The Virtuoso

ISTP

Overview

Virtuosos love to explore with their hands and their eyes, touching and examining the world around them with cool rationalism and spirited curiosity. People with this personality type are natural Makers, moving from project to project, building the useful and the superfluous for the fun of it, and learning from their environment as they go. Often, mechanics and engineers, Virtuosos find no greater joy than in getting their hands dirty pulling things apart and putting them back together, just a little bit better than they were before.

Virtuosos explore ideas through creating, troubleshooting, trial and error, and first-hand experience. They enjoy having other people take an interest in their projects and sometimes don’t even mind them getting into their space. Of course, that’s on the condition that those people don’t interfere with Virtuosos’ principles and freedom, and they’ll need to be open to Virtuosos returning the interest in kind.

Virtuosos enjoy lending a hand and sharing their experience, especially with the people they care about, and it’s a shame they’re so uncommon, making up only about five percent of the population. Virtuoso women are especially rare, and the typical gender roles that society tends to expect can be a poor fit – they’ll often be seen as tomboys from a young age.

ISTP: The Virtuoso
Energy:

Introvert

Decisions:

Sensing

Attention:

Thinking

Lifestyle:

Perceiving

Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses
Introspective Over- Analyzes Detail- Oriented Over- Analyzes Clear goals and objectives Non-flexible Adaptable Last-minute analysis
Informed Decisions Hesitates to make decisions Linear Hesitant to make decisions Logical Analysis Skeptical Curious about learning Spontaneous
Wants to understand Doesn’t work well with others Organized Stubborn Objectivity Thinks too much on winning trades Wants to know all Wants to know all
Thorough Structured Research Reluctant to admit failure or learn from error Takes advice Unsure

Trading Strengths

  • Optimistic and Energetic – Virtuosos are usually up to their elbows in some project or other. Cheerful and good-natured, people with the Virtuoso personality type rarely get stressed out, preferring to go with the flow.  In trading, this optimism and energy makes Virtuosos curious about learning; they want to know everything.  They expect the markets to work, but they want to understand the nuts and bolts that actually allow the markets to work.  This allows them to build a plan with confidence and have faith that the plan will work.
  • Creative and Practical – Virtuosos are very imaginative when it comes to practical things, mechanics, and crafts. Novel ideas come easily, and they love using their hands to put them into action.  This mixture of creativity and practicality allows Virtuosos to set clear goals and objectives, conduct linear and structured research regarding their trades, but remain adaptable to changing market conditions.
  • Spontaneous and Rational – Combining spontaneity with logic, Virtuosos can switch mindsets to fit new situations with little effort, making them flexible and versatile individuals.  In trading, this spontaneity and rationality allows Virtuosos to rapidly evaluate a situation and make a split-second decision, placing them in good stead in day-trading situations. 
  • Know How to Prioritize – This flexibility comes with some unpredictability, but Virtuoso personalities are able to store their spontaneity for a rainy day, releasing their energy just when it’s needed most.  This ability to prioritize lets Virtuosos quickly reorganize a portfolio in a rational manner, often addressing the closest alligator to the boat and working outward.  They grasp the concept of working on whatever issue is closest to cash (profit or loss) first and let alone trades that are going well.
  • Great in a Crisis – With all this hands-on creativity and spontaneity, it’s no wonder that Virtuosos are naturals in crisis situations. People with this personality type usually enjoy a little physical risk, and they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty when the situation calls for it.  In trading, when market conditions change suddenly, Virtuosos rarely need to be told to hedge positions or reduce exposure.  By the time the Risk Manager puts out the call, the Virtuoso has already hedged out or liquidated problem positions.
  • Relaxed – Through all this, Virtuosos are able to stay quite relaxed. They live in the moment and go with the flow, refusing to worry too much about the future.  Despite a linear thought process, this inclination toward going with the flow often leads Virtuosos to trade short-term, free-flowing portfolios.

Nothing lights up Virtuosos like creating a solution that changes people’s lives.

Trading Weaknesses

  • Stubborn – As easily as Virtuosos go with the flow, they can also ignore it entirely, and usually move in another direction with little apology or sensitivity. If someone tries to change Virtuosos’ habits, lifestyle, or ideas through criticism, they can become quite blunt in their irritation.  Because of their structured analysis, detail-oriented and linear thought process, and organizational skills, once Virtuosos make a trading decision they stick with that position even in the face of contrary outcomes.  Additionally, Virtuosos are reluctant to admit failure or to learn from trading errors.
  • Insensitive – Virtuosos use logic, and even when they try to meet others halfway with empathy and emotional sensitivity, it rarely seems to quite come out right, if anything is even said at all.  This insensitivity often leads to Virtuosos trading on their own and being unable to benefit from the synergy of a team environment.  While not well-suited to trading in a team, Virtuosos do trade best when they have a support system in place including a coach who can withstand the insensitivity as well as a strong, involuntary risk management system in place to step in and override positions when the Virtuosos’ stubbornness and insensitivity combine to keep them in losing positions.
  • Private and Reserved – Virtuoso personalities are notoriously difficult to get to know. They are true introverts, keeping their personal matters to themselves, and often just prefer silence to small talk.  This reserved nature often makes Virtuosos difficult to coach in their trading.  Often the coach will not know if there’s an outside influence or life event that is affecting a Virtuoso’s trading performance.
  • Easily Bored – Virtuosos enjoy novelty, which makes them excellent tinkerers, but much less reliable when it comes to focusing on things long-term. Once something is understood, Virtuosos tend to simply move on to something new and more interesting.  Because of this, Virtuosos often lose interest in longer-term positions even if those positions are tying up significant amounts of capital.  The best defense for this is for Virtuosos to concentrate their efforts on shorter-term swing trades and day trading.
  • Risky Behavior – This stubbornness, difficulty with others’ emotions, focus on the moment, and easy boredom can lead to unnecessary and unhelpful boundary-pushing, just for fun. Virtuosos have been known to escalate conflict and danger just to see where it goes, something that can have disastrous consequences for everyone around if they lose control of the situation.  In trading, Virtuosos need to guard against committing too much capital to a single position.  When this risk-seeking behavior combines with the Virtuoso’s innate stubbornness, there is a very real risk of the trader experiencing a catastrophic loss on a single trade.

Conclusion

Virtuosos are best suited to day trading and shorter-term swing trading.  Their tendency to become easily bored can lead to their longer-term holdings (position trades and investments) being neglected.  Additionally, their spontaneity further suits them to the fast-moving markets inherent in day trading.

Their natural curiosity leads them to explore the inner workings of the market and this knowledge allows them to build a plan with confidence and then have faith that the plan will work.  Virtuosos can analyze the market and find viable trades in a linear manner but also maintain flexibility to meet changing market conditions.

This ability to meet the challenge of changing market conditions also makes Virtuosos able to hedge and de-risk a portfolio quickly and then realign the portfolio to match the new conditions.

Virtuosos’ largest risks in trading are their stubbornness and inclination toward risky behavior.  The largest risk is in the trader taking an oversized position, having that position start taking losses, and the trader refusing to liquidate the position and take a small loss and instead end up taking a catastrophic loss to the portfolio.  To succeed long-term, Virtuosos should seek some mechanism of enforced risk supervision and risk management.

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