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10,000 hours, really?
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10,000 hours, really?

  #51 (permalink)
Elite Member
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iqgod View Post
Consistency, as in a day job when things are done correctly, reduces the hours ('work smart') but the starting point matters and then every step at every fork matters.

^ I believe this is the key factor here. Along those lines, saying that as long as you're doing something for 10k hrs will get you mastery in trading is a little too much to assume. Too many factors go into when a trader "gets it", so I think of the 10k hours as an average. Sure, getting professional training and doing all the right things consistently can decrease your time needed just as podski says, "10,00 hours of slamming your balls in the fridge door is really hard , both physically and mentally" will potentially increase the time required.

Also, I've been reading a book (see below for link) which tries to figure out similarities between creative entrepreneurs - given that each has their own unique qualities that have made them successful. I haven't finished, but what I've read so far is that each individual makes a small, educated, and deliberate first step towards a goal. If things work out, they continue. If things don't work out after a measured amount, they evaluate and either adjust or move onto something else. I think this is interesting correlation for traders, however my only inclination against this sort of philosophy towards trading is that beginners often take too small of a step and change too frequently - exactly as Big Mike preaches against. That darn measured amount though..that's the tricky part! How long do we go without changing things?

I don't subscribe to the 10k hrs as a hard line, but I feel it's a good enough rough estimate to stop all but the biggest egos out there to assume they can do it in a day


Amazon.com: Action Trumps Everything: Creating What You Want in an Uncertain World (9780983131915): Charles F Kiefer, Leonard A Schlesinger, Paul B. Brown: Books

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  #52 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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podski View Post
@DionysusToast

Is your point that learning to trade should be like learning to fly a plane.

It might be intensive, even intense from time to time, but it should be progressive, calm and controlled.

It does not have to be the grueling journey that many of us make.

ALthough I am toughing it out - I don't think it has to be this way. It is getting better since I started journaling properly and analyzing my trades properly and seeking assistance properly .. but I am still in the dark a little.

Can you outline the steps as you see them or as you took them .. ?

podski

If learning to fly a plan was like the path most traders take, there would be a lot of plane wrecks.

If you learn to fly, you get an instructor. You don't read a book written by someone that really can't fly who has some zany flying theories. You don't trawl internet forums through thousands of different and conflicting methods to figure it out.

I got a message today from someone that appears to have turned the corner. They started doing something completely new on 14th November. 2012 and in the past 20 days/26 trades had no losses (but on SIM) and they are now about to go live.

I think he may be a member here too. So - if he can replicate this live, he'll be profitable using techniques he started using in November. I am sure some of what he brought to the table before may have helped but I suspect it probably wasn't a major contributor.

I can understand people taking years to learn but that's usually because
- They keep changing from one thing to the next
- They self-sabotage
- They get advice from people that can't trade

If a good trader sat you down & showed you the ropes & you took 10,000 hours to become profitable, I'd call that a very weak performance indeed.

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  #53 (permalink)
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DionysusToast View Post
Looking back, if you could focus on the things that actually worked - how many hours do you think you would put in?

While I applaud you for questioning someone's validity, asking them to spell it out precisely...I don't think this goes with the general theory of the 10k hours IMHO. I'm assuming those 10k hours include time spent as a noob as well...that should include time spent working on things that didn't work, yes?

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  #54 (permalink)
The Narrow Road
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DionysusToast View Post
I can understand people taking years to learn but that's usually because
- They keep changing from one thing to the next
- They self-sabotage
- They get advice from people that can't trade

If a good trader sat you down & showed you the ropes & you took 10,000 hours to become profitable, I'd call that a very weak performance indeed.

I think that you are right - with the usual provisos of having a deep understanding of what it is that you are learning.

We all believe that it can be learned , this whole community here is about the learning experience.

We have tools coming out our ears, better than at any time in history ... and at unbeatable prices.

There are good services that you can pay for that are central to or augment a trading style.

