Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Most Common Problem I See Among Active Traders

The recent post on listening to market communications highlights one of the most common problems I see among active traders, particularly those that trade on a day time frame.

We've all known people who seem to talk at you rather than with you. It seems as if they're uninterested in anything you have to say. They just want to get things off their minds. Indeed, even as you're talking, you can see that they can't wait to blurt out whatever is in their heads.

Can you imagine a psychologist who interacted like that? You're trying to describe your problems, and the shrink is talking right over you with whatever psychobabble he happens to be espousing at the time. That would be quite frustrating.

Well, that is how many traders approach markets. They don't listen to what the market has to say. Instead, they're looking for the next setup, the next trade to put on.

When you sit in front of the screen, the goal should be similar to the psychologist's: to understand what is going on before you take action. If you're approaching markets with your own opinions and your own need to put on trades, you'll miss the market's communications--its evolving patterns--and any hope of getting a gut feel for the action will be gone.

I often wondered why I tended to trade well after taking a break from markets. The reason, I discovered, was that I was following markets during the break, but not trying to put on trades. That freed me up to simply hear what the markets had to say.

If you have a *need* to talk, chances are you'll be a poor conversationalist because you'll be a poor listener.

And if you have a *need* to trade, odds are you'll be tone deaf with respect to what markets are actually telling you.