A Balance of Discipline and Confidence: An Interview With a Full Time Trader
This interview is based on a Discord chat with trader Alec, conducted by Owain Higham.
Can you tell me a bit about what instruments you prefer to trade and your general trading style?
I stick to the ES for the most part, sometimes I trade the NQ. I mostly scalp, looking for 5-10 point moves.
So would you consider yourself more of a scalper than a day trader? And why did you lean towards this particular style of trading?
Day trader/scalper, yes. I do not swing trade, nothing overnight. With most of my positions, I will be out within 10 points. I will hold a runner or two if price action allows.
This style just fits my personality. Plus learning from Bruce and watching the order flow the short term trades can be higher probability if you can react fast enough.
Yeah, it’s very important that the trading style you choose fits your personality. How long have you been trading?
I’ve been in the market learning for about 7 years as an investor and occasional trader. I went full time about 6-7 months ago.
What is the hardest aspect of trading for a living?
Self discipline, patience, execution in real time with no hesitation. Maintaining confidence can be difficult too, if you have a losing streak. When you lose confidence, you may hesitate and things can spiral quickly from there.
Adjusting to market conditions and context can sometimes also be difficult too. Having the discipline to sit on the sidelines and not enter trades if the movements don’t make sense or you lose a couple of trades can be key. Knowing when not to trade.
Some of this sounds easy, but in the moment we sometimes have FOMO that causes us to enter instead of missing a move and letting a better opportunity arise.
So which of these points are you focusing most of your energy on resolving right now, and do you have any tips for traders that may be struggling with the same thing?
It’s hard to weigh any one thing in trading, in my opinion. If I focus too much on one thing I tend to throw off other areas of my trading, in my experience. It requires a bit of balancing. But the best answer is both discipline and confidence. They kind of work in sync.
My best advice to traders lacking confidence is vetting your plays. You will likely be more disciplined with higher confidence. I’m not sure I can answer it broadly for traders struggling with the same issues. We may have similar issues that stem from different problems.
Trading comes down to mindset and personality traits. But if you’re lacking confidence, it’s likely due to experience and not having plays you trust. Screen time and journaling your setups can help improve these areas.
What is it that compelled you to dive full-time into trading? Is it simply for the money, or is there a deeper desire to “beat the game”?
I’ve always been interested in the market and how it works for as long as I can remember. I took a chance at full time after life events during Covid made it a reasonable time to try and do so. I was planning on doing it eventually to have more freedom in life but some things sped up the process for me.
Are there any final closing thoughts you would like to share, perhaps regarding your bigger-picture plans for your trading career, or advice for other traders that want to take that next step?
Bigger picture I just want to be more confident and support myself. I’m not in it to be the richest person but just looking for comfort and flexibility.
For newer traders, do not worry about the money. Start with paper trading. Do not take trades that are not vetted. You only need 1-3 plays a day with anywhere from 1-3 strategies total to be profitable.
Don’t try to watch 10 stocks, focus on 1 or 2 markets. Learn them in and out. Trade the chart and not your PNL. Reach out for help from mentors when needed and keep your emotions in check.
YouTube videos can be your best asset and utilize the free Bookmap community if order flow is how you trade.