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How Style Drift is affecting your Trading and how to overcome it?

Avoid Style Drift and become a consistent profitable trader.

How style drift is affecting your trading and how to overcome it?

There are several styles to make money in trading, and each of those styles needs differing skillsets and temperamental traits. Some styles are too volatile while some are relatively calm. Some styles rely on high leverage while some don’t use even a dollar of margin.

Most new traders pick styles from established traders when they start trading. Seeing the success of the established traders, these traders believe that they would be successful with the style from the get-go. Sometimes they indeed taste success, but no style can guarantee profits all the time.

While the traders stick to the chosen style when the going is good, they begin to find faults in the style when they hit a rough patch. The fault-finding causes them to gravitate to other styles of trading that seem to be successful at the time.

The process continues for some time and the trader eventually becomes a “jack of all trades but master of none”.

This is called style drift.

The “why” of Style Drift

The major reason for style drift is the failure to execute one strategy consistently. The obvious factor affecting this could be the conditions of the broader market. The style could simply be not suited to the changed market condition.

For example, a momentum style will not work in a sideways market. When a momentum trader is encountered with such a market, he might conclude that the style doesn’t perform and move to another style that seems to be working at that time.

The other times, the drift is because of psychological factors. In fact, most of what happens in trading is determined by the ability of the trader to handle different emotions.

The drift happens because the trader couldn’t just follow the rules and acts emotionally too many times, concluding that the trading style isn’t best for him.

How it affects trading and why is it harmful

Changing trading styles too often doesn’t let you master any one style and no great has ever been achieved without mastering.

Any trading style needs tremendous focus and a lot of practice to make meaningful returns. You need to experience the vagaries to the minutest detail to be able to make decent returns years down the line. There is also a lot of financial and psychological burn involved.

It works like compound interest. You compound your knowledge with incremental improvements in your trading style, which eventually starts showing in your trading performance, which becomes better and consistent. The more time you spend honing the style, the more naturally it comes to you and the more confident you will be in trading.

When you drift too much from style to style, you choke the essential learning process, not devoting enough time to attain any level of mastery. When you do this with each new style you gravitate to, your trading will be highly casual and all over the place.

When this happens, the emotional part of trading gets dominant, making the trader commit serious career-ending mistakes.

How to overcome the style drift

Half of the battle is won when you realize that style drift is impeding your trading success. You can then pick and follow one style for a reasonable time to see the difference yourself.

Here are a few pointers that can help you overcome style drift

Choose your style wisely: Your trading style should always complement your psychological makeup. If you choose a style that’s not suited to your temperament, you will have a hard time keeping up with the trading style. For example, if you are conservative in most walks of life, choose a style that doesn’t require you to be too aggressive like day trading or leveraged trading.

Focus on building the skillset: Your focus should be to master every aspect of the style. Don’t get too bogged down with money or peer comparison. The more you focus on being the best trader in your style, the better you will get each day.

Follow the rules: The best way to remove emotions from your trading is to follow the rules diligently. The less emotional your trading becomes, the more profitable you would be. This part of trading strengthens as you practice diligently for a long time. So, don’t get discouraged by the initial hiccups, and keep learning from your mistakes. The little strategic and temperamental tweaks that you would make each day to your trading will go a long way in ensuring your trading success.

Trade your edge: You must trade only when there is a tradable opportunity. The urge to be trading all the time is the biggest block to successful trading. Trading in unfavourable environments depletes your financial and mental capital. It’s advisable to sit back and wait when your style of trading is out of favour due to any reason.

Give enough time: Any style will take at least a couple of years to be understood in its entirety. The key is to have patience and keep working.


Trading is more of an art than science. It’s not as black and white as new traders make it out to be.

It’s also one of the most challenging professions you can get into. Therefore, it’s important to know what to expect from the beginning.

There will be many setbacks . It will be easier to deal with them when you know it’s a part of the journey.

It’s natural to go through a lot of stress and self-doubt, but the ones who persevere see the light at the end of the tunnel. The name of the game is perseverance.

Once you have committed to a style, try to know everything that is to be known about the style. That includes the entries, exits, risk management, position-sizing, best environments to trade your style, and the setbacks that the style faces. This should help you prepare for every eventuality and keep you executing one style with laser “focus”.

See our Youtube channel here to help you on your journey, or even join our Group/Forum - Group

Good luck!

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I concur!!! My goal is at least a paragraph everyday. At the moment, I have stacks and stacks of partial filled notebooks everywhere in the office.


Jan 18, 2022

Here is a simple journey challenge. Buy a notebook. Write a journey every day. 1 page 1 day about your trading. If you change the ruleset or strategy buy another one. If you finish your journey (not missing any day even id you are not trading) then you are a rich person. Fun fact: I have many :) non of them is filled:)

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