Enhancing Trader Performance… with the Ten Commandments

*****David Blair, The Crosshairs Trader, is a blogger/trader/educator who does a wonderful job of sharing research on elite performance and how it relates to trading. Below is his latest post for the SMB trading community.***** — Editor’s Note

I am one who believes that in order to enhance trading performance one needs to study principles applicable both in and outside the charts. Although not a stock trading book per se, Rabbi Daniel Lapin has written an excellent treatise on the Ten Commandments for making money in Thou Shall Prosper. In it you will find the wisdom necessary to build a solid mental framework for accumulating wealth whether it be through trading or investing or a combination of both. Let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments, shall we?

1.  BELIEVE IN THE DIGNITY AND MORALITY OF BUSINESS: Making money is much harder if, deep down, you suspect it to be a morally reprehensible activity. I have met many former traders who resigned from the game due to “moral” reasons, basically believing that trading is rigged and benefits only those who have illegally obtained insider information. Although there is a history of market rigging, that is certainly not a valid reason to resign from the game. I know of employers who are crooks and preachers who are immoral but that doesn’t mean I should never work for another employer or attend a place of worship again.

2.  EXTEND THE NETWORK OF YOUR CONNECTEDNESS TO MANY PEOPLE: Befriend many people who are a rung or two above and below your financial level, then find ways to help them achieve their desires. You will have discovered the secret of Partnership Power. Helping others gain an understanding of the opportunities in the markets while studying the successful is a powerful combination that is hard to beat. Personally, I have found mentoring others to be an asset that I cannot trade without.

3.  GET TO KNOW YOURSELF: To change the way others see you, first you have to learn to see yourself as others see you. Self reflection is difficult especially if you are unwilling to act upon less-than-desirable conclusions. When it comes to trading, knowing yourself and how you react to price action is important to further growth. Finding your way in the markets not only requires an understanding of the charts but also an understanding of how you see and act upon those very same charts.

4.  DO NOT PURSUE PERFECTION: Neither neglect the imperfect nor expend yourself on a futile pursuit of perfection while failing to make the most of less perfect circumstances. If you are trying to find perfection in the markets you better look elsewhere. Period.

5.  LEAD CONSISTENTLY AND CONSTANTLY: Learning to lead is important, but it may not be what you think it is. Leadership is not a noun; it is a verb. It is not an identity; it is an action. Don’t try to become a leader, just do it. Just lead. So many traders enter the speculative game wanting to copy the trades of others. To do so will only lead one down the path of frustration. Success comes from studying the process of others and then forming your own. Own a specific trading edge; don’t copy it.

6.  CONSTANTLY CHANGE THE CHANGEABLE WHILE STEADFASTLY CLINGING TO THE UNCHANGEABLE: Convert change from enemy to ally by understanding when to enjoy the exhilaration of change and when to fight it and steadfastly defend the unchangeable. If you want constant change and enjoy the challenges that come with it, then the market is where you want to be. Change in the markets is inevitable and your willingness to change with it should be as well. Be rigid in your rules but flexible in your expectations.

7.  LEARN TO FORETELL THE FUTURE: Who is wise? One who can tell what will be hatched from an egg that has been laid. Not he who can see the future—that is a prophet. Wisdom is seeing tomorrow’s consequences of today’s events. Planning how we will respond to future price action is the surest road to market wisdom. Ask yourself: what are the consequences of staying in the trade? Adding to my position? Closing my position?

8.  KNOW YOUR MONEY: Your money is a quantifiable analog for your life force—the aggregate of your time, skills, experience, persistence, and relationships. How much importance do you put on money itself versus the process for its accumulation? The priority of one over the other can make a difference on your bottom line and the happiness associated with it.

9.  ACT RICH: GIVE AWAY 10 PERCENT OF YOUR AFTER-TAX INCOME: Through the mystical alchemy of money, giving to charities jump-starts wealth creation. Find an avenue by which you can give back to organizations that you deem life enhancing. Knowing you are contributing to making the lives of others more enjoyable will do wonders for your own.

10.  NEVER RETIRE: Integrate your vocation and your identity by thinking of life as a journey rather than a destination. Fortunately, trading can be a lifelong career where there is always something new to learn and experience. Ask anyone who has traded for over 10 years and they will tell you that markets are a constant challenge. Those who live the longest are those who are most often challenged.

If you have not figured it out yet you soon will: learning to trade inside the charts finds its firm foundation outside the charts. It is all in the way you think and in what you believe about money and wealth creation.

David Blair


Related blog posts:
A Trader’s Mentality
Beating Trading Fear

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