Why Learning to Trade is So Difficult Compared to Other Skills

The Duomo Initiative
10 min readSep 18, 2023

Take a look at these different activities:

On the left, we have a kid’s chess tournament; on the right, the World Chess Championship.

On the left, a kid winning a science fair for their research on bacteria in space; on the right is an astronaut studying bacteria in space.

On the left, an amateur Sunday league football team; on the right, the greatest football team ever 😉.

What do we see in each of these cases?

People operate at their own level and thrive. Children compete against children, professionals against professionals, and amateurs against amateurs.

With most other complex skills, you develop in environments that match your ability level or age group. Eventually, you might progress to face off against the elites. That’s not the case with trading. You’re always in the deep end.

Imagine a child playing football competitively against Lionel Messi. The likelihood of them even touching the ball is minimal. They’d feel frustrated, helpless, and eventually give up.

The Importance of Feeling Competent

A famous study looked into how people develop expertise. It found that a critical factor was competence-based motivation. In other words, an individual’s sense of achievement drives their motivation to keep progressing. A feeling of competence leads to the development of more competence.

If that feeling of competence isn’t there, the desire to improve disappears. This is what happens to many traders.

But here’s the thing… It’s not absolute competence that we need. We just need to feel relatively competent.

For example, if a beginner tennis player does well against fellow beginners, they’ll feel competent, and this will drive them to progress further. They might not recognize how far they…



The Duomo Initiative

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