Let’s define “Learn to Trade”. Let’s stipulate that one has learned to trade when they show consistent profitability over at least a couple of years. Ok, that’s two years. What about to get to that point?
I talk with trader’s all the time that have “trading experience” almost always exceeding a year. Many have decades of trading experience and they are still trying to find something (anything) that works consistently. The reality is that the majority of these traders don’t actually have X number of years experience; they have one year over and over and over. Why? Because they hop from one bad idea to the next, looking for the magic secret sauce. The Trading Education Industry thrives on selling magic to the ever hopeful that all they need is the Magic Secret that someone will be willing to sell them (and a few thousand of their closest friends).
There is a learning curve in trading that can be shortened but not eliminated. Trading is a complex endeavor that requires study, hard work and experience. None of those three variables can be eliminated on the path to becoming a profitable trader. Study and hard work won’t help if one is studying and working hard at something that simply has no validity to begin with. How do we want to define “valid”. Valid = Positive Expectancy. If YOU cannot take a methodology and develop a Trade Plan that has a Positive Expectancy then you need to move on as quickly as possible once you have reliably proven it is not working. How long does this take? Well, you have to find a methodology. How do we define “methodology”? Methodology has to have a basis in a belief system of some sort – a Market Worldview. It must be something that can be disproved. It must be something around which objective and consistent rules can be determined. This is the stage with which traders have the most difficulty, and it is usually the stage where the most time is spent because in actuality, very few things work and one is led to believe that almost anything does/can work, so this frustrating cycle begins where the trader begins chasing wild claims, only to be disappointed again and again. I have know traders that searched for decades and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars before finding something that works. I know some, but far fewer traders, that found something that worked relatively quickly because they just happen to stumble across something that was valid early in the process.
Let’s say a trader has stumbled on something that works. How long is a reasonable amount of time to learn it, and what is involved with proving that it works? We’ll cover that in Part 2.