In My Experience, UN-Learning Has Been the Hardest Thing
- Posted by chicagosean
- on August 30th, 2012
I’ve talked about this before on the blog. Having begun trading in 1998 and being thrown into the fire that was the dot com and IPO mania of 1998-2001, I learned a lot of things that worked in that environment, but have been completely unsuitable for nearly every trading scenario I’ve experienced since.
Instead of learning skills, I was really learning bad habits. And it’s these bad habits that I’ve knowingly and unknowingly been trying to rid myself of ever since.
One skill/habit that I thought I needed to rid myself of is the “daytrading mindset.” My reasoning being that I can’t compete as an intraday scalper/swinger against the algo machines, and more to the point, my day job at StockTwits simply renders the idea impractical. There’s just no way. And I still believe this.
However, as I continue to do more soul searching, I’m delving into ways that I can put my daytrading mindset to an advantage, without being a slave to every tick of the market. [I'll give you a hint: it involves options.]
Due to my circumstances, I’ve spent the better part of the past 5 years or so trying to become a proficient longer term swing/position trader. But I think it just doesn’t jive with my personality and patience level. I’ve never been a very patient person in any area of my life no matter how often I’ve tried (just ask my wife). And when you’re trying to build trading strategies that don’t mesh with who you are as a person, ultimately over the long term you’ll lose.
As unappealing and as embarrassing as it may sound, I probably had my best success as a trader during the 1999-2001 period precisely because I impatiently traded a style that encouraged (perhaps required?) quick hits. It allowed me to change my mind repeatedly (often in the same minute), and then quickly be out of the market to reassess from a neutral position (cash).
So I’ve been kind of going through an “Ah-hah!” moment over the past couple weeks as I come to terms with these realizations and their implications, while brainstorming a strategy that meshes with this new place I’m at. I’m encouraged and excited at the prospect of things to come.
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Sean McLaughlin - Editorial, Curation, & Investor Relations Solutions at StockTwits. Also, former Member of the Chicago Board of Trade who trades his own account in Boulder, Colorado. More »