There is however no definitive path, no "Trading 101".

There is what worked for @DionysusToast, what worked for @Massive l ... but .. no agreed on (yet) roadmap to getting there.

I do however think that it's here somewhere, in the data, in the collective brain of the community.

EDIT:
I correct myself .. I don't mean "the definitive path" ... I just mean a very very good path that is relatively safe to follow and for which you have navigation tools ..

podski


Last edited by podski; February 20th, 2013 at 07:09 AM.
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  #55 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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BishopM05 View Post
While I applaud you for questioning someone's validity, asking them to spell it out precisely...I don't think this goes with the general theory of the 10k hours IMHO. I'm assuming those 10k hours include time spent as a noob as well...that should include time spent working on things that didn't work, yes?

I think so.

Trading must be quite unique. Retail traders learn by trial and error. It's more like a research project than learning a skill because we don't have access to the expertise. What other careers are like that?

I spent a lot of money on training. This was after a couple of years of spinning the wheels. I started out with John Carters book and I programmed every strategy and every strategy in the book was totally useless when applied mechanically (which is how it was described in the book too). After that book, I still focused on mechanical stuff because that is where my head was at and where my non-trading expertise was at. I tested a lot of stuff that people said worked to find that it was no better than random.

I had to get ripped off a few times before I learnt the pattern of a BS Artiste. Even then I still spent money on worthless stuff. For me, I didn't want a research project, I wanted to find out what traders actually did.

In the end, it was only when I stopped trying to use my non-trading skills in trading. I made a promise with myself to focus on discretionary trading - no programming, no sitting in my comfort zone, no automation. Once done, it really narrowed the field down of who I could learn off. Most people were offering magic bullets.

It took 5 different people to drum the message in, one of whom charged me $6k to teach me that "this guy is worse than me". So I guess you could say it's 4 people.

In the end, I found out some stuff that I was able to apply but I paid for the info. Perhaps if I'd had the info up front, I would have spent less time. That's the gut feel but no-way to test it.

In terms of hours I put in - I have absolutely no idea. I tend to stop when my wife starts growling.

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  #56 (permalink)
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DionysusToast View Post
Trading must be quite unique. Retail traders learn by trial and error. It's more like a research project than learning a skill because we don't have access to the expertise. What other careers are like that?

I agree with that 100%...I wish I had the apprenticeship thing from the beginning. Of course, I'm new to the industry and no one in my family or circle of friends are even close. So, having no bar to measure, how could I have picked a good mentor? I don't have the capital to pay for one, and how can I trust someone else who offers to show me a few tips/tricks for free anyhow? Here, do this because I have made x amount of money for 1 year...pssh. As a beginner, there's no way to know if any of that suits me. A consistent, competent coach seems to be the best option, but also having skin in the game for a while will teach me where to set the bar for consistency & competence.

Perhaps this is why old money stays old, and us new dogs have to work our asses off to get a shot at creating something for our families...oh well, I guess I'll be in the over 10k hours category. Ha!

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  #57 (permalink)
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Here's some info from bank traders from the book "Traders" by Mark Fenton-O'Creevy, Nigel Nicholson, Emma Soane, and Paul Willman (interesting book, by the way).

It's a book about institutional traders, their mindset and the management of them. There you can read that starting traders have to learn for 6 months along experienced traders before being allowed to take their first trade and then only with strong supervision. And you can read also that trader managers state that it takes at least 2-3 years for their traders to be ready to trade completely on their own (i.e. not "world class" yet!). They have to work with different experienced traders in order to see different trading styles.

However, these traders

1) were smart enough to be recruited by the banks

2) work in professional environments with many resources they can make use of

3) are pointed into the right direction right from the start.

At least points 2) and 3) are not available for most retail traders.

So, the average retail trader will probably need more than the aforementioned 2-3 years of full-time work until they are at the same level as the institutional traders (not world class!) due to points 2) and 3).

