"Trader's Expo" Report… Zombies Among Us"

Part 15 in the "Mental Fitness for Futures Traders" Series
by Norman Hallett, former CTA/Trader

Helping TradersWorld Magazine at their booth at the 2003 Trader's Expo in Chicago was an experience that confirmed many of my thoughts and feelings about the "state of the trading environment".

Why did it not surprise me that the vast majority of those that walk the aisles are looking for one thing…the Holy Grail?

It's so easy to think that if you surround yourself with experts in the field (and there were plenty of them that were there), you're bound to come across someone you can trust and relate to, not just from words on a page, but by getting a sense of who they are in person.

Some of these experts made themselves VERY accessible. I walked up to Steve Nison, the Japanese Candlestick guru and had a 15 minute conversation with him about our mutual love for candlestick analysis and our common appreciation for the mental and emotional part of successful trading.

The very personable Larry Williams walked up to the TradersWorld booth to say hello to Larry Jacobs, but instead his eye caught my display about TradingMind Software. We spoke for about 10 minutes on a small range of subjects from the markets to internet marketing to the importance of mental toughness for traders.

After wishing Larry well, it occurred to me that one thing all the gurus seem to have in common was their appreciation for the Mental part of trading.

Now, most traders in general will give lip service to the importance of the mental aspects, but do absolutely nothing about it. A few lines of "Today I'm not going to make the same mistakes as I made yesterday" self-talk is about all the mental training they will muster.

Gurus and successful traders do more than give lip service. They train. They train their minds to do the right things during the trading day. What are the "right things"? To follow their tested and trusted trading system… without wavering… without flinching.

Of the 113 booths (that I counted) at the Traders Expo, 111 ˝ had to do with trading systems, trading information sources, data feeds, and the like, while 1 ˝ booths dealt with the mental part of trading.

Why is that?

Well, many traders(wrongly) feel that committing to training their minds means that something must be wrong with them. It's an admission that one is out of control and that's just not something that most want to face. They'd rather find a system that works more of the time… one that gives you better signals that you can follow. No admissions necessary.

The truth is that if you train yourself to be disciplined and focused in your trading, you don't even need last year's best performing system to be successful in your trading. All you need is a "decent" system.

I'll likely be in Las Vegas for the next Expo and my guess is I'll see a lot of the same trading faces, zombieing down the isles, continuing their searches for the Holy Grail, and not ever looking inward for the answers.

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