Talk about information overload...
There's so much news and data, so many opinions about events and data points, so many financial publications, so many shows, so many stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), futures, options, derivatives, so many opposing points of views about everything, it's enough to make your head explode and your investing comfort level implode.
Most people tend towards like-minded analysts and economic analysis that confirms what they're seeing and thinking. There's a kind of comfort zone there, where "We're in this together and if we're wrong, well, I wasn't alone; but if we're right, boy am I smart."
Then there are the "skittish" investors who think they know what they're doing - that is, until they hear a different opinion from someone, anyone, they think has a leg up on them. And what do they do then? They usually ask, "Really?" Meaning, "Do you know something I don't know?" Chances are, at that point, they are going to panic.
And, of course, there are those investors who know they are right, and stick by their convictions and positions all the way to, well, you know where.
Maybe you've been there.
I was there myself when I started trading professionally on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) in 1982.
But I quickly distanced myself from all the noise that distracted me from being a successful trader.
There is no magic bullet to being a successful investor; that's the bad news. The good news is that it's a lot simpler that everyone makes it out to be.
Here are the four most important trading lessons I have learned: