When I first began trading, I got my quotes from the newspaper or by a call to a broker. I wished (along with most other traders at the time) that I could get my quotes faster and more efficiently. Certainly the faster and more efficiently I could get quotes, the better I would trade. It wasn't long before you could get 20 minute delayed quotes over a land line and that was both revelation and a technical revolution. If only I could get real time I often wished and, well you know, now we have it.
I'm not sure that getting quotes any faster made me a better trader. I think improvements in trading have come from other directions, but it really is hard to say. What I do know is that having those 20 minutes delayed quotes and then real time quotes sped up the pace of my trading. I don't mean that I became a day trader, only that I was able to get the information to make my decisions more quickly.
When I first began to trade, I subscribed to a financial newspaper that included stock and some option quotes. I remember riding along in an airplane circling potential candidates to trade the following day and using that information that usually would be at least 24 hours old by the time I placed the trade. Now, it is not unusual to open or close a trade or two while sitting in an airport waiting for a plane.
I write the above not purely to relate how it was "in the old days," but also to wonder how it has improved my trading. One thing is that the faster pace has given me more fun. I really have fun trading and with the faster pace I pack in more enjoyment. That's OK I guess as long as the enjoyment doesn't become the primary goal which, for me, is to make a living. Another thing about the faster pace is it makes my brokerage firm happy because I make more trades and they get more commissions.
However, in moving at the faster pace and making more trades, there is risk. It may unwittingly happen that quantity wins out over quality. The enthusiasm for the activity may divert attention from the ultimate goal of making nothing but good trades. I don't mean to say that is necessarily the case, only to suggest that traders may sometimes be lured into a less than great entry or exit because they are caught up in the pace of their trading.
From the days when I did seminars to the writing of "Trade Your Way to Wealth" and "Smart Investors Money Machine" to the present I have advocated the need for a personal trading plan, one that comfortably fits the trader. Pace is an element that I believe is worthy of some consideration when traders formulate or revise their own plans. It may be desirable to have one pace if you have little time to devote to trading and another if it is your sole livelihood, but in all cases it should be one that is relaxed for you.
I believe that as we are able to relax in our trading, we can become significantly better. I mean relaxation in the sense that we are not driven by fear or by greed, but rather that we can achieve a state of calm discipline. A frenetic pace is unlikely to achieve that state. So, too, there may be the danger of building anxiety through a pace that is too slow as with those who suffer the paralysis of analysis upon which I touched in last weekend's article.
While pace may not be the most important element in trading success, awareness of your own pace may shed some important self-awareness and insight to assist you in the next step along the path.
by Bill Kraft, Editor
Copyright 2010, Makin' Hay, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
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