Trading Educators, Demons and Knights

I think about Trading Educators a lot. I’ve been a customer of a number of them and over the years have formulated a pretty cynical view on the value many of them claim to offer. That said I can’t help feeling conflicted about the contentious nature of trading education, there are good sides and bad, what is clear is at some stage we must use some of it, we must get educated.

I find the pleasurable benefit of deep thought happens best when out and about. Recently on a day off we went to Lake Como and walking around got me to thinking. when I’m on the move my mind feels active, dynamic, almost like it’s been let out to explore like a dog who’s jumped the garden fence.

Naturally, the trading universe is a place my mind likes to dander in when it’s breaks free of the confines of daily life. The trading universe is a lush place, colourful, bright, full of opportunity where the champions are purveyors of change and victors of uncertainty. But it has it’s dark side, it’s shady alleys, where it’s likeable charlatans gather in dimly lit taverns to skulk in the shadows and count their ill earned keep.

We as traders venture willingly through the gates of this world, blinded by the pursuit of riches, success or self validation. It is our responsibility to ensure we stick to the right side of the path, the grubby side of hard work and perseverance, of tribulation and strife where the dark nights who can help us often lay quietly amongst the crowds of our kin.

Amongst all the attraction, glamour and glitz, we have to teach ourselves to avoid the bright lights and polished cobbles of that other side. The side that looks too good to be true, yet so easy to attain. The side that welcomes us, offers us shelter and assistance born out of nothing other than good nature, of selfless servitude.

You would be forgiven for thinking this side is the most dangerous, but there is a place more dangerous to the burgeoning trader still. The middle road. Here the lines are blurred, the characters indecipherable and the dangers great. If we stick to the right side of the path we risk border, fatigue of the status quo and eventual balance, calculated capitulation, on the other side we indulge in excitement, in dreams and false truths. Sure we will have a good time, but it will be short lived and we will no doubt come to realise the errors of our ways just as our time is done.

Either way, our journey in this world is done, it evaporates around us and we arrive back in the world we are often so eager to ignore, the world that our journey in trading is supposed to support, to help, to better. We arrive back in our world, having perhaps neglected it, ignore it, let it pass us by vacantly as our minds are elsewhere.

It’s a dark image, overly dramatic some might say, but it’s deliberate. I love thinking this way, I find imagery helps to make sense of things, and writing them helps even more. But other than having fun to make sense of my thoughts what purpose does this image have?

I think it’s a good reference for trading in general, but specifically education. A long time ago I thought I could figure this all out on my own, that didn’t last long. It became clear I had no idea what I was doing, or how to figure out what I should be doing. The answer I thought was to get inside the circle. Again my belief structure was all wrong. I believed that successful traders were born that way, somehow admitted into the secret club of trading successes by way of birth, genes or the right network.

There will always be an element of this, no doubt, it’s how the world works to a large degree, but the more I read and the more I researched I realised that it wasn’t the total truth. I realised that successful traders had a few key things, they occupied the right headspace, they worked hard and they had a dogged determination. Once I realised this I knew I had to get educated, but how?

Even a few years ago the trading education space was a burgeoning image of what it is now, maybe it just seemed that way to me but trying to find a decent trading service that seemed serious wasn’t actually that easy. There were lots of pundits around but not many services to teach the retail trader the basics. Now is a different story. The Forex Fallacy reigns king and anyone who is anyone can portray an image of success, package it and sell it to you, keeping you hooked on the line by the fact that you need to know what’s coming next, the next book, the next course or the next service.

All in I’ve paid money for countless books, four educational courses and one seminar. I’ve gotten off light I think, my expenditure has been low and out of those four one was terrible, one was ok and two were good. The key is that the two good ones were the last. It was a progression. Pay money, get disappointed, pay money, get disappointed, pay money, realise I’m in way over my head, get some advice, pay money, find a product that finally I understand, enjoy working with and feel suits me well.

To some degree we have to fight through, searching for that fabled “what works for you”, something that is so annoying but so true. How can we know what works for us until it works? I think I’ve found it, I’m happy to say that. I say that because I enjoy it, I feel like I’m making progress with it and I’m actually implementing it. No longer am I telling myself I like it, thinking that I understand it but never implement it because I’m fearful that I don’t and that I know deep down, it’s baseless. Will it work out for me? Who knows, time will tell but I feel that the battle of the educator versus the student is over for me. How do I know?

I know because I know what to look for, I know what to avoid, I know that the key is perseverance not in dabbling with this or that or changing at the first sign of failure with a system. I’m not one of these people that believes all who say they make money with this system or that are lying, I do belive there is a million ways to make money in the markets, but I do believe that the trading education industry has become a self licking lollypop that now, is more profitable to most educators than actually trading.

