There is a story a friend once told me that I want to share:
"One day a lumberjack started a new job and on his first day he cut down 100 trees. Pretty impressive, right? On his second day he worked just as hard if not more, but he only managed to cut down 75 trees. On his third day he worked even harder and he only cut down 40. And so on until he was cutting down 1 or 2 trees a day, at which point he approached his boss and said:
- I don't get it! I am working harder and harder each day, but the results are getting worse and worse.
to which his boss replied:
- How often do you sharpen your axe?"
How often are we taking a step back to really assess what is it we are learning and what is working best for each one of us? And how often are we giving ourselves a break? I know many teachers and students believe in taking no days off, and while there is a mountain of knowledge to digest, I do not think there are actual shortcuts. Yes, you need to expose yourself to every lesson and every market condition to find out what works best for you, but you also need to do so with a fresh brain, not with a brain that has been overworked and isn't able to retain nor use any new information you might learn. Bottom line, this is a profession that takes time to learn, like any other. And while you can speed up this process by being disciplined about your studying, you also need to be rested enough to learn.
I have been a full time trader for 3 years but I would not call myself a pro since I am still learning, and will forever be. However I have seen how my trading has gotten better and better, and how I have I stopped making mistakes that would only cost me money and emotional pain and would set me back making me lose however much I had made in that week/month.
It was only when I decided to take a step back and hide from any courses and social aspect of trading that I was able to focus on myself and take a good look at my progress, assess what I was doing right and wrong, and come up with a plan to move forward. What I discovered about my trading pertains only to me since trading is extremely personal, but I must say that I found hiding under a rock extremely refreshing. I observed how many of us are being damaged by being exposed to chatrooms, twitter, stock picks or even this very website. While transparency and guidance is the main objective of Profit.ly and, let's generously assume, every trading-related service out there, it is extremely hard to remain self-centered when you have all sorts of different sources pulling your attention in every direction, especially since everyone has an agenda.
I gravitated away from penny stocks after over 2 years and started trading options a few months ago. While I most definitely paid my dues in the beginning, I have found success with a rather simple technique that has given me back the confidence I had not had in a long time (and the results are definitely great, but that is not the point I am trying to make). I am not advocating options vs stocks (in fact in the beginning I would not touch options with a 10-foot pole). What I am trying to say here is that there is no technique that is superior to others. There is no trading instrument superior to others. There is no time frame superior to others. There is no pattern superior to others... There's even no trading education that is superior to others! I have discovered that the only thing that exists is what works best for YOU. And each one of us will discover that at our own pace. Until then, what allowed me to take that next step forward was self discipline and focusing on myself, not on the many different things a million strangers were saying.
In sum, after this long rant what I want to say is that trading is personal, and each one of us will move forward at our own pace. The only common element to our paths will be self-discipline. Aside from that, you have to find your own way so do not feel guilty or scared if you have to knock on a few doors in the beginning. There is no right or wrong methodology, there is just the one that best suits your personality. And then there is a lot of exposing yourself to all the shenanigans the market will pull off until you are able to be consistent and independent. So do not feel bad if you need time off or if you can't make such and such technique work. Just keep looking for what hits your spot.