Open a dictionary to the word “Trade” and you’ll find two distinct definitions. The first is trade as the action of buying or selling goods and services, while the second defines trade as a skilled job, typically one requiring manual skills or special training. It is no coincidence then that we in the trading industry refer to ourselves as traders.
First and foremost, trading is a profession based on skill. Like all other skills, trading prowess is something to be acquired through training, coaching, and strong dedication. There are techniques to learn, practice, and master.
But simply mastering these techniques will not bring success alone. Trading is not a profession in which you can imitate the successful actions of others and expect to be equally or even partially successfully yourself. In this sense, a trader is comparable to a professional athlete.
Take a tennis player for example. Through intense drills, scenario studies, and coaches lessons, a tennis player hones their craft through hours of hard work and skill development. They learn how to toss a ball, hit a forehand, predict an opponents move, and so on. A good coach will drill them in these skills and provide insight and feedback when and where it’s needed.
This is the same with a great trader. A prodigious trader will study the market, drill through and create action plans for all possible market scenarios, and perfect their trading style in simulations and real time trading events. But like a tennis player, there is one major intangible that a coach and constant study and practice cannot account for. This wild card is the self and how each individual personality translates what they learn into tangible action on the court or in the market.
Personal Approach to Trading
For all of the knowledge a coach or mentor can bestow, it ultimately falls on the person receiving the information to know how to fully translate and utilize it. Simply, how does one combine the technical knowhow with the emotional and personal aspects of the mind? The answer to this question begins with understanding that your personality has its own unique footprint. This uniqueness means that however you see the abstraction of the marketplace, someone else, looking at the same thing, will see something different. The differences may be minor but they will be different nonetheless.
Seeing scenarios differently also means that you will react differently. So, whatever tools and skills you learned in your lead up to becoming a trader, you must now apply and use these things in a way that is in harmony with your personality and unique style. This is why playing with the same technique or by the same guidelines as someone else, will bring about different outcomes. Different personalities experience and apply their own intuitive action plans based on what and how they experience events. This is why it is imperative that in addition to everything you learn, you create a custom tailored action plan suited to your specific strengths and weaknesses.
In order to do this and only after you’ve learned the techniques, you need to practice as many scenarios under varying conditions as you can, to learn how your personality copes with all of these different event sequences. Learn and study your unique responses to stressors and unforeseen market movements.
Synergizing the Experience
For a trader to be successful, all of the different elements comprised in the preparation must come together with realtime trading skills.
The first ingredient to success is being the analyst. Look at the noisy, abstract presentation of the market and based on this, create a roadmap of what exactly you’d like to do. Map out where you’ll want to take a risk, where you’ll look to avoid risk, etc.
The second component is your role as the actual trader. While it might seem like it’s an extension of the analyst piece, it’s actually a different and separate task which requires other qualities. Only in the the rarest and best traders, do these two sides flawlessly complement each other. For most traders, one skill outshines the other.
What It Means to be a Trader
Being a trader means you have to deal with the actual experience, which is different from your role as the analyst which deals with abstract ideas from a scene. The trader experiences things that are emotional and to deal with this right, you need to know yourself incredibly well and to know the specific effects certain events will have on you. This establishes your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you craft your personal plans.
For example, the market while not in a trend can be deceiving because the movement of price is in ranging motions before decisions are made to break levels and continue trends. Holding positions while it’s up and down can be tiring and you need to be strong and convinced by your analysis. You never know if it’s going to break for you or against you. How you are able to hold depends on your personality. How strong can you hold against the tricks that the market is playing on you? The answer comes from knowing yourself as best as possible.
Your Trading Personality
Another thing to be aware of is your personality class. Are you an aggressive trader or are you intuitive? Maybe you are analytical or perhaps methodical? Each type dictates different approaches to how you execute decisions after analyses are made. An aggressive trader will act fast. An intuitive trader will trust their gut more and use less reason. An analytical trader is more trusting in what they see and what the market tells them, while a methodical trader creates a set of rules and tools that will indicate combinations, which in turn gives them a rule guide to act on.
The closely intertwined combination of personality, skill, intuition, emotion is what makes being a trader such a finely tuned profession. The tradesmith brings their unique DNA into the arena and plays off their particular strengths and weaknesses. No two traders are alike and only each individual trader can determine the proper ways and plans to trade to maximize their skillset.