You'll read a lot a traders saying that trading needs to be approached as a "business". To some degree that is true. Yes, definately you need a trading plan, you need rules, you need some sort of mathematical advantage, you need to treat it seriously and not as a hobby, you need to trade with less emotion ond more logic, you need to acquire certain skills to be a "professional", etc.
But, something that helped me, having had numerous succesful business over time, but still not quite getting the hang of trading, was to see it as more of sport than a business. Here are some questions I asked myself;
What if math and indicators were nothing but the playing field? Does just being on the field make you an athlete?
What if a trading plan was nothing more than the rules that goverened the game? Will just understanding the rules make you a winner?
What would the sport then be?
What strengths would be required? How would you practice?
Trading can be a great business, but you'd better be in top shape...
Learn your market's personality, it's movements, how it "feels", which days it seems to do what.
Be aware, alert, nimble, flexible.
Have strength and endurance.
Practice longer and harder than everyone else.
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Yes! Was glad to see this thread and your post GaryD. About a month ago I decided I needed to stop treating trading as an intellectual endeavor and start treating it more like a sport. I'm still working through exactly what this means for me personally but I have confidence that it is going to be a fruitful period in terms of my growth as a trader.
Just as in sport you need to have proficiency in the mechanics, strategies, and nuances of your chosen game, you must have a solid basis in the approach you take to trading. After you attain a certain level of competency at understanding the movement of the market(s) you trade, taking it to the next level (IMHO) requires excellence in execution: real time decision-making, admitting mistakes, conviction in your methods, and mental flexibility.
Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. - Frank Herbert
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Exactly. Want to be an NBA superstar? Better want it really bad, and be willing to practice your butt off. If you don't, you can be guaranteed there are hundreds of others who will.
Of course, you still need all the intellectual knowledge; know the rules, know all the plays, know how to master the subtle nuances (playing the clock, or knowing when a penalty is an advantage, for example). But all that really does is get you the basics of how the game is played. Then YOU have to come into the equation.
I see so many people search for ways to engineer a profit. Some day we may have computers that can enable robots to beat top athletes at their game. But until then, athletes rule.
Trading is one of the toughest businesses in existence. If you are going to start a trading business, I'd recommend hiring the best.
Oh alright then....
Yes being on the field makes you an athlete, but in name only. The name does not reflect your ability.
Knowing the rules will not make you a winner. Every fan of every sport knows all the rules !
There are many valid reasons to compare trading to sports, however, there is one reason why they should not be compared, imo, and is at the heart of a traders success/failure.
That reason is that to be a winner in sport is to be better than your opponent. To think that we have an opponent, in trading, other than ourselves is to be looking at the wrong thing. I think it was Milan Kundara that said "most of life happens to us when we are busy looking the other way". Or maybe it was the Marx Brothers.
In other words, in sport you can win by virtue of being better than someone else or by their mistakes.
Can this be said about trading ?
Additionally, in sport the finish line is set the opponents are known.
Where and how is that done in trading other than by the trader according to his/her own criteria which, is irrespective
of the same for any other trader.
In sport we try to beat.
In trading we try to follow.
Winning is a dangerous thought to have in trading,imo.
Just some thoughts
Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile...
Last edited by zt379; August 20th, 2011 at 09:02 PM.
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I know. Maybe I came across wrong. I was suggesting that knowing the rules and understanding the game, means nothing.
But, for debate as friends, not really caring if I am right or wrong;
"...in sport you can win by virtue of being better than someone else or by their mistakes.
Can this be said about trading ?"
Absolutely. If you make money, where did it come from?
"... to be a winner in sport is to be better than your opponent. To think that we have an opponent, in trading, other than ourselves is to be looking at the wrong thing."
Yes, focusing on the wrong thing, agreed. But, we do have an opponent, or a lot of them. They are the people on the other side of your trade. Some of them, or a collection of them, are hoping and or trying to force their side on you (if you happen to be in a position on the opposite side.)
I don't think of myself as being against THEM, but I do think that I have chosen direction based on my interpretation of market action at that moment, and I do realize there are traders that would enjoy seeing me be wrong and cover at a loss, because that is what puts money in their accounts.
"In sport we try to beat. In trading we try to follow."
