Michelle B submits: In the beginning years of my learning trading, I encountered two opposing trading styles–1) anticipating a trading move before it got under way, and 2) reacting to the move once it had clearly started. The proponents of these two approaches were both equally and dogmatically adamant their stance was correct and the only worthwhile one, while the other was an undisciplined joke. The anticipation crowd called the reaction crowd a bunch of chasing sheep, while the reaction crowd called the anticipation crowd a bunch of impatient losers.
Among my mentors, the two with whom I had the most contact were followers of these opposing perspectives. For a developing trader, this environment was like the push/pull of a dysfunctional family. I was expected to do two opposing actions for the same situation! Because of this conflictual learning situation, I would feel uncomfortable if I anticipated a move, even if it worked, and I would feel just as uncomfortable if I reacted to a move, even if it worked. Eventually I became stuck, trigger-shy, and unable to execute perceived opportunities.
By frequently trading, by developing a basic skill set, by actively searching out other opinions, and most importantly, by watching the tape via streaming charts, I eventually developed the confidence to trust in my ability to discern when to do one or the other, or even to do the more sophisticated combination of both, as deemed appropriate per trade. Therefore, I was able to conclude that these mentors could both very well go take a hike, and that I would become my own mentor. The incomparable Brett Steenbarger has mentioned that being your own mentor is the preferred route.
Both my former mentors, to the best of my knowledge, are still in the business of trading successfully. They found their edge, and they consistently follow it. However, embracing their edge so completely meant they were very biased as teachers, because they were incapable of identifying and encouraging my ability to do both edges. They gave me the threads though, and it was my own mentoring that wove those threads into a battle dress which I wear when I interact with the market.
A concrete result of my mentoring can be seen in, ININ, An Anatomy of a Friday Morning Daytrade, where I both anticipated and reacted by purchasing half of my lot before the breakout, and the other half after the breakout.