Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Power of Trading Journals

I recently suggested one way of taking journals to the next level, by making them more interactive.  It can be easier to sustain a journal if it becomes a group process that brings you feedback and ideas--and that contributes your own observations to others.

There are two kinds of journals that I encounter:  1) personal journals that track performance, goals, trading process, and best practices; and 2) idea journals that synthesize thoughts about markets, macroeconomics, research, etc.  

The first kind of journal acts as a springboard for learning and development:  it is your way of studying you.  The second journal is a springboard for idea generation and creativity.  It is your way of making sense of markets and finding opportunity.

The first journal looks inward; the second outward.

I recently came across a quote that I like:  "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words."  

Journals can be friends in that way:  they remind us of what we're meant to be doing.  They are a way of focusing on process, rather than anchoring our moods and self-esteem to the ups and downs of P/L.

Trading without review is like playing a football game without huddles; like preparing for a baseball or basketball game without practices or review of game film.

If you spend more time trading than preparing and learning, you'll quickly find yourself underprepared and behind the learning curve.  A performance principle you can take to the bank:  Elite performers--in music, theater, professional sports, chess--spend more time practicing and preparing than actually performing in competition.  By turning journals into the friends who know what's in your heart, you transform trading into a true performance activity.

Further Reading:  What Kind of Journal is Right for Me?