Sorry for the long absence from posting here. I have been super busy lately with a move and coaching football and obviously trading and building my business and unfortunately something had to give and writing ended up being the thing that fell off a bit. But I am back and I am excited to pass along some of the insights I have gained over the last several months. So thank you for sticking around and it’s great to be back.
I want to use this first post to talk about learning to trade. I have been thinking about this so much lately and I want to share some of my thoughts. I want to talk about my experiences with learning to trade and what they taught me and then I want to talk about how I think learning to trade should be done. Cool? Ok. Let’s get started.
I first found the financial markets about 8 years ago now. I had no idea what I was doing and I had no business being anywhere near them. I was as undisciplined as anyone could imagine a person being and was not good with risk. I was the perfect prey for the viscous markets and their ruthless participants. I was a guy who would sit down at a poker table and go all in with my cards showing. I was reckless and stupid. Thank God I have changed but it was not easy. The trader and coach and husband and father of today is a far cry from the kid eight years ago. It’s fun to think about actually, how far we have come. Try it some time. It’s a good reminder that we are all in process.
So I started out and went head first into trading. Lost money obviously, and beat my head against a wall for many years because I was very stubborn and had to “learn the lessons on my own”. Maybe some of you are there still. Repeating the same mistakes over and over? Well, you aren’t alone.
I learned from the school of hard knocks and experience. Sure I took classes, joined trade rooms, learned systems and even created a couple of systems of my own. But none of them was the “last thing” I guess you could say. Even to this day, I still learn. I still try to understand price better. Price is my study and I want to master the movement of price the way Jiro mastered creating sushi. That excites me.
Sounds lame. I know. I get it. Who wants to master price? #totalgeek but hey, I’ll own it. But I was not always that way.
Maybe you can relate to this? I didn’t start out wanting mastery, I just wanted money and lot’s of it the easy way. ohhhhhh man. I just heard the collective groan through my computer. Feel that? I know that feeling. You just want money and you don’t want to have to work the 9 to 5 any more for the “man” to get it. Trading should be easy and that means easy money. The old saying “trading is the hardest way to make an easy buck” is so true.
So what is the first rule of learning to trade? Stop doing it for money, at least at first, and start treating it as a skill that can be acquired. It’s not a talent, it’s a skill that can absolutely be mastered with hard work and perseverance. Making quick money can never be that. If you are truly in this to become a professional and make a career out of it, you must take this step first. In Jiro’s kitchen, no one starts wringing out hot towels for fame or quick money or even because they “just need a job”. They submit themselves to that process because much like I feel about price, they would like to master something over time that has meaning to them.
Trading is no different. If you would like trading to be a hobby, then treat it as such and set aside the same amount of money you would spend on a new fishing pole or whatever your hobby of choice is and use that until it’s gone. It’s your hobby. That’s cool. If you want this to be your job, you will have to approach it much differently. You will have to forget about money all together for a while and just learn a skill and master your craft.
This brings me to the next stage of learning to trade. There are several words I would use to describe it. Immersion is one. Apprenticeship is the other. Both convey the same idea: You must get completely involved in the process and give yourself over to learning that skill. Remember, it’s not talent, it can be learned and practiced. It requires time and dedication and will most likely not be a destination, ever, but an ongoing journey of exploration, learning, and satisfaction in process and plateau. I could go on forever about the plateau but I will save that for another day.
Immersion is defined as “deep mental involvement”. Learning to trade requires a deep mental involvement. It requires a serious level of focus that is not easy to come by. Apprenticeship is something that our culture doesn’t really embrace anymore which I think is crazy. It’s simply learning your craft from a master. We always think we know everything and don’t always listen. Masters of trading are super hard to come by as well. They are NOT the guys with lambo and bikini pics on Instagram. Guaranteed. They are quiet and in the shadows. So you may have to search them out if you really want to find them.
More than anything I want you to take this as a reminder that you must choose what you want from trading and treat it as such consistently. If it’s a hobby, treat it as such and have the discipline to do so. If you are trying to turn this into and income or a career, then I would highly recommend finding ways to immerse yourself and forget about the money for a period of time while you develop your craft.
To learn trading, we must have patience and passion. To master trading, we must give up the passion and turn it into discipline. There is no way around it. Patience and discipline mixed with immersion and apprenticeship will get the trading master to where they want to go.
Have a great day.