What course did you initially do at Amplify?
I did the internship program (Stages 1 & 2) in the summer of 2018 which was after my final year at university.
What made you want to come back and trade with live funds?
After the internship, I went back home to Malaysia and started trading my own account. What everybody learns sooner or later is that the learning curve to be a good trader is very steep. I knew I needed a mentor for guidance, hence my return in April 2019 for Stage 3 of the Career Programme.
What are the main differences you found switching from trading on the sim to trading live?
They say in trading you cannot outrun your demons. This becomes apparent when you start trading live because it becomes real. Your P&L, at least in the beginning becomes a measure of your self-worth and you start reacting very differently in-line with your psychological makeup. Once you trade live you will know how hard it is to hold on to your winners, how hard it is to not chase trades, to let go and move on from good setups that then fly off the handle after getting stopped instead of spiraling into revenge trading mode. Just knowing where to buy and sell is hardly the hard part.
Putting on good trades is not the hard part. It’s what you do when you lose because you will have losses. Losses can be good trades and winners can be bad trades, but your psychology might tell you different when you trade live. On the sim you might not trade a breakout before closing, but if you’re negative for the day or the last 5 days on a live account, you might actually hope this breakout will save you. It will not and you would know this if you were trading sim. This experience is something you can only gain by trading live.
How do you think trading the live markets has helped you prepare for your future?
I wanted to be a full-time trader and have been a competitor since I picked up a squash racquet when I was 10, but nobody can prepare you for how hard and long the journey will be to have any measure of success in trading.
Trading the live markets helped put that into perspective and you learn to understand your psyche a lot better because there will be good days, bad days and even worse days. When you think it cannot get any worse, it does and you learn that if you stick to honing your skills, to get better every day regardless of setbacks and drawdowns, the work gets rewarded.
We all know discipline is important but if you want to be good at trading, you have to perform and to do this, discipline at every stage is essential because trading is equivalent to high performance sports. You don’t ‘Bend it like Beckham’ by showing up to practice late and sleeping in on the weekends. More importantly, I learnt to trust my own abilities if I’ve done the work because holding winners goes against our normal psychological makeup. However, getting egoistic is. It’s very easy to start “letting loose” but the market is always there to humble you.
Why would you recommend the transition from trading on the sim to trading live?
Trading on the sim is a video game. It’s fun to play Call of Duty but it really isn’t war. Your psyche takes the front row seat when trading live and you start doing things you otherwise wouldn’t in the safety of a video game. The things you learn from understanding your own psyche is important to being better in general, I think.
You learn to ask the right questions about what part of your decision-making process is holding you back, and what to do about them if you intend to get better. I think anyone can benefit from this.
You can view Ahmad’s LinkedIn profile HERE.