In the trading world, the "Market Wizards" are often elevated to the status of idols. Why not? They have accomplished relatively rare feats. Consider Tom Baldwin, for example, he took what Jack Schwager called a "skimpy capital base" and turned it into a fortune. His "fearless" approach to the markets allowed him to trade aggressively. These tales of success can be inspiring, but they can also create unrealistic expectations. You may start to believe that you need to be a natural born trader to profit in the markets. But successful trading is often a matter of persistence, and it is hard to persist if you believe that trading requires special talents. It is more useful to work under the assumption that profitable trading can be learned. That's not to say that anyone can learn to trade, but if you are relatively intelligent, confident in your ability to succeed, and persist long enough, you can learn how to master the markets. It's all a matter of taking trading seriously, setting specific goals, and following a well-thought-out trading plan. Psychologists have found that many people get fed up and decide to quit when they make broad generalizations about their abilities after a setback. Rather than focus on specific deficits, they view their flaws as very general, enduring, and only about them. They think they aren't intelligent enough or they believe they don't have the right personality to trade. Although this may be somewhat true, it is not useful to think this way. It's much more adaptive to be specific about what you are doing wrong. Consider the plight of one trader we know. He is upset because he lost money on a trade. At about 11:00 this morning he noticed that a market went up $1 since the open. He bought, but the price went down just as fast as it went up. He decided to cut his losses. What should Jack do at this point? First, let's consider what he shouldn't do: He should not attribute his loss to an enduring inability to trade. He should not think pessimistic thoughts like, "I'll never learn to trade profitability. I just don't have enough talent." What he should do is identify where he has specific problems with his approach to trading. For example, he did not have a detailed trading plan. In addition, he did not study the market closely enough before trading it. By identifying specific problems, rather than making global statements about his abilities, he can make a specific plan for improving his method. He can learn to trade better. He can develop more detailed trading plans, and be determined to follow them. Many people jump to the conclusion that their performance is closely linked to innate abilities. But oftentimes, the more you practice trading, the better you will become at it. Don't be afraid to identify specifically what you are doing wrong. The faster you do so, the faster you will improve, and the faster you will take home the profits you desire.