THIS IS EXACTLY WHY 95% OF TRADERS LOSE MONEY! (Capitals intended - showing my frustration.)
If you're one of the 5% I congratulate you. If you aren't then follow this advice so the 5% can feed off you.
I suppose someone can do the same to learn to be a pilot or a surgeon or a golfer. I just cross my fingers I'm not on the that person's flight or under their knife and it doesn't matter if they golf.
I don't advocate using a mentor although an excellent one will help. I maintain you need a full blown coach or 'professor' and a disciplined, formal approach to learning. One training 'guru' says that trading is simple but not easy. I happen to agree with him. People who think it is both simple and easy are the victims.
Actually there is a vast difference between formal education and trading mentoring. Formal education uses carefully planned and regulated curriculums, and the teachers are required to have an actual, proven education in the field they are going to teach.
In the unregulated business of "trading mentoring" on the other hand, anyone with some photoshop and marketing skills can become a "teacher". Precisely why the field is full of scam artists. Imagine if other fields had a similar degree of regulation. I sure as hell wouldn't go to a surgeon who has learned "how to operate a heart" in a $2000 online course.
Last edited by PeterOhlson; January 26th, 2012 at 12:41 PM.
The following user says Thank You to PeterOhlson for this post:
I absolutely agree with you about the existing gulf between formal education and 'trading mentoring'. I have been trying to get the message across that, since formal education is not likely to happen any where fast enough, the next best thing is 'formal coaching' (i.e. like a coach for a sports team). I will state bluntly that mentoring simply won't work for the majority of people learning to trade. This poses the question of what might work.
The other problem I see other than the lack of formal education is the huge lack of understanding that in order to learn something difficult you need guidance(disciplined coaching) and a lot of disciplined repetition. It is that disciplined repetition that sports coaches and formal education like university provide. Learning to trade successfully requires a major change in behavior and learning of skills that most of us don't have today. This in turn requires a lot of hard, possibly tedious work. Unfortunately I continually see and hear people say that all you have to do is read and listen to what is available on the web and in books. Sadly untrue!
I would love to hear from anyone who acknowledges that need for hard work. The challenge is then to have a curriculum and a coach who really does know how to coach.
There have been a number of golfers who have played at the highest levels who were/are almost completely self-taught. You can certainly become a very good golfer without lessons. I think golf is the better analogy because it is something that involves a lot of failure. I personally think it is not helpful to compare trading to a pilot or surgeon because those jobs can't very easily be learned through trial and error.
For myself, I use the google method and it is working out ok so far.
The following user says Thank You to Jolew for this post:
First, you can never argue with success. Whatever works for you is perfect.
I also agree that there are some golfers who have reached the highest levels without coaching. These would be equivalent to the 5% of traders who make it mainly by themselves. I acknowledge, applaud and congratulate those people.
I started a document comparing how various other professionals learn to be successful. I compared team sports, golf, tennis, doctors, pilots and black jack players and poker players. No single profession is a perfect match for trading. I agree that golf has some major similarities and if we just changed it a bit where the other players get to move the ball as you are trying to swing it would come closer .
In many ways the poker player is the closest and like trading I suspect that only 95% become successful (if that) and most or all of them learned by themselves.
Now the question is what do we do about the other 95% or even just the next 5% who aren't making it today. What is available today and/or what they are doing is not working. Something else is needed and if the answer to this was easy we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Perhaps one of the specificity of the trading is that it is nearly impossible to identify a mentor (not a member of the 98% scam + an experienced trader + willing to mentor + not willing to impose his/her style of trading, but willing to help a less experienced trader to develop his/her own style with which he/she will be confident + etc.).
If some one has found this kind of mentor, I am convinced that it is highly useful.
I think it is not that you either make it or not, are a good trader or not. You have to be among the best to make money, meaning a large precentage will loose come what will, nobody cares how good they are in absolute terms. At the end of the day it is a zero sum game, so you need all the people loosing money for the best to feed on.
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Hic Rhodos, hic salta.
The following user says Thank You to vvhg for this post:
Your thoughts are really appreciated and I believe are very valid (within the constraints you have identified). For you and for everyone else who reads this, this is not 'just' your opinion. This belittles the value of what you believe and are offering. However, it is always true that what we offer is always opinion (unless we are quoting someone else) so there is no need for any of us to state that is an opinion. IMO
One of the main points you make that I agree with is that it is nearly impossible to find a 'real' mentor. I also agree with your points about how you can try and become a successful trader.
As I have been contributing to this thread it has finally occurred to me that the population of successful traders doesn't really want anyone learning to be successful. This would be like lions helping tigers how to hunt gazelles. Of course, that is an interesting comparison, since many predators do try to make sure their competition does not succeed.
So, once again, the challenge I am trying to address is that if you can't find a mentor and you can't do it yourself, what is the solution? I think we need to get outside the box.
I should have read your response before my last one. You hit the nail on the head about needing to be at the top of the food chain. It doesn't matter how good you are in absolute terms, you have to be at the relative top.
So, I'll get personal about this. I'm not one of the lions today, not one of the 95%. I haven't been eaten yet but I have some wounds. I may not be able to get to that 5% that feed off the 95% but I would be okay with shifting the balance so that 6% (or more) eat off 94% (or less). I can then be part of the 6%. (Note: these numbers are all just for examples. Nobody should pay any attention to the absolute values.)
If enough of the lion's food or competition get together we can move that dividing line between hunter and hunted. The world is so big and so few people think they can change, I'm not worried that the 95% are all going to think like this. I'm only expecting a relatively small number of people will show interest in this.