Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I've been doing some work on personal development lately, and the poll I introduced about a month ago is a great way to figure out what area you need to work on the most. If it's discipline, which was the case for 39% of people, then ask yourself what can I do to improve my self-discipline? If your into a bad habit of letting a race go in-play before trading and hedging out of your position then a good way to break the habit would be to progressively train yourself to stop doing it by challenging yourself to go one day where you have to exit your trade and hedge at least 30 seconds before the race-off time - and if you don't, then commit yourself to doing something you'd rather not do, like cleaning the bathroom. I use external accountability to bring in good habits; I recognised that my vocal communication was poor, probably made worse by sitting by myself half the day so I have written my friend a cheque for £500 to say I will do an hour's reading a day, if I don't do it, he gets to cash the cheque - I know I'd much rather do an hour's reading than give away £500 like that! Anyway, the point is to find ways to improve areas where you think you're holding yourself back from trading more successfully. What kind of discipline issues are they (aimed at the 100 people who tick discipline in the poll)?

My trait that holds me back the most is focus, luckily the other traits I naturally have a good grasp of, so I am going to start improving my focus by practicing reading for 20 minutes without distraction and complete in-the-zone reading - which I'm terrible at right now. I'll gradually increase this until I can transfer the ability to trading to focus in one hour chunks with just a few minutes break.

I was surprised to see that intuition was ranked lowly in terms of a trait holding people back. I associate intuition with a 'feeling' of the market, as in you understand how a market is moving. You could analogise this in many different ways - one comparison is judging whether a person you've never met before is a friendly person or not. An intuitive person would be able to say to a higher degree of certainty whether a stranger is friendly or not, without having to speak to that person; where as someone who isn't intuitive would have to speak to that person and get to know him before making a decision. So the more quickly you can decide how a market is likely to move without getting involved in it, the less likely you'll throw away money from making poor judgements on price movement. Peter has briefly just discussed this on his blog; I think it's such an important factor if you strive to become a good trader.

Greed is a funny one, it's important to keep it under control otherwise you'll just lose your money from poor decision making. Everyone has experienced greed while trading, it's one thing I have learnt to control much better. I never used to go a day without being slightly frustrated that greed held me back from performing better in the markets, but now it's much less frequent. Don't let greed affect your decision-making.

For those of you who have ticked acceptance, the last month I have become more accepting of trades that go wrong. You have to be aware of not accepting, like anything, to overcome it. I then put an A4 page on my wall next to me with "Acceptance" written on to remind me - I'm much better at accepting now than I used to be.

Patience is a good one, sometimes is better to sit and do nothing in a market and wait for the good opportunities. The better you get, the more opportunities there seem to be as you learn to understand how different markets move.

If your not decisiveness enough, then being responsive doesn't matter if you can make decisions effectively! A good game to play to improve your decisiveness and responsiveness is Big Brain Academy on the Wii.


Anonymous said...

hello adam, pls can you say which screens do you have on your two computers when trading using bet angel? 3 horse ladder on one? what else? thank you v much. Colin

Anonymous said...

Dear Adam, as for traits I think my worse one is punching my desk when I let a red get redder. My hand is very sore. When you are trading day to day do you prefer the quick two or three tick profits that are over in a flash or do you prefer the long and anxious trends that dip in and out of the red before going green? Both are nice I'm sure but which is best for you? Best of luck improving yourself even more. Best, Vern

Anonymous said...

Adam your thoughts on traits are fascinating and i definitely want to develop some of these areas. I am also very interested about the feel of markets you and peter webb have discussed. When you get this intuitive feel does it help you open a trade early and ride it out or do you always wait for the other signals to come to verify your hunch, such as wom etc, and are you looking to trade on a brief move within a trend rather than the whole trend? I don't know if you are answering people's questions anymore but these answers would be very helpful. All good luck to you, mike D

Anonymous said...

I would have said decisiveness. Probably.

Re intuition: I think intuition comes after you have other core factors in place. Once you really, truly know the steps of a dance, you can do it by feel rather than trying to remember where to put your feet.

Very interesting blog. All the best. Mark.

jace said...

Hello Adam,

Love your breakdown of personal traits, i feel that we can truly excel ourselves through personal development if we understand ourselves better.

I Have a new blog

Let me know what you think

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Hi Adam, first class blog. I would like to know how you've started? Which books / ebooks you've read? What would you recommend a beginner?

Good luck to you