Sunday, October 20, 2019

Getting Past Trading Illusions

After having gone undercover lately and signed up for a number of trading services, I'm left shaking my head.  The great bulk of what passes for mentoring and trader education is amazingly simplistic and non-original.  To varying degrees, the services exhort would-be market wizards to follow the lead of the mentor/guru/teacher and enter into a world of ongoing profitability, with all the associated desirable benefits.  The entire experience of tasting the world of the trading beginner reminds me of Andy Huang's doll, who pursues an ever-receding glamorous future, only to find the whole thing an illusion.

When I've given talks, traders have assured me that they see beyond the superficiality and recognize that the shining path to trading success is a psychological one.  One common observation is that, "We all look at the same charts; it's got to be about psychology!"  So, in avoiding the superficiality of grounding their futures on random chart shapes, they look to me to provide a different superficiality:  one of facile self-help.

On a number of occasions in the past year, I've given talks to groups of traders and presented actual methods for working on oneself.  Not just platitudes, but real techniques supported by real research.  During each talk, I share my email address and encourage attendees to reach out to me with questions regarding implementing the ideas at no charge and with no possibility that I will try to ensnare them in marketing, since I offer no commercial services to individual traders.

What percentage of traders (who often pay good money to attend these conferences) subsequently get in touch with me and follow up to work on themselves?

In the past year, the answer is none.

Absolutely none.

It's too bad, because there is a way of pursuing trading as a genuine performance field and as a path to personal growth.  At each firm where I work, I interact with people who have built their success the right way.  What percentage of those people at professional trading firms actually use the methods touted by the services that I sampled recently?  


How many graduates of these educational groups and academies actually wind up at the professional trading firms where I work?


But the noobs pay their fees to the services and communities and reach, reach, reach for that ever-receding illusion of a shining future.

Take a look at trading conferences that are offered and the percentage of sessions actually devoted to new and promising trading methods.  If I go to a conference in psychology, I'll learn about new research and counseling/therapy applications; if I go to a medical conference, I'll hear about cutting edge outcome studies and promising new treatments for diseases.  What proven, promising new methods do we see discussed at trading conferences?


In coming posts, I'll highlight actual innovations in trading practice and why they are helpful.  None of them is a "setup" that will make you rich--that's more of playing the wrong game.  All of them, however, will be ways of better understanding what the market is doing and the implications for bullish and bearish flows going forward.  In our relationship with markets, just like our other relationships, we get furthest when we know what to look for, when we actually listen and observe, and when we strive for understanding, not for quick payouts.

Further Reading: