. It’s just like trading, and the fact that hopefully my mind and body work better.

You may have heard of the loneliness of the long-distance runner… I never saw it as lonely but something where I could think about what I wanted to do. It’s kind of like fishing; it is such a relaxing passion, enabling you to get your mind away from the day-to-day hassles. That creates the space and opportunity for deeper introspection or understanding of yourself and the markets. Anything that gets you away from the humdrum business of day-to-day thinking is bound to help.

Clearly everything you learned about eating in life is correct. Don’t overeat, stay away from junk food and greasy foods. All those things matter and the longer you live, the more they matter. Thus, a healthy lifestyle includes not only exercise but correct eating. In my case I have taken a large dose of vitamins and minerals almost every day of my life since I turned 30, and I think that has also made a great difference.

I have also come to believe that everyone’s body is different. Maybe being a vegetarian works for you. I tried it for about 13 years and ultimately it didn’t work for me. But it may work for you. You have to find what works for you, what type of exercise, and what type of lifestyle.

As I see it, the foundation for success comes from a healthy mind and body. On top of that we then need good strategies in structure or format to follow to implement our speculative activities.

My structure is each day I study the markets after they close. That is when I prepare my strategy for the next session. Once the markets open I then implement the strategy. After the close then the process starts all over again.

Day after day, this is the process I use to approach to my trading.

I hope you have enjoyed these lessons…

Live well and you will trade well.

Larry Williams

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