Q: Can you discuss the concept of drawdowns a bit? Novice traders seem to think experienced traders become proficient to the point that they are right much more than not and thus experience very small drawdowns. But talking to experienced traders this does not seem to be the case.
A: In my view, the biggest difference between a successful trader and one who is not is how they manage their mistakes. Note, I am of the opinion that those who trade well don’t make fewer mistakes but they simply have learned how to handle them when they occur. This opinion is based on years of experience but also more recently working closely one-on-one with other traders. The fastest way I’ve learned to be of help to others is to show them how to recognize, quickly admit, and then take aggressive action when a mistake has been made. Losers tend to make bigger mistakes out of small ones. They let their egos get in the way and double-down in losing trades and make matters worse when a mistake is made.
Ultimately, the best you can do in this business is try to be “more right than wrong,” especially at key turning points and be quick to repair and take remedial action when you are wrong as well as managing your risk through proper trading size, stop losses, and simple diversification.