Learning Resources we talked about resources to help you
define how important
ongoing learning is to support you in making an informed decision as to
if and how you want to make a commitment to your ongoing learning
In Learning - Who, what, and why, we focused on three
important parts of
the learning process; why learn, what to learn, and who to learn with
In this last part we're highlighting five key factors related to the design and management of a
learning plan. Based on our experience with countless 'learners'
(professionals to beginners), we offer the nine key phases important to
creating and managing one's learning process. I'll
be using Patrick,
a new trader, for illustrative purposes.
Also we promised, the following is a sample learning plan compiled
various plans and schedules used by many of our subscribers and past
clients and is an example - not a plan to be copied and used
as a plan
for your trading. Only you can complete your plan because you
unique and have unique values and beliefs, education and learning
experiences, as well as unique financial positives and
So, that being said, let's take a look at Patrick's learning plan:
quantifies his beliefs and values regarding
For example, some of Patrick’s key learning values / beliefs are:
believe ongoing learning is essential to my success . . . So . . . I
consistently invest my time, energy, and money in understanding markets
and human behavior.
- I believe my understanding of my learning is
best confirmed by teaching others . . . So . . . I enter into and
nurture relationships where I am both a learner and a teacher.
believe learning is a perpetual process with the results achieved in
direct proportion to the fulfillment of my commitment to learn . . . So
. . . first, I plan my learning by topic, time, resources, and
support. Second, I keep my commitment to my process, and
measure my progress by the quality of my performance – not my results.
defines his vision and goals for learning. For
Patrick's vision along with some of his goals are:
- My vision as a trader:
overall vision of myself based on living my learning values is – A
knowledgeable, skilled, consistently profitable trader proficient in
effectively dealing with any change in the market or myself.
- My goals as a ‘learning’ trader:
- To be financially independent so I can care for my family.
- To be able to help others who are capable to learn and
- To be able to help those that are incapable of helping
understands where he is now in relation to his
For example, Patrick's present position includes:
- Age 45, married 20 years with 4 children - ages 10
for 15 years as a manager for Macy's - laid off 3 months ago
severance pay for 6 months - job search has been unsuccessful.
situation - Have savings of $45,000, home equity of $150,000
$250,000), and a very supportive spouse who is a physician with an
income that covers the family's living expenses and a substantial
retirement plan through her clinic.
- Traded evenings for 4 years - somewhat successful,
took several courses, read many books.
Loves trading from several aspects; the freedom to make his own
decisions and be responsible for their outcome, the ability to set his
own schedule, the potential unlimited upside, the opportunity to be
successful and enjoy success based on his own investment of his time,
energy, and money.
- A wife who understands both the opportunity
side and the risk side of being a trader but believes, knowing Patrick
and his degree of diligence, commitment, and discipline, that he should
pursue trading as a vocation based on his learning plan. And
later, it is mutually agreed that trading is not either right for their
family situation or Patrick as an individual, they can walk away from
it, knowing that - versus always wondering 'what if'.
discovers the countless options available to him.
example, some of the options available to Patrick who wants to become a
full-time trader are:
- To continue his course of self-education with periodic
courses that appear to potentially be beneficial.
- To enroll in a structured investor / trader
educational program at a local college.
- To find a mentor that fits his criteria as to the
market(s), timeframe(s), style, and methodology he wants to trade.
- To find a 'prop' trading company that offers a trading
process that meets his criteria.
purchase a software program that supports what he has learned and
experienced over the past four years and, now that he has time, see if
he can design a methodology that works for him.
- To find a trading system and determine if and how it can
meet his goals and objectives.
decides what learning process best fits him. For
example, Patrick approaches this selection / decision
developing his overall learning plan by:
- First, doing extensive
research and due diligence related to each option as well as other
options that he discovered during his research.
- Second, he
talked with others, both traders who were still trading and several who
had tried at one time or another but didn’t trade anymore, as to their
experiences in making a similar journey.
