One Damn Good Trader Answers 5 Essential Questions

By Charlie Bathgate Psychology

By Charlie Bathgate

For this series celebrating the launch of the Sang Lucci Master Course, we went through the analytics and pulled some of the most popular posts from Sanglucci.com history. Each one touches on an aspect of what’s covered in the course. Enjoy!

Many of you in the Sang Lucci community, especially those that have been with us since we started back in 2010, have heard of the infamous “Mustped”. Mustped (stands for Must Practice Everyday), was one of Lucci’s original students. He has since grown to become a phenomenal trader and a fascinating example of what the trader’s journey towards consistent profitability looks like.

I convinced Mustped to sit down and give us his answers to five essential questions:

What do you think is the most important personality trait for a trader?

Being humble. I’m always learning and adapting. There are some days I get the markets and some days I don’t. So being flexible and being open minded, and being open to new techniques, is really important.

You have to practice, because only through that do you build the confidence and muscle memory to know what to do and what not to do.  Remember, having knowledge is useless because all the knowledge one ever needs is a few keystrokes away in Google. Experience is the key here, and no one can practice for you!

How do you define success as a trader?

It’s very simple for me: if I expected something to happen and it did happen, then I’m on cloud nine. It gives me assurance that my analysis was solid, and that’s the most important thing. It doesn’t matter how much I make or lose because I know that if I can predict what’s going to happen a reasonable percentage of the time, I will make solid money eventually.

What do you hate most about learning to trade?

Sometimes I get impatient. I wish the markets were open 24/7. I wish there were re-do’s. But based on how I trade and the opportunities I go after, I know that there are at least three great trades I can find per day. That means I have at least 50 chances every month to make money. So I always have to remind myself of why I’m doing this and my gameplan… and I have to stick to it. Watching YouTube videos or making memes (thanks for being my punching bag Lucci) helps pass the boredom.

Trading is also psychologically tiresome and can be quite difficult to sustain. No matter how long you do something, you get that self-doubt in your head. It’s good to take breaks and come back renewed. That’s important. Even though sometimes I want to trade everyday, I force myself to step away. I’m kind of like a girl that doesn’t know what to wear… that internal struggle about what the right choice is and whether to trade or not to trade happens to me all the time.

I do semi-automate my strategies, because as I get older I get lazier. It helps me filter out the noise. Maybe I’m distracted or didn’t sleep well the night before… it reaffirms what I should be seeing. It helps me be more prepared for trading by scanning for opportunities and saving me time so I can focus on executing with military precision.

I have two fully automated strategies, and the rest are hybrid automation. What’s fully automated is selling credit on both sides. The way I do it reduces the risk and puts the probability on my side… I think of it as paying myself to sleep at night. The other one is part of how I build strategies and see patterns, and I use the automation to help bring those opportunities closer to me.

What’s the hardest mistake to avoid while trading?

Listening to your emotions. Sometimes I think, “I need to make this trade because this is the only opportunity I’ll have to make money”. Having the self-doubt in your head that will never go away is part of being a trader. I think you have to just accept that there will always be days when it’s there.

Some trades I do scare the shit out of me. Those are the best percentage winning trades I’ll ever make– my palms sweat, I get nervous. It happened to me last week– AMZN ripping toward 550, I wrote so many 565 calls and held them overnight (as a spread)– and it turned out that I made the right decision.  When the cash session closed that day when I put on the trade, I scanned Twitter and StockTwits to understand the wisdom of the crowd. Sentiment was very bullish.

But I literally had to sit on my hands. My gut was telling me that this was the right thing to do, and part of me wanted to get out of the trade, but I didn’t. I had the instinct that it would turn out, and I believed in my methods because of how much work I’ve put into them and the success they’ve brought me before.

There’s always a battle between your subconscious mind and yourself. There’s always that battle that you have on a daily basis… you have to learn to overcome that. It is an endless civil war.

The other mistake is not taking your losses quickly. It took me three good years to overcome that one. I would average down when it was going against me. I had to learn to cut losses and walk away. Reminding myself that I could always get back in aided in making that mental shift.

And then I had to learn the opposite: not getting out too early. In the past I would put on a trade, and I’d be down even though the trade was working in my favor, and as Lucci always says, “if the trade is working in your favor… stay in the trade.”

So I took Lucci’s advice and don’t have my PnL up anymore. As long as the trade is working in in my favor, I leave it on.

How do you manage your biases when you trade?

I turn off the news. I do my own analysis before I look at anyone else’s. The night before I’ll do my homework, write myself notes so that when the market does open I’m prepared to act systematically and not emotionally. I have an idea of what the best way to make the trades is going to be if the trades present themselves, so that way I’m using the strategy I outlined the night before, when I was calm and collected, rather than having to think in the heat of the moment.

I made a lot of mistakes, blew up accounts, did things that were stupid. I didn’t quit… I wanted to learn and march forward. I was relentless. I knew it would eventually pay off, and it has many times over.

We encourage you to follow Mustped on Twitter.

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About the Author

Charlie Bathgate

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Charlie Bathgate is the man behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly. He’s also the resident psychology fanatic. He graduated from Duke University in 2009 with degrees in English and Business.

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