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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Picture of Bumper.
Picture of the head's law.
Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
Trading Basics: Evolution of a Trader book.
Fundamental Analysis and Position Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Swing and Day Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns 2nd Edition book.

Bulkowski's Trader Qualities

Class Elliott Wave Fundamentals Psychology Quiz Research Setups Software Tutorials More...
Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 04/20/2018
24,463 -201.95 -0.8%
10,579 -92.91 -0.9%
691 -5.96 -0.9%
7,146 -91.93 -1.3%
2,670 -22.99 -0.9%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 04/13/2018
25,300 or 23,400 by 05/01/2018
10,800 or 9,800 by 05/01/2018
670 or 710 by 05/01/2018
7,400 or 6,800 by 05/01/2018
2,750 or 2,600 by 05/01/2018

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.


I listened to a radio interview of Bill Whisenant that was originally broadcast on December 27, 2008. Bill received a doctorate in clinical psychology and practiced for 20 years before getting tired of listening to people complain. Now he is a trader, trading coach, and instructor.

Not everyone can be a successful trader, one that makes a living by trading the markets. Based on research, Bill identified three factors that are key to trading success. Before I describe what they are, let's take a quiz by answering yes or no to the following questions.

  1. Do you worry a lot?
  2. Do you remain calm and relaxed in tense situations?
  3. Are you a trusting individual?
  4. Do you drive at or below the speed limit most of the time?
  5. Are you a perfectionist?
  6. Do you work on a project from start to end before beginning another one?
  7. Do you like to complete projects?
  8. Did you score well on your SATs, that is, do you possess above average intelligence?
  9. Do you like math or are a good problem solver?
  10. When driving and the stop light turns green, do you accelerate faster than the car next to you?

Score one point for each "Yes" answer except on the first (#1) and last (#10) questions. Those should be "No." Add up your score. The higher the score the more likely it will be that you can become a successful trader.

The following describes the qualities that successful traders possess.

  1. Emotional stability. You don't have to be nuts to trade, but it helps! That is a joke, of course. Emotional stability is grace under pressure. A successful trader must be able to remain calm in difficult situations. Traders that rank very high on the emotional stability scale have very low anxiety levels, remain calm, relaxed, and have a low suspicion level. They tend to be trusting individuals and are not paranoid. You won't hear them blame the market makers for forcing the stock to hit their stop and they take responsibility for their actions. Successful traders tend to be well grounded.

  3. Discipline. Successful traders are ones that can follow the rules. They are the guys that drive the speed limit. They tend to be perfectionist and take pride in their work. They like to take a project from start to finish and get joy from completing it successfully. Pilots, trained to follow checklists, tend to make good traders. An impulse oriented individual will have difficulty achieving the discipline to become a successful trader.

  5. Intelligence. Bill says that successful traders tend to be intelligent. They need not have the IQ of Einstein but they are above average in intelligence. They tend to be good problem solvers and good with numbers, such as statistics. They understand that trading is based on probability, that not every trade will work as planned.

Can you learn to become a successful trader? Yes. But sometimes if you don't have what it takes, try another profession.

-- Thomas Bulkowski


See Also

  • The centered trader. Are you the type of trader that lets emotions flow by without reacting, focused only on the trade? Take the quiz to test how centered you are and how to fix any problems you discover.
  • One secret to trading success: Commitment. Bulkowski looks at trading commitment, the mistakes that traders make and how to recover from them.
  • Trading hesitation. Why do traders hesitate when entering a trade or exiting one? Read this to find out why and what you can do to prevent losses from growing out of control.
  • Trading like a Samurai. Learn how to trade like a Samurai, using your head instead of your body. The article discusses ACTION: six tips to help your trade better.

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. I own my body, but I share!