A simplified summary of the key steps taken by John Piper to get where he is today

The 55 steps

A simplified summary of the key steps taken by John Piper to get where he

is today

1 We are intrigued by the market and start to do some preliminary

reading and research.

2 We buy a book or two and perhaps some newsletters.

3 We find something we quite like and start doing some research using

this particular technique.

4 We dabble a bit in the market, trading every now and then, mainly

losing money, but not much, and having the occasional winner.

5 We generally forget about the losers and congratulate ourselves on

our winners. Convincing ourselves that once we learn the tech-

niques better there will be fewer of the former and more, lots more,

of the latter.

6 We keep manual charts, which may become quite large physically,

and maybe plot a few indicators manually (this was before comput-

ers became quite so available).

7 We spot an approach to the market we think cannot fail to win!

8 We start to trade actively.

9 The results make it clear that it is not as easy as appeared to be the

case. There were a few key points we failed to fully appreciate
We continue to trade. Results are fairly indifferent (to bad) but there

are enough profits to keep the interest up.

11 We continue to expect great results.

12 Trading volume increases and the amount of money in the market


13 We continue to read and take newsletters, but our research has only

scratched the surface. We still have no real idea what we are

involved with.

14 Our technique scores a major success (the ‘87 Crash), but our lack of

trading skills means that we do not profit from it as we might.

15 The market begins to instill a little fear but we have yet to learn the

first key lesson.

16 We keep trading in size. We are overtrading and clearly act as a fugi-

tive from the law of averages. It is only a matter of time.

17 We make a big profit. It is all going well, we start to get overconfi-


18 We suffer a big loss. Psychological problems start to develop.

19 We buy a computer and start to monitor many more indicators.

20 We look at other techniques and other markets.

21 We get wiped out.

22 It becomes clear this is not at all as easy as it looks.

23 We become impossible to live with.

24 It also becomes clear that the information available (in 1987/88) is

not much use to those seeking to make money from trading.

25 We determine to fill this void and look to create a newsletter telling

it how it is.

26 We work with an analyst in the USA. Note how inappropriate this is

for someone who wants to trade. Much better to work with a trader!

27 We continue to trade, but in a much reduced manner.

28 We start our newsletter which is an immediate success.

29 This requires a lot of research plus a lot of self analysis, but it is still

not clear that trading is a psychological issue and that the externals(systems/software/computers/ brokers/advisers, etc.) are almost

completely irrelevant until the internal is set up right.

30 We are plagued with fear and have no clear methodology.

31 It becomes clear that judgmental trading (without a clear methodol-

ogy) is a dead end.

32 We start to look for a suitable methodology.

33 Those available on the market do not seem to be suitable and so we

design our own.

34 We start to trade using a clear methodology. This is not easy but

some things start to become obvious.

35 We find ourselves trading for no good reason (something that was

impossible to detect before we had a clear methodology), but then

realize that it is due to an argument earlier. Self esteem clearly plays

a role.

36 We realize that the key element in trading is our own mentality. 

Now we can start to make some real progress.

37 We improve our systems and start to make some money on a one

contract basis.

38 But we are still fearful and this remains a big problem. We learnt,

some time ago, the necessity of cutting losses, we cannot get to the

second secret until we deal with the fear.

39 We keep trading and we continue to do OK, we start to get more con-

fident and the fear starts to dissipate.

40 We take another big hit.

41 We feel awful and think we should perhaps give up, should perhaps

have given up some years ago when it all went wrong the first time.

42 We keep trading and determine not to get overconfident again. We

reinforce the stress management systems we had to learn in the

early days and keep meditating (essential to trading success). We

realize the importance of remaining humble and also of being an

“empty vessel.” If you are full of yourself there is no room to learn

anything else.
We meet another trader who becomes a mentor. He introduces a new

(to us) technique (Market Profile) which immediately “fits.” This is

because we now have the right attitude.

44 We build on our successes. Systems improve, results improve, and

our mental attitude improves, fear becomes less of a problem.

45 We decide to see a trading coach/psychologist (Adrienne Toghraie)

and have an initial meeting in Switzerland.

46 We make a big profit by letting profits run. We have managed to do

what every successful trader must. Can we repeat this trick?

47 We start to move away from fear, and start to become risk orientated.

48 We realize that mental attitude is all. We see that it is vital to be

relaxed, we reduce position size, again!

49 We spend a few days in the USA working in a group with our trad-

ing coach/psychologist.

50 We begin to make money with consistency.

51 We get a little overconfident, again! But this time we realize the fact

and the damage is limited. But we learn, again, to remain humble.

52 We start to trade almost subconsciously some of the time. We are

becoming expert.

53 We know there are still many challenges ahead but we are confident

that we will deal with them.

54 Money ceases to be a problem, we truly live in a world of abundance.

55 We find that our lives improve across the board and that we are

achieving in a wide range of areas.

I blog with BE Write


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