Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Kirk Report

The Kirk Report


Everything You Know Is Wrong

Posted: 05 May 2010 01:38 PM PDT

Everything You Know Is Wrong
I had a beloved professor in law school who would say that it is important to have a good forgettory. In other words, he thought it was an distinct advantage to have forgotten what you have already learned so that you'd be forced when the time came to relearn and think about problems from a completely fresh perspective.

His point was that experienced lawyers, especially the more lazy ones, are often at distinct disadvantage to the inexperienced because they make constant assumptions on what the law was which would get them into serious trouble in the court room. Although all of his students wondered if it was really true, the professor said that he lost many cases after an inexperienced lawyer was better prepared.

As things change, experience can sometimes work to your disadvantage especially if you're not keeping and adjusting to the environment around you. I've talked previously about the importance of gaining experience, but there is a point where experience can also work against you.

Take for example a trader in my mentoring program at the moment. He has over 25 years of experience trading full-time, but struggling tremendously with the market primarily because he hasn't adjusted his strategies and mental perspective enough to account for program-related trading. Although I won't go into specifics of why and how this is in order to keep his trust and confidentiality, I will say this - the primary issue he has is that he constantly makes bold assumptions based on lessons learned long ago as they relate to the market and refuses to adjust or consider other things.

Contrast this situation with another student in my mentorship group who is relatively new (just over 3 years of part-time experience & now moving full-time) that looks at the market in a way that is constantly fresh and always evolving. (He has even taught me a few things!) You know what? The newbie trader is killing it (currently up triple digits on the year) even though old graybeards like me say that should never happen!

The reason I think for that is that the newbie is not fighting this market with past scars and hard-learned lessons. Instead he is simply trading upon the price action alone and managing his risk in a way that he knows what he always must do even amid uncertainty. In other words, what he doesn't know, isn't hurting him unlike those of us who are more experienced. It is so weird how that happens, but I've seen this before and among the more experienced traders who I've been privileged work with.

So, the point here is that if you're having trouble as a more experienced and skilled trader AND you have suspicion it may be directly related to old perspectives and information, don't be afraid to step back, break the mold you've created for yourself, and try new things. The best way to do that in my view is to constantly work on new trading strategies that force you outside of your comfort zone and which require you to constantly examine what you do in a different ways. This will also enable you, as my beloved law professor said, to have a good forgettory. And, that can serve you well as markets change and evolve.

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