Two Trading Hacks to Get You Better, Faster

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Now, excelling at anything is hard. Whether it’s trading, or sport, or study, or you name it. If you want to be good at something, you know it’s going take some effort.

I read a fascinating book a while back called Bounce. The author, Matthew Syed, is an Olympian and award-winning journalist. And he does a brilliant job of explaining what it takes to excel. He says a key driver is something called ‘purposeful practice’. And he has lots of research to back him up.

So what’s the difference between purposeful practice and regular practice?

Well, quite a bit. You see, purposeful practice is quality practice. Top performers use this type of training with the sole aim of getting better. It engages the mind and body completely, and pushes the outer limits of their ability.

Now, this was certainly my experience with trading. I remember studying price charts for hours on end. The goal was to find recurring patterns that I could use to make money. This was intense learning. It was purposeful practice.

Champion golfer Jack Nicklaus explains it like this:

“Nobody, but nobody, has ever become really proficient at golf without practice, without doing a lot of thinking and then hitting a lot of shots. It isn’t so much a lack of talent; it’s a lack of being able to repeat good shots consistently that frustrates most players. And the only answer to this is practice.”

Just change a few words and this is all about trading — or anything else, for that matter.

How about this: It’s a lack of being able to repeat winning trades that frustrates most traders.

Now, I think many people will relate to this. Repeating an earlier success is often hard. It can be that much harder if you’re not practising effectively.

The key is to fully commit to whatever you’re doing. You then need to practice with purpose. That’s how you become really good.

So just how much high-quality practice do you need?

Well, brace yourself for this, it’s a big number. The magic figure is about 10 years. It doesn’t matter if you’re a chess grandmaster, a sportsperson, a musician or a trader. The findings are the same. It takes roughly 10 years of purposeful practice to be your best.

Now, that’s a lot of purposeful practice. It also helps explain why there’s no such thing as an overnight success.

But what if you could speed up this process?

I believe there are two ways to accelerate the 10,000-hour rule. These techniques are largely how I got through my early years as a trader.

You see, my boss back in those days was a guy called Carlos. He was in his mid-40s, and he’d made the bank a lot of money over the years. Carlos was always telling me to read about successful traders. He said this was a way to fast track my learning. The experiences of others can be a great teacher.

And do you know what? Carlos was right. Studying these people had a huge influence on my career. Following their lead gave me a big head-start on someone relying on trial and error.

But reading only gets you so far. At some point, you have to get your hands dirty. This is where a trading system could help.

You see, a system is a ready-made set of rules. It acts as your step-by-step guide for buying and selling shares. And this can really help focus your attention and sharpen your skills.

Another advantage is that a system helps on the emotional side. It does this by removing the guesswork and inconsistencies that plague so many traders.

You could say that a trading system is like having a coach. Not only does it tell you what to do, it could also help you reach your goal faster.

The alternative is 10 years of blood, sweat and tears.

Which method would you prefer?

So that’s all for this week. If you liked this video, or even if you didn’t, scroll down and leave me a comment, or maybe a thumbs up. Let me know if a ready-made trading plan could help you. Also, if you’re watching this anywhere other than my website then head over and have a look.

So until next time, I’m Jason McIntosh, and let’s find some trends this week.

Meet Jason

I'm Jason McIntosh, the creator of Motion Trader. My career began in 1991 on the trading floor at Bankers Trust. Nowadays, I trade my own systems from home in Sydney. 
Motion Trader is for investors who value robust analysis, data driven entry and exit signals, commentary, and education. I use engineered algorithms to identify when to buy and sell ASX stocks. No biases or guesswork, just data driven signals.