Is it possible to copy another trader’s exact style?

In more than 40 years of trading, I have never met consistently profitable traders who did not have a style unique to themselves

Over the  years I have constantly harped that to be successful a trader must develop his or her own unique approach to trading. The Factor is not a trading or signaling service because I do not believe in signaling services.

I am privileged to have belonged for years to a private online forum that includes some of the best traders in the world – a number of whom have been featured in the Market Wizards series. Recently the subject of mirroring another trader’s style was a topic of lively discussion within the group. There were some remarkably insightful comments made that I want to share with you. These comments were made by traders whose names you would recognize.

“The interesting bit for me is that I don’t think you can change yourself to fit a strategy; If YOU are the problem you either need to quit trading or find a strategy that fits you (which is actually very circular, because if you can’t find a strategy which works for you over time then it means you should not be trading). I guess the caveat is if you are able to fundamentally change who you are. I have never seen it done, I wonder if anyone else has?” – Comment from one of the largest and most successful traders in the world, former head of prop trading for a major global trading operation.

“Well put guys, I’m glad someone made mention of the ‘circular’ nature of the discussion and explained it better than I could have. I think this is precisely why ‘style drift’ among struggling traders is so common, because they think that a certain style doesn’t fit them so they keep moving from style to style, not realizing the real problem. It’s a hard thing to tell someone ‘they’re not cut out for something’, but if what you guys are arguing is correct that seems to be the unavoidable conclusion for many.” – Comment from a member of one of the most successful trading families in the U.S.

“It is difficult to bleach a leopard’s spots and if you do, it is still a leopard. Style drift is essentially grail hunting for traders. You know, it’s that one thing that will make all the difference in this trade and the ones that come after. Experience tells me this is futile. Trading tools can be mastered through myelination, however self-mastery appears to be the where the question of success or failure is found. A commitment to the process of controlling emotions is a life journey and not an event. It has to be practiced through prayer, meditation, routine, etc… If this is not tended to daily, failure is pretty much guaranteed.” Comment from one of the largest wealth managers in the U.S.


There are many “slick-willy” promoters on internet trading sites that promise great success if you would only take their signals, buy their systems or follow their advice. Don’t buy what they are selling. Becoming a consistently profitable trader is a process of trial and error that must be unique to only you. It takes three to five years to figure out what  your edge will be … and then a lifetime of refinement.

If there is one skill that a novice trader must develop first, it is strict money management. What you do with a trade is far more important than when, where or why you got into a trade in the first place. My trading guideline is to exit any losing trade each Friday and to risk less than 1% on any given trade. Novice traders must first learn to keep their capital intact while figuring out (through trial and errror) what approach will be fit their personality, risk tolerance, trading time frame, signaling techniques and ways to manage their emotions.

This is why I constantly bark in the Factor Service about managing risks, managing emotions, developing discipline and patience and adopting a trading approach that is consistent with who and what you are.