In the past 8 years, I’ve used a variety of different trading systems… often at the same time.
Why? Because situations are changing all the time… and if my trading doesn’t adapt accordingly, I’ll get left behind.
What No Serious Trader Has Been Willing To Tell You
The truth is, it isn’t enough trade with one fixed system.
To illustrate why, here’s a quick example from my trading history:
When I first started out, I traded exclusively on the intraday timeframes.
Things were going well for a while, but I eventually found that the intensity of my trading was affecting the quality of my life.
As a relatively young lad (at the time), I didn’t have the experience to walk away from the trading screen when I should have — increasingly, my life had became centered around every 30-pip price move.
On top of that, as I started traveling more often, I found myself unable to spend as much time trading as I used to.
It came to a point where my trading was holding me back from doing the other things in life I wanted to do… and that was when I realized I had to completely change the way I was trading — I had to find a different approach.
New Ideas = New Methods
Eventually, I learned how to to trade off the ‘big picture’ market themes by understanding economic data and market sentiment.
I’m a slow learner so it took me a while to get it all down… but once I pieced everything together, I got exactly what I was looking for – a trading system that fit my situation perfectly.
I could finally transition away from spending hours every day trading the intraday charts, into spending just 15 minutes each day trading off the daily chart.
But while this approach had served me well for years, I now find that my personal circumstance is changing once again.
Now, after years of trading on-the-go and rarely staying in one place for longer than a few months, I’m getting tired (and frankly, bored) with such a lifestyle.
This is perhaps another story for another day, but the bottom line is that after years of exploration abroad, I am now thinking about settling back down in Singapore for a bit.
Perhaps, this means that I will start trading on the intraday timeframes again… hmm… we’ll see!
Is this going to be permanent? Does this mean that my travel “itch” has been sufficiently scratched and will never return?
I don’t know. Either way, I’m ready for whatever comes next.
You see, because I’ve had an extensive “taste” of a variety of trading methods over the years, I am able to design new systems to suit my changing preferences and situation.
That’s the point I want you to get.
Like in many areas of life, the broader the scope of your (trading) education, the better you’ll be able to deal with changing circumstances.
“But Shouldn’t I Be Focusing On Just ONE Method?”
Well at first, yes. But that’s just half the answer.
The thing is, if you want to be an effective trader for the rest of your life you’ll need BOTH specialization and diversification in your trading methods.
You must be the soldier AND the strategist: Your tactics inform your strategy, and your strategy guides your tactics – it’s this feedback loop that keeps your system relevant to changing circumstances.
As you might imagine, this isn’t something that can be picked up overnight – you’ll not only have to come up with new ideas for trading systems, but to also keep testing them.
And while I can’t help you with the latter, I can suggest a shortcut for the former.
How To (Easily) Get New Trading Ideas
Here’s what I do: I join newsletters and trade signal services, and try to figure out the thinking process behind them.
The idea is to expose myself to as many trading methods as I reasonably can, while minimizing the downside risks of trying them out.
My criteria of joining these services is simple. They must offer:
- A low-cost trial (less than $50); OR
- A full money back guarantee
Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter whether these services actually make money or not. I don’t join them to make money – I join them to expose myself to fresh ideas, so I can come up with new ideas of my own.
For example, last year I joined the DreamSphere trade copier service. By watching how they took trades, I gained a few new ideas to incorporate into my own trading methods.
And now, even though the DreamSphere guys have since crashed out of the scene, I’m still using those modified methods in my own trading.
How come? Because while I don’t fully understand how they trade, I know exactly how the new ideas work in the context of my own trading systems.
That’s the key to all this. Regardless of the outcome of joining, I’m always progressing and adding on to my knowledge and experience.
To me, this is a good deal because the downside risks are minimized, while the potential rewards can be pretty big.
Give It A Go
So if this idea has never crossed you mind, try it out. I can’t overstate how many trading systems I’ve come up with, simply by building upon the ideas of others.
In trading, you don’t have to be original to make money. You just have to find something that works for you, and keep doing it.
In this sense, the more trading systems you study, the better.
It doesn’t matter where the idea comes from – once you apply it, it becomes yours.