Unconscious Incompetence Stage: A Superhero’s Journey

This 6-episode series that I will be releasing in Investadaily will be about how we are progressing as a trader based on observations from the journey of high-level traders and by checking how they react in the social media. This is also based on the four stages of competence.

First, we will talk about the infancy stage or the Unconscious Incompetence Stage. I will be calling this as the Superman Stage. This is where most of the traders experience the beginner’s luck and the Superman Syndrome. This is not only experienced by new traders but also veteran traders who seek growth by either trading a new market or using a new strategy. Every time a trader tries something new, he/she will get back to this stage. The difference between a new trader and a veteran trader on this stage is how fast they can get out of this phase.

Common characteristics of traders on the Unconscious Incompetence stage

  • Superman Syndrome

In trading, Superman Syndrome is a highly deadly disease that will kill a trader’s port if not treated. This is where most of the traders vastly allocate their positions, leverage their port and focus on the rewards. They are on a high that they think they are invincible. Most new traders who gained from their first few trades have experienced this while others who have not, either quit or are still finding that euphoric feeling through adding more positions to their losing trades or overly sizing their positions to trending stocks without any plans.

  • Validation

The need to experience the profits and the validation to prove that what they are doing is right is what fuels them during this Unconscious Incompetence Stage. Since the experience is new, there is still doubt at the back of their mind and the only thing to create confidence is the validation from others that what they are doing is right. 

  • Highly Volatile Emotions

A trader who is extremely invested in a trading idea or, for lack of a better word, is head over heels in love with a certain stock is exposed to a very emotional ride. Traders who are constantly deliberating to every comment, group chat or any other type of social media is a big sign that they are still at the infancy stage. Even a superhero is awfully emotional when he is aware of his superpower, how much more a trader who experienced profits just by pressing that buy and sell button?

How will the Unconscious Incompetence Stage end?

Like in any movies, Superman will deal with many challenges including a face to face with Lex Luthor or worse, a comet of Kryptonite. The only to end this is when a trader experiences a big loss or a series of losses that will shatter his confidence.

Like a kryptonite spear piercing on their flesh, they will feel that burning sensation once they see their port turn from green to red. In the movies, we only see Superman win in the end but if you analyze the movie, there were a lot of Kryptonians who perished. Just like in trading, many will quit and will not survive but to win, one must also do what any Superhero did to defeat the enemy.

How to overcome the Unconscious Incompetence Stage?

If you have watched any superhero movies, most of the superheroes overcome their challenges by being humble, assessing what they did wrong and accepting that they simply do not know everything yet. Yes, NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING YET.

The problem of traders who are stuck on this stage is that they do not know what they do not know. This is because of Ego constantly whispering on their ear telling them that they are always right and that they already know everything about trading just because of one jackpot trade or a series of winning trades. Only by being humble and starting to understand the basic concepts of trading will traders overcome this stage.

If you are trapped on this stage, my proposal is to humble yourselves and focus on the basics. Even Superheroes need a break and learn the essentials in controlling their power. As Spiderman said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.


Full Name: Jan-Angel Echano
Investagrams username: @Soral


About the Contributor:
A passionate trader who aims to share the reality, the HOWs and the WHYs in trading. My goal is to help traders and investors like me to continuously improve and refine our skills to the path of mastery.

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