At the end of the day, trading is about pattern recognition. Trading education is about understanding which patterns matter and which patterns don’t.
Although we like to act like a good trading system can be broken down into hard rules and fed into automating software, this just isn’t true. If it were, there would be more programs for sale that genuinely make a profit.
I did an experiment that really drove this home for me. I had been back-testing a 5/8 EMA crossover system on the D1 chart. I had seen multi-year threads on other forums of people making a profit on this system, and yet my back-testing didn’t show that profit. So I went back and looked a bunch of the failed setups, noted the date, and then went in search of the financial news for that day. In many, many cases, there were clear signals (such as major scheduled news releases) that made it obvious to any discretionary trader that signals generated on that day would be suspect. But there was nothing on the charts that would tell you that.
Take out those failed trades and, voila, you had a profitable system.
In my view - and I don’t hold myself out as a master trader by any means, so take all this with a grain of salt - any attempt to run a completely non-discretionary system is just turning yourself into a bad, slow, stupid algorithm. You can’t out algo the algos. They have a team of geniuses constantly tweaking them, and they operate at speeds we can’t properly conceive of. Don’t try to beat them at their own game.
Our ‘edge’ is human discretion. It is drawing in all those ill-defined intangibles and knowing when to say ‘no’ when all the rules are saying ‘yes’.
What does all this have to do with your question? Well, there is a scene I remember from the movie ‘City of Angels’ - a bad movie, don’t see it - where Nicholas Cage asks Meg Ryan what the peach tastes like. She says to him ‘You don’t know what a peach tastes like?’ He responds, ‘I don’t know what a peach tastes like to you.’ Our brains are all wired differently. We see different patterns, even when we are looking at the same charts. You must, must, must find the patterns that work for you.
Some guys are all into support and resistance, or Fibonacci levels. I tried that, and a bunch of other things that different people have sworn by, and it just didn’t work for me. It works for them, but not for me, because what they see and what I see are two different things. And I suspect that if a lot of those guys tried what seems to be working for me, it wouldn’t work very well for them.
So, yeah, you need to find your own patterns. That doesn’t mean they have to be unique - they have almost certainly been found and used and talked about by other people - but they do need to fit you, and the way your brain works.