‘What Are You Working On?’
When I am working with newer traders - that is those in their first two to three years of trading - I always like to ask them the question…
‘What are you working on?’
I would be disappointed if any aspiring trader could not give me a very specific answer to that question.
Beginner traders might be working to develop the very basic skills and knowledge required to trade the markets; novice traders might be experimenting with different trading strategies and styles; intermediate traders might be working on developing their trading mindset and mental skills.
What are you working on?
Keeping a focus on learning, on mastery, is key to developing as a trader, and not just for newer traders. Many of my most successful trading clients are continually focused on learning, improving, and becoming better at the craft of trading the markets.
One strategy for being intentional about your learning in trading, and to accelerate the learning process, is to utilise learning loops.
To get better at trading, and specifically to get better faster, you need to get better at getting better. You need to be deliberate in your approach to learning, and one way to do that is to utilise learning loops.
Learning loops are a three-part cycle that enables you to engage in focused, deliberate learning and practice, a proven and highly effective methodology for the development of developing expertise in performance domains.
The three stages of a ‘learning loop’ are;
Plan: What do I want to learn/practice, and how will I go about it?
Review: Evaluate how it went – positives, negatives, action?
Diagram: A Learning Loop – Plan, Do, Review
Some traders will find a weekly learning loop effective – setting a learning goal to work on and practice over the course of a week, reviewing at the end, and then carrying over any insights and actions into the setting of the goal for the next week.
Other traders will find that a monthly time-frame may be more effective.
It is also possible, to set learning loops on a daily basis for those of you day trading with a higher frequency of trades.
To get better at trading, and to get better faster, think about how you could integrate ‘learning loops’ into your trading process.
Will they be daily, weekly or monthly?
What are you going to work on?
How will you go about doing this?
When will you do the learning/practice?
How will you evaluate your learning?
In the ‘Traders Mind Journal’, on the ‘Trading Performance Scorecard’ we think about mastery as;
“Mastery is about consistently identifying opportunities and taking action to improve your trading decision making and becoming a better trader. Improvements can come in the form of working on your trading skills, knowledge, strategy, risk management and working on yourself and on your self-management. “
You can check-in on how your mastery is by asking the following question, and rating yourself on a 1-5 scale;
“I took action to become a better trader.”