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The art of getting better

May 9, 2017

A savvy trader sent me his trading review for the week.  It wasn’t a journal entry or collection of journal entries.  It also wasn’t a mere recitation of his trades and what he made or didn’t make.  Rather, what he sent me was truly a business plan for the week.  He distilled what he needed to improve into two basic areas, figured out what he was doing wrong, and outlined the specific things he would be doing next week to make an improvement.

What was interesting was that the things he was looking to improve were not grand overhauls.  They were tweaks in things he was already dong well.  But he saw that he could improve and take more out of the trades he was taking.  In a worthwhile post, James Clear points out that, if you can get one percent better each day over the course of a year, you’ll wind up 37 times better than when you started.  Small changes, consistently implemented, add up to big results.

The best goal for most traders is to get better at getting better.  Turning a weekly journal into an actual business plan is one example of getting better at getting better.  Doing more of what works is a way of getting better.  Doing less of the things that don’t work is yet another way of getting better.  But the greatest yield comes from turning self improvement into a habit pattern, a continuous process.  Per Deming, it’s not just about doing your best.  It’s about taking a step back and figuring out what to do before doing your best.

You would never take a cross country trip without a road map or GPS.  Self-improvement is no less a journey.  Your plan is your map, your assurance that your travels are taking you in the right direction.  Study your losing trades: what is one thing you could do better to stem those losses?  Study your winning trades:  what is one thing you did well that can be replicated next week?  Forget big goals.  What is the one thing you can change tomorrow?

How can you get better at getting better?

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