CHAPTER 12

Becoming a Trader

Intention, good or bad, is not enough.

—John Steinbeck

Most of this book applies equally well to individual or institutional traders across a wide range of time frames and asset classes. The lessons of statistical tendencies and market structure are universal; ideas regarding trade and risk management are important for everyone, and can even be adapted to work in conjunction with Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) in some applications. This chapter is different; it is written specifically for the individual self-directed trader trying to manage all of the complex tasks of trading on his or her own. The rest of the book has given you many of the pieces you need to be successful. Without a firm understanding of all of those pieces, you are not likely to be successful in the long run, but even if you are able to master the individual parts, success may still be elusive. Putting it all together into a coherent whole, building a trading methodology that fits your personality, and living through the learning curve make up a monumental challenge.

This chapter also is intended to be a reality check. If there is one message for new traders to take away from this book, it is this: trading is hard—very hard. It will challenge you in ways that you cannot imagine, and it will take much longer than you expect to reach a level of competence. Your success will be incremental and ephemeral at first. Expect an emotional roller coaster where progress is followed by errors ...

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