Somebody to teach me

Can anybody teach you how to have a first major sexual experience? Chrysst! Do you go to mum or dad and say ‘teach me’? Does reading a book or video on it actually teach you much? I’m afraid this graphic example is only to suggest that you can read all about it – but doing it is another matter entirely. Beside knowledge about the ‘mechanics’ of it, you still gotta learn from experience how to do it right – right? LOL.


What people want

But people expect to be taught how to trade, eat, drink, to do math, to drive a car, play a musical instrument or fly a plane etc etc. I know – that’s all very different – innit?

In general (with few exceptions) people wanna be taught everything! People wanna be  to taught how to make a millions bucks in 1 or even 10 years. Oh riiiighttttt! And how much do you pay for that sort of ‘education’? And if you get it, does it mean you will make that first million?

Did someone sit down with Alan Sugar and teach him to become a billionaire? Did some one teach Bill Gates and Richard Branson how to ‘get there’? Oh come on!! They slogged at it – and they created their skill to get where they got  to. Would you write to Branson, Gates or Sugar and say, “Can you ..please.. please..please.. teach me how to become rich like you?” You must be crazy to believe they’ll even receive your correspondence or consider it.

You may go to medical school, law school, or whatever – and say ‘teach me.. I’m paying’ – and that’s fine, cuz they owe you sumik for your investment of money in their courses. But don’t for one moment think that you can try that with the likes of Alan Sugar. Well, Alan might oblige, if you were willing to pay double his hourly rate of earnings – but I doubt you could afford to pay that amount of money.

Compare with financial trading

But think – are there any courses from the institutions on how to become a financial trader? (meaning a successful one of course). There are ‘courses’ on how to get an MBA or a law degree. People spend tons of money on these things. Does it make them successful at what they do? Oh come off it. There a people with MBAs and lawyers dime a dozen and many of those folk are struggling. A small percentage make it big. I can tell you that their successes had little to do with degrees. Degrees, courses and teachings do not make people successful. If your ‘momma’ told you so, you’ve been sadly misled!! Degrees and courses give mostly knowledge. Some may provide some actual hands on training. Look, if everybody could just go on some hands on course and become a success in short time then all of the worlds problems would be solved – innit?

Garry_KasparovAnd I’m not disputing that courses and degrees are requisite entry points into various professions, or businesses etc.  Gaining a bit of knowledge is of course always important. But how you do the ‘business’ afterwards, is very difficult to ‘teach’. That sort of knowledge and skill doesn’t come easily.  How do grandmasters at Chess become so good. Yes – they’ve read books and studies loads of strategy-related materials. But they couldn’t just get good without actually playing the game.

Skill is a product of knowledge  applied to real world situations. Skill is developed by modifying one’s patterns of interactions with real-world variables. It involves reflective practice, making mistakes (and learning not to repeat them), and real-world understanding of how things operate.

This is not ‘The Matrix’ where you download a programme of skills to fly helicopters or high powered motorcycles, and you’re good to go. This is actually the real world.

There’s a ‘but’ coming. Some will argue that if they don’t have the knowledge they can’t even make a start. That’s true to some extent if you’re to fly a plane or drive a car. But you can’t learn to fly or drive by reading books or being taught in the class room. You really have to do it. Even if some of the doing is on a simulator, the real world will provide experiences and variables.

Knowledge for trading can come not simply by ‘teachings’, but self-directed learning. How’s that? You jump in – and have a go – and see what happens next. You do this in safe environments (demo accounts). Then you see that this is not easy. You then ask yourself, “How can I win at this?” (which is the wrong question). Then you jump on YouTube and learn (if you want to). Or you could say, “This is not my thing…  it’s too hard and time consuming… I need guaranteed money in my pocket now. I can’t be bothered to invest two years or whatever and lose money!” Most don’t say that when they’re spending to get MBAs or training to be brain surgeons or lawyers though. Why? And many of those folk start of with about £50K in debt at launch of their careers. How strange.

And yet another ‘but’.. “but you’ve got to know what you’re doing – don’t you?”. Sure and how hard is that? Ever tried rowing in boat? I did. I only knew that I must move the oars in a certain direction (in the water) in order to move in the opposite direction.  But I can tell you that first attempts were not successful rowing. Interacting with the boat, the oars, and the water brings another kind of knowledge that just could not be had from ‘teachings’.

So did I take courses in trading? Well, I took one course for £50. That only provided me with some basic knowledge and one single strategy. What I did next was to explore other strategies and create my own, gaining insight into the charts and patterns that I saw in demo accounts. All that took the better part of a year.


  1. Teaching people is one way of providing knowledge.
  2. Learning and gaining knowledge is not only received from ‘teachings’.
  3. Don’t expect people who have taken years of hard effort to acquire knowledge and skill, to just hand it over to you.  They may give you a smattering of knowledge but that’s about it.
  4. Teachings do not provide skills for success (well there must be a bunch of exceptions – but I’m speaking generally).
  5. When there is no textbook or teacher, learning is not impossible.
  6. Successful spreadbetters are a unique small group of people, who refuse to give up, who are self-directed in their learning. They are selected by a process of deselection.

[Disclaimer: The above is not intended to get anybody into live trading. The article is limited to addressing common preconceptions and misconceptions about how to learn trading. No person new to trading, should launch into a live account, unless they have demonstrated real evidence-based prospects of gaining the required skill – and that means becoming consistently profitable on demo accounts first. But even after that losses with real money are quite possible. The ‘sue yourself’ principle applies.]



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