Is trading an art or a science? This is a conversation that I had with a very successful trader:
Nazy: Do you believe trading is an art or a science?
Trader: Definitely a science.
Nazy: How do you trade?
Trader: I use an automated system so there will be no emotions attached.
Nazy: How did you come up with that system?
Trader: I have done my homework. I really know my markets. In addition, I learned
the system inside out and understood its assumptions. I constantly test it
and push it to its limits.
Nazy: So, you are not relying on the system formulas alone. Are you?
Trader: No. I come up with my own angles and formulas.
Nazy: Your own formulas give you the edge.
Nazy: How do you come up with your own formulas?
Trader: It is based on my knowledge, experience and ideas.
Nazy: How do you define it? Do you consider it your feel and intuition for the
Trader: Yes. It is something inside of me. It is a gut feeling that I have.
Nazy: So, that is when the art comes into play? Doesn't it?
This is how he understood that trading is more than a science. It is also an art.
If trading was purely a science, you wouldn't need traders. Everything could be done through program trading. However, to be successful, to have that edge, not only you do need the science of trading, but you also need to develop the mental edge and the art of trading.
The art of trading is the reason that one person can make money with a given system and another person cannot. It is about understanding your system and tweaking it to suit your purpose and your personality.
So going back to the original question, is trading an art or a science? It is both. You need to develop the skills and then the skills become your habit. In the process, you develop a feel for the markets and trading becomes an art.
You cannot develop your feel for the markets by reading books or studying alone. You need to be in the game and understand the market behavior. You need to listen to the market and learn from it, rather than impose your views on it.
When you develop your feel and intuition for the markets, you build your confidence. By doing that, you trust yourself more and you do not feel the urge to follow others. You talk to them and seek their advice, and you are comfortable with your own conclusion even if it goes against the norm.
Remember, your success is not about what is happening in the markets. It's about the choices that you make and how comfortable you are with your choices.
Norman Vincent Peale said, "Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure."
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