AlgoStrats Blog

  • By Marco Mayer
  • Posted May 8, 2017

8 Tips on how to be an open-minded trader

In my last post, I wrote about why it’s so important to stay as open-minded as possible as a trader.

But that’s easier said than done, so here are 8 tips you can actively follow on how to be more open-minded:

  1. Question everything and never stop doing so. There’s only one way to continue improving and that’s to constantly question your beliefs about trading and yourself. If you think you figured something out forever, you’re probably in trouble! That strategy that has been working for years might have stopped doing so. Maybe a market you’re trading in has changed in a significant way and you need to adopt.
  2. Doing so you have to be completely honest with yourself and your trading and scrutinize everything to make sure your trading and your beliefs about the markets are as close to reality as possible. You do want to know when you’re wrong or have made a mistake right away. Even if that truth might hurt. If you’ve been working on a trading strategy for weeks you want it to work, you want that edge to be true. But the fact is that if it’s not, you do want to know that, otherwise the markets will take it apart for you!
  3. Never stop learning. The markets, it’s participants and the trading technology evolves quickly. To stay ahead of the game you have to know what’s going on. Read new books that come out, watch videos, read articles and blog posts. There might even be some interesting posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.
  4. But while doing so never believe any „truth“ you hear or read about the markets before you have verified it for yourself. Doesn’t matter if it’s on TV, a trading book, a forum or from Paul Tudor Jones himself. In my experience, most of the information you can get for free or for significant amounts of money is absolutely worthless in terms of potential real trading profits. That’s why you need to scrutinize all of it.
  5. Workout, meditate or do whatever helps you to reset your brain on a daily basis. Find some method that works for you and make it into a routine. This will create the space in your head that’s required to come up with unique ideas.
  6. Try to get completely away from the markets for longer periods at least twice a year. After trying to crack the markets for months we all tend to get stuck and stop seeing the simple solutions. This is when you need a break so you can start from scratch again. You’ll find that very often you’ll solve the problem you’ve been working on right away after the break. Go on vacation, visit your parents, travel! Whatever helps you to free your thoughts from the markets for a while. For me, hiking does the job.
  7. Relax. This might be the best and the hardest to follow advice. Of course, it’s necessary to think through everything in a logical way when it comes to trading. And this works fine, but the best trading ideas/ideas for a new system usually come by themselves and as a surprise. You can not force these and thinking hard will take you only to a certain point. At some point, you have to relax and trust in your subconscious (or whatever you want to call it) to work this out for you. That’s when the magic can happen and an idea/solution you never thought about before is suddenly there. Eureka!
  8. Get in touch with other traders. Talking to someone else about trading who understands what you’re talking about can be very helpful. You can exchange ideas, get completely new perspectives and if you’re talking with someone honest get your ideas and views challenged. This can be very helpful as it forces you to clarify your trading thoughts that can be quite vague. Just having someone ask you „why?“ and „how?“ a couple of times might save you from wasting weeks of time. And of course, it’s fun to meet other traders!

Happy Trading!


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