In my mid-40s I returned to a past time I’d enjoyed as a young boy – flyfishing – with all the enthusiasm I had in my youth. There was one important difference: my wife started joining me on outings with the fly rod.
There were two such fishing trips that really stood out, and taught me a lot about fishing, as well as trading.
The first was when I took my wife to a small stream to teach her how to cast. After explaining the essentials, I left her to continue practising at a small pool that had consistently proved unproductive -for me – over the years. I went charging off in the direction of all those little riffles, runs and deep pools where I had hooked into fish with great success in the past.
But it was a hot, hard day’s fishing, and after two hours I turned around empty-handed and dragged myself back to the pool I’d left my wife at.
She was sitting down eating a sandwich when I walked up to ask how she had fared. She looked up with a beaming face, and pointed to where a beautiful brown trout lay on a bed of grass.
She told me how she had cast the fly up to the top of the pool and had a bite almost straight away, which she missed. Being mad with herself for having missed the take, she proceeded to thrash the pool for the best part of two hours until the trout finally (out of anger, frustration or perhaps suicidal resignation!) had finally struck again, and this time she set the hook.
The second occasion was when we made an excursion to a reservoir that had only recently been stocked with young. We were after the larger fish of course, but quite prepared to have some fun catching and releasing the eager juveniles.
I kitted up and went blundering off along the rocks of the foreshore, fishing everywhere that seemed a likely place to pull up a monster from the deep. My wife on the other hand, sat down a few metres from where we had parked, and just stared at the water. She hadn’t even started unpacking her rod and reel before I’d been fishing for quite some while, walking almost out of sight of her.
Almost 2 hours later I returned, empty-handed once more, sore-footed and grumpy because I hadn’t seen a single fish moving. The wife on the other hand – after quietly observing what was going on in the small patch of water in front of her – had got down fishing and landed a couple of nice, pan-sized fish that had begun to rise as she sat there waiting patiently.
As if that wasn’t galling enough to my male ego, she proceeded to tell me about all the other things she’d seen while waiting to fish, and after she’d finished fishing. The flock of Ibis that landed, fed and took off, the platypus that appeared like a floating log until it drifted right up to her feet before it flipped over in the water and disappeared. And so on; you get the drift. While I’d been crashing through the environment sending everything running for cover, she had settled into that environment and reaped the benefits.
Now, I hope you can see some of the lessons I learned from those days spent fishing with my wife. Not just about fishing, but also about the psychological approach to trading that bring results.
Trading over the years has been dominated by males. From stockbroking to working on a trading desk to the world of the at-home retail trader, it was relatively rare to find a woman.
This has all changed, and the trend continues. I’m noticing more and more women joining the mailing lists for AuthenticFX, and they are very welcome!
But, back to the controversial claim made in the heading of this article, do you think women are better traders? I have a sneaking suspicion they are, and I know it’s sexist of me to make a general, sweeping statement/assumption like that. Even so, I think there are certain aspects to the way women approach things that can give them an edge over us males in trading. I will mention three, covered by the stories I told at the beginning of this article.
Women Are Better Traders. Here’s Why…
The first is Patience. As a general rule I’ve found women to be less gung ho, and less inclined to rush in expecting instant results. Any trader who’s been around a while knows this is a great character trait to develop.
The second is Observation. Attention to Detail. Women sometimes have a reputation for being picky, for fussing over details. Well, maybe, but it’s another handy tendency when it comes to trading, due to the mountain of detail involved.
Of course, male or female, a trader needs to be able to differentiate between those details that will help them in the trade, and those that will get them off track. So I guess it’s only the first part of this equation, but again contrast it with the more aggressive male approach of jumping into trades as soon as a single signal appears.
The third is related to the first two, and it can be called Stillness. The ability to Not Act For The Sheer Sake Of Doing Something. It’s a male trait to be constantly on the move, either physically and/or mentally. The flip side of this yin-yang equation is the ability to slow down and centre yourself.
So, what do you think? As I said before, I’ve made a lot of assumptions and sweeping generalisations about both sexes, so make allowances for that. There are obviously women with male traits, and vice versa. But as a general observation, what would be your feedback on this issue?
I’ve given three possible differences between the sexes that can impact on trading, can you think of any more? Leave your comments below.