Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln
An extensive FX training program is being created for a college investment club as I write. The creator is a junior in college. A bright young trader visited SMB from the Midwest for a tradecast during summer vacation. He had just graduated high school.
I get an email every week from a developing trader who is killing the market this year. Not a month has passed without him netting 30k. He is entering his senior year at college. @zmoose12 has caught the eye of the best @stocktwits and will be attending Bentley college in the fall. One of the rising stars in the trading community and a young twenty-something, @ldrogen, has been trading since high school.
We have learned from The Talent Code, Talent is Overrated, and Outliers that no one becomes great at anything unless they engage in concentrated practice for many years at their craft. Before the Beatles hit the States they had the unusual opportunity to play live for ten thousand hours. Before Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard he was a stud programmer because he had been coding for years. If you want a tongue lashing from me go ahead and sit in one of our film sessions with a month of experience and tell me you “just had a feeling the stock was going up.” If you want to lose my attention during an interview tell me that you have a good feel for the market, though have never placed a trade. We call this trading intuition. And you only develop it after years of screen time.
Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was two. Andre Agassi was starved of a childhood save hitting tennis balls. LeBron played more basketball before entering the league with AAU, camps and an ambitious high school travel schedule than some NBA veterans. Why do newbies try and pick up our game without any experience, without any trading skills, right after college? How silly would you think LeBron or someone like him if he showed up at Danny Ferry’s office requesting an interview for an NBA spot without ever having played? How about Agassi knocking on Phil Knight’s door talking a Nike endorsement without knowing how to hit a backhand?
Trading is skill based. You must develop a playbook of trading patterns that makes the most sense to you. To become great at these setups takes time, experience, practice, and a love for your craft. Only then can you become a member of First Team Wall Street.
Future trading stars should start trading in high school with small size and an emphasis on risk management. They should be scouring the blogosphere for domain knowledge. They should laugh with an @thereformedbroker’s post, learn technical analysis from YouTube trading king @alphatrends, peak in at a prop firm from our SMB Blog, argue under their breath at a call by @DougKass, DM @afraidtotrade about the structure of a trading day, read every last post from TraderFeed to develop your mental game, or classics like Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, and email trading pros like @thekirkreport trading questions (we will respond). They should attend universities with trading labs. During the summers they should study at trading education schools. They should dabble in different products and markets. They should intern at prop firms and institutional banks. Most importantly, they should develop a track record.
After developing a track record then you will have the power to pick where you want to trade, what you want to trade and how big and not have to rely on someone like me to let you in the door. And you will have developed your trading skills so you can become the next King on the Street.
You can be better tomorrow than you are today!
No relevant positions
Great post. Thank you for mentioning others that you acknowledge as worthy. I could not find @thereformedbroker ? Could you please reply with their contact info? I appreciate it.
Sonny, a quick google search would sort you out 😉
all his contact details are on there
Hi Mike. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write these blogs, and sharing your insight on the trading sphere. I’m just starting out in trading on the S&P e-mini. I come from a Military background, and trading is about the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with psychologically. This post really hit home with me, you put things in perspective. Trading is not a cakewalk, you have to earn your stripes here. Thanks for reinforcing that in my head….Cheers Matt
Great post, and totally agree. Us aspiring traders should absolutely devour any material (videos, blogs, mag articles, etc.) that will increase our “market IQ.” And of course if we happen to know those who trade, we should actively engage a dialogue with them. And above all else, like you mentioned, we need to be packing in “screen time” hours…hours and hours of watching the tape, and looking at charts. Thanks for the advice/reminder.