How Your Skill Pays The Bill (It’s all about the process)
We’re always looking for the best ways to be profitable whether that comes in the form of new tricks or trends we can adopt to be successful. Though following all the new trends can be dangerous. Get rich quick schemes are created almost faster than we can consume them and more just keep on coming. It’s easy to try too many new tricks at once and find yourself confused.
You can easily get lost following every step that’s against your own personal brand of trading. Following trends and listening to others is necessary, but a slippery slope. You don’t want to lose yourself in trying new things. By leaning into what you are good at, acquiring new skills and then applying those new skills, you will create your own custom process that will ultimately make you a better and more efficient trader.
Be Profitable By Being You
The good news is that there are certain personality types that are predisposed to being better traders, leaders, and businesspeople than others and certain personality traits of your own that you can lean into to be a better trader. There are two traits that we will focus on today that seem to counter one another, but when applied and used together, can make you an unstoppable force. The two traits of successful traders are analytical and intuitive. Though they fall on completely different sides of the spectrum they do share some qualities, which we’ll get into later, that can work in tandem to make you successful, and to make you money.
Today we’ll look at each trait so you can determine your own strengths and weaknesses within each and develop your own style. It is useful for you to review and understand both traits so you can adopt tactics from each the next time you are trading or doing business. This is particularly helpful if you aren’t sure where you naturally fall and which trait you need to work on developing and implementing. You already hold many of the keys to success, it is just how you apply them and how you build your process that will get you where you want to be.
Play By the Rules: Be Analytical
The first style of trading is being an analytical thinker. These traders rely on math, numbers, and trends from the past. They make choices based on their mind, using facts, figures, trends, and past trades to influence their choices. They believe in a rigid style of trading which means they stick to strict rules or notions that they believe are truths. For the analytical trader facts trump everything and they rely on them almost constantly. An analytical trader would look at past trends, read up on someone else’s mistakes, think about his own past mistakes and apply all of those learnings to his present trade. Being an Analytical trader means being someone who plays by the books and never falters from the original game plan unless there are hard facts saying otherwise. This trader is someone who believes that seeing is believing and must see the figures to believe in a trade.
There are many famous and successful businessmen and traders who fit the analytical mold. Warren Buffett is perhaps the most famous in the US. He decides what business bets to place based on numbers and analytical thinking. His famous rule of compound interest is a perfect example of how thinking analytically can help you make money. The compound interest rule is the process of saving money as early as one can and letting the interest compound over time. The longer you save money for, the richer you will become. It doesn’t matter if you save more money later in life, the earlier you start saving, the better off you will be. For Buffett this is based on steady planning, not a get quick rich scheme or planning to be rich later in life. By saving your money early you are promising yourself that you WILL be rich later in life.
Another famous example of this analytical thinking is Alan Sugar. Sugar is the Buffett of the UK, but is much more extreme in his rigidity. Sugar does not take suggestions and follows through based only on the facts and figures he decides are correct. It has been said that Sugar rules his companies like a autocracy– his decision is the only one that counts or matters. It’s no surprise that Sugar was on the UK version of The Apprentice, as he sounds much like a certain businessman/presidential candidate we all know. Despite the fact that Sugar has high turnover and his employees generally hate this style of leadership, Sugar has been totally successful and continues to be that way. Being an autocratic leader allows for little error and little discussion, thus moving ideas ahead faster and finishing projects sooner.
Be Careful When Being Rigid
If you believe you are more analytical and perhaps rigid like an autocrat, look to those leaders that have successfully pulled it off and learn from their mistakes as well as successes. While both Buffett and Sugar have been successful, you perhaps may want to remember that sometimes it pays off to listen to both your gut and your team. It’s brilliant to rely simply on yourself, but for a trader, it’s important to always be on your toes and exploring new ways to do what you do. But, if you should come up with analytical process that pays off time and time again, do not be afraid to stick with it and do not feel obligated to share with anyone else. You’d make Sugar proud.
This is where adding in a more intuitive style of thinking would come into play and where you would to start creating your own personal process for trading. Analytical thinkers do have a leg up over people who strictly follow their guts– they have facts, figures, and history backing them up. But to ignore what you yourself know and have learned about trading altogether would be doing yourself a great disservice.
Trust What You Know: Be Intuitive
Over time your knowledge of trading will grow and change. You will become smarter, better, and faster in all aspects of trading. Like any new skill, it will take you time to learn and to become comfortable with the motions. And even more time, once you are comfortable, capitalizing on what you have learned and making it an even more efficient process.
Just as there are more famous analytical thinkers, those who start with facts and grow their intuition, there are many famous intuitive thinkers as well, who most grow their analytical side. Perhaps the most famous is Sir Richard Branson. When it comes to his business ventures, Branson is known to follow his gut and to be more fluid when it comes to his leadership style. He is the exact opposite of Alan Sugar. Branson swears by being a rule-breaker. He believes that to change the game you must make your own. He rarely studies up on the competition because he is always looking to fill the gap of what is missing, not trying to compete with what already exists. This is a good rule of thumb when it comes to trading, why try to mimic what someone has already done? What can you and only you do? And do well? Branson also leads his team with fluidity. He loves receiving feedback and learning from his employees.
Be Careful When Going with the Flow
Of course, just as there was a downside to the analytical side of thinking there is one with this one too. Be careful of listening to your intuition. Be sure you are meditating, focusing, and learning all you can about your choices before making them. If you are out of tune with yourself or your mission you could very easily act on gut choices that are not meant for you. Keep your cool and apply some analytics to your thoughts, you can still look at facts and figures to inform you even if you ultimately decide to go against the norm. It’s important to balance your intuitive side with your analytical side and create your process.
Create Your Process: Be Analytical and Be Intuitive
Just as athletes exercise their muscles, again and again, to become stronger so to can traders develop their brain muscle. Muscle memory is the result of repeating the same task over and over again. This is how factory workers can do the most complicated constructions in seconds and how Olympic gymnasts can make front flips look like a breeze– these are motions and movements that they have done thousands of times, for many years over.
If you learn to trade by studying and researching and consistently trying to be better, you can take any new skills or knowledge and repeat them until they become second nature. Once those skills are second nature, you find new ones to take on and build from, until those to become second nature as well. Once you have built up your knowledge base and skill level, then you can begin to rely on your intuition. Just think about how an Olympic level athlete doesn’t need to think about foot placement. They need to think about the bigger, harder tasks at hand. As you progress, you will need to focus on different tasks and goals to always be moving forward. The sooner the beginner stuff becomes second nature, the sooner you can start making more money.
Your Skills Make You You, Own Them
You might be wondering what this diverse group of people share, even two men so different like Alan Sugar and Richard Branson. They are all determined hard workers who do not take no for an answer. None of these men made their grand amounts of money by taking someone else’s no. Even though Warren Buffet believes in patience and the notion of saving, he leads his life on his own terms, including turning down profitable job opportunities and leaving New York City for the midwest. These are all men who are risk-takers, who are constantly and consistently learning new things. They persevere even after failures.
No matter what type of trader you are, analytical or intuitive, make sure you are the type of trader that doesn’t give, that is always learning, and that takes failures in stride. Make sure you are the type to be both. To be analytical but to build up your intuition with certain skills and moments. No one is 100% correct all the time and you’re going to have some bad days. Remember what kind of trader you are, hone those skills, but also look across the table at your opposites and see what you can learn there as well.