5 Things You Can Learn From Trading In The Zone

Trading In The Zone by Mark Douglas is widely regarded as a classic in trading literature.

I myself have read it many times throughout my trading career, always managing to learn something new from it with each successive read.


“Ninety-five percent of the trading errors you are likely to make—causing the money to just evaporate before your eyes—will stem from your attitudes about being wrong, losing money, missing out, and leaving money on the table. What I call the four primary trading fears.”

“If you perceive the endless stream of opportunities to enter and exit trades without self-criticism and regret, then you will be in the best frame of mind to act in your own best interest and learn from your experiences.”

“People see what they’ve learned to see, and everything else is invisible until they learn how to counteract the energy that blocks their awareness of whatever is unlearned and waiting to be discovered.”

“To operate effectively in the trading environment, we need rules and boundaries to guide our behavior.  It is a simple fact of trading that the potential exists to do enormous damage to ourselves damage that can be way out of proportion to what we may think is possible.”

“There is a random distribution between wins and losses for any given set of variables that define an edge. In other words, based on the past performance of your edge, you may know that out of the next 20 trades, 12 will be winners and 8 will be losers. What you don’t know is the sequence of wins and losses or how much money the market is going to make available on the winning trades. This truth makes trading a probability or numbers game. When you really believe that trading is simply a probability game, concepts like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or ‘win’ and ‘lose’ no longer have the same significance.”

What Mark is talking about here is very important.

Probability is one of the least understood aspects of the markets, having a firm understanding of probability and how it relates to you and your trading strategy will allow you to keep your expectations inline with the reality of the markets.

If you have tested your trading strategy over a sample size of trades ( lets say a thousand for example’s sake) you’ll know how many of the trades out of the thousand you have won and lost on, additionally you’ll also know what the highest streak of winners and losers you have had in a row.

Knowing this information allows you to trade from a standpoint of probability rather than chance, if you know out of 1000 trades your going to win on 500 of them then what purpose does it serve to be scared of losing money ?

We are blessed to of had someone as smart as Mark Douglas to shed an incredible amount of light on the psychological aspects of trading, if were not for him many of the techniques used to control and understand what a trader is thinking when trading would of forever been lost.

The key research rules to all market decision making

Nine Rules of Research According to Ned Davis

There’s always some ‘big’ news story dominating the markets (we have to talk about something) that can catch your attention and in turn shift your bias and focus and rattle your cage. The first half of 2016 seems to have contained an abundance of such stories ranging from profit margin contraction, Fed policy, country’s leaving unions, police shoots, and whether certain political candidates are either racists or criminals, and of course the Brexit.

As traders our job is to focus on what the market is telling us – for many of us that involves a form of analysis based on price movement and for others it incorporates corporate reporting and macro economics. No matter your market paradigm, staying focused on what matters is crucial.

Today I want to share the nine rules of another of my favorite research commentators Ned Davis, founder of the well-respected market research firm, Ned Davis Research…

1. Don’t Fight the Tape – the trend is your friend, go with Mo (Momentum that is)

2. Don’t Fight the Fed – Fed policy influences interest rates and liquidity – money moves markets.

3. Beware of the Crowd at Extremes – psychology and liquidity are linked, relative relationships revert, valuation = long-term extremes in psychology, general crowd psychology impacts the markets

4. Rely on Objective Indicators – indicators are not perfect but objectively give you consistency, use observable evidence not theoretical

5. Be Disciplined – anchor exposure to facts not gut reaction

6. Practice Risk Management – being right is very difficult…thus, making money needs risk management

7. Remain Flexible – adapt to changes in data, the environment, and the markets

8. Money Management Rules – be humble and flexible – be able to turn emotions upside down, let profits run and cut losses short, think in terms of risk including opportunity risk of missing a bull market, buy the rumor and sell the news

9. Those Who Do Not Study History Are Condemned to Repeat Its Mistakes

There’s nothing exceptionally profound here apart from hard nosed awareness of what’s important. When times are ‘noisy’ it’s nice to have a reminder of what’s important as these are the messages that will see you through both the good times and the bad.