Aside from Technical Skills, What Does It Take to Be a Great Day Trader?

When I began writing the batch of articles I have written, I prioritized the obvious and less-than-obvious variables it takes to matriculate from ”good” to “great” and enter day trading. For the record book, I will not be talking about technical knowledge or day trading techniques a given trader possesses; I am directing my attention to the stage of focus and determination that all highly successful day traders seem to exhibit.

This is not to say that great day traders don’t possess sound day trading methodology and serious market awareness, they do. No, I am describing some of the intangibles great day traders seem to innately display. More to the point, these qualities seem to appear over and over and seem particularly unvarying across the group of high-success traders. The problem is, that they are nearly impossible to point out and spell out with anything that mistily resembles the scientific method.

Embracing Day Trading Solitude

Among great day traders there is a feeling of self-trust that borders on arrogance. Most traders find this attitude dismaying and offensive, though I believe this unparalleled attitude is essential to success. I don’t have a cheerleading squad or a pep club to pump me up during the trading session portion of the day. No, the desire to keep my day trading at peak performance with consistent results is an emotion that I must sustain on my own. It’s no simple task, but it is an important part of maintaining the proper psychological frame of mind that is key to trading. Unfortunately, the local high school basketball team with a legion of coaches and booster club keeps encouraging us as we struggle through the day’s trading session.  At best, day trading is a lonely profession where the trader is trained to depend entirely upon his own experience and expertise. At its very worst, day trading can be a lonesome and dispiriting experience; but it does not have to be that way. It seems to me that day traders seek out this solitude upon themselves for a variety of reasons.

  • Many day traders disguise their trading methodology and do not care to have the general population become aware of their trading style.
  • There is an even more insidious reason for traders’ solitude, and it’s that they may be using a faulty trading methodology and losing money. Many traders are reluctant to share their losing trades with other traders because they are embarrassed by what other traders may have to say. Of course, the exact opposite is true, as most traders are more than willing to objectively analyze another trader’s methodology and make suggestions as to how it may be rectified. In the final analysis, all of these failures result in a mindset of dishonor for the trader and the result is silence.
  • While many day traders are successful, some utilize highly unusual day trading methods to reach their goals. Again, this class of trader is unlikely to share his or her trading methodology because of its unorthodox nature. Once again, shame is the operant mover in this behavior.
  • And finally, many day traders are by nature shy, and trading with anyone, (other than themselves) triggers this shy response and finds the trader unwilling to trade for anyone besides himself or herself.

These are just a few of the many reasons that some day traders are unwilling to share the success they enjoyed with beginning and intermediate traders.   It is important to understand that not all day traders are of this expectation, and many are more than willing to explain the trading style that has been so profitable for them in their trading. For me,  the necklace system works very well. Whether I am superstitious, or simply wearing a necklace with a cross on it is anyone’s estimate. But the fact remains the same and it is a simple one: I trade with a cheap cross depicting our Lord’s crucifixion. Perhaps I’m superstitious, religious, or just plain a nut cake. It doesn’t matter if it works

Unveiling Day Trading Secrets

One thing is for sure though, and that fact is easily discerned; all good day traders have unspoken and intangible assets that allow them to be successful. Whether it is confidence, great technique, or just plain old skill, certain day traders shine brightly at what they do. More often than not, they are willing to share their “not so secret” secrets with new traders who are struggling to establish themselves in the trading business. Most great traders realize there are no secrets to trading. The secrets are the result of hard work and extensive experience, and this thread of success seems to run through all great traders.

In summary, the intangible factors which are an important part of a successful trader’s emotional makeup are impossible to quantify, yet they are there to see quite clearly. Of the four maladies I enumerated in the paragraphs above, great traders are seldom affected by these factors. They are confident in their trading methodology and unhindered in sharing both their successes and defeats.

I am a long-time retail and institutional trader who now only trades part-time, usually in the morning.  I enjoy writing informational articles about my style of trading so others may benefit.

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