“It takes time, it takes discipline, it takes a method, it takes experience” @ErnTos
In Members in Profile, we interview stand-out members that show strong aptitude and work ethic. Our goal is to highlight different folks so that you can see the effort that our members are putting into their trading and hopefully learn from their experiences of the Convergent Trading Community.
We hope you enjoy hearing what @ErnTos has to say!
What brought you into trading?
Ever since my day’s as an undergrad at USC, I’ve had an interest in investing. Over the years I’ve been disciplined about first, saving, second, investing. Also, working as a journalist during my early years exposed me to tons of information about investing, macroeconomics, microeconomics, some of it legit, a lot of it not so much. That honed my investing approach for longer-term motions. That worked for a long time. Plus, there’ve been macro market paradigms where a house plant could make money.
I wanted to learn more about unlocking a lot of the unexplained swings I’d see. It will sound counter-intuitive, but I got tired of dealing with “market irrationalities.” The more I learned about trading and volume profiling the more things made sense to me, especially from a behavioral economics point of view.
What do you like most about Convergent?
Where do I start? There’s so much to like. The process, the discipline, the expert trading staff (their insights), the suite of tools, tips, techniques. That said, I think the biggest differentiator is the community. Let me break that down for a second. The community of head traders (where else are you going to get that kind of expert access?), the community of other traders (where else can you share and learn ideas on what works and what doesn’t), within the community the focus on helping each other get better with accountability partners (you are the company you keep, so having good trading partners levels up the game).
How have these aspects helped you grow as a trader?
I think there are two answers to this question. First, the process discipline is huge. It may take some folks a minute to really understand what process truly means. For me, it’s getting up 90 minutes before the market opens, reading the latest macro and micro news, news-generating economic announcements, looking at where the market’s been and where it’s likely to go. Part of that process is the statistics. Yeah, I’ve done the indicator thing, but Convergent is the first trading group to really use stats to infer human behavior. This totally resonates with my years of undergraduate and graduate level statistics. It’s also about designing your plan to trade for the day. It’s about executing against that plan.
Second is what I’ll call psychological discipline. When trading, as opposed to investing, it is so easy to get emotionally caught up in the moment. If you’re trading on emotion (and don’t lie, a lot of us have done that) then you’ve lost your ability to objectively read the market. It reminds me of a very animated guy I witnessed once playing blackjack in Las Vegas. He had a $40k stack of chips. Kept putting $1k bets down hand after hand after hand, after hand. Didn’t take him long to burn through the stack. “Come on 21,” he’d say.
That can happen super easily in trading. The trick is (sounds corny) to know thyself. Convergent has been instrumental in 1.) bringing this to my attention 2.) Providing tools (Jared Tendler’s book and approach) 3.) actually providing 1:1 guidance from the Market Mavens in two different Group Mentoring Sessions. I can now wake up in the morning, FOMO-free, and trade. I’ve even learned to work with my triggers so that I avoid going down the “Trail of Tilt.” Very unlikely I would’ve even considered this factor in my trading. I now consider it the most important.
Do you have a favorite community quote or webinar?
My favorite quotes change over time as I mature on my journey. The most recent one I like I heard this week on a Trade Talk session. When asked what’s the biggest mistake beginning traders make, John471 talked about accepting randomness earlier in his career. He said, “I take these trades when they show up and then whatever happens, happens. I was able to completely divorce the emotionality of the market going up or down having anything to do with my performance. I totally accepted the randomness.”
For webinars, the Group Mentoring Sessions are awesome because you get 3-on-1 Attention from FT71, John471, and BrianB. I mean, where else can you get that expertise on a particular aspect of your trading? Plus, they know how to really hone in on what’s holding you back.
Do you have any advice for new traders?
Patience, patience, patience. I’ve learned that trading is a multi-layered tapestry of stuff you must be good at. It’s not get-rich-quick. There’s such an expectation out there to hit a homerun. Imagine if you broke your leg, walked into the ER to have it set, and the person attending you (not a trained MD) says, “Oh, yeah. I saw this on a YouTube video last night. I know just how set this kind of a break.” You sticking around?
I will tell you it takes time, it takes discipline, it takes a method, it takes experience. It will seem repetitive to some, boring to others, even frustrating. But be patient, learn, and observe. I cannot think of a better community to do that in than Convergent Trading. Between the daily Traderbite, the various member-only sessions, the running commentary in the Market Mavens chat channel, there’s a rich resource pool to help support you on your trading journey.
Have you participated in the #TradeRight Program? What discoveries have you made?
I have. I think the most important part of doing the Trade Right challenge is just accepting the process of prep and journaling. In the beginning we make a lot of poor decisions trading, but through proper prep and journaling we can begin to slowly minimize our errors and increase the things we do that are working.
What is your favorite non-trading activity/hobby?
There are two things that I like to do away from my trading desk: run & fly airplanes. I like to run because it’s a great physical escape, keeps you mentally sharp, plus there’s discipline involved there.
I’ve flown general aviation airplanes for years as an avocation. It’s one of those things where you must be totally focused in the moment when doing it or bad things might happen. I find a lot of parallels between it and trading: there’s a process, you’ve got to use checklists, there’s a bit of math involved, you’ve got to read the environment (Weather, other airplanes, air traffic control), but there’s nothing like seeing the world from a few thousand feet above the ground. It’s really breath taking.
Have you completed the #TradeRight Program? What discoveries have you made?
Yes, I have. It’s one of the first things I did after joining Convergent Trading. I recommend everyone do it ASAP because it is going to give you a real feel for what it takes to do this seriously and succeed. It’s a great baseline. I discovered that trading isn’t a game, it’s a business. If you’re going to be in business, then you’ve got to do the homework, you need a plan. I also learned that if you do the homework and focus, then consistent results are not a dream but entirely possible. It becomes real. Good luck!
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