With his genius intellect and humanitarian disposition, Angus MacGyver is the quintessential problem-solver. Whether disarming a nuclear missile using only a paperclip or picking a lock with a Swiss army knife, he gets the job done. If MacGyver decided to enter the marketplace, there is little doubt that his futures trading strategies would be winners (with all proceeds going to charity, of course).
While you may not have to patch the radiator of a 1985 Jeep Wrangler with bubble gum, futures trading often requires out-of-the-box thinking. The following ideas may help you weather a particularly rough stretch in the markets, by any means necessary.
Unorthodox Problem-Solving 101
One of the biggest advantages that active traders have is a diversity of alternatives. At any given moment, there are literally a million different ways to go, both good and bad. While having options is great, it can also be overwhelming. Here are a few offbeat tips that can help keep the execution of your futures trading strategies in top form.
#1 Watch a Sporting Event
Aside from the physical component, the similarities between sports and the markets are striking. Observing a sporting event ― individual or team ― is a stark reminder of the competitive nature of humankind. Watching a sporting contest of any sort is a great illustration of how strategy, skill, and determination ultimately determine success or failure. Many lessons learned on the field translate well to the screen.
#2 The $100 Bill Trick
The high degrees of leverage used in futures trading frequently produce dramatic swings in account value. Subsequently, money often loses all meaning to active traders. One way to reinforce a dollar’s worth is to go to the bank and exchange a $100 bill for singles. Then, count each dollar manually until you reach 100. This exercise is time consuming and frustrating. But, it does prove that a single dollar is tangible and has value.
#3 Put Yourself on the Clock
While having a strong work ethic is a definite plus, constantly searching for new futures trading strategies and scrutinizing charts is counterproductive in the long-run. In the event you find yourself putting in 25 hour days, go buy an alarm clock. Limit pre- and post-market study to a 30 minutes or one hour each. When the alarm rings, you’re finished. This will simplify your approach to the markets and promote efficiency.
#4 Sit on Your Hands
Overtrading is a leading cause of failure for active traders. If you’re compelled to take trades every minute of the day, physically sit on your hands. Placing an order involves a mouse click ― if you can’t reach your mouse, you can’t trade.
#5 How About a History Lesson?
In a time of extraordinary account drawdown or build, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. A history lesson can put wins and losses into perspective. Stories about war, spectacular success and market panic remind us that there’s truly nothing new under the sun.
#6 Pick up an Instrument
Successful trading involves many skills, both analytical and creative. The ongoing dialogue between the right and left brain plays a key role in strategy execution and development. Attempting to learn a musical instrument can facilitate creativity by opening up the right brain. If your trading feels stagnant, picking up a guitar or tickling the ivories may give it a much-needed shock.
#7 Turn down the Heat
Physical discomfort has a way of sharpening our senses. Sometimes, keeping the home office at a balmy 72℉ can lull a trader into a false sense of security. While it’s not necessary to take the ice-bucket challenge, cranking the thermostat down can pique your senses and awaken your neurons from their slumber.
Which Futures Trading Strategies Are Right for You?
MacGyver’s ability to use unconventional thinking to solve problems served him well in the 1980s — and even today, with the 2016 reboot. While most futures trading strategies don’t require you to disarm an IED with a hair barrette, being able to adapt on-the-fly is a talent worth cultivating.
For more information on how to develop your trading skills, check out the educational suite at Daniels Trading. Blogs, webinars, and expert advice are all at your fingertips, ready to help take your game to the next level.