Don’t Ask These Trading Questions

Posted in: Basic Trading Strategies, Secrets from Successful Traders, Trading Article

trading questionsEver hear that if you want a meaningful answer, you need to ask the right question?

I am not talking simply about the way most successful approach problem solving questions.

The average person will ask “How can I make more money?”

Those that succeed ask “How can I average 15-20% per year on my investment and lessen the tax burden?”

The average person will ask “Why can’t I lose weight?”

Those that succeed ask “How can I decrease body fat while I maintain muscle mass without a starvation diet?”

The average person will ask “Why does this always happen to me?”

Those that succeed ask “How can I use this challenge I face to better myself?”


How You Ask Questions Matters

See, same issues but approached with a different mindset.  Many questions we ask ourselves, even as we speak to ourselves with mind chatter, are generally not of the empowering kind.

That, is human nature.

I firmly believe that those that succeed speak to themselves and ask questions much differently than those that are average.

Average is fine however I can’t recall anybody in my life saying they never want to excel. That they never want to be the best at anything.

You are what you eat, right?

Well, I think you are also what you think! 

Read any autobiography of anybody that has accomplished something that many have not and there is probably something written about how they thought especially during times of struggle.

So…what does this have to do with trading?

A ton. 

Mindset is huge in trading although this article is not about all the things that make up a successful traders mindset.

No, I want to talk about the questions you need to ask…actually NOT ask (at least at first) in order to determine a trading system that you will investigate further.


Common Trader Questions

Many of the trading questions that come through emails usually fall into a version such as:

  • On average about how much do you make per contract per day?
  • How long do you trade usually per day?
  • How much do you recommend putting in your acct per contract?
  • How long will it take me to succeed?

These question really don’t have much utility in helping anybody really get a handle on trading.


What difference does it make how much I make per contract?

This is not a mechanical system where you take every trade printed on the chart.  Actually, nothing is printed on the chart.  I always come back to the Turtles where everyone was taught the exact same method in the exact same fashion.

The results?

Widely different among each trader.

Looking at my results or those of anybody else have no bearing on your success or failure.  Bottom line, know that information of how much someone makes will both not help you or have any impact on your results.


The length of time trading in a day probably ties in with how much made per day.

This person is obviously trying to piece together how much and how fast.  Someone new to trading a certain method can not expect to come close to the results of someone who has experience trading a certain way.

It is a general question that does not take into account a trade plan that may have you quitting after 1 loss or only trade during an overlap session.

How can you evaluate a system based on that question?  You can’t.


The recommended amount per contract you should put into a trading account is getting close to a decent question.

Obviously, the more capital you have per contract traded, the lower your money risk per trade will be as a portion of your account can be.  However, this question is meaningless because it does not take into account my tolerance for risk.

It also does not take into account a very important number, the average risk per trade nor does not it take into account total portfolio exposure which may force a lower than usual risk amount at certain times.


It takes more than a trading method to find success so it is impossible to tell how long or if ever, someone will succeed.

Many of the top traders will say that their system of trading is actually the least important to their success.  How they think about trading, the “why” behind their trading and understanding how important controlling risk is to success, is usually the topics of choice for them.

You will also see statements, not just questions:  “my goal was to make 1 point or $50 per contract per day and that is not enough for me.”  Someones goals are up to them but if you are looking to make more from your trading efforts, you will either have to take more trades or trade a larger position size.

I am not making fun of the people that start a trading conversation with these types of questions.

The sad fact is that these questions are the usual types of questions asked!

It points to the fact that many people are approaching trading with a mindset that is not conducive to succeeding.

Where are the questions about:

  • Risk?
  • Expectancy?
  • Exits?

Anything that digs into the risk factor associated with the method would be a great starting point when it comes to questions.  People thinking of entering trading as a career really should  stop reading the trading forums because that is where many of these questions are asked.


Focus On What Truly Matters

Pick up a book by Douglas or Van Tharp.

Pick up the Market Wizards books.

Pick up anything written by successful traders or those associated with them to see how these people think.

See the types of variables the successful focus on.

It is not accident that most people fail.  They are not prepared to ask even the most basic questions.

They have not searched out the mind mechanics behind trading.

I urge you, before even thinking of a trading system, to see how the ways to think about trading.  Your future success DOES depend on it.

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Trader at Netpicks
Shane his trading journey in 2005, became a Netpicks customer in 2008 needing structure in his trading approach. His focus is on the technical side of trading filtering in a macro overview and credits a handful of traders that have heavily influenced his relaxed approach to trading. Shane started day trading Forex but has since transitioned to a swing/position focus in most markets including commodities and futures. This has allowed less time in front of the computer without an adverse affect on returns.

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