Seth over at SMB has a great article where he goes over the top attributes that many successful traders possess:
While I had alot of questions about the nature of the day trading program, I found myself very curious to see how each of them would answer the following question: What do you think are the top three characteristics of a successful day trader? I was really interested to see if those same traits translated easily over to options trading (which they did by the way). I thought their respective answers were very helpful.
You can read the full piece here.
All of those are good answers, but Seth asked me to chime in on some other possibilities. Below is my response:
Obviously there's going to be a lot of overlap with respect to what people consider the "best attributes" in traders, but I'll throw in some extras that can be viewed as standalone traits or derivatives of others already mentioned:
1. A great trader puts in the work outside market hours. Imagine Brian Urlacher trying to figure out the Colts' offensive scheme in the middle of the game-- it doesn't work. The same thing happens in trading-- many new traders try and figure out their strategies during the 6.5 hour live-fire sessions on the weekdays. Trader development significantly slows when there's a crapton of red/green flashy lights on the screen; it's best to set aside a few hours outside of RTH to review and plan for the next day.
2. High self-efficacy. This essentially means that you believe that any subject you take on can be learned. @stockbee is great at describing this psychological component of our trading in many, many posts:http://bit.ly/hd1rBX
3. Dedication to something outside of trading. This is needed both to keep you sane and help your trader development. If you can take on something that has measurable goals that you can track yourself against, it will help you develop cross-discipline strengths. I tend to suggest physical activities such as powerlifting or running, but it can also be chess, piano, go, skeet shooting, etc.