Thanks for the advice. My problem was that I focused on it too much in college (I went to UNM, not exactly famous for academia), and the constant failure relative to the people around me really got me down. They were the types that would take me to parties and give me pointers, but at the end of the day, they were just a different crowd with different interests and abilities. Eventually, for my own health and sanity, I had to stop caring entirely. That is, now it's more of a
The effect has been been good overall, and with where some of my friends have ended up, I'm glad I didn't fall into the trap. It's somewhere I'd like to be in 5 or 10 years, but for the last several years, I've been able to get rid of that desire and take advantage of the free time and focus that it affords me, and to live very frugally and grow my trading and engineering ability.
I see. It makes me happy to come across someone modest as yourself. I'm very sure you'll succeed in life. I don't have "advice", but I have a few opinions:
(1) Don't spend money on "systems" developed by other people until you're able to develop some of your own.
It makes no sense to sell a "system" if it works. And if it does, you want to know the limitations of any "system" - and you usually only do if you wrote it up yourself. Extra red flag if the vendor calls it a "system". I used to work in a lab and there was a huge poster on the wall which read, "If you don't know what it is, call it a SYSTEM. If you don't know what it does, call it a PROCESS."
(2) Look at materials outside of technical analysis.
(3) Find a niche - there are many skills that you should have picked up from electrical engineering that can be ported to trading.
(4) Trading is a skill, just like surgery. Except maybe harder, because it's your own life at stake. Put as much time into learning and practising it before you actually do it.
Well yes, I spent a lot of my lifetime in Cambridge. I actually went to Harvard for college and MIT only briefly for graduate school before I dropped out. Hardly makes a difference once you start working for yourself, though.
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I also have a technical background (experimental physics, electronics engineering -- 2 separate careers, trading full time being the 3rd career) and found an analytic mind to be an asset for some things (e.g., understanding indicators, how to incorporate artificial intelligence into autotrading strategies) but absolutely no help in, and possibly the biggest handicap to, actually learning how to trade. To paraphrase some trading educators, sometimes 2 + 2 = 4 but more often 2 + 2 = 3, or 7 or 5 and the trick to consistent profits for me was learning to recognize what math the market is using at the moment :-/
In my experience traders seem to have more in common with the stars in major league sports and with Olympic athletes rather than the Mensa set, and the 2%-5% of would-be retail traders who make it may have tenacity in common with top athletes-- determination transformed into talent by 10's of 1000's of hours of conditioning, or more if (like me) a trader thinks too much.
At least one famous trader said something to the effect big profits come from waiting, not from thinking.
The 2nd biggest lesson I had to learn, coming from previous career positions where it was my way or the highway, was that retail traders are nothing more than pack mules for market liquidity and when the going gets tough the market eats the donkey.
No finer profession than trading. Enjoy and good luck.
Last edited by bnichols; December 29th, 2012 at 03:16 AM.
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