I've recently started reading Hank Haney's book The Big Miss, in which he discusses his years coaching Tiger Woods. I luckily had the pleasure of briefly meeting Hank and listening to him speak while he gave a clinic. I could not help but relate what he said in his clinic and in his book to trading. Below is an excerpt from page 39 of the book that I found especially interesting:
I know Tiger has a lot of knowledge about the golf swing, but a lot of players do. Sometimes that can make it even easier to become aimless, because an active and especially an impatient mind can lurch from idea to idea and go off on experimental tangents. Left to their own devices when practicing, talented players tend to go back to swing thoughts or feels or drills that have brought success in the past, and when one doesn't seem to work, they try another. The upshot is that whether or not the player hits on something successful, he or she is likely going in a circle, rather than working toward something. With this haphazard approach, it's very difficult for players to say at the end of a day of practice or play that they got better. With the right plan, even if things didn't go well, there is confidence that improvement is taking place.
While I certainly think there are fundamental ideas that all great traders follow, such as thinking in terms of probabilities as opposed to thinking in terms of certainties, I have realized that I have my own lens through which I see things. The way each individual processes information is unique based on their style of thinking and their background.
In relation to the quote above, in my own experience, I have gone through many stages where I adopt new styles of thinking to better understand what is happening among participants in the market. Oftentimes, those experiences can be described as going one step back, two steps forward, as initially the new information confuses me. Over time, I begin to fit the new information into the structure of my existing thought process, and I feel as though I improve. Other times, I feel like I enter that circle of aimlessness where I am learning without a purpose or direct goal in mind. Hence, I feel as though my progress slows and even goes backward as I am no longer doing my strengths as well as I was before.
Sometimes I feel as though my time would be better spent learning how to better use the existing structure that I already have in place. In this way, I believe it would help enhance the development of intuition as I get exposure to a constant set of variables. I would then get better at analyzing the interaction between these familiar variables. This of course assumes that each variable has some economic significance in explaining price action.
My plan for improvement has been multifaceted including:
- Developing skills to better quantify edges in the market by enhancing my programming and statistical analysis skills.
- Develop intuition through journaling and providing myself appropriate feedback on ideas.
- Gain a better understanding of the internal psychological aspects of trading and how to better monitor and control them through self-introspection and external studies.
- Establish and maintain a more balanced life by trying new things, meeting new people, and practicing stress management techniques.
- Engage in continuous education to better understand the forces that drive supply and demand in the market. This includes topics ranging from macroeconomic analysis and behavioral finance to other technical studies.
My question to traders out there is that sometimes it is tough to create that plan, especially without an experienced coach, where you determine what area on which you can best spend your time so that you avoid that haphazard, circular approach that Hank talks about in the excerpt above. Can you relate to this experience at all and if so, how have you dealt with it?
And of course any other related comments are greatly appreciated!
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Where to start. Unfortunately my mind wandered while I read the quote, in my opinion the author left out a KEY CONCEPT in his many words put down on paper. I added a blank where I thought the word monitored should go.
Yes most of us do our best to be our best. (I say most because unfortunately in life some people just don't care, but I doubt highly any are on futures.io (formerly BMT))
IMHO each of our trade journals is actually our way of monitoring our trading plans, rules, life, etc.