At some time during your trading journey you need to sit down and spend a whole weekend thinking about what you are doing and how you may need to change the way you approach trading. Trading was, is, and always will be challenging. Anything rewarding in life always is. On the other hand the only thing stopping you from becoming a successful trader is you. Not your broker, your platform, your computer, or the market. The problem is you.
Traders want to make money trading from their computers in the comfort of their own home. Who doesn't? As a new trader you believe that you can out trade the other traders in the market and make money consistently. Otherwise you wouldn't even attempt it. After you open a live account and start trading you quickly realize that trading is not as easy as dropping a few thousand in an account and clicking the mouse. If that were true and everyone who opened an account was able to make $200 a day trading a small account wouldn't everyone do it? If it worked where would the money come from to pay these traders everyday? Who would supply the money?
Let's look at this the way it really is for a moment. You are allowed into the market to test your skill trading against the pros who run these markets. The "Smart Money". The cost to get in is a trading account (your stake) and every time you open a trade you need to ante up (pay the spread). If you win you get paid and if you lose you pay whatever amount you lose depending upon how you set the trade (risk) up. Since they cannot possibly focus on you as an individual don't you think they have devised a systematic approach to taking money from the majority who enter the market?
The first step in becoming a successful trader is awareness. Awareness of what is really going on and what action you plan to take in order to succeed. Becoming aware takes time and is a work in progress because changes in technology are always changing and shifting things under your feet. You cannot remain static if things are always changing around you. The world turns. One thing thing that you can rely on to remain the same is that even though there are technological advances the basic principles never change. How money is made and lost in the financial markets was and will always have to be the same as in the past, in the present, and hundreds of years into the future. Learning these principles and applying them to your trading is the first step to developing your mindset and put your thinking on a path to success.
When I talk to traders I can tell within 15 minutes from what they say if they have a full understanding of the game they are playing. The same goes for watching You Tube videos of the 100's of self proclaimed trading gurus. The mental aspect of trading does not involve high level theories of psychology but learning and understanding what is going on in front of you and how you need to think and act to maximize your efficiency. Trading is a game and you need to participate in that game a certain way to win. Proper participation is a learned skill that comes from experience. You are not born with that skill.
The reason that experience is so important is because it trains you through repetition on how to anticipate and act. When you see something setting up in front of you and you have seen that same thing setting up 20 times before it gives you confidence in taking action. You are not predicting the future because you don't know what is going to happen next with certainty. You take action because you see the probability of something happening increase. And that is all trading is. A probability game.
What Smart Money is doing everyday is creating the illusion that these markets are moving in a fluid like linear one way direction that can bring profits to those who can consistently ride these one way "trends". The reality is that the market moves up and down and reverts back to the mean getting traders to trade on both sides of this never ending price auction. These traders are typically taken out of the market by bull or bear traps where price moves enough to get you into the market hoping for a big pop when in reality the price always seems to move against you as soon as you get in. The big one way linear moves always seem to come out of nowhere after price has been moving the other way. If this is the case you would typically have to be on board the trade before it takes off which would necessitate you sitting through a decent drawdown before you come into profit. Since you are told to "cut your losses immediately" you won't be able to trade that way. Only professionals can use large enough stops and allow enough time to go by to wait for the trade to mature into a big profit. That is not for the traders who use tiny stops and close their trades within 24 hours and in many cases 8 hours (after a trading session ends).
Unlike the short term daytraders, Smart Money has time on their side. They know that most daytraders will close their trades within 24 hours and definitely over the weekend because they have been taught that there is "market risk". So all Smart Money needs to do is to set up the majority of traders into trading one way during the trading session to easily force them out of their position with a bull or bear trap before the same session starts the next trading day.
Time is a variable that must be included in any trading system because without time price does not move. It appears to move but in reality price is not moving until time goes by and many events occur. Ignore time and the market becauses the world's largest roulette wheel.
Another important study is market structure. Learning to see where in the market structure price currently is and where it appears to be heading next can help you understand where the best trade locations are and where your risk to reward is most favorable. Simply jumping into a trade with a 1:4 Risk to Reward ratio is not good enough. Those in charge are well aware that traders are taught to take a minimum of 1:1 or higher Risk to Reward and this is why the longer you stay in your position the more likely you are to be stopped out by movement against you or watch a healthy profit disappear. This is the real reason a news spike goes the "wrong way", i.e. a positive number causes the asset to fall precipitously. Everyone was long and they need to be stopped out in large numbers quickly. This is market manipulation plain and simple.
If traders spent 10% of the time they spend on searching for indicators, software, and "strategies" thinking about what trading really is and what is really going on they would immediately improve their results by doing less of what doesn't work and begin the process of figuring out what does work and what does need to be done to get them on the road to consistent profitability.