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Some of the best trades come when everyone gets very panicky. The crowd can often act very stupidly in the markets. You can picture price fluctuations around an equilibrium level as a rubber band being stretched — if it gets pulled too far, eventually it will snap back. As a short-term trader, I try to wait until the rubber band is stretched to its extreme point.

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The third important ingredient for achieving peak performance is attitude. Attitude is how you deal with the inevitable adverse situations that occur in the markets. Attitude is also how you handle the daily grind, the constant 2 steps forward and 2 steps back.

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The truth is that once you get down on the trading floor, you find that the traders come from all walks of life. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a trader. In fact, some of the best traders whom I knew down on the floor were surf bums. Formal education didn’t really seem to have much to do with a person’s skill as a trader.

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I try to wait until things set up just right before I take a trade. Then, when I’m ready to take the trade, I slowly count to ten before I pick up the phone. It’s better to have the wrong idea and good timing than the right idea and bad timing.