The Role of the “Waiter” in Successful Trading

waiting in stock market trading, being a waiter in trading

The Importance of Patience in Trading

Anyone who has tried to trade on their own, can attest to the fact that trading is not “easy”. But it certainly seems that it shouldn’t be that hard right? After all, the market can only go up or down, so even at 1 to 1 risk to reward, one only has to learn to be “right” a bit more ten half the time.


Since most traders come from successful backgrounds in other professions, they assume this task isn’t that daunting, and if they just apply the same rigor to trading they bring to the rest of their life, all will be well.


It is safe to say however, that virtually every single person that has gone down the trading path has found it is definitely not as simple as it may seem.


So why is that? As someone who has a keen interest in neuroscience (from the lay person’s perspective), I can tell you that with most of life’s self imposed obstacles, understanding the “why” is a giant step — probably a “50% of the way” step, to figuring out the “how”. The cogent answer to “why” is because trading is the exact antithesis of human nature! All the skills that work wonderfully in all other areas of life, largely don’t work in trading!!! This is a multi faceted phenomena, so today I will just address one aspect that can at least help you immediately.


Understanding the Role of the ‘Waiter’ in Successful Trading

We think of the job of “trading” as actually doing stuff, like putting on trades, and buying and selling. Hard work and taking action are what got us to success this far in life. But “action” is the last thing you want in successful trading. Understand we are not here for “action” and if that is what you crave then you truly have a far better chance of success at a casino (let that sink in).


Studies of successful traders overwhelmingly show that number of trades is inversely proportional to profitable trading. Hence the trader needs to learn that their job title isn’t really “trader”, but rather their appropriate job title is “waiter”. This is difficult to do even after you understand its inherent truth. And the neuroscience answer to the “why” of that, is a topic for another day.


Patience is a great skill in trading. There are simple strategies that do work more than 50% of the time. They do not necessarily present themselves on a regular basis though. It really becomes most apparent 6 months down the road, when you look at a chart of a choppy market, know you stayed out of it, and participated only when it started to trend later on. When it’s occurring though, it will seem quite difficult, annoying, bothersome and a host of other emotions. But being a “waiter” not a “trader” pays in the long run.

Joe Duffy is a highly accomplished institutional prop trader, trading system developer, and financial writer. He offers FFR Trading clients access to his Target Zone and Keypoint Options trading services.  More about Target Zone Options

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