The Trader or The Strategy - Which Is More Important?

Too much importance is placed on the strategy and setup rather than the trader that employs the strategy and picks the setup. The fact is, almost any strategy can make money if it is paired with the proper setup and is properly executed by the trader. The strategy is the tool and the trader is the craftsman. If the craftsman can’t use his tools properly, nothing that he builds will be of high quality.

Is there a point to getting a bigger, better, or newer tool to improve your results when you don’t get results with the tools that you currently have? No. That would be a waste of resources because you haven’t corrected the weakest link, which is the person using the tool. Even with the most expensive state of the art tool, the unskilled craftsman will still make the same mistakes such as not hitting the nail square on the head or striking their fingers instead of the nail. Give the same hammer to a skilled and experienced craftsman and the results will be works of art. There is a reason why 2 traders with the same strategy and trading the same setup will often have very different results.

Would getting a better quality nail (setup) fix the problem of the craftsman? A little bit. With a higher quality nail, it would be less likely to bend when not hit straight. This would be more forgiving on the unskilled craftsman that can’t swing a hammer straight. It still doesn’t solve the problem of the craftsman not being able to control his tool or the problem of the craftsman picking a 3 inch nail when only a 1 inch nail is appropriate.

A flawed part of our psychology is the tendency to assign blame instead of accepting it. The hammer or the nail are easy scapegoats to blame. They won’t defend themselves, they won’t blame the person holding them, and they won’t complain when they are used improperly. The only thing harder for the craftsman than using the tool is accepting that they are 100% responsible for anything done with the tool once the tool is in their hands.

A good craftsman doesn’t blame his tools for his failure nor give his tools credit for his success. You have never heard anyone say “That hammer and those nails did a great job or a bad job building that house”. Without the craftsman, these inanimate objects do nothing. The craftsman is the most important part of the equation. The craftsman has the plan of action, wields the hammer, selects the nail, and executes striking the nail with the hammer. I hire a craftsman to make repairs based on the craftsman’s ability not on how much he paid for his hammer.

I could give a trader Thor’s hammer and it would be useless to the trader because they are not able to even lift it. Likewise, I could give a trader George Soros’ strategy and they would lose money if they don’t have the skill level to make it work properly.

Once you stop strategy hopping and are no longer chasing the better ‘tool’ or the quick fix to your trading problems, you can learn to become skilled with the tools that you already have. Upgrading the tool only makes for a better tool. Improving the craftsman makes for a better craftsman and makes every tool used by the craftsman better by virtue of being in capable hands.

In every case there needs to be a strategy (tool), setup (nail), and a trader (craftsman) that is capable of using the strategy to execute on the setup. The best tool is the one fits well in the hands of the craftsman and can be used effectively by the craftsman. The trader makes the strategy work, the strategy doesn’t make the trader a better craftsman.


I would say both, but would lean more towards the strategy

It is absolutely 100% that the TRADER is responsible for being profitable, or conversely blowing any account. Of course strategy and process should be able to produce more winning trades than losers, but even then most traders still fail to succeed.

For Smith 2525, this is an important learning exercise for newbies, who blame everything that goes wrong on their strategies instead of themselves.

A good craftsman doesn’t blame his tools.

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Strategy-hopping is a dangerous response to losses and should definitely be avoided.

However, the evidence suggests that the majority of traders are using the wrong strategy and the wrong set-up and the wrong style. They do not have a hope in hell.


I think it is possible to have an unprofitable strategy. Especially, if you’re a rookie and you’re trying to figure out your own strategy. But if you backtest honestly, you’ll see that it doesn’t work, at least not for you.

I used to trade MAs. I backtested it, and I realized that trading MAs is not a good fit for me. I’m using a price action strategy much backtests much better, and I still have trouble applying it in real time.

Always, after I review my mistakes, I see how my strategy was right–I just applied it wrong.

This is an interesting question! :blush: And I’d agree with most of the people here. I think that although they’re both important, the trader plays a bigger part in the his success/ being profitable. :thinking: I mean, even just the decision to use a particular strategy already relies so much on the trader.


How do you backtest price action system if there is no algorithm? Every trading situation in price action systems are considered as different…

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You look in the chart for an entry signal determined by your strategy, then do what your strategy says to do.

You do this over and over to gain an understand of how the strategy works.