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  #58 (permalink)
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The first 2k hours was not wasted on Ichimoku because in the end, Ichimoku taught me it's not about the indicator, it's about managing your risk. None of it was ever wasted. I didn't read hardly any books. Most of the things I did read were excerpts. I didn't take any classes, seminars, tutors, purchased programs, etc. I dove in head first on my own. I didn't look at other traders methods. I used my own thoughts on price (supply/demand) and programming to come up with my own unique strategy. I built it around day trading the /ES but I am now zooming out and seeing how well it performs on a boarder scope. It's really all the same thing but on different frequencies. The 'signals' aka prices don't come as often on the higher time frames so you have more time to feel out different instruments. This is a passion for me and I am obsessed with it so the total amount of hours don't really mean anything. It's not work...it's what I enjoy to do.

Psychology > Strategy ≥ Money
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  #59 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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The danger as I see it with the 10,000 hours thing is that you might have people reading this thread, with 3,000 hours invested and NO CLUE about trading and no idea what moves price.

These people could, in theory, pat themselves on the back, double their efforts and tell themselves "only 7000 more hours to go" and continue making zero progress.

The 10,000 hours itself is just a number from a book, thought up by some guy. When looking at numbers like this, you have to consider why he came up with 10,000. It is a very nice, round, big number isn't it?

Why not 7473? or 5610? Not so appealing are they?

Fact is - there is no real science behind the number being appropriate for trading, it's just a lovely, big, round number, which attracts people. It attracted Mr Gladwell, it attracts people on trading forums.

There is no basis for this particular number being more appropriate than 8,000 hours. None at all. There is no basis for this number being more appropriate than 11,000 hours. It really is just a made up number and it has really taken root with a lot of people.

I've heard people say "Stare at the DOM for 10,000 hours and you will see it". Seriously? Stare at the DOM for 10,000 hours and you won't be able to see anything!

You need a reference point. You need to know what to look for. Doing it "The hard way" isn't necessarily "The smart way".

I'd say, if you are 500 hours in and you really don't feel like you have progressed, then you need to change your approach. If you don't have a way to monitor your progress, you might as well stop altogether.

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  #60 (permalink)
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karoshiman View Post
Here's some info from bank traders from the book "Traders" by Mark Fenton-O'Creevy, Nigel Nicholson, Emma Soane, and Paul Willman (interesting book, by the way).

It's a book about institutional traders, their mindset and the management of them. There you can read that starting traders have to learn for 6 months along experienced traders before being allowed to take their first trade and then only with strong supervision. And you can read also that trader managers state that it takes at least 2-3 years for their traders to be ready to trade completely on their own (i.e. not "world class" yet!). They have to work with different experienced traders in order to see different trading styles.

However, these traders

1) were smart enough to be recruited by the banks

2) work in professional environments with many resources they can make use of

3) are pointed into the right direction right from the start.

At least points 2) and 3) are not available for most retail traders.

So, the average retail trader will probably need more than the aforementioned 2-3 years of full-time work until they are at the same level as the institutional traders (not world class!) due to points 2) and 3).

I think this is a style thing.

I would sincerely hope that institutional money is not thrown at total noobs. Saying that, I have a friend that was given fund money to trade. That friend had never placed a trade in his life, he'd just worked with a star trader. The fund hoped some of that rubbed off.

We'll never know how that would have ended because they decided to put the money in an MF Global Account.

If you have a Blackrock fund, with a specific investment style, I can see how it would take a long time to get a trader up to speed on that.

On the other hand, if you have a guy in a prop shop dipping his toe in the water on 2 lots FESX, the learning curve/risk/time to profit is much lower.

The feedback loop in shorter timeframe trading is much shorter. You buy a mining stock, you might sit on it for 6 months before you know you are right. You scalp 100 times a day on the FESX, you get 100x the feedback on whether you are right or not.

So, naturally the style of trading will impact the learning time.

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