What would a trader’s definition of hell be? I say it’s the following:
On your last day on earth, the trader you became will meet the trader you could have become.
Scary to think about isn’t it?
I have two ways of avoiding “trader hell” that I’ll share with you.
- Focus on process. I can guarantee you that if you spend your days toiling in the need to be right, make money, “win”, or get revenge – you will end up in trader hell. What separates many elite performers, in nearly all elite-performance fields, is a strong commitment to process. It’s not about the scoreboard, it’s not about what happened on your last trade, it’s not about being right. It’s about developing a good enough process to extract an edge from complex markets, and it’s about determining the success or failure of your trading session by your performance according to your process, not the end results.
- Go for specific growth. Most traders I talk to want to get better at trading. They attempt to get better at trading by… trading. The grab a cup of coffee and fire up the monitors, eager for the opening bell. Toss up a few trendlines and they’re ready to rock and roll. They want to get better, but they do not have any specific plans for getting better today. Imagine a sports team that just showed up for games and really wanted to win and get better. Sure they’ll pick up on things and improve some by playing a lot of games, but at the same time they’ll re-inforce bad habits, and not see anywhere near the growth they could see. Great growth, for improved performance next game, comes from the practice. It comes from focusing on one facet of a full game-time performance, having a laser-like focus on it, and working out a process for it. Then it must be practiced, you must actually fully focus on that one aspect, and get perfect repetitions in. If I want to be a better golfer, sure I can see some improvement by just buying clubs and going out and playing round after round, but I’ll see nowhere near the same improvements I could if I were to:
- go to the range
- focus on my putting
- video myself for feedback
- hire a world-class putting coach to instruct me
- improve my green reading
- have my coach hold me accountable for my decisions
- develop my routine leading up to the put
- make sure I’m using the best tool available
All of that directly relates to how you can achieve specific growth in trading. Here’s the same list as above, but for us traders:
- go on sim/replay for a practice session
- focus on your use of orderflow to time entries
- record your screen and voice for what you’re seeing and thinking around the time of entries
- hire a world-class trading coach to instruct you on how to better read orderflow, and how to apply it
- improve your chart layout to read orderflow better
- have your coach hold you accountable for your decisions
- develop your routines leading up to pulling the trigger for entry
- make sure you’re using the best quality datafeed available
I strongly believe these two things alone, applied on a consistent basis, will help make sure that the other trader you meet on your last day on earth looks more like a siamese twin than a stranger.