Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hey, Noobs, Here's How We *Actually* Learn Trading!

The most recent blog post on getting past trading illusions drew roughly four times the amount of traffic as my average post, and it also generated more emails than I typically receive from traders in a month.  The traders reaching out, mostly beginners wanting to learn trading, struck me as sincere, not as people simply looking to get rich quick.  They recognize that so many of the services offered by self-promoting gurus and groups are long on promise and short on substance.  They sense that there is more to understanding financial markets and instruments than looking at shapes on charts. They also recognize that psychology is part of the equation, but only a part.  We cannot master what we do not truly understand.

One of the ways I pursue personal growth is to commit myself to roles that are completely uncomfortable and challenging.  I first hit on that strategy as a shy and somewhat socially awkward sophomore in college.  I volunteered to be the social chairperson of a large dorm and then threw myself into organizing and hosting events on a *very* social campus.  Of course it was overwhelming at times, but by the end of the year I had built a comfort level in social situations that has stayed with me decades later.

Similarly, if I feel in a rut, my wife and I will travel to totally new and challenging places.  That's how we ended up on a small boat amidst the Alaskan glaciers; it's also how we explored Venezuela, Israel, the mountains in Montana, ethnic neighborhoods in NYC, and much more.  No checked bags ever; just some carry on essentials so that we can be fully mobile.  Do we get lost at times?  Do we feel overwhelmed on occasion?  Of course!  That's the idea.  No one ever grew by staying in their comfort zones.  Growing your passport is a great strategy for stretching your boundaries.

We learn trading the same way we adapt to new cultures and roles.  We start by observing and feeling our way around, gradually building an understanding of this new world.  From that understanding, we can act and, with time, build confidence.  If we travel and start acting before we understand where we're at, we just end up looking like stupid tourists and never truly experience our destination.  Similarly, in markets, if we start trading before we actually understand what makes markets move up and down, we end up making stupid mistakes.  Then we wonder why we're experiencing emotional upheaval in our risk-taking!

So here's what I'm going to do in coming weeks.  I'm going to teach myself an entirely new approach to trading using an entirely new platform and turn myself into a total noob.  I will then use this blog and tweets to document the learning process, including all the ups and downs.  The purpose most certainly is *not* to get new traders to do what I'm doing.  Rather, this is an anti-guru offering, where my value will be as a beginner.  The idea is to illustrate a promising learning process, not collect fees for stale and outdated "education".  I'll highlight winning trades and losing ones, along with lessons learned and goals going forward and modifications of process.  Most of all, I'll illustrate how we can gain an understanding of the markets we're trading.

In the interim, please note that I have written a (free) blog book on the role of spirituality and trading that describes how we can overcome ego attachments in our pursuit of profits.  The appendix to the book includes a huge number of links to resources I've found valuable and which can be useful to those attempting to get their trading off the ground the right way.  The wonderful thing about finding useful resources is that you can reach out to those organizing and subscribing to the service and learn about additional tools.  Connecting to the right groups is like taking a travel voyage, only via the intellect.

The next post will start the noob project, and the process of learning a trading strategy from scratch.

Further Reading: