The 10,000 Hour Rule

There is this idea that it takes 10,000 hours in order to become an expert at anything. The idea seems to have come from Malcom Gladwell's book "Outliers". Others have even promoted the idea that it takes 10 years and 10,000 hours in order to achieve mastery.

I have a real problem with these claims because they are so general and poorly defined that it should be obvious that they aren't true. Yet, many people still repeat them because they provide an excuse. Why should it take the same amount of time to become an expert typist as it does to become an expert chess player? Obviously, they don't because there are a lot more proficient typist then chess players. And, what does it mean to be an expert at programming? Does it mean that the programmer can tackle very complex and specialized problems within a narrow domain? Or does it mean that they have developed an experience that encompasses a breadth of skills required for structuring solutions across a variety of problem domains? 

Instead of being held back by arbitrary conventions, I recommend that you set yourself short-term challenges that you can build on to master anything that you desire. The first attribute needed is a strong motivation. The second is the ability to focus with a singular determination on the objective that one desires to learn. And, third one needs to develop a structure that constantly provides challenges of the right difficulty level. Learning is not a linear process. There are plateaus and sticking points where progress doesn't occur. A structured plan, a dedicated approach, and a flexible mind can help you get beyond those sticking points. 

For example, I could never understand a "break out". Of course, I knew what it meant but I didn't find it beneficial to my trading. But, once I restructured that into the idea of a thrust or a price drive then I understood it. The problem was that a "break out" was defined very technically as when a price broke a previous high as an "event" for taking an action. I didn't find that concept useful. However, the idea of a certain type of price action that leads to drives (higher or lower) eventually became one of the defining ways that I view the market. This restructuring ability is a common theme among successful people.

Trading has one more element that makes it unique, and that element is uncertainty. As such, instead of focusing on learning to trade you might find that you do better by focusing on trading at your best ability.

Friday, December 27, 2013 6:40:00 PM

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Risk Disclosure:

Futures and forex trading contains substantial risk and is not for every investor. An investor could potentially lose all or more than the initial investment. Risk capital is money that can be lost without jeopardizing ones’ financial security or life style. Only risk capital should be used for trading and only those with sufficient risk capital should consider trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Hypothetical Performance Disclosure:

Hypothetical performance results have many inherent limitations, some of which are described below. no representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown; in fact, there are frequently sharp differences between hypothetical performance results and the actual results subsequently achieved by any particular trading program. One of the limitations of hypothetical performance results is that they are generally prepared with the benefit of hindsight. In addition, hypothetical trading does not involve financial risk, and no hypothetical trading record can completely account for the impact of financial risk of actual trading. for example, the ability to withstand losses or to adhere to a particular trading program in spite of trading losses are material points which can also adversely affect actual trading results. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results and all which can adversely affect trading results.