Trading is a skill, and the good news is, unlike a professional athlete you don’t need the pairing of great genetics to be able to perform at the highest level. Success is readily available to anybody who wants it, but only those who take massive action in dedicating time, energy and effort into mastering their craft will earn it. By now you most certainly realize that trading isn’t a get rich quick scheme, so the question is, how long does it take to learn how to trade? Well, that all depends on if you’re actually learning or if you just think that you’re learning.
In the 1960s the NTL Institute developed “The Learning Pyramid” which showed that in most cases 90% of the time that we think we’re learning…we’re actually not. Yes, we may be going through the motions of gathering information, but most of if we are not retaining.
Below is a chart showing how much information we retain, based on the style of learning.
The 2nd stage that a trader goes through in their journey is called the “Conscious Incompetence” stage. This is when we realize that becoming a successful trader actually takes work and we just can’t open up a price chart and wing it. This is also the stage where most traders embark on a quest to find as much information as they can about the markets.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve spent more time then you’d like to admit reading books, listening to podcasts and watching videos. Yet, when you try to translate that information to your trading, you seem lost. Why is that? It’s because when we take actions such as reading, watching or listening our eyes and ears work faster than our brains. Let me ask you this. Have you ever came across an interesting section in a book that caused you to zone out? Then, before you know it you’ve completed the entire chapter but can’t remember anything aside from the first few pages?
When the brain comes across new information, it needs to slow down in order to process it. Now although our minds have decided to slow down, guess what hasn’t? The information that we’re paying attention to. Therefore while our minds are taking the time to understand point A, our eyes & ears have already begun listening to points B, C and D. So how do we retain more information? By making mistakes…or by having a healthy fear of making them.
When we take actions such as practicing or teaching we tend to concentrate better because we don’t want to make a mistake. In fact, the only reason I’m proofreading this article right now is because I’m scared to death that I’ll make a mistake and that you’ll judge me forever on it. Anyway, if you’re anything like me, then that mistake eventually comes and when it does our brain has to focus on finding a solution to it. The process of finding this solution is what really allows us to learn because it forces us to interpret the information differently and in a way that makes sense to us versus listening or reading someone else's interpretation of it.
So if you want to improve your skill of retaining information and cut down the time that it takes Learning to Trade, I recommend you follow these three tips
- Take a break each time you come across new information. Yes, literally pause the video or stop reading. Allow yourself time to fully process the information before moving forward.
- After you learn something immediately take action. Start practicing it, or re-write the information down in your own words.
- Have a discussion or teach someone else what you’ve learned. If you don’t have anybody then create a mock presentation and teach it to the mirror or wall. Or even better record yourself so that you can listen to it later.
The main benefit of being a trading coach is that it forces me to find solutions. Each trader I work with learns a little differently and because of that, I must present the information a little differently, forcing me to find solutions. Finding these solutions reinforce the information that I’m attempting to teach and as my students learn, I continue to as well.
For more examples of how to retain more information & cut down your learning curve. Please check out this podcast episode below.
Thanks for taking the time to read my words & if you enjoyed it, I’d appreciate it if you’d SHARE & hit that “applause” button below. Also if you found a section that particularly hit home, make sure you “highlight” & “tweet” it!