Well, yes that is a strange one in this analogy. To "win" in trading, we have to be on the side of the winning majority at the moment. In this respect, you could think of the "majority" as just being part of the playing conditions. I am not with them, I am not against them. I am recognizing them.
"Winning is a dangerous thought to have in trading,imo."
Good point. Focusing on purely "winning" can bring about aggression, greed, revenge... I'm sure a lot of horrible things not conducive to trading, which do not pay off over the long haul.
No analogy is perfect. What I was hoping to get across, especially to newer and/or struggling traders, is that just; 1) having a trading plan 2) understanding the rules of trading, is not always enough. Trading is organic, not mechanical. There is value to being able to develop your senses, and that I equate more to human ability than to mathematical probability. Heck, I don't even watch sports! My wife is the football fan in our house. lol.
You know I respect you zt. I was reading some other posts and decided to try to post something that might push boundaries some. For some strange reason I feel good about trying to make aspiring traders think in controversial directions. Most will fail. If you think like most, what are your chances?
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I used to have a coach who would say "if that's what you need to tell yourself to be successful, then so be it."
If you want to think of trading as a sport and that makes you more successful, then go with it.
If you want to think of it as charging down a Nazi machine gun position....and it makes you trade better, then so bet it.
Visualization and mindset seem to me to be minor issues compared to the major items that most failing traders I read or hear about can't seem to grasp.
How many times have you heard of someone blowing up their account in a very short period (after growing it sucessfully)? I.e. lack of proper risk management and something as a simple stoploss or daily limit would have helped this guy out.
If trading is a sport, I find that most failing traders don't even have the basic fundamentals down. They're trying to play NFL level football and don't even know basic techniques, let alone advanced concepts.
"A dumb man never learns. A smart man learns from his own failure and success. But a wise man learns from the failure and success of others."
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I'm listening to "Friends" at the moment by Terry Reid, so that should take care of where we're all coming from
Yes the music again...
I see your point, completely, about the "opponent" thing.
I guess what I said comes from my perspective, and it's not a right or wrong thing.
Imo there are too many combinations as to what and why and whose trade we are the other side of and it's so fluid.
ie: a reason now may be different in a moments time.
In that respect I don't see things as winning because another trader is the other side of my trade.
For sure we know about stop running etc...but even there, using, as you correctly refer, to being nimble and flexible, how are we to know if and how quickly someone who has just covered a loss (or how much of a loss) has now joined the side I am on ?
Most importantly I suppose I was putting across how the same "winning" mind set in say sports is not as conducive for trading as most might think. As you say "if you think like most" most will fail. (imo).
Imo we don't have to be better than any one else, we have to better than ourselves last time.
Semantics perhaps, but a subtle difference.(for me at least lol)
I think you're right. A beginning trader is (if they are fortunate) taught to have a trading plan.
Some might be lucky to be given a system that "works" if it is followed to the letter.
Some might be lucky to have the mind set that recognizes this without actually having to experience all the things to get them to realize this.
Some may not be given anything and have to work it all out.
I started trading before there was an internet. No forums, no information from other traders no idea or notion of a "plan" other than me saying "what do I want to achieve and how the blimmin' heck am I going to do that" ..nothing in fact except a few books from the library.
Even knowing having a plan is said to be essential, they then have to go through the ropes to find out what that plan is for themselves, and we know what that involves. Mostly it will eventually come down to trading in terms of their personality, (providing they haven't so distorted themselves through trading before they work it out.) That requires knowing and then accepting who we are. Yet another eye opener for some.
But, imo, it will be that way around.
The list goes on as we know...
I haven't made that many posts of substance (I don't think) in the couple of years I've been a member.
To be frank, I find it hard to comment and I find this medium difficult to express myself on, which is my problem.
In many respects you have to trust that you're being understood and that I understand others. (or try to)
We're all just personalities.
As you say, there's is a joy in wanting to help. There is a tremendous sense of fulfillment in giving. It's one of those contradictions where we get so much by doing the opposite (giving). Thanks for saying so GaryD.
Also, how can I say what I know ?
How can I say that it's valid ?
Other than for me.
This is also why, as you say, having a plan isn't always enough. Imo, only the experience will teach.
Regardless of how long we've all been trading I'm sure we recall everything about our first trade ? !!
