Market Master: Mark D. Cook’s Trading Advice


Mark is one of the largest and most active private day traders of the E-Mini S&P 500. If you, like me and many other traders, have read the Market Wizards books by Jack Schwager then you will already be familiar with Mark. Mark was the only featured S&P futures trader in Stock Market Wizards.

Mark’s story is truly inspirational. Through sheer determination and willpower, Mark was able to turn around early and repetitive setbacks, where one was of such catastrophic proportion that it nearly bankrupted him, to become on of the world’s most successful day traders. Mark is living testimony to the old adage of ‘never give up’.

Here is what Mark has to say about about the one piece of advice for trading..

I’d begin by telling them that success is a road paved with losing!

These words I have offer about trading may only affect one person who reads them. However, that one person will have his or her life changed forever. Countless words of text are dedicated to making money in all aspects of investing. Almost no words are scripted to keeping the gains. The adage: “it is very easy to make money but virtually impossible to keep it” resonates in every old trader’s mind.

Few people understand the ‘art’ of trading. It is not the ability to read charts, fundamental analysis, or technical analysis. It is simply knowing oneself. My 33 years of trading have taught me several truth. The most important is this absolute. You will lose money an must deal with the fact. Professional athletes accept they will be hurt. How they respond to the pain is the difference between success and failure.

I have lost millions in the trading and investment world, but have fortunately made many more millions to the plus side. The reason is: i have accepted loss as a part of reality and rehabilitated my trading life to heal.

Truth #1: I will lose money. I accept it.

I have a shutdown time when money is being lost in trading. A person’s down cycle is vulnerable period of all life’s ventures. Therefore, it is extremely important to manage the expectation that losses are part of trading. 

Truth #2: Avoid opinions. Trade the facts.

I do a daily ritual to find facts of trading. Once i weigh all the facts, there is no room for opinion. If it is raining, do not say the sun is shining. Live the reality.

Truth #3: Find the opportunities. Trade them. Do not overstay

The market fluctuates, a fact; therefore, I must see the flows, recognize them and participate, but never overstay my welcome. Amateurs stay in trades too long! Pros get out too early; guess who make more money?

Truth #4: Be confident. Trade to win. Don’t trade to avoid losing.

Confidence and realism are blood brothers. Confidence and losing soon divorce. The game of life has a balance that maintains peace. That balance must have a defense and an offense. All of us have seen a person who just plain gives up and soon their body does also. Their offense toward life is gone; therefore their life is also. Defense is a guard and a plan to defend against adversity while realizing it will come. A true balance is weighing all scenarios and assigning probabilities, acknowledging the probabilities, planning a course. There is a way to score! There is a way to stop the opponent from scoring!

Amateurs look for the Holy Grail; Professional trade by the Holy Truth!

Mark D.Cook


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