First, I want to apologize for the lack of updates. I got out of the habit of regular blogging during our trip and it’s been hard to get back into the habit.
I’ve found that my hobbies go in phases. Before moving to France, learning French was my main hobby, with music a close second. After I arrived in France I continued these hobbies, and I was really into songwriting and composition. After a bit of frustration with my lack of progress in songwriting I got into painting. When it became hard to progress to the next level in painting I got into photography. And after photography it was.. trading.
Trading has been my main focus for the past three years. And I have become a little burnt out. It’s becoming a business instead of a hobby and as a result I find myself escaping form in all with music once again. I’ve been working on setting up my home recording “studio”. And lately I’ve been very interested in Irish Music and learning to play it on my tin whistle.
I think the progression from one hobby to another, and possibly back to a previous hobby, is a healthy thing. But at the same time I think those who rise to become truly exceptional are those who are passionate about one thing and are able to remain that way for a very long time. How long? According to Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, the number is roughly 10,000 hours.
So here is an interesting calculation:
3.0 years * 365 days/year * 8 hours/day = 8,760 hours.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. It’s hard to estimate just how much time I have spent on trading. I think 8 hours/day including weekends is a good estimate. During a lot of that time I have worked 12+ hours/day on trading so that would make up for the days where I worked less. In any case I’m definitely approaching to 10,000 hours and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m starting to become consistently profitable.
Trading is insanely difficult. What other hobby/professional can one practice for 10,000 hours and not be exceptional? If one spends that much time on any other hobby they would be very competent. Play chess for 10,000 hours and you’ll be competing in chess tournaments. Play 10,000 hours of poker and you’ll probably be winning online poker tournaments. Play a musical instrument for 10,000 hours and you’ll probably be playing in local concerts.
So you would think that if you trade for 10,000 hours you’d be making thousands of dollars right? I’m averaging $100-$200/day lately. I don’t really feel exceptional but I know I’m very close to making it. I’m gaining confidence and my results are improving.
I’ll write more about my results last week in the next post, but I will say that trading has become work. It’s a job. I have to force myself to update my journal and to review my charts after each session. It’s no longer fun & exciting. And when I finish trading for a session I quickly forget about it and do other things.
However I’m not complaining because all of the advantages (working at home, working less hours, having my performance graded by the market instead of a “manager”, being able to work anywhere in the world, etc.) are simply awesome. Notice making millions wasn’t in the list. Sure that will be great and I used to dream about that but now that I see how hard trading really is, I will very happy if I can make the equivalent of my former consulting income. If I can make more then that’s icing on the cake.
One more thought on 10,000 hours.. I’m usually a quick learner but I really went down the wrong path in the beginning. Indicators & automation probably wasted at least a year of that. So I’m not saying everyone needs 10,000 hours to be profitable. But I do think everyone should plan on at least a year or two and possibly more. If you’re not willing to work 8 hours/day for a few years then I think trading is not for you.