What Makes a Good Trader?

Does it require natural built in skill or can it be taught? This debate is an old one. It was the basic concept behind the 'Turtle Traders' (look it up) and on a lighter note, the movie Trading Places.

It's a hard question to answer. Our view (if pushed) is to agree with both sides of the argument. Perhaps it's similar to what makes a great athlete. People talk about Michael Jordan's natural ability, but he has still spent thousands of hours practicing.

Collectively, the management at Raptor have trained and worked with hundreds of traders. We do not have a magic formula for predicting who is going to shoot the lights out, unfortunately. However, we can say that with our experience there are a few basic patterns that put the odds in the trader's favour.

These things top the list:

  • Time. There is a direct and obvious correlation between the amount of time you spend in front of the screens and your success. We call it "screen time". One of our senior traders was recently talking with some of our in-house trainees and said something interesting. He said "If you are going to be successful, you have to be willing to give up sleep. What is more important – sleep or success?" That is spot on advice. The only way you will learn how to trade is to be prepared to put in the time.
  • Flexibility. It's now time to set aside many of the things you may have read in that latest book on trading systems. Also set aside what you may have learned trading before Raptor. Be open. Our initial training involves the use of a trading simulator. This is the place to try new trading strategies. It is the place to challenge yourself to do something new. A trader cannot be afraid to make mistakes – as long as the process becomes one of learning.
  • Strong will. When you are learning to trade you will make mistakes. It will happen. You will do silly things like add to a terrible position, freeze when you should act or cancel your stops because "the market was wrong". Every trader has made these mistakes. The trick is to take a top down view of what you are doing and learn from the mistakes. There is no point letting it bruise your ego or upset you. The job is to learn not to be right all the time. If you approach trading with that philosophy then you can advance.
  • The Harsh Reality

    Trading for a living is not easy. Forget what a lot of those books tell you. They present a picture where if you use the right indicator or the right pattern, things will fall into place. They are designed to sell books, not make you a trader. The same can be said for those expensive seminars.

    The truth is trading is not easy. At best, it is an incredible test of your patience, tenacity, will and character. If you are going to trade for a living, this is what is ahead of you.

    No book, course or simulator program is ever going to have all of the answers. This site is not going to give you the answers. Every trader needs to find their own answers and it means every trader is different.

    At Raptor Trading Group, LLC we have built in a culture of support, guidance and open communication. Everything a 'trainee trader' goes through, our senior traders and managers have also been through. At the end of the day you and you alone are responsible for your P&L. However, we encourage and support open communication between all. It would have to be the best place for a trainee to learn.

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