Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Desire to Win: Necessary, Not Sufficient

I'm at a trading firm and walk over to Trader G. to see how he's started his day. He's been in a prolonged slump, losing money far more days than winning. Here's what I observe:

1) Trader G. was late arriving to the office and didn't have time to prepare before sitting down to trade. He didn't take time to prepare once he sat down because "I don't want to miss a move."

2) I ask Trader G. what he thought of the recent moves in interest rates and how those might affect stocks. He didn't know what I was talking about. He hadn't read the news reports or looked at the charts.

3) I ask Trader G. whether he thinks the market is leaning bullish or bearish based on what the sectors are doing. He quickly looks to see what sectors are doing; he hasn't been tracking those.

4) Trader G. is long the market; when I ask where his target is, he begins studying the chart looking for a level.

5) I ask Trader G. for a look at his trading journal. Sheepishly, he tells me that he hasn't written in it lately. When I look at his latest entries, they are short paragraphs describing how he should be more patient in his trading. There are no specific goals or assessments of progress toward goals.

If you ask Trader G., he'll tell you that he has a love for trading and a passion for markets. He wonders, with all that motivation, why he's not making money. I wonder why he thinks he possibly *could* succeed. Trader G. is fictional, but he could be any of scores of traders I've encountered in my coaching work. Desire is necessary for success; it is not sufficient.