The Lazy Trader And The Screen-Time Myth

By | March 4, 2015

This post was triggered by an article on Tradeciety: Why Being a Lazy Trader Will Make You Profitable. I wrote a reasoned comment at that time but here we are two months later and it still hasn’t been published. That makes me wonder why would you put a comment form in the first place if you’re not willing to engage with your readers. The article, if we manage to overlook that horrible metaphor ‘lazy trader’ makes sense more or less, with one glaring exception: ‘The Myth of Screen-Time’ paragraph.

The author starts the paragraph by bashing the 10k hour concept as applied to trading. For those who haven’t heard of this concept before, it originates from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success. Gladwell posits that one needs ten thousand hours of practicing a skill before getting very good at it. If that number is the correct one or not, it doesn’t really matter, the essence behind it has been known for a long time, hence the saying ‘practice makes perfect’. If we agree with the obvious fact that one needs experience before hoping to become proficient at something, how can we say that it isn’t so with regard to trading ? It doesn’t make any sense.

The paragraph continues with the inept comparison between someone who watches TV series and movies for thousands of hours without becoming a Hollywood director and the trader who wastes time being glued to the screen. Over 99% of people watch TV and movies for various reasons: because they enjoy it, to pass the time, socialize and so on, which have nothing to do with them wanting to become a Hollywood director. What does that have to do with a trader studying charts, reports, news as part of a working process with a definite target: to become a better trader.

The type of trader your are, short term or longer term oriented, will  influence the daily screen time required. But before you can really call yourself a trader, there’s no getting around putting thousands of hours in front of the screen.