Can you ever really ‘master’ a complex skill like trading?
Maybe. If you had the aptitude and the time to set aside you could indeed become the next market wizard.
But is it even necessary to reach the level of mastery?
The great thing about trading is the sliding scale of reward. It ensures that as an accomplished trader you can profit beyond your wildest dreams when you put your skills to good use.
And for most traders a comfortable lifestyle and the ability to make money almost on demand is reward enough.
The big first step is getting to that stage of course!
Can a specific amount of dedicated practice really ensure your trading success?
There was a popular book that came out a few years ago called Outliers. In it, the author (Malcom Gladwell) puts forward his theory that the real stand-out high achievers in many walks of life are a product of their upbringing rather than pure natural ability.
He argued that certain twists of fate in the life of a high performer can be responsible for drawing out their unusual skills…
It could be the actions of a parent that are responsible. Dad might have kept his young charge laser-focused on a certain activity from a young age.
I remember reading about the golfer Tiger Woods, his dad had him out on the course from age 3 with sawn-off golf clubs to fit his tiny backswing.
Or the Williams sisters – Serena and Venus.
Not only were they coached in tennis from age 4 by their parents they were home-schooled with strict discipline by them as well.
With that kind of single-minded attention from such a young age is it any wonder they went on to accomplish amazing achievements in their sport?
But probably the most thought provoking idea to come out of Gladwell’s book is the 10,000 hour rule.
You might have come across it before. It’s the theory that anyone can come pretty damn close at performing to an exceeding high level, in whatever field they choose, as long as they dedicate enough time to focused practice – 10,000 hours.
The magic number for hours of practice keeps repeating at 10,000
There’s a great example in the book about The Beatles and how they came to stand head and shoulders above most other bands of the same era (not to offend any Stones fans – it would be interesting to see if this same rule could be applied to the Rolling Stones actually).
The story goes the Beatles had already performed live over twelve hundred times even before they had their first taste of commercial success in 1964.
They’d played in these dingy Hamburg strip clubs for eight hours at a time, gigging back-to-back seven nights a week. Most bands don’t rack up that many performances over their entire careers! So is it any wonder The Beatles acquired a certain edge to their abilities?
And going back to Tiger, Serena, and Venus…
If they’d been practicing away for hours at a time from such an early age they would have hit the 10,000 hour mark by the time they were in their teens.
Again, no surprise they were such ‘naturally gifted’ athletes (and to hijack an old saying – the more they practiced, the more ‘naturally gifted’ they became!).
But if 10,000 hours is the magic number, if that degree of practice will almost ensure a very high level of trading prowess, how on earth would you go about squeezing in so much time at the trading screen?
If you’re like most home-traders with a day job, family commitments, and a healthy social life to attend to, the outlook is a bit bleak.
Even if you could put in a solid two hours a day, every single day, it’s going to take another 14 years or so before you could get near to your 10,000 hours.
It’s a big ask, isn’t it?
But fear not. If you seek attainment of trading skills beyond the norm, I have a perfect solution!
We’ll simply speed up time so you can squeeze in your 10,000 hours of trading practice sooner! You’ll get it all done in just three months if you practice an hour a day.
…but not as daft as it sounds.
Why Forex Tester could become your most valuable training tool
Don’t worry. I’ve not taken complete leave of my senses. We’re not about to take a quantum leap into time travel just yet!
I’m talking about using a brilliant training tool called Forex Tester (they’re on the second version of the software now so officially, it’s Forex Tester 2).
Now this is the second of my three recommended paid-for trading resources I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. (And by the way I am not making any commission on this – I just truly believe it is a great resource for the us traders.)
It’s a full-on technical analysis platform, but instead of catering to real-time trading, this one utilises a ten-year historical data bank of tick-by-tick Forex data.
It lets you replay real market conditions at whatever speed you like… you can have it rattling along, printing one-minute candlesticks every second while you practice your all-out scalping assault.
Or you can pull-back onto the hourly charts while you hone your swing-trading entries.
Or what about scouring the five minute charts for intraday-reversal patterns?
And you can do it all with a ‘hard right edge’ to the charts that keeps you on your toes.
There’s no opportunity to kid yourself with “would have, could have, should have” mind chatter as you practice. Instead, you use a built-in simulated account that tracks your performance and prints out the hard evidence of your (hopefully improving) trading skills at the end of each practice session.
It’s not perfect. We all know that trading a practice account is not quite the same as having real money on the line. But in terms of developing trading muscle-memory and re-grooving your mind with good trading habits I think you’ll find this package hard to beat.
Once you’ve got the foundations of a good trading strategy in place you can even program-in the rules of your system and get the Forex Tester software to run a complete backtest.
You’ll see how your ideas perform in all markets, across the entire ten years worth of tick data. And that can save you months of frustration by otherwise trying to take an inherently flawed method forward into live conditions.
As with all products and services I recommend, you get a full trial period with a money back guarantee and the product support is fantastic. They usually have someone manning the live-chat window on their website if you have any questions before you take your trial.
Why not give it a whirl and see how just quickly you can get your 10,000 hours worth of practice chalked-up?
Be Prepared: Market Moving Data Coming This Week (London Time):
Wednesday 22nd October:
09:30 GBP MPC Minutes
13:30 USD Consumer Price Index
Thursday 23rd October:
08:30 EUR German Manufacturing PMI
09:30 GBP Retail Sales
Friday 24th October:
09:30 GBP Gross Domestic Product
15:00 USD New Home Sales
Monday 27th October:
15:00 USD Pending Homes Sales
Tuesday 28th October:
13:30 USD Core Durable Goods
15:00 USD CB Consumer Confidence
So what do you think about the potential to ‘own’ a particular skill by applying a certain amount of dedicated practice?
And do realise you have a unique advantage when it comes to trading… tools like Forex Tester can help condense your 10,000 hours into relatively short timeframes. Try doing that with a physical sport like golf or tennis!
Get your practice started and I’ll catch up with you next week!