1. 10,000 hours
In his recent book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell describes the 10,000-Hour Rule, claiming that the key to success in any cognitively complex field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours equates to around 4hrs a day for 10 years. For some reason most people that ‘try their hand’ at trading view it as a get rich quick scheme. That in a very short space of time, they will be able to turn $500 into $1 million! It is precisely this mindset that has resulted in the current economic mess, a bunch of 20-somethings being handed the red phone for financial weapons of mass destruction. The greatest traders understand that trading much like being a doctor, engineer or any other focused and technical endeavor requires time to develop and hone the skill set. Now you wouldn’t see a doctor performing open heart surgery after 3 months on a surgery simulator. Why would trading as a technical undertaking require less time?
Trading success, comes from screen time and experience, you have to put the hours in!
2. Education, education, education.
The old cliche touted by politicians when they can’t think of anything clever to say to their audience. The importance of education to success in trading cannot be placed on a high enough pedestal. You have to learn to earn, the best traders work obsessively to refine their edge further to stay ahead of the curve.
3. Think for yourself.
“NO! NO! NO!”… “Bear Stearns is not in trouble”…”Don’t move your money from Bear! That’s just silly! Don’t be silly!”
A quote from well known stock guru Jim Cramer aired on CNBC days before Bear Stearns lost 90% of its value. Many followed this call and felt the obvious pain as a result. As the old saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth; it is very much the same in trading. Successful traders blinker themselves from the opinions of others; they focus on their own analysis of fundamental and technical information.
4. Adapt or Die.
Market conditions change and technology advances, thus the conditions for trading are always evolving, the rise in mechanical trading is testament to that. The very best traders through a process of education and adaptation are constantly staying ahead of the curve and creating ever new and ingenious methods to profit from the markets evolution.
5. Fail to plan, you plan to fail.
The best traders have a well documented plan; they know exactly what they are looking for and follow that plan to the letter. Their preparation for a trade starts long before the market open, it is this meticulous planning and importantly adherence to that plan that helps them avoid the biggest demons for any trader, over trading and revenge trading.
To be Continued