Broker/Data: Equities: Through my work (firm.) Spot FX: Oanda, Pepperstone
Favorite Futures: US / Canadian Stocks, Spot FX
Posts: 23 since Jan 2013
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You guys might want to read Matthew Syed's Bounce, it goes a little further on the 10k hours idea and touches upon something I think people here are missing.
A few of you have posted that you don't think you need 10k hours to be a good trader, and that you could do it in much less... others think it's needed.
In bounce, Syed talks about a gradient of talent as measured by purposeful practice, and used many examples in sports and art... Syed was trying to make the argument that there's no natural born talent, just people who practiced more under varying conditions, but one key different between a person with good and another with great skills was shear time put into practicing. (That is to say, that while some examples given were very skillful at their craft with only 3-5k hours practicing, the ones that were atop of them were nearly always ones with a shear greater amount of time practicing.)
And the other key thing was "purposeful" practice, not just practice. I personally think this is the number one way people make trading harder than it needs to be, they spend time doing the wrong things for so long that they build all sorts of nasty bad habits that later need to be worked out over even longer periods of time. In all, they can put in thousands of hours actually going negative in a sense of 'ability' as a trader before realizing they have bad habits that need correcting. (I personally feel that the easy access to information on the net hurts new traders a lot here, since there's a lot of bad info, and people will seek out info that backs up their own ideas first for validation before approaching a subject from the right perspective.)
Last edited by Jack Larkin; April 28th, 2013 at 04:35 PM.
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The question is, 10,000 hours of practicing exactly what? If it's 10000 hours practicing jack-assery 10,000 ft deep in the rabbit holes of nowhereville then you will likely become a master joker. In trading you have very simple micro level concepts and very highly complex macro level contextual concepts. There is definitely enough complexity for a joker to spend a good decade hacking in a solitary cell to find in the end they know nothing more than when they started.
Take a look at lighbulbs. Thomas Edison spend years day in and day out trying hundreds of thousands of experiments. If he spent a week with you in his lab, showed you the schematic and how to make one, I guarantee that almost everybody on this forum would be able to make their own lightbulbs after that training. There is no need to blow up light bulbs for the next ten years of your life. And if you think you are the next Thomas Edison you probably need an immediate ego intervention.
Most successful traders are working in prop shops for a reason. Successful business people sharing ideas and working on what works. The biggest mistake I made starting out was not taking a seat at a good prop shop when I had the chance. I had serious ego issues and thought I could do better on my own. Big mistake. If there is a 10,000 hour rule in trading it has to be the 10,000 hour ego rule, the 10,000 hours it takes to realize how overblown our egos really are and how much we really know about anything.
Luckily today in the age of social media there is a really huge wealth of knowledge available to the aspiring professional trader. While there is a ton of garbage and snake oil, be very careful, there are a few very good learning opportunities as well. Nothing can beat sitting at the feet of successful traders in an office setting however. I know that I could have learned what I now know in 3 to 6 months and mastering it in 6 to 18 had I been taught by professionals. Anyways, anyone reading this, hacking your years away and wondering if you are alone or crazy, save yourself the pain and get yourself in the right environment to learn this game. if you are serious about making a career in trading find a successful group of traders that will take you under their wing. Do not hole up in solitary and think that you just have to dig for 10,000 more hours, else you might end up insane, in Mexico, living on corona lights, and playing chicken in 20 foot seas for kicks.
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I agree w/ Fadi's response. I can't imagine 10k hours is some magical threshold. Everyone has a different skill set when arriving on the trading scene. Some people have a better aptitude for it than others. I don't believe that there is a cookie cutter approach. In any event, along the lines that Fadi stated, it takes an incredible amount of commitment, study, practice, etc. to figure it out. I could see some people getting it w/in a couple thousand hours and some never getting it.
I just recently crossed the 5 year mark, in year 6. I thought I was there a couple of times before, but now I can say that I am far ahead of where I was before in understanding, so wherever I was before, it was not here.
I may have put in my 10,000 hours in the first 3 years. I am obsessive, work 80 hours as normal, and had no business going on for a few years, and watched markets like they were my religion. But the hours themselves were not everything. Time to digest, time to reflect, time to gain experience, all of that plays into it as well in my journey.
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The years are turning to half decades on me as well. This in itself does help with the trading Zen, so perhaps look there first. Second, I would follow successful traders and learn from them. Twitter is good if you are poor like me, lots of great traders out there sharing information every day. If you have the money join one of the good educators, FT71, Raschke, etc, many mentions and others on the site here. Find the one whose style best suits your way of trading.
Find out what makes them successful and be like them. Trading is 99% psychological once you know how the edges work. This is an endless process it seems. One day you feel a high degree of enlightenment that seems permanent, next thing you know you are selling on the bottom tick of a s#$ty swing and screaming curses at your reflection in the screen. Study the work of Buddah, that is what I'm working on these days. Use your emotions wisely. And don't overdo the screen time, nothing worse than this. Get out and be equally passionate about something else. For me it's surfing. Im in the Pacific every day at 2PM here. I reckon that has become my best learning device these days.
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Brother I am playing. I have been through more than I could explain in trading. Yes, I would live in Mexcio, drink beer for breakfast, and play in 20' seas, but that's just me. But when it comes to trading I am religiously serious. I am just silly by nature, and bored tonight, cruising the other posts. I almost never venture out of my little place here on futures.io (formerly BMT), but tonight am feeling frisky for some reason. Happy, content.
I saw the title about 10,000 hours and thought, I am in that club for sure!
There are too many factors to put a number on what it takes. The most important thing I believe is to be able to trade without fear of loss. If you can do this then it won't take 10000 hours. No doubt in my mind. I know there are many other details to learn but learning money management, chart patterns, context, etc. can be learned by studying a few good books. It's changing your belief system that will need the most time to master. Those are the facts and I'm sticking to them
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