So why do it? Why become an educator? If you can trade why teach, if it’s so easy to make money why tell others? Why erode your edge? Simply put most are charlatans. That’s my belief. They probably don’t start out this way but it’s how they end up. Maybe they are successful traders, but trading is unpredictable. A steady stream of monthly subscriptions however is not, especially when you keep them hanging on for what’s coming next. The good in me want’s to believe most educators start out believing they can help people, that they can help you succeed. The truth however is that somewhere down the line promising a monthly income of a set dollar value with a picture of a laptop on a beach becomes more profitable, it is not the real world.

Some are honest about this and I have time for that. Some say look – this isn’t how it is, but it gets more likes on Instagram than a picture of a DOM, this transparency goes a long way with me and my respect for their achievements goes a long way too. A lot of educators don’t do this though. A lot will have you believe they are the worlds best trader so you should listen to them, and pay just $8.99 a month for the privilege.

So what’s my point, that all trading educators are bad, evil, hell bent on exploiting traders for their hard earned cash? Actually, the complete opposite. Trading education is a dangerous place, my voice however as hard as I shout is lost in a sea of blogs, writers, educators and brokers. I don’t really think I can help much in that regard and to be honest a part of me believes this is a journey you have to take yourself and most will ignore any advice because of that, but what if I could have anyone take anything away, it’s that there is another side, there are some dark knights out there.

I like to call them Dark Knights because they often fly under the radar, espousing the virtues of hard work and dedication, teaching that if you work relentlessly at your goals you might succeed and you might make way less than you originally got into this game to make. They often teach methods that seem counter intuitive to the retail masses and derive their teaching methods from the professionals.

These little gems in the education world will help you, they will set you on your way and most importantly they will highlight that it’s you that needs to do the work, that it is you that needs to keep the focus on your chosen method. They will give you insights that are invaluable to your success, they will help you think properly and you will know them to be genuine when they answer your questions willingly, before and after you buy their course!

All that is good and well, but the argument of why teach still looms large. My take on it is that why not, I would. If I could supplement my trading with a genuinely helpful trading service I actually think I’d get a lot out of it. In aviation, instruction is held in high regard, in the military is a sign of experience, progression and maturity. To me it’s natural. In the two trading services I’ve taken that I would recommend to traders there was a common theme, annoyance at how the retail industry rips off the common amateur and a desire to try and do their bit to help out. Whether you believe this, or decide to take a service based on your impression of those traits is of course somewhat of a gamble at the start and ultimately becomes your call.

I guess if I could offer anyone any advice on the pitfalls of trading education it would be this. Finding a good one, a good one for you, is hard and no doubt it might not happen first time round. Largely they don’t have the best marketing ploys and tend to fly in the circles of those that a bit more serious about making headway in the game. They have experience, credibility and reputation.

The charlatans however are bright, often obvious but hook you on the pitfalls of your character, your lust for success and the gambler in you. The most dangerous, the proprietors of the middle road are hard to tell. They will befriend you with stories of servitude, dodge your questions with a lack of specificity and shower you with promises. The key, like anything in trading is to limit your risk, keep the outlays low until you know what is going to help you, don’t launch headlong trough the gates of the trading education, step gingerly through, hang out at the entrance and take a look around. Strut too strongly down the polished cobbles and before you know it the gates will be locked firm behind you, and the gatekeeper will be nowhere to be found.

As ever thanks for reading, keep the mind active and enjoy the world.

Cheers.

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One thought on “Trading Educators, Demons and Knights

  1. Rhiese Macdonough says:

    this is a great post Jamie and it encompasses a lot of what I feel about trading instructors. to be honest, I have felt the pull of teaching for subscription pay, but it is a totally different arena of business unlike the actual act of trading in and of itself. The thing about a teaching business is that you have to make a new product as quickly as possible in order to differentiate yourself from your competition. Everybody is always looking for the edge to bring out to customers and it’s no different in all facets and products of business in general.

    I often say in agreement with the underlying sentiment that ” those who can do and those who can’t teach”. this is true for the most part, however there are exceptions. but the important thing is to look at it in a way that says these are exceptions that proves the rule. that way you’ll always have a skeptical but open mind which is really important to survive in this business. even if I did want to teach, like you said in the post I would be giving away a valuable edge that was gained through alot of sweat. when you find your edge – and you will, you will understand how important it is to keep it under wraps and not trounce it around on a blog. i find that people who parade some sort of edge generally don’t know what they’re doing.

    you’ve heard me say it over and over again; price speculation is an extremely hard business. this is why so many write books or set up chat rooms and u know what, i dont blame them – they are only being realistic. i may even write a book one day – who knows. i know i can probably retire off of it if i take my earnings to thailand or something like that but theres a part of me that knows if i cross that line i couldnt ever go back and i would have dishonored my intellectual property. it’s a case of idealism versus being realistic i guess. there is no easy answer.

    actually, there is: win the lottery lol

    again great post Jamie. thanks for taking the time to write it. kep up the great blogging!

    Like

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