Am I talented enough to be a Trader?
Answer: NO, you are not…
….and more importantly it doesn’t matter.
I often get asked questions like the above, or similar, ‘Can I cut it in this game..?’, ‘Not sure this is for me…?’, ‘Will I make it as a trader..?’
But special reference to the word ‘Talent’ , ‘Ability’, or a ‘Traders Instinct’, recieve the same response from me, divided in two distinct parts.
- No, you are Not!
- Plus it doesn’t really Matter!
Surely I am being disrespectful, presumptious and ‘Universal’ of response in the first instance. [No, No and Yes.. respectively]
Plus I must be delusional to suggest ‘Talent or Ability’ doesn’t matter. [Not really, and I will explain further below]
Well lets start at the begining, very few activities involving success, even physical ones are based primarily on talent, they usually mask early high levels of ‘deliberated practice’. Even physical pursuits such as an Olympic Gymnast, undervalue social support astructures that keep an individual actively involved, and this is far more responsible for a far higher level of an individuals success, than gene’s. This reflects a degree of Malcolm Gladwells, now famous 10,000 hours, additionally the ‘faster’ these 10,000 hours are accumulated the better. In effect an intense concentrated expereince of doing as ‘Deliberated Practice’, is the driver for your success.
Studies have shown ‘older’ long standing traders are far better traders, almost universally. In short staying in the game consistently, is the key to eventual exellence, not a special talent specifically.
This gave birth to the saying you: ‘You get Bold Traders and Old Traders, there are no Old & Bold Traders’
*Bold = Big Size Risk takers, pointed reference to money management, but has relevance in sustained expereince too, Trading is a Hockstick return curve
This also captures the destructive contradiction of conflicting forces in becoming a trader:
- to truly learn you must intensely ‘do’ in a sustained concentrated manner [demo account is not ‘do’ing, in the emotional, feeling it context]
- to become successful you must also survive and stay in the game for a sustained period to reach to ‘Hockeystick Heaven
- feed your family
In short you must do a whole bunch of live trading activity to learn, when you are at your most dangerous to yourself in terms of expereince and skill. All this whilst maintaining your account capital, and feeding your family?
Additionally it has been shown traders respond too emtionally generally, studies highlighted that, even veterans respond more emotionally in volatile times, this when you most need to be calm and a decision could cost a bundle.
Good Luck, with surviving that one to adulthood! More on this later.
The idea that we are naturally gifted generally in certain areas, turns out by recent studies to be broadly a phallacy of a notion.
We may however have interests, my daughter as an 11 year old still loves to draw, in the way most 5 year old children enjoy it, I would not however be successful in marketing her art. However if she sustains that interest for a concentrated and sustained period, she could fulfill her ambition of becoming an architect and one day running her own architecture practice.
This would almost entirely be a force of a learnt skill, driven by an interest, which was sustained over a significant timeframe.
If we could expresss mathematically,
Interest + Practice + Learning + Time = Skilled Practioner
and in a state of amplification it is reasonable to also state,
Deep Interest + Sustained Practice + Keen Learning + Concentrated Time = Higher Skilled Practioner
*Note Initial Talent/Ability/Hunchyness/Gut Instinct etc.. does not enter into this formula at all.
So if you are asking about your ‘Talent’ or ‘Natural Ability’, you are clearly unaware, that you have far more control over your eventual fate as a trader, than you give yourself credit for.
For this reason, you lack a key awareness of what is required, by virtue of your question in the initial instance [as most of us do, as beginners], and therefore are displaying a ‘newbies naivete’, and are quite possibly also displaying a ‘lack of talent’, assuming we even accepted that a concept of trading talent existed, which we largely don’t.
So the Universal answer of ‘No’, in terms of your understanding of talent, is indeed the only sensible response to the question.
It is clearly not personally directed, more specifically it is directed to your current mental state, which lacks the conviction of will at this early stage.
You need to be at the point, that even after a blown account you can still declare yourself a trader, albeit one who has just paid for an expensive lesson. Persistence is required to make an ‘Old Trader’ [Old of concentrated expereince, holds precedence over just life years].
Trading in P&L terms is a a hockey stick curve career, the key element is getting to the latter stages of that curve, in years of concentrated applied expereince. No matter what you achieve now already, it is largely more likely that you will supercede that substantially further on, providing your head has not been turned.
To make it to these latter stages, requires far more valuable things than ‘talent’, for example you need:
- Self forgiveness
- Ability to develop higher ‘self awareness’
- The ability to develop emotional stability
- The mindset to develop a specific, market approach that suits you
In asking whether you have ‘talent’ to be a trader, It would imply that you are asking, how much of the above you have, as these are the attributes that will determine your success.
Clearly you are the person best able to answer this question [Know thyself!], and it comes back to your level of determination. I would take this further and share my belief that seeking to become a ‘great trader’, is like committing to a detailed and thorough personal development program, with the most blunt and direct feedback mechanisms in the world. They leave no place for externalising your failings to anything else but yourself, yet can reward so directly that no credit may be siphoned away by others.
Talent if such a concept exists, would loosely represent largely this listed bundle of attributes, give or take. None of which are trading specific attributes. In fact if we had to choose one word I would go for ‘Desire’ because even if a bit slow to get the markets messages, you will be relentlessly sent back on ‘knock back loop’s’ until you will eventually adjust or try a new approach, but essential is that you keep ‘showing up’. Lesson are learned at different rates, but persistence brings even the tortoise home.
The notion of trading talent ‘not mattering’, as answered in the second part of the founding question, is therefore accurate, as it appears not to have a specific trader related attribute.
The more critical question is, ‘are you ready to stare into that mirror daily, and aknowledge all that you see’ and will you show up tomorrow in a similar pursuit of development on your journey, for which there is no arrival, just improved profficiency?
Enjoy your journey
PS . No man is an island, it is impossible to be resolute and strong on every set back, without occasional moral support, guidance, great ideas .
Stimulus, mentoring and a refined clear system are critical to get you through your ‘Bambi’ stage [BTW.. bambi’ness lingers longer than you think]
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*PS – for those who prefer to watch rather than read click play below.
Bambi didnt make it to ‘Old’. But You can.