Character and Trading

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by Arthur Deco, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Recently I suffered setbacks in my life and I have made virtues of those vices. Full retirement assures that conventional work does not interfere with trading, and vice versa. Severely reduced mobility makes it comfortable to remain in front of the trading screen all day. And diminished social contact makes the voice of the market easier to hear. As well as the voices in my own head. Perhaps this combination of isolation and sustained attentiveness makes me quick to take offense at slights, real or imagined. Recently I have become agitated anew (as it is an old and recurring gripe) at the belief in certain quarters here that one cannot become a good trader if one suffers from bad character. I can certainly attest that it is possible to be a mediocre trader while retaining, reveling even, in one's poor character. And I do both hope and believe that it is easier to become a better trader than it is to change one's character. So I thught to elicit, for our shared amusement if not edification, comments on the correlation, if any, between good character and good trading. Cynics may say there is an anti-correlation, given the past two years of misadventures on Wall Street. But my concern is the individual trader of the type I imagine constitutes the majority of traders on ET. I will state my own position clearly:

    Good trading has nothing to do with good character and everything to do with a good system. It is possible for the non-institutionalized person of the lowest imaginable character or for the person suffering from neuroses barely shy of psychoses to develop good trading systems and exercise them profitably.

    I humbly solicit your opinions and personal experiences pro and con for the collective benefit.
  2. non-institutionalized person of the lowest imaginable character or for the person suffering from neuroses barely shy of psychoses to develop good trading systems and exercise them profitably.

    Imo, yes. Emotions & character are totally out of the equation when everything is a numeric formula.

    A practical example of this is politics. ethically & morally challenged politcians convert social policy to numbers to absolve themselves of poor or self serving decisions.
  3. Are you saying a focus on numbers depersonalizes? (Stalin: "One death is a tragedy. Millions of deaths are a statistic.")
  4. well, I see a mirror-image of myself in you: the anti-social part, not the mobility part, though a flu (hope it is not the pig one) has limited my mobility since last night.

    every trader has a character, if not, he would be stocking shelves at Walmart.

    If I use a different word to replace character, I prefer determination, or motivation. every trader has a strong urge to succeed, to win. therefore, every trader is doomed, destined to fail, unless he gives up his character, his determination, his motivation. then every trader ceases to be a trader.

    Then what are we? robots? machines?

    Maybe you are willing to be a robot, if you don't like your shrinking account at IB. If you rely on your trading for mortgage payment, you may have to forget about your character. Character doesn't pay, character has no place in trading.
  5. Thanks, BP. Very articulate. Can you explain why a trader has to give up his character? Both you and Nutmeg are responding in directions I could not have anticipated. This is very dark.
  6. You need at least some good character traits or else you will never have the motivation to learn trading at all. Once you have a good system you still need to have enough character to wake up in order to trade and follow the rules of your system. There are still a very large amount character traits considered mandatory for success that many traders simply do not need. Many of those traits are related to interpersonal communication and delivering a suitable social image.
  7. Good points NeoRio, thanks. I must agree that regrettably there is a bare minimum standard of good character required to trade successfully. Fortunately that standard is not so high as to prevent one from guruing on ET. As I sit here musing on my own flaws, I will start the list of allowed bad character traits with greediness, unsociability, paranoia, polymorphous perversity (that famous invention of Woody Allen's), political conservatism, love of guns, and a generally nastily dyspeptic disposition. To the best of my knowledge, flatulence is a not a character flaw, or I would include that.
  8. Best ET thread EVER!! And its only been one page. Deco you seem like I damn interesting person. I want to drink your Kool-Aid.

    I will say that the most important character traits in trading are dedication, patience, and the ability to accept thousands of small defeats. Of course the second part to that is you must also adapt and evolve when you discover how to overcome or at least diminish the failures.
  9. So, being true to your name. Flopflipper, you flip those little flops over your back and move on. I thank you for your kind words, but I fear that you are merely impressionable. I think the thread is a flop. I had hoped that ET was riddled with lowlifes who would cry "Right on!", or whatever is au courant now, but obviously ET is a bastion of high moral fibre. What a pity. I shall go back to surfing porn. I find it highly disturbing that you added to our growing list of character strengths a successful trader must possess. I am doomed.
  10. Redneck


    Interesting thread – my 2 cents….

    Assuming we can agree;

    Character = how we act (what we actually do)


    We will act differently in different situations


    The way we act when we’re alone is "most" important

    I would say good character is vitally important to successful trading

    We must

    Trade our set ups
    Protect our capital
    Take our profit

    Without fail, or regard for anything/ anyone else

    Now admittedly this behavior would not get us far is social circles, but trading is only about making money, not friends

    #10     Dec 12, 2009