“The most important is discipline – I am sure everyone tells you that. Second, you have to have patience; if you have a good trade on, you have to be able to stay with it. Third, you need courage to go into the market, and courage comes from adequate capitalization. Fourth, you must have a willingness to lose; that is also related to adequate capitalization. Fifth, you need a strong desire to win.”
As I started to read the Market Wizards interview with Gary Bielfeldt, which is the shortest interview in the entire book, I didn’t expect much. Being as the interview was short and I had never heard of him before, I figured this would just be a quick interview with someone who made some money. What I got instead was the exact opposite from what I expected.
I really like that Bielfedt started trading with only $1,000 and that he continued to only trade his own money after he got big. This makes him a role model for the path I want to pursue. The quoted paragraph above is Bielfeldt’s response to the question “What are the traits of a successful trader?” As I read this paragraph, and then re-read it, I couldn’t help thinking about how I stack up in each of these five areas.
I like to think of myself as very disciplined when it comes to sticking to my system. However, after my recent selling, I have started to question how disciplined I really am. I keep making changes to my system that I think are improvements, but is that just a lack of discipline to stick to the original plan? Also, just because I am more disciplined than most of the people I know doesn’t mean that I have enough discipline to trade successfully.”
Patience is probably my weakest of these five traits. For as long as I can remember I have never really been patient about anything. My trading is no different. I I have chased after extended stocks as well as bought too soon because I was afraid that the market was going to take off without me. I need to work on this more than anything else.
This is an area that I have improved in tremendously over the past 18 months. I have found that the combination of more knowledge and more experience have given me greatly increased confidence in my purchases. This has allowed me to feel more comfortable when I establish new positions.
Willingness To Lose
I think my trade history speaks for itself in this department. I have no issue with taking losses. When I establish a position, I put a stop-loss order in and that is it. Although taking losses has never been an issue, the fact that so many are beginning to pile up this year is starting to concern me. I fear that these losses might affect my confidence in the future.
Strong Desire To Win
One one hand, how many people do you know that write 500 word blog posts about the stock market three times per week. On the other hand, maybe I’m more interested in being a stock market writer than a stock market trader. This is one of those deep personal questions I ask myself in the middle of the night and I have yet to come across an answer.
How do these traits affect your trading?