Q: I’ve read Trade Your Way… and am 3/4 of the way through the home study course. I’ve traded cotton, grains, oilseeds and foreign exchange professionally for 14 years and I trade stocks personally with mixed results (much better results since I read your book). I have a mix of fundamental and technical trading techniques but I have stopped trading over the past 2 months as I have just bought a business and there’s too much external stress in my life getting this up to speed for me to trade profitably.

On reflection of the reading, study and trading experience that I’ve done, it seems to me that trading is a lot about luck and if you are lucky enough to have the intuition to get you set the right way in a market at the right time. I definitely agree that risk management / position sizing is key, but do I even need to worry about a set-up or entry signal, when your coin toss approach proved that with appropriate risk management skills, you can still make money with a random entry approach? I would appreciate your thoughts on this please.

A: Luck, in my opinion, stands for Labor Under Constant Knowledge.

It requires the following:

1) A purpose… why are you here and what drives you. You usually know this through what gives you bliss.

2) An understanding of how trading fits within your purpose.

3) A commitment to do whatever it takes to be successful. When you have commitment, you don’t do dances with the obstacles that get in your way. Instead, you simply walk around them and move toward the goal. And when you do, there are usually a lot of Divine Interventions and miraculous things that happen. You could call those luck.

Within the topic of Labor Under Constant Knowledge, you need to eliminate your psychological issues because they will come up whether you just attempted to trade the market, or whether you are trying to develop a good system.

That being said, I think it’s fairly easy to design a very good system to fit any particular market type… and almost impossible to find a system that works in all market types.

The most important aspects of the system are:

    1) Freedom from psychological issues so that you can trade the system without making mistakes
    2) Position sizing to meet one’s objectives.
    3) Selecting an appropriate market to trade (which relates to market type).
    4) Understanding R-multiples and how they can help you manage risk.
    5) Managing your exits.
    6) And lastly, finding setups/entries that will allow you to take a 3 to 1 reward to risk ratio.

Why take a random approach to entry when you don’t have to.

—Van