Trading Lessons I Learned the Hard Way, Part 22

08/30/2012 7:00 am EST


Ron Wagner

Principal Partner,

Ron Wagner of Revolutionary Trading discusses the lessons he learned from his early days of trading, and how his trading has evolved to become profitable.

Find the previous article here. Start at the beginning here.

Last time, I talked about trading in today’s markets. This edition I want to talk about “noise."

I don’t own an iPhone (yet). And 15-plus years ago, we had these things called “telephones” that actually hung on our kitchen walls. Angel and I still have one of those.

Actually, about 15 years ago, cell phones were becoming the “talk of the town.” Pun intended. I still use my old flip phone because the battery lasts forever and I rarely use it.

Over the years, technology has improved so much. I get a kick out of my kids showing me the new apps. It really is remarkable that trading can be done from a phone now, with at least orders placed easily. Remember 8-tracks? No, I don’t still have one of those. Some old cassettes, yes.

Here is my theme for this edition: BlackBerrys, iPhones, Skype, IMs, PMs, FB, Tweets, LinkedIn, and e-mails, not to mention dozens of other ways to communicate. This is a different world we live in now, and a lot of it is great, but it can get out of hand very quickly...and be the demon of many a trader.

Now that I look back, my experience in the 90s was a very small part of what most traders go through in today’s world. Sure, we had typing-only chatrooms, e-mail, and cable TV, but that was about all we had. Remember those things called “books?” I was talking to Angel the other day and I said, where was it that we used to go to get the forms we needed? It took me a minute and I thought, oh yeah, the library.

Now we have Google, short videos, amazing other resources, and every news and financial network imaginable. I remember even back in the 90s that if I didn’t like what I had read or heard, I would keep looking until I found the answer I did like. Well this is OK to a point, for the educational purpose that I refer to as the “due diligence” process. But once we find our trading niche, we have to eventually turn off the noise.

We have so much noise coming to us in today’s trading world, how can we effectively find our own way? About 15 years ago, after losing what was, for us, a substantial amount of money, I realized that I could not process all the information coming to me.

I was subscribing to several well-known publications, had at least 3 chatrooms on, many newsletters and subscriptions by e-mail, and a very popular news network blasting in the background every minute of every trading day. I still have that corner TV in my office on the wall.

So, one day (and it took me a full day), I cancelled everything! I continued with just one newsletter and one chatroom. I refused to turn on any network station during my trading time, I kept my cell phone off, and did not open up my e-mail.

I carved out two hours each morning when I took full responsibility for my trading and without any distractions. I checked the single newsletter I did not cancel, to see if anything fit into my trading plan. I did like getting one perspective in the technical trading style I use.

Guess what happened? I was now able to accelerate my ability to take better trades while perfecting what I had learned and was applying.

Many of the elements I have discussed with you along my journey over the past many editions helped my trading become consistent and much more lucrative. That was not the case with controlling the noise. This was more of a gradual process at first, because I felt lost without all my normal crutches to blame for my losses.

And “crutches” is what I will talk about next time.

Lessons learned:

  1. Do your due diligence and find your trading niche!

  2. Once you have found your niche, start turning off the noise!

  3. Start by turning off your various communication devices during your trading time!

  4. Turn off any of the financial networks! You will feel out of sorts at first and lost a little bit, but in short period of time, you will see how much this can help you!

Ron Wagner can be found at Revolutionary Trading.

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