People often ask me what makes a great trader. I can really only answer this from my own perspective, because I believeis a very personal thing and different strategies and characteristics apply to different traders. First of all, I don't consider myself a great trader; I had some above-average success in the late 90's that led to my early retirement around age 30. However, the market conditions in which I traded no longer exist (and probably never will again) and the strategy I employed would be a sure loser in current market conditions.
So answering what makes a great trader becomes less about specific strategies and more about characteristics. I came across this article yesterday and thought it summed it up nicely. It presents the 9 characteristics of great traders.
The first characteristic is an absolute must for any long-term success. 10,000 hours. That's what it takes. The article says that's ten years experience at 4 hours per day. I took a different tack. I worked 18-hour days for about 5 years. I could not have enjoyed the success I did if it weren't for a total commitment to. This mean that if I wasn't at work , I was at home analyzing trades or studying new methods. The last two years I was , I took one week-long vacation to Tahiti and one 4-day weekend in Whistler, Canada. The whole rest of the time I ate, breathed, and slept . It was a horrible way to live, but it paid off in the end.
The other bit of great advice is to be like a machine. The better you are at divorcing your emotions from, the better your results will be. I can't tell you how many times I watched otherwise decent traders lose control and blow themselves up. It's like watching someone go on tilt when you're playing poker. When this happens to you, you need to take some time away from (2 or 3 sessions, or until you feel sure you've regained your composure). Emotions will kill you in this game.
Obviously, for those more inclined toward quant, tools are of the utmost importance. Make sure you're using the best available and that you're not ignoring obvious signals because you have a hunch they might be wrong. The tools are there for a reason and, trust me, they're right a hell of a lot more often than you are.
Any active traders have anything they'd add to this list?