As I type this in front of my 6 screens, down from 10, I go back to the question I was asked when I showed a friend my office. “Do you really need that many screens?” I explained I needed 4 for trading and wanted 2 for internet.
Going further I explained how I used the 4 screens and I was semi-successful in justifying my apparent screen addiction. The truth is I really need 4 screens to get all of the information in an efficient way throughout the trading day. It is specifically designed, needs no more or no less. This is much more easily defined and a great starting point.
From the outside I understand how it can be confusing. Trading, investing, finance is so big. It is a fools errand to try to learn it all. Are you going to achieve a high level doing 1 thing a 1000 times or 1000 things 1 time? What if it really is 5000 things or 10,000 things to be good?
I admit, trading has forced me to learn things I did not want to know in ways that I couldn’t imagine. Politics, bonds, reading mediocre publications with big audiences, watching bad financial tv, etc. But at the end of the day, it is about being an expert in yourself and maximizing your strengths. I will never be good at politics or macro, that is not what I do. That does not mean it should or can be completely ignored. Gathering enough information to not be dangerous is important. Knowing what the minimum effective load in your information gathering should be determined early.
Slow, range bound markets lead us down the information trap. Gathering information from people who must produce content turns our brains into foie gras.
There is something exciting about gathering information however at some point it does hurt your decision making. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Small bites of information from everywhere leads to poor result in part because it is impossible to learn. Have a control group.
Trying to make sense of every market move leads us down these paths. Human need for certainty is ultimately what does the traders mind in. Do we get better at predicting or do we get better at accepting uncertainty? Is the goal of trading to understand the reason or make money?
As information become more readily available we need to be better at pushing the plate away or risk becoming fat with knowledge and unable to move out of our own way. Keep It Simple Stupid.
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