In the world of traders there are two big camps – one is the group searching for what they believe is the holy grail – the perfect method that will give them easy access to consistent profitability. The second group will tell you that there is no holy grail of trading. They’ll tell you that successful trading is the domain of an elite few who have mastered the impossibly difficult conditions of trading to become consitently profitable. This apparently elite few have been compared to expert surgeons or chess grandmasters!
Is trading really that difficult? Are consistently successful traders the equivilent of brain surgeons and nuclear physyicists or is trading open to those of us on a slightly less rarified level? Do we need to be Tiger Woods or can we make it if we can regularly hit par?
Here’s my take on it. I’m convinced that there is a holy grail of trading and its available to those that want to find it – it won’t be found by searching for the perfect method, but at the same time its not impossible to find if you look in the right place – if you are willing to go on a challenging quest to find it! Its certainly not easy, but its certainly not impossible.
The mechanics of identifying profitable trades and executing them are no harder than any other skilled profession. It takes study, effort, and practice, but what skill doesn’t? What makes successful trading appear to be so unattainable – and become so for many – is that it requires each trader to do something extraordinary. It requires you to adopt new beliefs, to retrain your mind to think differently, and to first face and then learn to manage your emotions. This is not difficult in and of itself, but most new traders simply do not do this crucial work.
Its interesting that the type of people that gravitate towards trading are actually the people least likely to succeed at first blush. Predominantly male, successful professionals, cocky young twenty somethings, doctors and dentists – why would this group have the predisposition to fail? Because they (I was once one of them) believe without question in the validity of the way they think. Changing beliefs, confronting emotions is outside of our initial comfort zone. Only the few that take the bold step of focusing on the mechanics of their own thoughts and emotions become complete traders, and ultimately achieve the success that they are looking for.
So here’s another question. If I’m to go on this quest to the find the holy grail within myself, is there a map? Again the answer is yes, there is a clearly charted path that you can take. BUT…don’t mistake the fact that there is a map, for it being easy. Nobody can walk the path for you. No matter how many people have blazed the trail before you – you will still need to walk it yourself and fight your own dragons.
Your goal is a state of mind and being in which you can stay focused in the ‘opportunity flow’ of the market. Fear of loss cannot touch you, because you’ve learned how to accept risk, how to safeguard yourself, and how to trust in your ability to do whatever is necessary in the moment to protect your capital. In that state, free of distraction, you can see the opportunities that present themselves. You can take profits from the market effortlessly. A trader in that state can take even a mediocre trading method and make it a gold mine.
The interesting thing about learning to trade is that no matter what path you take, you need to find a method with positive expectancy – an edge that you can rely on. And here’s the challenge – no matter how committed you are to a quest for the grail within yourself, watch out! Many a trader, with the best of intentions, has been distracted by the siren call of their method. They end up on a detour, constantly focused on method and never make it to the next step. Every trader that wants to be successful must understand that their method is just the beginning, its just the entry requirement. The true quest to find expertise and consistent profits lies in mastering a different kind of methodology – a new way of thinking.
Have a great week!