Thursday, March 22, 2012


The following is a list of personality traits, read this list carefully and be honest with yourself about which ones fits you and which do not. There are no right or wrong answers, and there is no order to this.

1) Impatient
2) Impulsive
3) Volatile
4) Diligent
5) Competitive
6) Determined
7) Confident
8) Amiable
9) Calm 
10) Reactionary
11) Detail oriented
12) Introverted or Extroverted
13) Disciplined

The list could go on and on, but there are some points I want to make from a recent experience I have had. I will describe it first, then delve into these categories a little. This is not a chart laden post, but these types of things are so important.

As many of my readers know, Larry Williams is my main trading mentor. He recently launched a trading service that allowed individual traders to take some of the very same trades he was going to take. As you might expect, he sold out the allowable number of participants the very first day in a matter of hours. This service is pretty expensive. I personally did subscribe mostly so I could see the logic he was using to initiate the trades. I use many of his tools, yet it is hard for anyone to master the masters tools. There are always insights to be gained from studying the masters of any craft be it coaching, trading, gardening, running, etc.. Unfortunately what happens when you launch a trading service is, no matter how much you try to tell people what it is and is not, it still is difficult to get the correct blend of people you want. The get rich quick people are always lurking, and they misrepresent themselves. In fact about as sure a bet as there is in life if for someone to be dishonest with themselves about their own personality.

This is the main reason I have been dragging my feet about launching my service again. The dumb emails and complaints are difficult to deal with believe me. They will always come at a time when you have a bad trade or two going, where there is already pressure on. Now you have some person who has his last $3000 to his name relying on a trade you recommend. This adds additional pressure whether it should or not. Larry launches his service, and several friends of mine and blog readers jump on it and get in. They are aware that Larry has already more than doubled his own personal trading account this year. Expectations are high, too high. Larry warned people there is no easy money, this is not being coy this is just the truth. Even accomplished traders lose often. Some of the very best ones have winning percentages of 40%. Larry is one of the greatest to have ever lived, there is simply no doubt about that at all. He has proven himself countless times in public forums making millions of dollars in profits.

The first week starts, and of course, the week has a net loss. My one friend I talk about in here from time to time emails me. "What in the world is he doing, why did he do this trade, why didn't he short the grains? I am going to quit!" If you look at the grains, they have moved down some off the highs. However, I can tell you if that is the type of trade someone wants to make, selling the very strongest markets on the board when they are at multi-month highs, they need to find something else to do.

My response, "don't be such an amateur." I was really ticked off at him. Larry was hit with people cancelling the service, after one week and just a few losses! I wish I could meet every one of those people and back fist them. What a bunch of losers. He had a long waiting list, so it quickly filled up again. You have one of the greatest traders of all time who had a few losses, and probably has not had a losing year in the last 20 or more years, and you bail on him? That is actually the time to bet more heavily on him. This is why most people do not succeed in life, they have the herd mentality.

In the above categories, if you have been honest enough with yourself, what words did you determine described you the best? There have been countless studies done on what it takes to be a top performing trader. Of all the categories listed above, there is a somewhat random distribution of them in the personalities of top traders. However, there does seem to be a couple of consistent traits that do seem to be necessary. People that are able to remain calm during turbulent periods and not panic, tend to do the best. I can assure you there will be plenty of opportunities to panic no matter how good you are. If you are someone who is inclined to not handle crisis periods well, this is not for you. Everyone knows people that during times of stress completely change personalities. I call them crisis managers. If you are one of these go work on your golf game. You have a better chance at making the PGA tour than you do of trading profitably. It is hard to believe that people would panic at the slightest hiccup like what Larry had. These people including my friend have no business trying to trade. 

Many great entrepreneurs are impulsive people and it is one of the qualities that leads them to being able to create great companies on the spur of the moment. They go from one hot idea to another and act, one hits, and they are off to the races. In some ways trading can be done like that. You put some lines into the water, most get no bites, but one catches the big one. The problem with this is that you have to be patient, and most impulsive people are not. My friend is a perfect example of this. Many of the other traits can be part of your makeup and you are still fine. For example impatient can actually be a good quality because it will enable you to get out of bad trades quickly, a very important ability to have. You can also be volatile as long as that volatility drives you to work harder, and does not stay with you too long. If you can explode and release the feelings, that is actually a good thing. It will drive you not to make the same mistakes again.

I could go on and on here, but the main point is as follows. Trading is unlike most other businesses. It will expose your weaknesses very quickly. It is not something that will make you rich instantly. If this is what you want play the lottery. If you are a person who would subscribe to a service from someone such as Larry or myself, make sure you are ready for what it will bring. There will be many losses. There are no payoffs in life I know of that do not come with some risk. Even my dog rescuing efforts come with great financial and emotional risks. If you are someone who cannot handle adversity, get a salaried job and live your life. If you want to trade, get real. It is difficult, money will come and go, and there will be difficult times. If you succeed there will be very very good times, but the path to this is not a straight line.

Don't be a dumb ass like some of the subscribers who bailed out of this so fast.

Psycho babble over!


Anonymous said...

I am a business owner have found that being patient and studying your losses is extremely important.

I have to wire the money out my account after a win so i will stop trading.

I also have to wire the money out of the account after a loss to stop trading.

It is all i can do to control myself and keep making money. I have been making money pretty consistently for the last 2 years after 6 years of losses.

It wasn't until i lost everything except my business that still pays me very well that i started to make money.

This business is os difficult and what you just wrote hit home so hard i had to comment. Sometimes i wish i never knew about the trading. I do now and realize how hard time consuming and yes rewarding it can be.

I have been studying larry for quite some time and have my own little system that works. Once i deviate from that system i lose money.

Keep the blog going!

Charles Hugh Smith said...

Excellent commentary, Chris, those of us who have traded for years are nodding our heads, yes, yes. I am still a student, you can never learn enough, and thank you for sharing your insights.

SS said...

Chris, wise words. I enjoy your blog because you touch on so many things, keep it up. I too am a subscriber to Larry's BF, and the first couple of weeks have been rough, but having studied under him for years I am resolute in not just his trading motives but also the man. He has taught me so much and I "trading laws" that you have. Not so much Zurich Axiom type stuff, but maybe on the side of profit taking and exits. Just a thought. thanks again for the blog,