Saturday, March 6, 2010

How long it take to learn?

"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence." - Abigail Adams

I have been asked frequently by the newbies how long will it take for them to learn how to trade and start making money. It's a question that is rather difficult to give a correct answer. It depends on the individual.

Everyone is born differently, some are fortunate enough to be bestowed with higher IQ, smarter and more intelligent while others are handsome and beautiful. I realised from young that God is never fair because I had to study very hard yet my academic performance was something I have never been proud of while one of my classmate breezed through so effortlessly with all the As. He was smart, the only one in our class that went to RI and studied overseas with government scholarship.

Nothing in life is fair, being average, I just have to work harder to catch up with those more intelligent who are miles ahead. I'm a slow learner, I take longer to learn anything, I try avoiding anything complicated and look for simple solutions. I know my limited ability and weaknesses, thus trading is the simplest business for me, just 2 decisions, either buy or sell, then take profit, scratch or cut loss.

There are so many things to learn in trading , I believe smart people will learn faster in using the trading platform, the different functionality in enhancing trading, charting, analysing the market and forecasting.

But, apart from learning the basic, trading involves emotions, focus, guts, hard work and passion, that's where the playing field becomes more level. There are many smart people who failed to trade successfully, they think too much and worry too much.

Those who are very successful and make tons of money in trading have a very common trait, they have guts. They dare to bet big once they believe the odds is in their favour. They take calculated risk which differentiate them from a gambler.

My father, a vehicle mechanic told me that he worked many years as a apprentice in a small workshop with no proper training, paid pittance and did all the dirty work. He learnt from stealing glances and assisting the mechanic in the repair job, pure hard work.

Trading is so much easier, there are so many books written on the subject and one can simply borrow them from the public library, learn from the Internet or attend the various courses available to shorten the learning curve.

So, how long it take to learn? A few months will do to learn the basic but to start making money, it might take longer to gain the experience, from constantly learning from the same mistakes repeated again and again daily.

No joke, this is what's happening to most newbies, they just freeze holding a bad position praying that it will come back to their level and get out once they have a small profit. One of my student just did that despite my repeated exhortation to cut the losses fast, he averaged further and happily told me later that he finally made a profit from turning the losses to profit. When will he learn?

After the trading floor closed in 2005, it took me more than 2 years to get back on my feet, to focus and concentrate on trading before finally seeing the light. Many of my fellow floor traders were making good money during this period of time because they were smart to stay in the trading arcade with fast trading platform and Internet speed.

Being a scalper and spreader my whole trading career, it took me just one month to realise my edge, "speed" when I went back to the arcade to trade. My brother-in-law who struggled trading from home joined me in the arcade later and was profitable immediately. He couldn't afford to lose. My younger brother, the smartest in the family and a former floor trader took a year to start making consistent money.

It's a matter of time that a passionate trader who persevere starts to mature by gaining the experiences through daily engaging the market, learning from past mistakes, understand the nature of the market and finally self discovery.

No comments: