Before starting any endeavor, it’s good to be aware of the reasons behind your choice. Many people choose their career based only on potential income. Such motivation is likely to demoralize us over time and make the job burdensome. While money plays an important role, when it becomes a sole goal, it rarely brings satisfaction in the career path.
Do you want to be a trader or simply make a lot of money? Although small, there is a difference between these two intentions. The first intention opens the door to a fulfilling and lucrative career, and the second one invites disaster.
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The key to the successful trading career
There is no easy path to mastery. Only those in love with their craft survive the learning curve. Whatever the social media tries to tell you about trading, the truth is trading is difficult, and it will take longer than you thought at first to become consistently profitable.
To get over the challenges on the way to profitability, you will need motivation beyond money. Think of it in this way, when we purposely chase happiness in life, it’s like an illusion. We often become selfish, jealous, and irritated by the things that keep us away from it. However, when we do the right things and focus on the process, we become happy along the way as a consequence.
The same applies to trading. When we focus on doing the right things instead of focusing on the result, we eventually get good monetary results. But how can we focus on the right things if those “right things” are meaningless to us?
If you don’t care personally about developing a strategy, testing it, tweaking it, employing the right risk management and trading psychology, if the game itself doesn’t ignite your spirit, you have a very little chance of survival in this business. The external motivation, which is money, is far from enough to keep you afloat during the tough times.
Do you think top singers, artists, actors, or sports superstars initially got engaged in their craft because of money? They fell in love with the process! That’s how you become the best you can be in your field, and trading is not an exception.
Why money is the wrong source of fulfillment in trading
We want our career to bring us fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. Imagine if you tie your source of happiness and fulfillment in trading to making money. Losing trades is inevitable in trading. So, if you have winning trades, it makes you happy, then when you have losing trades, it robs you of happiness.
Big winning trades are happy events, but they are just events; afterward, the next losing trade makes you lose the money, along with all of the happiness that was related to that. The negativity associated with the loss distorts your judgment, and your next trading decision would be of less quality leading to more losses, and the vicious cycle starts again.
Traders are wrong most of the time in their career while still being profitable overall. To stay profitable in the long-term requires a specific mindset that is beyond money as a source of fulfillment.
How to align your mindset
The process of trading itself must become one of the sources of fulfillment and happiness for you. Every time you manage to overcome yourself, build up your discipline, find your edge in the markets, and get to execute it consistently, you’ll have the feeling of accomplishment.
The happiest and the most successful traders find joy in learning how the market works, how to time their entries, etc. When the markets are closed, successful traders learn about psychology, stay healthy, nurture relationships with family and friends.
When there is consistency in day-to-day life, it’s projected on the trading performance. The “preparation” for ultimate performance in trading starts way beyond the charts, and it begins from the lifestyle.
On the contrary, the opposite of fulfillment is the feeling of missing out, like life is just passing by. Many traders buy expensive signals, software, seek something to do the hard work for them, always focusing on profits rather than embracing the process.
In trading when the source of your fulfillment is wrong, when you’re searching for shortcuts, it’s very easy to get caught up in the feeling that leads to guilt, regret, and other toxic emotions that make you stumble in many ways.
Do you want to achieve fulfillment, or are you just looking for shortcuts to make some money?
There are many ways to accumulate wealth. Some of them are easier than others. I can assure you that trading isn’t among the easiest ones. So, if your goal is to make good money, trading is the right career to be in. However, it requires serious commitment, which is impossible if you don’t love the process.
If you’re considering trading as a long-term career, think well if you like the life of a trader. And I’m not talking about fancy stuff you see on social media. Think of all those bumps on the way to consistency. Think of the emotional burdens you will have to tackle and many other challenges.
To survive in trading, you’ll have to love the process and make it your lifestyle. The competition is tough. Some institutions and individuals invest millions of dollars and thousands of working hours to find the next edge in the markets and make it work – that is how committed the best players are. A serious commitment is an absolute requirement in this business.
There is also good news, though. Nobody knows the future, so in a sense, all of us have more or less equal chances to earn in the financial markets. Regardless of the background, every day, the market gives us opportunities to change our lives forever.
One of the first steps you can do to demonstrate for yourself the seriousness of your intention to be a trader is to keep a trading journal and set your yearly goals and short-term goals or subgoals.
A good yearly goal would be to learn to identify high probability setups with a good risk/reward ratio.
The good subgoals are the followings:
- Create a trading strategy
- Find a mentor
- Work on your mindset
The right goals and working on your craft using the journal will put you way ahead of competition from the majority of traders!