It’s funny sometimes where you actually find some good ideas that help your trading. Case in point, just here alone in recent months, we’ve learned some useful trading lessons on a beach, studied golf-inspired trading advice, and looked to childhood life lessons for little nuggets that can indeed help your trading. So, today, what do you say we grab some guns and take a little walk through the woods?
Now, whether or not hunting is your cup of tea, it actually does call for some of the same skills as trading. Why, there’s a definite need for patience and keeping ones composure at all times, just like there’s a call to own that pressure-packed moment when you (literally) pull the trigger. And the similarities between hunting and trading don’t stop there.
(In the name of transparency, I myself am no hunter, but I pass no judgment on those who are. Morals aside, I just don’t see many good things happening when it’s 5 am, about 30 below zero outside, and I’m heavily armed and lurking somewhere!)
Joking aside, though, hunting is sometimes a polarizing topic, but regardless of where you stand on the issue, let’s look today at the middle ground and some common hunting analogies that can actually help your trading, too.
Much like traders, hunters can’t afford to get an itchy trigger finger at the slightest sign of action out there. Whether it’s a rustle of leaves, or just any old target that appears somewhere off in the distance, you don’t go firing at will over the slightest provocation. What if it’s just a hunting dog, a squirrel, or simply not the opportunity you’re truly after?
That very same philosophy, when used in the markets, can actually be very powerful and help your trading immensely. Traders, too, have powerful weapons at their disposal, and it’s better to harness that power, only to be used when the time is right.
For that reason, qualify your set-ups, and be extremely disciplined with the ones you ultimately trade. Exercising that kind of control over your trading is empowering, it’s a professional-level quality, and it flat-out works! So, if you really want to help your trading, make every trade count and “don’t go wastin’ bullets” on sub-standard set-ups or because emotion gets the better of you.
Another key point is this: Regardless of experience, equipment, or overall talent, you simply can’t hunt what’s not there, or what’s not in season. Hunters must play by those rules, and to help your trading, you should, too.
Set-ups and strategies can—and often do—go in and out of favor, much like deer, ducks, and anything else goes in and out of season. So even if you’re a bang-up shot when it comes to trading breakouts, for example, as the market and economic conditions change, there will come times when you simply can’t “hunt” for breakouts. This is where it pays to develop other skills, and maybe add alternate strategies and set-ups to your arsenal, as needed.
Otherwise, in low-volatility conditions, or when your “bread-and-butter” market and/or set-up is out of favor, you stay on the sidelines, never forcing trades that aren’t really there, and not trying to transition on the fly into other markets or set-ups you don’t truly understand. It’s dangerous out there if you don’t know what you’re doing…and the same goes for hunting!
One of the single biggest misconceptions about trading the markets is that, to do it well, you have to be constantly in motion, with one or even multiple open positions at all times. Nobody believes that hunting must happen at such a breakneck pace, and to help your trading, you shouldn’t think that way, either.
In both, shall we say, pastimes, the overwhelming majority of the time is actually spent analyzing the surroundings, perhaps looking for clues, or even just sitting idle and doing nothing at all. And, you know what? That’s absolutely fine!
Let’s leave in the past right now the misguided belief that trading is all about high frequency and frantically switching between multiple positions. Sure, some traders do work amid that kind of chaos, but that’s not required—or even recommended—for achieving trading success over the long term, and it’s certainly not a part of the Lazy Trader methodology.
Be patient, and don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if, while adhering to your own proven trading strategy, you go a day, several days, or an entire week without entering a trade. Hunters return home empty handed more often than not, and regularly go entire sessions without even catching a glimpse of what they’re after. Opportunities come in due time and over the long run, though, so don’t get discouraged in the meantime and have confidence to stay the course.
There are always high hopes and endless possibilities each time you begin a hunt, and each time you trade, for that matter. There are inherent risks, a range of emotions, pressure, and plenty of obstacles and challenges to negotiate along the way. It’s funny how seemingly unrelated fields can help your trading by providing some interesting insight where you least expect it.
That’s why, even if you are not an avid hunter, you probably can still relate to these hunting analogies, and maybe even take away some valuable lessons to help your trading. Be selective, be patient, and also be realistic about what you can (and can’t) do given your present environment. First off, you’ll feel more in control of what you’re doing as a trader, but perhaps most importantly, it’ll almost certainly help your trading.