Good question, one I get every now and then…glad to be able to answer it.
An ‘expert’ is generally someone who knows more than the person asking. I may not know how to play the guitar but if I see someone else playing it, to me, they are the expert, even though they might not be any good at it. I’m also asked what credentials I have after my name. These two questions go hand in hand.
Did I spend time on the NYSE trading floor? No. Was I a broker for a major firm in a previous life? No, not at all. Do I have a PhD in math? Again, nope. Does it matter?
What matters is that I have been trading for years too many to count. I have been ‘around the block’ and understand but one thing: SPY options. What more do you need? I – as well as many of you, I’m sure – have trained under the tutelage of other ‘expert’ traders who may have had some connection with the stock market in the past… and yet still have trouble executing consistent, confident trades. In this game, letters after your name or even time in the trenches may not mean as much as you’d like to believe. Who sanctions traders, anyway? Who better to know trading than the trader him/herself, after slugging away for years? Did you ever wonder who sanctions those doing the sanctioning?
There is a loose principle that goes something like this: if someone spends 10,000 hours practicing a particular skill set, pushing the limits and diligently working at whatever it is they are doing, they are sure to get good at it. 10,000 hours… that’s a long time. So, if I’m working this field 10 hours a day, only 5 days a week, for at least the last 15 years, that puts me into the 20,000 hour range. If I was no good at this, would I still be banging my head against the wall? with my hard earned real money?
Malcolm Gladwell, author of ‘Outliers’, contends that 10,000 hours of practice allowed The Beatles to become the greatest band in history. It appears those all night shows in Hamburg paid off. I can’t imagine how many hours Bill Gates put in using his computer since his teens to become one of the richest in the world.
Rest assured, I do have some letters after my name but the skill I developed in trading came from years working the market. More importantly, I never stop learning, always on track to continually try to improve the odds of success. After all, the stock market is a dynamic being, an ever changing animal. We either keep up with it or it will eat us alive.
The point is this: we like to give you the tools so that you too, can put in the 10,000 hours… and become the experts yourselves!
Head Trader Hugh