In the late eighties I was reading the excellent book “Market Wizards” by Jack Shwager and was fascinated by a story of how ordinary people were taught to trade in just 14 days and went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars. How was it possible? Let’s take a look at the legendary story of the turtles.
Trading legend Richard Dennis was having a debate with his business partner and was trying to convince him anyone could be taught to trade, providing they had the right mindset and education. His partner disagreed and felt trading was a god given gift – Dennis set out to prove him wrong.
He gathered a diverse group of people together, from all walks of life who only had one thing in common – they had never traded before. They were a very diverse group and ranged from a security guard, to a female auditor to a boy just finishing high school.
He then taught them to trade. After 14 days, they were all given trading accounts and real money and the rest is history. This group went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars and become trading legends.
So what can you learn from the story?
The first point is – trading success is open to anyone and all the basics of trading success can be learned. Sure, you may not become as rich as this group but there is a big difference between something being impossible and something that can be achieved.
I personally found the story an inspiration and it was one of the major reasons I opened a trading account.
The other point from the turtle story is that simple trading systems work.
The system taught was very simple (a basic long term following breakout method) and of course all the students learned it in just 14 days. So complex systems, you can forget – keep it simple!
The reason Simple systems work is, they are more robust in the brutal real world of trading than complex ones, whose numerous elements snap under the pressure of volatility.
Dennis of course knew that having a simple trading system was all well and good – but you have to follow it with discipline and employ strict money management criteria to win and this point was rammed home to his pupils.
The problem for most traders is learning methods is easy, applying them is hard, very, hard and if you think its easy you are not a trader.
The Problem is you need to keep applying a system with discipline, even when its taking loss after loss and the market is making you look stupid. This is tough furthermore, and just as important, you have to hold your winners as open equity continually eats your open profit – again this is hard.
If you have confidence in your system and know why it works long term you can acquire discipline like the turtles were, just be prepared for some mental turmoil.
The story should be required reading for any budding trader and in addition to the information in Market Wizards, check out the book – Way Of The Turtle by Curtis Faith, the most successful turtle of all. He gives you all the info on the experiment, the system and his experience, so you have a great view from the inside.
Like I said earlier, you probably wont make as much money as the turtles – but maybe, just maybe, with the right education and a burning desire to succeed you could do very well and remember:
Everything about trading can be learned.Do you have the desire to succeed and a willingness to get the right education.