Over the last ten years or so, I have taught and coached several hundred traders through my workshops and coaching programs. It has been very interesting for me to observe different types of behaviors and varied results in these people.
I started categorizing different learning styles of my students and I noticed several types or phases that I actually went through myself as a developing trader. For 2-3 years early on, I was a Window Shopper. Then after a short phase of being Stuck-in-Frustration, I started to Rule-Tweak to create new systems, then started all over again. Finally, after doing my own research and Fine-Tuning my systems for a couple of years during the Super Trader Program, I was ready to trade in production mode. This whole process took me many years – I am convinced you can do faster!
Having coached more than 500 students over the last 10 years, I have found out recently that becoming profitable does not have to take many months (or even years). Through my experiences and experiments as a teacher and coach, I am now convinced that you can become a profitable trader in a much shorter amount of time – and I wholeheartedly wish this for you. How long you take to become profitable depends in part on your learning type and what you do after you learn a trading system.
Some time back, I wrote a well-received article about several categories of distinct Learning Types I noticed in traders attending my workshops. The Types have their individual pros and cons and they can clearly be described as well as recommendations drawn from about how each one can become a better trader. Since I wrote that article, I have been asking myself the following question: How do individual Learning Types determine success in implementing the trading systems back at home?
To read the original article about the Eight Learning Types, see Part I: “What Learning Type Are You?”.
The following figure is a quick overview of the Learning Types:
Summary from the article: What Learning Type Are You?, Tharp’s Thoughts Newsletter, Sep2017 (#857)
Once I understood and identified these diverse types, I wondered how each behaves and progresses once the workshop is over. That picture is diverse and person-specific, however, over the last several years, I have found that certain types progress considerably better, faster, and easier than others.
Let’s take the example of Type 7 – the Clinger. This Type tends to be the most successful in terms of learning speed, efficiency and implementation accuracy of the systems taught. Clingers can learn to flawlessly execute the systems in a very, very short time. Surprisingly, this does not depend much on the amount of previous trading experience. I have coached several complete trader novices who developed into mature traders executing these systems making consistent real money in less than 6 months!
Let’s have a look at each of the Types.
Having been a Window Shopper myself in my earlier days as a trader. And I know this can be an important phase of orientation for traders. Once the workshop ends, typically I do not hear much from a Window Shopper anymore. A small percentage of them, maybe 3-5%, actually contact me months, or even years, later – once they have made their mind up – to seek a closer collaboration to learn to trade my systems. Though being late movers, they tend to become the most loyal students.
Window Shoppers represent about 5-10% of my systems workshop attendees.
Category 2 and 3 have the most questions for maybe the 2-3 months following the workshop. Both types do not necessarily want to trade the systems in the same way I do, but they want to develop their own systems. So they come up with lots of questions on the systems to fully understand them. Then, they can use individual components of my systems and adapt them to their needs. I am not against this approach at all. However, it does typically take much longer for them to become successful. Why? They have to develop their own rules, and, if the rules are changed, then this represents a new system. Every new system needs to be tested, fine-tuned, and traded with a very small position size, then refined over and over again until the system performs really good in a solid way in productive mode. This whole process typically takes 1.5 to 2 years at a minimum.
Fine Tuners and Rule Tweakers together represent about 20% of my workshop attendees.
These two types represent the majority of students attending my workshops. These types show a considerate overlap with the Clinger (which is the reason why the percentages do not add up to 100% exactly). It seems a pity that many traders have to go through this kind of stage until they are ready to “cling.” Once someone is ready to be a Clinger, they open to receive direction as well as invest the required time & effort to become successful.
Especially those attendees that are heavily stuck can develop a lot of positive momentum going for them leading to huge trader growth. I learned over the years that there is a certain ideal amount of “supportive struggle” – which is when you slightly leave your comfort zone and reach the stretch zone. By applying the concepts of Deliberate Practice, this then leads into states of exponential skill growth. Once the workshop is over, I offer my students a clear path for their trader development.
Obviously, anyone who is over-frustrated and completely lost, needs to get out of this state as fast as possible. How? Having an experienced trader as a guide and relying on a group of like-minded traders has been generating great results so far.
These 2 learning types represent about 60% of my workshop attendees.
This Type is a very special and very small category of people, however, it is also the most painful for me! Very successful traders that have put a lot of effort might become a U Turner. This happens especially when they have just made a major break-through. These mature traders have a very short way to go to become consistently profitable. But, as the label indicates, U-Turners can turn around and leave the systems – never looking back. I believe their actions arise subconsciously as the reasons stated for abandoning the systems do not make logical sense most of the time. I think what kicks in is: “I have done that, been successful, let’s look for something else to prove myself”. Unfortunately, learning and mastering any new system requires again a good amount of time and effort.
The U Turner represents about 2-3% of my workshop attendees.
This Type is very goal-oriented and focused so progress comes very fast and in a very efficient way. Nowadays, whenever I want to learn something new for myself, I choose to become a Clinger. It actually makes the most sense of all Types. Why? Following expert guidance without the need to doubt, deviate or argue over the task is the most efficient, fastest, and energy-saving way to grow as a trader. Surely, this is easier said than done because being a Clinger means to completely trust the “Coach” and his methods.
Clingers represent about 60% of my workshop attendees.
This Type represents another special Learning Type and overlaps with both Types 4 and 7 (Lost-in-Space and Clinger). It’s no surprise that Trader Novices get confused easily and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of trading information available with so many websites promoting another Holy Grail indicator or strategy. Novices find trusting a trading coach (once they made their mind up) much easier than an experienced trader who has already ingrained very specific trading beliefs and behaviors.
In just the last year, I found out that Novices don’t necessarily take longer to learn systems than experienced traders. A Novice can build everything on the green lawn while an experienced trader might need to unbuild some structures first. In addition, experienced traders may have ingrained some psychological issues and accumulated trading pains that he or she might need to dissolve along the way. I have watched Novices who decide to become a Clinger go off “like a rocket” in their trader development. The transformation into a mature and profitable trader can happen in less than 6 months!
Novices represent about 5-10% of my workshop attendees.
Knowing more about who you are and where you are on your trading journey is the first step. Coming to learn with the right mindset can lead you to great success in a very short time. Make 2021 a very successful year for you!
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