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Is trading a skill or is it a problem waiting to be solved.
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Is trading a skill or is it a problem waiting to be solved.

  #1 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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DionysusToast's Avatar
 
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Is trading a skill or is it a problem waiting to be solved.

I am wondering what the other members think of trading. My experience from using trading forums is that many people approach trading very differently to the way they would approach other new talent they were looking to develop in life.

For instance, if you wanted to learn how to ski, you would not sit at home reading books on ski-ing, looking at angles of mountains, calculating velocities and stopping distances and then after all that theory, go to the top of the nearest mountain and have at it. Ski-ing is not a problem with a mathematical solution. It is a skill. You start on the baby slopes and work your way up. The more you practice the better you get. You will probably never be the best in the world but most people could be decent skiers.

What we often see in the trading world is very different.

We see people seeking a one-shot solution. This involves a constant search for a solution to the 'trading problem'. It is as if trading is a mathematical endeavour and that the constant seeking for a method will lead to a final 'solution' that can then be applied to make money. The implication is that skill/practice is less important than the application of a mathematical technique.

This is akin to someone deciding to become a sportsman. They decide to try a new sport every week because they will eventually hit their 'holy grail' sport - the one that they are naturally good at and then start to make a living from it. Of course this is ludicrous but this doesn't stop would-be traders from going down this path.
This would define trading as a problem and not a skill. People that have been there and done this will probably be smiling at their own prior presumptions about trading. It is a painful problem to address I know - especially if that is the stage you are at.

If people accepted that trading was a skill - just like any other skill, then surely the whole approach would have to be different. There would be less time searching and a lot more time in practise. Of course, if you want to ski, you need to find an instructor that actually knows how to ski. It helps to have friends that can ski too. With trading there is the slightly thorny issue of there being so many failed traders trying to teach the newbies. This means that even when you accept that trading is a skill that you can improve over time - you still need a baseline trading method to practice. If you don't have that - you'll waste as much time practicing as people do on all the squiggly stuff.

So - is trading a problem needing to be solved with math, indicators & the application of other scientific methods?

Or

Is trading a skill which needs some training and then a lot of practice?

Whichever your opinion is - how did you form it? From discussions with profitable people you know in real life or might you been influenced by the skills you had before you came into trading?

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
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The problem is: If you put a lot of time and effort in trying to Ski there is almost a 100% possibility you will become a descent Skier.

You can trade for 10 years trying 1000 methods and looking at the charts for 10.000's of hours and you will probably never be profitable. Oh well, you could write a book or start a trading room and learn people how to trade. And get your money back, and think to yourself, hey. I'm a bad trader but I'm a a great teacher! Yeah right.

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  #4 (permalink)
Elite Member
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Ok now let put that descent skier in a world cup competition with the best skier in the world it will be a loser a zero a nullity.
In trading your are competing with the best trader in the world every day so it's more complex

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  #5 (permalink)
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Maybe a few best ones, but most of them are suckers like me

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  #6 (permalink)
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I wouldn't compare trading to skiing but more to being a surgeon. At first you read as much as you can about trading, about the instrument you are interested, about the strategies etc. Then you practice with paper trading or demo accounts. If you can find some real trader who will explain you what he does, how he does it and why then you have a found a shortcut. If he is willing to analyze your trades too then your shortcut is even shorter. All this time you trade with practice money (demo, paper trading or whatever). As in being a doctor you can't expect to open a human on the first day in university. Maybe you have a benchmark or a goal and when you achieve it you say "Now I got my traders diploma and I can open my own business".

I believe the most important tools to become a successful trader are
1. Good understanding of the basics of your preferred method of analysis which is kind of expensive
2. A lot of chart time. This requires to actually work
3. If you are lucky a mentor, at least in the beginning. Hard to find in real life and tricky on the internet but doable.

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  #7 (permalink)
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Trading isn't a problem to be solved, instead it is the solution.

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  #8 (permalink)
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DionysusToast View Post
...
Is trading a skill which needs some training and then a lot of practice?

Whichever your opinion is - how did you form it? From discussions with profitable people you know in real life or might you been influenced by the skills you had before you came into trading?

I am in the opinion that trading has a lot to do with the development of pattern recognition skills in relation to greed and fear as shown on a chart. Do you know where greed or fear is more likely to manifest on a chart ? This should be your first problem to solve and this has more to do with psychology than math but despite of these theoretical considerations, i still consider that a daytrader (short term trades) only need to form a bank of patterns that repeat everyday. And for this to take place you need time and practice. Finding opportunities is easy (most systems on futures.io (formerly BMT) deals with that tiny part) but you need to develop that killer instinct to take advantage of them and maximize your profit in an optimal way, this is the psychological part that you need to master. Some people will never conquer that stage and consequently will never get the edge they need to beat their opponents.

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  #9 (permalink)
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Great question!

A bit of 'negative' phrasing though. "Problem" etc...

I believe trading is more challenging to compare to many things for emotional reasons.

So, why do you trade?

"Because it is exhilarating, gets lots of chic's, keeps me in good physical conditioning..." (Athlete)

"Because, I truly want to help others, I want to give back and make a difference in the world today..." (Altruistic Person)

"Because, it is the least I can do to survive, I know I could do something better, but I haven't found a means to equally compensate..." (Scarcity thinker)

"Because it challenges me to be a better person and emotionally grow..." (Achiever, Healer)

"Because I love children...." (Emotional, Motherly)

"Because it takes the edge off of this need to be the best...." (Achiever, Competitor)

etc... etc....

I doubt that would be the first answer from someone replying to that question. But, you would find it is the response on many comparable professions. I don't believe people are THAT emotionally/socially different and that they have their own basic desires/needs. So, when things get tough (losing streak or tweaking of system etc.) they bail because it is most likely that they do not have a direct link between their base values and the rewards of a trading career. They lose sight of what is possible and believe that if they can't do it, nobody can (see language used in post above).

In my opinion, Trading tends to attract people for one reason. LAZY MONEY MAKING. Everyone wants money, but they really don't WANT to work for it. I see it in myself, my wife, all other traders and don't know anyone who doesn't or hasn't found it extremely challenging to stay focused and relentless on the path to consistent profitability.

I am not saying that you can not reach Nirvana or a ZEN-like state from a profitable trading career.

To me, trading successfully is a dash of a predisposition of trading skill along with a sufficient amount of time & energy associated with achieving their desired level.

You will find some who can walk onto the field of professional sports and even make the team (Getting more rare) while others who have been doing it since they were 3 years old because their parents forced them to are now getting cut. So, it is a mix of passion (heart), focus & dedication and experience.

This is nothing but my current reality or belief.

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  #10 (permalink)
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bluemele View Post
...
In my opinion, Trading tends to attract people for one reason. LAZY MONEY MAKING.

I think there are multiple reasons why a person would want to trade. I never thought it would be easy as otherwise i would have chosen Roulette instead. This is much easier and beside they give you some cocktails.

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