Sunday, July 26, 2009

Building Trading Strengths, Correcting Trading Weaknesses

In my recent post, I highlighted several features that distinguish great traders from the rest. A 19-year old reader from Brazil asks the perceptive question of how to deal with trading weaknesses when you are solution-focused? Is it really enough to build strengths when weaknesses may be holding your performance back?

First off, let me say that I love it when young traders have the gumption to jump in on a blog post, comment, and ask questions. A winning quality in life is to be fearless about networking. Whenever you see someone doing good work, never hesitate to make a personal contact. Talent is attracted to talent, and it's amazing who you can meet and what you can learn by having the courage to put yourself out there.

Even now on my California road trip, I find talent wherever I hang out. I make sure to reach out to people like Scott, who was roasting his regional Hawaiian coffees at the Farmer's Market in Walnut Creek, or jazz/alternative singer Susan, who was charming listeners on a street corner in the Haight. (Macrae's comment: "That girl's got pipes!".) Talent is everywhere; the world is a brighter place when you find it and share in its fruits.

The question about working on weaknesses is important, because many times the difference between profitability and lack of success amounts to avoiding just a few bad trades per week or month. It would seem that doing less of the bad should go straight to the bottom line--and in a sense that's true.

For background on a solution-focused approach to self-coaching, please take a look at this post as well as this solution-focused linkfest. What you'll see is that, when you're focused on solutions, you *do* address your weaknesses, but you do it by focusing on what you're doing when you're *not* getting caught in your problem patterns.

Let's say that overtrading in slow markets is a weakness. We could take the traditional psychological approach and try to analyze all the reasons why you might be "self-sabotaging", etc. In a sense, however, that just reinforces a problem-centered mindset. Instead, we can take the solution-focused approach and spotlight those occasions when you do *not* overtrade a slow market. We would look at what you're doing and what you're thinking at those "exception" times and crystallize those as "solutions".

In other words, we can stay focused on strengths by observing what we're doing when we're not enacting our weaknesses. The exceptions to our problem patterns hold the keys to solution in marriages, trading, and personal development. When you focus on your problems, you reinforce the greater notion that you are dominated by your problems. In identifying and building solutions, you build self-efficacy.

Like I said, talent is everywhere. Most of all, within yourself. Life is richer if you are relentless in its pursuit