Perhaps my greatest interest in psychology is understanding what differentiates highly productive, successful, and creative individuals from their more ordinary peers. Trading happens to be a worthwhile area to assess factors that lead to success, because success is so quantifiable.
In the next series of posts, I will be exploring factors associated with greatness: superlative achievement across various disciplines. An excellent overview of this area is Dean Keith Simonton's book Greatness: Who Makes History and Why. Summarizing Simonton's research, Dutton outlines several characteristics of creative geniuses:
* They have an unusually broad range of interests;
* They are open to novel and complex ways of viewing things;
* They are capable of defocused attention: thinking about one thing while focusing on others;
* They display flexibility in their work habits;
* They tend to be introverted and prosper during periods of relative isolation;
* They generally are independent and unconventional.
In combination, these qualities enable creative geniuses to draw upon a broad range of experience to understand things in new, enlightening ways.
I work with traders and portfolio managers who have achieved consistent success across a number of years. To a person, they view markets in unique ways: not one of them looks at markets in a conventional, textbook manner. They come up with out-of-the-box trade ideas, because they truly are operating out of the box--and are not afraid to buck convention.
Of the factors contributing to trading success, creativity is one of the least appreciated. Show me a true "market wizard", and I'll show you someone who has developed his or her own philosophy and approach to generating, executing, and managing trade ideas.