Trading is a “business” of uncertainty and risk management. In short, it is a business like any other. It requires a system that comprises research, strategy, tight execution, measurement, review, and iteration. It is important to approach the market as one would approach a business. One can think of it as Solopreneurship.
In 2020 almost 20 million people started trading on their own globally. This is mind-boggling if you think about it. No other field would have as many “unprepared people” diving in at once. That, too, when stats say almost 90-95% of traders fail.
Why “unprepared people” – because retail trading is one “business domain” where there are no educational qualifications as a prerequisite. Most people start trading discretionarily without any formal training with the hope of figuring things out along the way. Only a lucky few survive by being able to remain solvent long enough to learn the harder way.
Unfortunately, investing and trading are not taught in high schools and colleges, which leaves everyone unprepared, uncertain, and susceptible to emotions, biases, and herding mindset. It should be taught as a foundational subject, as it is an essential life skill, and almost everyone directly or indirectly invests in the market.
For beginners, trading may seem as simple as finding the right strategy. However, the reality is that trading is just as much about psychology as it is about strategy. One’s psychological state can have a significant impact on one’s ability to make correct trading decisions in the real world. Trading is a unique domain. This is one field where being human is the biggest deterrent. This is because it plays directly on the two most cognitively impairing human emotions – Fear and Greed!
This is what makes discretionary trading the harder way – because not just does the trader have to master the market and trading strategy. They also must master their emotions, biases, and execution. Consistency in trading is much harder to achieve this way, especially for a beginner. The only way to win over human psychology is to trade not like humans but like machines – a.k.a. Mechanical Trading, a.k.a. Systematic Trading.
While this book is not the complete solution to this problem, I hope it can offer one of the first steps to provide a process of how to approach the market systematically.