“Going to School” on Experienced Options Traders

Seth FreudbergGeneral Comments, Options Education, Seth Freudberg's Blogs, Trading Psychology12 Comments

As an income options trading  mentor, I could almost always tell when one of  my students was going to be a success. In fact it often became obvious before I ever had   the opportunity to meet that student for the first time.

Students who were bound for success were so excited about getting started that they could hardly contain themselves. After my initial introductory e-mail to the student, I would invariably receive a reply from the future star trainee expressing a sincere excitement about the learning process, telling me a little bit about him or herself and letting me know what their trading aspirations were—which in most cases was to make income options trading their major source of personal income. My reply was always the  same: if the student put the right amount of energy, enthusiasm, time, hard work, discipline and humility into the process, they would be able to fulfill their dreams.

Once the mentoring process began, the star students would take copious notes  during  our sessions, ask questions liberally, execute his or her trades diligently, watch them carefully, and come fully prepared for our next session. In fact, the stars would generally give me a heads up as to what THEY wanted to accomplish in our next mentoring session. In short, the future stars always knew what they wanted and were willing to put forth the effort to achieve it.

One of my former students, Tom, was such a future star. Tom was smart, enthusiastic, humble and diligent. He made it very clear to me what he wanted to accomplish in each of our mentoring sessions and I made sure that his goals were met, no matter how much time it took to for us to get there. As our sessions progressed, Tom started making money and his confidence was building. It goes without saying that working with Tom was a blast for me. Nothing is more satisfying for a teacher than watching one of his students grow and succeed.

In the game of golf, once all of the golfers have reached the green on a particular hole, the golfer farthest from the hole, according to golf etiquette, takes the first shot at draining the ball in the cup. The most diligent golfers pay careful attention to how that first ball rolls towards the pin. Why? Because the first putter has no information on the speed and  curves of the green as the ball approaches the cup. But after that first putter takes his shot, all of the other golfers on that green have “gone to school” on that first golfer’s put and can avoid the mistakes in direction and speed that the first golfer made.

As our mentoring sessions drew to a close, Tom made a special request of me, a request that many of my more successful students make towards the end of our mentoring  process. He wanted me to spend an entire session sharing with him the most valuable lessons that I have learned as an income options trader. That was a very interesting  request and I spent a lot of time compiling  my thoughts on this subject. Embarrassingly, the list I compiled was comprised almost exclusively of mistakes that I had made, which taught me valuable lessons that I vowed not to repeat.

As I finished  the list of valuable lessons from my options trading career, I began to realize how  important Tom’s request was: if I put together the right list, and Tom took it seriously, he could avoid many of the mistakes that I had made. In short, he could “go to school” on my trading mistakes.

In my next blog entry I’ll share with you the first lesson in my meeting with Tom that day. We’ll call it: “One  sure way to  blow yourself up as an options trader”.

12 Comments on ““Going to School” on Experienced Options Traders”

  1. Love the pic you used for the blog Seth. Laughed harder than I think I should have on that one.

  2. Awesome Post! I like your insight on the traits needed to become a great options trader and agree 100%. I look forward to reading your next post. Thanks!

  3. As an options mentoring student of Seth’s through 2010, I know first-hand he will be a great asset to SMB’s Options Training Program and trading desk. Seth, I look forward to reading your next post!

  4. Anthony Dunhill Great post. Seems in line with the rest of the SMB content. I look forward to further posts from Seth. Trading can be treacherous, if I can “go to school” via this blog, I know I will have a greater chance of, “making the putt”. Thanks Seth.

  5. I learned so much about trading on this post! I like the golf and trading analogy. I didn’t see it that way. I second your statement that energy, time, discipline, hard work, enthusiasm and humility are the keys to succeed in trading.

  6. Great point, Chris, I completely agree. It is very important to focus on both past successes and past failures to improve as a trader.

  7. Thanks, Allison, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. A reasonably intelligent person, employing all of those keys to trading success, should be able to become a profitable options trader.

  8. Thanks, Rob, I’ll do my best to post interesting and helpful thoughts.

  9. Seth’s advice while I was a mentoring student of his was prophetic. I made several mistakes he warned me about but have since continually reminded myself of those pitfalls to watch out for. Seth will be a tremendous addition to SMB and for those who heed his advice, you’ll be in a much better position to be a consistently profitable options trader.

  10. this is such a joke, its so obvious this guy doesn’t know the first thing about options pricing. sounds like smb is taking some SERIOUS swan risk with my man

    glad i didn’t ‘go to school’ at this place

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