Personally I'd studied a volume thing for almost a year. I'd paper traded (with pen and pencil as there were no "simulators") and, well....I ......"knew what I was doing" !
We can fill in the rest for ourselves. My point is, that first trade, and quite a few afterwards seemed to have very little to do with all the planing and practicing.
Sorry to write so much.
New traders (again just my opinion) don't understand longevity and to be consistent, how can they ! Wanting to win will exhaust them. Again a mindset thing and also because of the way I trade. I'm waiting for the hand to be titled.
I'm not making the first move. I'm not the one to move the market (lol). Those that do, will, and then I'll "follow" them.
Which doesn't feel like winning. If anything I'd say to myself "I'm not losing anything here". Again a mind set thing and semantics to a large degree.
So I agree with you GaryD. Above and beyond a "plan" there is an organic side, that will depend on the senses.
Nothing is a perfect analogy. I think golf is a better sport to compare. "Play your own game..." or sailing. With all the rules you like, at the end of the day it's yours and that sea of human emotion that will have to be navigated. Each ebb and flow, wave by wave.
And when it's all done and we get safely back to port and with a good haul, be sure to get a good nights sleep because tomorrow.......we get to do it all again......from scratch.....
Lastly, if any ones still reading. I don't know how to reply when you say you have respect for me. I enjoy your Catch The Big Wave thread for (and as I mentioned there) a sense of sincerity that came across. I could be wrong (lol) but the things you mentioned of your personal experience, well you can't make that stuff up.
So I'm taken by your comment. It's very kind of you to say so and I can only hope that all and everything I say is of some use, especially to any new trader reading. It is most certainly meant that way.
If any new trader has the sense to know the sense in practicing their method, which will include a plan, which will cover just about everything from what and how to achieve your goal, then practice and practice, but try (because it's not easy) to be aware of what you feel, because you're plan will not include that, it can't. It doesn't matter if you're Sh*t scared or overtly confident.
What matters is that you are aware of it, of yourself, because, whether you realize it or not, it will be you that causes your success and/or failure. Only the experience of experiencing yourself in this environment will let you know, via your sense and senses, what and when you need to learn to move forward. You won't know what you don't know until you meet it. Trading is an environment where you come face to face with every possible emotion, both good and bad. Every challenge, every reason to succeed and every reason to fail where your wildest dreams and worst nightmares have every chance of being real. Where boundaries will be pushed beyond where you never knew they existed. Where you will be given the opportunity to grow not just your balance. Where everything, and I mean everything is down to you. Where that responsibility can either crush you or set you free. You will see dynamics of life that are seldom experienced in a lifetime let alone in a day or even an hour and you'll have to learn how to become someone who gladly functions with it all..(think maybe this is a bit much to say to a newbie ? ....
GaryD's right and you're fortunate to have someone able and willing to push those boundaries via questions that make you think outside the box.....at least that's how I see it...so show some respect....
I need a lie down ...lol
PS: I don't even have a TV...
Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile...
Last edited by zt379; August 21st, 2011 at 02:04 AM.
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I am actually not a fan of derivatives of "truth", such as analogies, metaphors or similes , but I have always thought of trading as some kind of high-performance sport. This applies only to discretionary intraday trading, of course. Especially scalping. I've played various sports over the years, including football (yes, the European kind is the real type of football, as we don't use our hands...)for 20 years. I find that my routine to prepare for trading the CL open, is very similar to how I used to prepare for a game.
If you really want to compare trading to a sport, I would argue that skateboarding is the closest you can get. Funnily enough, like "skater" , "trader" is almost (?) a derogatory word. Skateboarding is starting to get its deserved attention, though. It damn well should, as it is arguably the most difficult physical endeavor one can undertake, at least in the sports world. It is extremely technical, but also very risky. One needs to keep calm under pressure and execute flawlessly, without succumbing to fear (or hope for that matter). One also quickly learns that fall technique is the key to stay in business, and to "bail" when one is wrong. One shouldn't take on more risk than one can handle...
To prove my point, I give you "Stepping (!) in front of institutional order flow"
and "Being long without a stop during the release of the Philadelphia Fed index"
No matter what analogy one wishes to use, the prevalent problem for most beginning traders is that they are underprepared...
Last edited by Lornz; August 21st, 2011 at 11:37 AM.
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