Trading: It’s a Game of Two Halves

BY MARCELO ALVARENGA

Is it possible to master trading until you reach a point where the most challenging and complex things become simpler and easier? Is there a way to confidently execute strategies without fears or doubts?

The answer is yes! It is possible.

But the reality is that due to the difficulties in trading, both technical and emotional, complete mastery can take a long time. This does not mean that with experience, trading will become very easy, but it will undoubtedly become easier with time and experience.

But don’t be fooled. It will be necessary to work in many areas and disciplines to get to this point. And they cover technical, mindset, behavioral, and even profound personal aspects.

And since it is a process that can take time, many traders, unfortunately, will fail to develop to the point where things could become more manageable. Many end up stopping halfway in the process. And although many won’t notice that, a key reason for failure is to try to master all these areas and disciplines simultaneously.

Mastering trading is like playing a game with two different halves. In the first half, you must develop your technical skills. You must know how to read the market and have a robust method and strategies. In the second half, after mastering technical skills, the game changes. It starts the process of mindset development. Then, emotion and behavioral aspects become more important for the trader’s success.

And this approach, which seems so simple, can make a huge difference. Dividing the learning and development process to master trading as if I were playing a game with two different halves can be a massive relief to many of us.

I don’t know if you feel the same way, but when I was starting my trading career, I had the impression I would need to master 100% of trading, everything from technical analysis, setups, mindset, risk management, at the same time, all at once. And the truth is that, other than being almost impossible, it could decrease my chances to develop myself as a  consistently profitable trader.

Instead of following a logical learning process where technical mastery is prioritized initially, many end up reversing and worrying, ahead of time, with the psychological side and think that our emotions are preventing us from winning the game. No, huge mistake. Mindset will take place in the second half. The first half is all about mastering technical aspects.

After many failed attempts, I realized that I had an excellent improvement in my trading. I started to devote myself to mastering techniques and skills to read the market context, understand how significant players and participants are competing against each other, get to know more about the strategies of professional traders, embrace edge risk management. That learning helped me develop my trading method (the Simple Trading Formula).

And then, only after that, I start worrying about my mindset.

Why was this so powerful for me? I credited my negative results and failure in the market to my emotions. All those fears, doubts, and psychological challenges that we have, traders, face every day. But the truth is that my main issue was not my mind then. I was still in the first half of the game, and all I needed to do was master market context strategies and develop my trading method. 

Once I could “win” the first half of the game, then I started the second half. I went to work on my mindset, emotions, habits, routines to strengthen my psychology in trading.

If you don’t win the first half of the game, it will be impossible to turn the game around in the second half. You’re going to lose. 

The good news is: when you win the first half and know your trading method has an edge, the second half of the game becomes much easier. Not easy… easier.

And why is that? See, what few understand is that the emotions, doubts, and fears that traders feel before entering or exiting trades are much more related to the lack of confidence in our strategies and techniques.

With the technical mastery and complete confidence that you have strategies with an edge that will consistently make you money, you’ll start the second half knowing you’ve won the first. It is a huge relief. 

If you’re having a hard time on your trading journey and blame your mindset for that, try using this analogy and approach trading as if you’re playing a game with two halves keeping your focus on winning the first half.

I wish you a lot of success in your trading journey!


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