- Third, because of the
relationship and respect for his wife's opinion, he sat down with her
and presented the positives and negatives of each option and let her
challenge his thinking as to which course of action would most likely
fit him best and offer the highest probability of success.
based on his research, his due diligence, and his expanded thinking
derived from his wife’s questions and brainstorming, he made a decision
to retain the services of a mentor to help him discover his ‘right
fit’, facilitate the design of his trading plan, support him in the
launch of his trading process, and be his performance coach.
designs his learning plan. For example,
initial draft of his learning plan looked like this:
The specifics of what I want
to learn from or receive guidance
from my mentor are:
are the three highest probability methodologies for trading
CME's S&P e-mini contract in the day timeframe?
based on my account balance, my tolerance for risk, and my commitment
to following proven guidelines, are the best principles of risk and
money management for my situation?
- What are the three best
trading software applications available that specifically support my
planned methodology? What hardware requirements best provide
the maximization of the software's features and functionality, replay
and simulation for my deliberate practice sessions, and both redundancy
and back-up in the event of a technical issue?
- What processes
and procedures have proven to be effective in gaining the most from my
mentor's services both in the short-term and over the
Pre-trading session work such as market reviews, market analysis,
pre-determination of key levels, preparation of scenarios, 'what if'
Schedules (Daily / Weekly /
study, complete exercises, in preparation for sessions with
mentor. Define what needs to be done, schedule times
(uninterrupted and free of distractions) devoted to completion of the
preparatory work. When complete, review it critically, and
it to mentor for a thorough critique. Based on the results,
address areas of deficiency even if it means a delay in the on-site
Jointly, with my mentor,
prepare the following for sessions:
complete time management plan for each session as to the objectives of
each session, the preparatory work required before each day's session,
the planned working components of each session, and the post-session’s
- An evaluation procedure to measure my
understanding of the information presented, the exercises performed,
and the areas requiring immediate, additional study so I maximize my
investment (the mentor’s fee).
Jointly, with my mentor,
a post-session plan for my continued reading, study, and skill
development including my journaling, recording keeping, and reporting
develops his support team. For example,
primary support team consisted of:
wife who worked with him to create a trading account balance that would
not put pressure on the family and relieve Patrick of worrying about
the financial requirements of the household including the children's
- His children who committed to supporting
Patrick by keeping noise and distractions to a minimum while they were
home during the hours he committed to his trading.
- His broker
who offered him an extended, complimentary, simulation service to help
Patrick work through the process of developing and becoming competent
with his methodology.
- His mentor who committed to being his
coach and support him in his development as a trader by offering candid
reviews and critiques on a timely basis plus providing ideas to help
Patrick progress in his pursuit of becoming a consistently profitable
Makes it Happen. Well, at
this point, with most of the factors in place in his learning plan,
Patrick had the responsibility of making it happen. Now
this was just the learning plan - this was not the development
trading plan. Developing the trading plan is a completely
different exercise in its content but follows basically the same
context illustrated in these nine phases.
he reviews and refines his plan. For
Patrick set up the following review / refine plan for his learning
- First, he set up a weekly schedule for the on-going review
of his progress in becoming proficient with his trading methodology.
he kept diligent records including a daily journal, annotated
screenshots of every trade he executed, and copies of every report he
submitted to his mentor. After the mentor had reviewed the
Patrick submitted, he and Patrick walked through each item to make sure
there was mutual understanding, as well as options to consider for
improving both the learning process and Patrick's trading process.
at he end of each month he sat down with his wife and older children
and told them what he had learned that month, how it had helped him or
how it didn't, his progress in becoming more proficient, and his plans
for the next month. He also did the same thing with his
and broker since they were part of his primary support team.
entire review and refine process was part of his responsibility to
furthering his learning process and, at the same time, helped him be
accountable for his learning journey. And, it kept his
support team engaged, informed, and anxious to contribute ideas because
they truly felt they were an important part of his progress and
valuable contributors to his learning process.
In concluding this article, please remember two points:
the above nine phases are focused on developing and managing your
learning process as a trader - not the development and
management of a
trading plan. In a future series we will share ideas and
processes related to developing and managing your trading plan.
the development and management of your plans and processes is your
responsibility because (A) nobody knows you better than you, and (B)
nobody cares as much about your money or your future than
Wishing you success in creating and managing your own special
always, until next month, we wish you tangible, positive differences
based on your learning journey and calculable results from your trading.