Trading Lessons From the 3rd Grade

 

Growing up, books were not my thing. Reading endless blocks of text wasn’t something I enjoyed…like most kids.  Unlike most kids, I lived with undiagnosed ADD and dyslexia.  In the 80’s, it wasn’t really a thing.  Teachers said I was “squirmy”. 

I would get great notes from them like:  “Ted is a joy to have…in someone else’s class.”  Or “Ted is very curious…except when it comes to things I’m teaching.”

Unfortunately, I was not diagnosed until I was a freshman in college.  I had managed to fake my way through school.  To get by, I developed learning strategies.  I listened carefully and memorized what teachers were wearing, saying, doing, writing or drawing on the board.  It created a visual playback of the class, burned into my memory.  I broke concepts down into small chunks.  I repeated them over and over until the subject was imprinted.  

I also developed a highly tuned visual memory. If I saw it, I remembered it. That’s why trading was so appealing.  I loved studying charts. 

When I joined Online Trading Academy as an employee, I came in as a typical buy and hold, listen-to-the-news-investor. I did not trade. I thought it was important that I go through the education and decided to immerse myself.

Like many of our students, having a full-time job and two kids, I had to partition out my education.

Six months into my journey, I started trading live. I was super excited.  Then, I was getting frustrated. I was getting stopped out. I was missing trade opportunities. Simply, I broke my rules.  I think I was taking shortcuts. I needed to go back to class. And this time, I needed to do it like I was in the 3rd grade. I realized the lessons I learned in the 3rd grade helped me learn to trade.

Lesson 1: Prepare for class and do my homework

OTA instructors do a great job and making sure everyone grasps concepts before moving on.   But, I knew it was really important that I come in prepared. I would write down anything that was not clear before going to class and checked my questions off as I went through the class.  And, every night, I made sure I did my homework.  Repeating the tasks I learned in class helped imprint important concepts.  

Lesson 2: Set realistic expectations and pace myself

I was eager and excited. I wanted to start hitting the buy button as soon as I understood the difference between a red candle and a green candle.  Good idea? Ahh….yeah, not so much!  I had to slow down.

What was strange was that, as I built more confidence, things started breaking down. Maybe I was overly confident.

I began to question if I had identified the correct trend direction.  Or, maybe my trading zones weren't the best. Using TradeBuilder was a huge help.  I wasn’t allowed to take short cuts.  It forced me to go through all steps in Core Strategy. 

Flashback: “Ted is so creative…he likes to find his own solutions to questions.  Unfortunately, they’re solutions, but they're not questions I asked.”  

We all have trades we’ll never forget.  I once had short on the the S&P with two trading zones that looked perfect.  Price sliced through those zones like my grandma slicing through that green gelatin stuff on Thanksgiving! 

What was I missing????

Lesson 3: Break it down

After having that horrible trade reviewed, it was clear that I didn’t consider and focus on the origin of the price movement. 

Oh snap!   My ADD demons had come back to haunt me.  That was a key lesson I missed. Having accountability partners like instructors and fellow students was invaluable.  Reviewing my trades helped me see things, I hadn’t.

I spent the next two weeks, carving out 30-minute lessons for myself each night.  The On-demand Core Strategy was perfect for my learning style.  Because each lesson was visual and digestible, it was so much easier for me to grasp.

On-demand classes took me from, “I can’t do this” to “Now I get it”.  Mrs. Peyalo would be very proud!