Saturday, October 17, 2009
We are all wired differently. We all bring different skills to trading. We all have distinct dispositions. We also have our own unique mental baggage that we deal with day in and day out.
This is good news.
Because you are unique, you can build a trading process that works for you. The ultimate goal is to accept who you are, know your skills and limitations and find a way to turn you internal trading machine into a statistical trading “edge.” Once you know your own “edge,” you can then create a trading strategy that emphasizes your edge and ameliorates your mental baggage.
Some traders need control. Others love excitement. Some traders want a clear system to execute. Others feel imprisoned by mechanical systems. We all have trading weakness that can be triggered in certain market conditions with certain positions.
A system that is built on who you are, your trading needs and ameliorates your emotional triggers can turn a volatile P&L into more consistent profits.
The first step is to determine what you really need. Not just what you say you need, but what is the underlying need. And don’t be shy here. It is ok to know that you need an adrenaline rush. There is no shame in this. It is fine to recognize a need to avoid being terrified.
Try this exercise to see if it reveals any deeper needs. Make a list of what you need out of trading. This will probably include money, but be sure to look for other needs as well…perhaps recognition, proof of your intelligence or escape.
Once you have written down all the benefits of trading, take the one that seems the most important. Then ask yourself, what you get out of this benefit. Write that down. Then ask again, what do you get out of that benefit? Write it down. Keep drilling down until there are no more underlying benefits. Then, go to the next most important trading benefit and drill down again.
For example, if you start with money as an important benefit, ask yourself, what benefit to I get out of money? The answer may be security. Then ask, what benefit do I get out of security? And keep drilling. The answers may surprise you.
You can also learn more about yourself by taking the MarketPsych Trader Personality Test gratis. It returns scoring on personality factors and biases.
The next step is to find out what your “edge” is. Edge is anything that gives you a statistical advantage for a trade. It might be pattern recognition, fearlessness in the face of market panic, discipline to follow a system, or an algorithm. What is your edge? How does it work? Why does the market not discount this edge? Why is the market going to give you profits? Make sure this edge is in sync with your skills, temperament and emotional baggage.
Once you have defined your “edge,” you can then create a system. The more clearly defined it is, the more it can be followed, tested and improved.
Understand who you are, use the best of yourself to create a statistical edge and build a system based on this foundation. The MarketPsych trader training coaching programs are built on this process. Please call if we can be of help.