Doing the Exercise. When you have a set of variables that conforms to the specifications described, you know exactly what each trade is going to cost to find out if it's going to work, you have a plan for taking profits, and you know what you can expect as a win-loss ratio for your sample size, then you are ready to begin the exercise. The rules are simple: Trade your system exactly as you have designed it.
This means you have to commit yourself to trading at least the next 20 occurrences of your edge—not just the next trade or the next couple of trades, but all 20, no matter what. You cannot deviate, use or be influenced by any other extraneous factors, or change the variables that define your edge until you have completed a full sample size. By setting up the exercise with rigid variables that define your edge, relatively fixed odds, and a commitment to take every trade in your sample size, you have created a trading regime that duplicates how a casino operates.

Why do casinos make consistent money on an event that has a random outcome? Because they know that over a series of events, the odds are in their favor. They also know that to realize the benefits of the favorable odds, they have to participate in every event. They can't engage in a process of picking and choosing which hand of blackjack, spin of the roulette wheel, or roll of the dice they are going to participate in, by trying to predict in advance the outcome of each of these individual events. If you believe in the five fundamental truths and you believe that trading is just a probability game, not much different from pulling the handle of a slot machine, then you'll find that this exercise will be effortless—effortless because your desire to follow through with your commitment to take every trade
in your sample size and your belief in the probabilistic nature of trading will be in complete harmony. As a result, there will be no fear, resistance, or distracting thoughts. What could stop you from doing exactly what you need to do, when you need to do it, without reservation or hesitation? Nothing! On the other hand, if it hasn't already occurred to you, this exercise is going to create a head-on
collision between your desire to think objectively in probabilities and all the forces inside you that are in conflict with this desire. The amount of difficulty you have in doing this exercise will be in direct proportion to the degree to which these conflicts exist. To one degree or another, you will experience the exact opposite of what I described in the previous paragraph. Don't be surprised if you find your
first couple of attempts at doing this exercise virtually impossible. How should you handle these conflicts? Monitor yourself and use the technique of self-discipline to refocus on your objective. Write down the five fundamental truths and the seven principles of consistency, and keep them in front of you at all times when you are trading.

Repeat them to yourself frequently, with conviction. Every time you notice that you are thinking, saying, or doing something that is inconsistent with these truths or principles, acknowledge the conflict. Don't try to deny the existence of conflicting forces. They are simply parts of your psyche that are (understandably) arguing for their versions of the truth. When this happens, refocus on exactly what
you are trying to accomplish. If your purpose is to think objectively, disrupt the association process (so you can stay in the "now moment opportunity flow"); step through your fears of being wrong, losing money, missing out, and leaving money on the table (so you can stop making errors and start trusting yourself), then you'll know exactly what you need to do. Follow the rules of your trading regime as best you can. Doing exactly what your rules call for while focused on the five fundamental truths will eventually resolve all your conflicts about the true nature of trading. Every time you actually do something that confirms one of the five fundamental truths, you will be drawing energy out of the conflicting beliefs and adding energy to a belief in probabilities and in your ability to produce consistent results. Eventually, your new beliefs will become so powerful that it will take no conscious effort on your part to think and act in a way that is consistent with your objectives. You will know for sure that thinking in probabilities is a functioning part of your identity when you
will be able to go through one sample size of at least 20 or more trades without any difficulty, resistance, or conflicting thoughts distracting you from doing exactly what your mechanical system calls for. Then, and only then, will you be ready to move into the more advanced subjective or intuitive stages of trading.
Source:"Trading in the zone" by Mark Douglas


Trade well.

E.
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