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What Alfred Hitchcock Teaches Us About Consistent Trading

It may be surprising, but Alfred Hitchcock can teach us a lot about trading. He was a master of his craft, and to become better traders we can use his ideas when day trading, swing trading or investing.

Do not enter any battle unprepared, for it opens the gates to disaster.  Instead plan everything beforehand so that impulsiveness does not enter the arena with you. Militaristic like disciple will lead to more fruitful endeavors than will an emotional mentality.

Trading is the same as any life path in which one strives to excel.  All aspects must be mastered, with very little left to chance.  The pattern for success is formulaic; authors with sales in the millions of dollars and a plethora of books lining the shelves write based on a formula.  Sitcoms are all very similar on many levels, using the same comedic ploys.

Alfred Hitchcock and actress Claude Jade
Alfred Hitchcock and actress Claude Jade

Formulaic strategizing works – it may flop occasionally but winners by far cover the losers.  Know your craft and masterfully plan, don’t deviate, and over the long-run more winners than losers are produced.

Alfred Hitchcock was a prime example of this.  His first film was a flop, The Pleasure Garden, in 1925.  He had no control over what was happening and lacked the technical expertise to really run the film the way he wanted…even though he was technically in command.  It was at that point he decided he needed to approach his career in a much different way.

Hitchcock learned everything he could about all aspects of film making: sound, camera work, lighting, editing and the list goes on.  He learned everything he could about the industry, immersing himself in it. He studied the types of people he would be working with and planned everything in advance leaving nothing to chance.  Everything was so well planned that no one could mess up.  All Hitchcock, and those around him,  had to do was follow the plan he laid out…and it was laid out so well that it was nearly impossible to deviate from.

The trading arena is fraught with distractions, opinion, ideas, “news” and second-by-second changes in price, volume, bids/offers, volatility and sentiment.  This will always occur and those distractions never go away, we know that, yet in the moment we can get caught up in it all.  Like Hitchcock, we must prepare rigorously for each day (see Create a Day Trading Routine to Avoid Mistakes). Prior to action, what will be done, how it will be executed and what will be avoided must be laid out in explicit detail.

Life, and battles, are won at the margin.  It is he/she who pushes past comfort, plans a little more and little further ahead and masters emotional constraint (so they can implement the plan) who wins the battle.  Once the plan is laid out, let it run its course (see How to Make a Trading Plan).  You have considered all before hand, nothing is left to chance, and therefore emotions lack use once the plan has been hatched.

Sit back and watch your work.  Smile, for when the trading day begins, much of your work is already done.

We humans like to see ourselves as rational creatures.  We imagine that what separates us from animals is the ability to think and reason.  But that is only partly true: what distinguishes us from animals just as much is our capacity to laugh, to cry, to feel a range of emotions.  We are in fact emotional creatures as well as rational ones, and although we like to think we govern our actions through reason and thought, what most often dictates our behavior is the emotion we feel in the moment.”
~Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

By Cory Mitchell, CMT.

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Use the “mirror effect” in unpredictable markets – Mythology (and martial arts) teach through the story of Medusa that when you are uncertain about what to do, mirror the movements of your adversary.

History Teaches Us to Trade Patiently – 17th century Ming Painter Chou Young teaches just how important being patient is; if we aren’t patient with trades we will likely end up worse than be began.

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