Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why Grit is Important to Trading

Suppose two traders applied for a position at your firm.  One has a history of very consistent success with a winning strategy.  The other has gone through ups and downs across many markets but maintained profitability over time.  Which would you be inclined to select, if that is all you knew about the candidates?

It turns out that research from Angela Duckworth and team finds that "grit"--perseverance in the face of setbacks--is a significant predictor of future success.    Indeed, a study of spelling bee winners found that those who sustain the greatest deliberate practice and display the greatest grit are most likely to succeed.

The trader who has known nothing but success has little to fall back upon when markets change and fat tails create large losses.  The trader who has been through winning and losing has cultivated resilience and is most likely to be emotionally prepared for losing--and prepared in his or her risk-taking.

A great formula for success:  embrace setbacks and continually learn from them.

Here's a talk on why passion and perseverance outweigh IQ as a determinant of success.

Want to measure your grit?  Here's a short test designed by Professor Duckworth.

Further Reading:  Persistence and Resilience in Trading