Learning how to trade is often confused with simply adding some indicators to chart and magically you become a trader. However, becoming a trader is never that easy.
Learning How to Trade is Just Like Learning Anything Else Takes Time and Patience
I remember back in high school, watching my teacher solve a complex algebra problem with ease. Although I took notes, trying to complete the homework assignment was a challenge. How did my teacher make something so complex seem so easy? We were both using the same formula, the same methodology, and the same computations. However, while I struggled, she did it was ease and elegance. What was the difference?
My teacher had practiced. She knew the formula, methodology for solving the equation, and the computations without relying on notes. She could do it as easily as she drove her car because she had studied and practiced the application of the rules and I was just a beginner. In other words, she had a clear advantage over me because she had more experience and practice applying the algebraic formulas. Could I learn them over time with more practice and become as proficient as she was? Yes, but it would take time — studying, practicing, and applying the methodology.
Quite often as beginning traders, we forget the learning process that we endured in order to achieve our status in our current career path. And, as we are older now, our learning process is quite different than we were in high school, which even complicates the learning process even more. In high school, we were at a beginner’s level, progressed to a college level and, more than likely, proceeded to the mastery level in our chosen field. Then for whatever reason, we choose to embark on a new career. Thus, we begin at the beginner’s level, again, after having achieved a mastery level in our other field, which makes the learning process even more difficult.
Unlike the young high school student, with little experience and eager to learn, adult learners tend to:
· Have years of experience and a wealth of information
· Are self-directed
· Have established beliefs, values, and opinions
· Tend to have a problem centered approach
· Learn better from a straight-forward approach
Additionally, there are different types of learning processes. Some students are auditory learners, some are visual learners, and some are kinesthetic learners. Let’s examine the differences in these learning processes.
Visual learners respond better to visual stimulation. They typically enjoying reading and observing the processes. Visual learners need to see the teacher’s expression and body language. They tend to daydream a lot and are easily distracted by sounds and smells. Visual learners tend to take a lot of notes and they think in pictures. They like colors and even dream in color.
Auditory learners respond better to directions that are spoken, understanding through pitch and speed of the spoken words. They typically repeat what is said and talk to themselves. Auditory learners prefer lectures and typically do not take a lot of notes.
Kinesthetic learners process information better by a “hands-on” approach. They need to touch it, feel it, handle it, or do it for themselves. They find it very hard to sit for long periods. They are quite often found to be doodling while the instructor is presenting material. Kinesthetic learners also tend to take more breaks than other types of learners.
There are also learners who have an environmental component to their learning process. This means they learn new information better if it is taught in their personal surroundings.
Once the material is presented, the student must also apply their unique thinking process to understanding the material. How the brain processes the information is just as important as how the material is presented. Therefore, we must also examine what type of thinker the student is.
Reflective thinkers view new information subjectively and, typically, relates the new information to past experiences. They are inquisitive and often ask why. They tend to examine their feelings and how they relate to the material being presented.
Creative thinkers play with the new information. They always ask why. Creative thinkers are excellent troubleshooters and, often, will create their own solutions and shortcuts.
Practical thinkers need statistics. They rely on factual information and seek the simplest and most effective way of applying the new information. They will not be satisfied until they “know how” to apply the new information or skill.
Conceptual thinkers need to see the big picture before they accept the information being presented. They want to know how things work, not just the final outcome. In other words, the conceptual thinker wants to know how the final outcome was achieved, including all related concepts that went into the process to achieve the final result.
Now that we have identified the learning and thinking processes, let’s apply the concepts. I am a hands-on learner or kinesthetic learner. Quite often, I tend to get bored very easily and have learned to use color to keep me in the moment. In addition, I learn better when I am in a familiar surroundings, which is why I tend to have seminars in hotels that are setup exactly the same. When I find myself in unfamiliar surroundings, I tend to lose focus on the material presented. Therefore, anytime I am attending an educational session, I visit the location beforehand so at the time of the session, I feel more comfortable with the surroundings where the material will be presented.
Additionally, I am a creative thinker. Therefore, I like to play with any new information that I am presented with. Quite often, I will look for ways to make the material “my own”, in other words, how can I better understand it by adding my own interpretation. If there is a shortcut to understanding or interpreting the information, guaranteed I will find it.
When I began my trading career, like most traders, I did not understand or take into consideration what type of learner or thinker I was. Instead, I just started testing indicators and markets, without success. I attended educational sessions to learn but they did little for me as they were typical lecture type sessions (not the best for my learning process). However, once I applied my learning type and thinking process to my trading, understanding of indicators and price action came easier. In other words, I used my learning process and thinking skills to my advantage. Since I knew that I was easily distracted, I added colors and lines to help maintain my focus and identify patterns. Again, using the knowledge of my learning and thinking processes, to give me an edge in my trading.
I have also designed my seminar, Master the Trade, to incorporate the critical learning techniques for each of the different learning types. Although lecturing is part of day one, I have incorporated “hands-on” training and visual learning processes throughout day two and three. Additionally, the seminar now also includes my first book, “Mastering Your Trades Using Price Action, Trend Analysis, and Basic Business Principles”, with a complete set of videos and quizzes to give traders the advantage of learning and applying the information in many different formats. This allows traders to review the information again and again, to further enable processing and implementation of the material.