Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why focus on your strengths

Under the comments of Trader-X's post from April 22, 2011 (which itself is based on an excellent comment from a reader), Flowtastical mentioned the following:
The key to consistent money is knowing what you do best and executing only what you do best. I spent a good 5 hours writing that in my journal yesterday and it was amazing how much time I spent on executing things that aren't my strengths. Make your own private blog and post your most profitable trades every single day. Over time it will add up.

If you spend today writing in excruciating detail what you do best and execute exactly what you do best next week, your numbers are going to improve.

I don't think most traders overcome odds. I think they overcome themselves.

Spend some time on Specifically read all his posts on "solution focused" trading. 
There are many other excellent comments under that post -- I now realize it provided a critical building block in my development as a trader.  I admit, when I initially read about focusing on your strengths, I wasn't as sure how much more that would help vs. working on improving your weaknesses. 

As I continued to understand and believe why this made sense, I recently ran into this excerpt from Dr. Brett's book "Enhancing Trader Performance" which really demonstrated the power of focusing on your strengths:
The question "Can anyone become a successful trader?" generally is framed within the contexts of weaknesses.  The questioner feels that he might be too emotional, too undisciplied, or too cerebral to succeed as a trader.  My sense, however, is that it is not the weaknesses that keep people from trading success; it's their strengths.
...I am thinking of three highly successful traders whom I have known personally.  All have made more than a million dollars trading for multiple years.  Each of these expert individuals possess just about every flaw you read about in trading psychology texts.  They are hyperemotional when they trade, they become stubborn and hold onto positions when they shouldn't, and they rarely if ever engage in systematic planning before markets open.  They succeed because their strengths overwhelm these weaknesses.

 ...other traders who are less emotional, more disciplined, and more systematic may fail because they lack strengths that readily translate into trading edges.
Tomorrow will be 4 months since that Trader-X post, and based on all the trades I have analyzed on my trading journal, I have finally done additional analysis to begin understanding my strengths.  As Flowtastical mentioned, he discovered that he spent a lot of time trading in ways that were not based on his strengths.  And when I did my preliminary analysis, wow, so did I.  And wow, how profitable I could have been.

As I realize how I much I have executed on Flowtastical's advice -- learn from Dr. Brett, start a blog, setup a trading journal, etc. -- taking those steps have finally made me feel like things are starting to come together.  I've had some setbacks along the way, and I'm still oh-so-very-far from my destination, but I'm getting closer day by day.  I keep reminding myself, with a sense of urgency, it's my moment, I can't let it go.

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