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Becoming an expert at anything

Discussion in 'Beginner's Lounge' started by Timmy, May 12, 2008.

  1. Timmy

    Timmy white swans need love too

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    I read a really useful article a little while ago and have since found it online at:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-expert-mind

    Its called:

    The Expert Mind
    Studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters have revealed clues to how people become experts in other fields as well

    By Philip E. Ross

    Its 6 pages long on the Scientific American website.

    For those of us learning and doing trading and investing I found the article has much to offer. It emphasises that the research shows that mastering a field has much more to do with effortful study than with talent. A couple of pertinent points from it (I wont quote huge chunks of it for copyright reasons and because it is worth reading the whole thing).

    "The preponderance of psychological evidence indicates that experts are made, not born.
    Without a demonstrably immense superiority in skill over the novice, there can be no true experts, only laypeople with imposing credentials. Such, alas, are all too common. Rigorous studies in the past two decades have shown that professional stock pickers invest no more successfully than amateurs, ..."
    While this quote particularly mentions the market, what is most interesting to me is the distinction made between a true expert and a layperson with credentials. I can't help but compare someone ike George Soros, with a sustained record of expertise in trading/investing, with the myriad highly qualified money managers who barely manage to keep pace with the overall market index.

    "Ericsson argues that what matters is not experience per se but "effortful study," which entails continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one's competence. That is why it is possible for enthusiasts to spend tens of thousands of hours playing chess or golf or a musical instrument without ever advancing beyond the amateur level and why a properly trained student can overtake them in a relatively short time." I can't help but think of myself here. Surely no-one has spent more time studying charts than myself ... and yet my results are not what I want (so far). I have since taken to studying 'replays' of the market, after market hours, rather than static charts, this is helping me to see price movement in a more wholistic way - seeing the links between volume and price, for instance, with more detail, and dynamically. I think this is 'effortful study'. In addition, there is the 'doing' - while in a trade the active management of the stop and the profit, the active monitoring of the market dynamics, looking for what is changing, and so on. Being a technical trader I often wonder how a fundamental-based trader/investor improves their market study ... reading more reports, looking for linkages, looking for cause and effect ... be interested to hear.

    "Surely, they will say, it takes more to get to Carnegie Hall than practice, practice, practice. Yet this belief in the importance of innate talent, strongest perhaps among the experts themselves and their trainers, is strangely lacking in hard evidence to substantiate it. "

    "Although nobody has yet been able to predict who will become a great expert in any field, a notable experiment has shown the possibility of deliberately creating one."

    "motivation appears to be a more important factor than innate ability in the development of expertise."
    This, I think, is promising as well as a bit scary ... I am not sure if it implies that the failure to develop expertise can be laid at the door of a lack of motivation ... I am making an assumption that it does and working from this assumption.

    If anyone reads the article and has some thoughts I think some fruitful discussion could ensue.
     
  2. brty

    brty

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    Now that is interesting.

    I have been trading/investing for over 25 years, and I can see from that article a few reasons why "I just know", something is about to happen in markets, 'sometimes'.

    To sum up that article, I would suggest that proficiency in anything comes from innate practice and study, rather than innate skill. Interesting, very interesting.

    brty
     
  3. doctorj

    doctorj Hatchet Moderator

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    Good article!

    That said, I always thought that you become an expert by telling everyone how good you are :D
     
  4. nomore4s

    nomore4s Commonsense isn't that common

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    Only on the internet:p::D
     
  5. IFocus

    IFocus You are arguing with a Galah

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    Timmy I think Steenbarger covers similar ground in his book "Enhancing Trader Performance"

    He looks at the path and requirements along the way

    The old definition Ex - meaning a "has been" Spurt - a drip under pressure.:D:D
     
  6. juw177

    juw177

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    You need a certain personality type to put that to work. Some traits of such people include:
    -logical thinker
    -values knowledge above all else
    -gets satisfaction from efficiency: everything is something that can be fixed or improved.
    -can absorb a lot of information and discard anything that does not fit

    This cannot be easily taught. It is something you are born with or develop very early on in your life.
     
  7. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    Great topic Timmy :D. This is my Favorite subject, Expertise development. I read as much as I can about this stuff because I think it is the fundamentals of trading expertise.

    From everything I have researched on this if you had to boil it down to a line or two,

    Practise per se doesnt make perfect, it Perfect Practise makes Perfect.

    You carn't just "practise" something for 10 years and think you will get to the top. You have to have very deliberative practise with constant feed back and reviewing. Most punters never truly review the markets or their trading and spend 10 years repeating the same "practise".

    If you want a specific blueprint for trading like IFocus has pointed out you carn't go past Steenbarger's "Enhancing Trader Performance"
     
  8. freddy2

    freddy2

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    I would suggest it says in some fields (eg stock picking, roulette players) there are no experts - no amount of study or practice will make one an expert.
     
  9. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    That is not what the article is saying at all.
     
  10. Timmy

    Timmy white swans need love too

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    Some good stuff here thanks all - TH the "Perfect Pracise", I think I have seen reference to this around, will try dig up some info. Will also have a look for that Steenbarger book, I have his first one (Psychology of Trading) but not Enhancing Performance.

    And Freddy2 - have a read of the article as I think you have got the wrong idea there...
     
  11. brty

    brty

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    Freddy, with a comment like that you must be a random walker.

    So what do you invest in?? A trip to the casino must be as good as picking stocks, unless one of them is not so random.

    I also have difficulty with the concept of random. I don't believe anything is random.

    brty
     
  12. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    Try this one,

    What makes expert

    And Timmy you GOTTA get that second book. Must read for trader. MUST MUST MUST!!
     
  13. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    I think Freddy is confusing his performance as everyone elses. :(
     
  14. adobee

    adobee

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    i tend to believe quality is in the quantity.. thus practice makes perfect..
    i read a story once (possible true) on a professor who divided his class into two, and asked them all to make clay teapots.. the was a replica of one which was the perfect tea pot, both sides were given different tasks, one side to make as many teapots as they could within two weeks the other to make one perfect teapot.. in the end the team who has to make as many as possible also makes the perfect teapot as they have had the most practice..

    the problem with relating this to shares is that you loose your shirt on the first twent teapots that are sh*^!
     
  15. jtb

    jtb

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    Very true, but the journey is also the experience:)

    (I didn't think this way on teapot 11 though:eek:)
     
  16. Trembling Hand

    Trembling Hand Can be found on the bid

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    No, what you are describing there is first step to step 2. ie newbie to Competent. Still a long long way away from expertise in teapots making and that is the whole point of deliberative practise.

    The steps from competent (not losing your shirt) to expertise (making Constant big $$) is very different thing than newbie to competent.
     
  17. Timmy

    Timmy white swans need love too

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    Good link thanks TH!

    OK - on its way from Amazon (love this strong AUD!)
     
  18. It's Snake Pliskin

    It's Snake Pliskin

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    Why not Joe's shop?
     
  19. It's Snake Pliskin

    It's Snake Pliskin

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    Mr Trembling trader,

    The noun form is with a c, just to be a pedant.

    I agree the book is good.:)
     
  20. Timmy

    Timmy white swans need love too

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    D'oh!

    Didn't think....
     
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