Losing Yourself to The Markets
Losing Yourself to The Markets
As many of you know, the first positive steps of my personal trading journey started with Online Trading Academy. I enrolled as a student in the Professional Trader class and never looked back, soon after taking the Forex class, Futures class, and becoming a Platinum Passport holder. I made up my mind that nothing was going to stop me from attaining my goal of becoming a full-time professional trader. I learned many lessons about the market and even more about myself and now, as an instructor and mentor to others, I hope that by sharing my experiences with others willing to put the work into trading, I can help them a little towards their own personal destinations.
When I teach, I do it my own way and as you may have realized from my articles, I not only focus on the arts of technical analysis, planning, risk management and understanding price action, but I also like to create awareness of the aspect of trading which is most often ignored and overlooked: The trader themselves. I have often written about the necessity for a trader to remain calm, disciplined and in a positive state of mind at all times. Once you have been educated on what you need to do to be consistent in the markets, you then have to ensure that you get your mental state in the right place as well. I have come to realize that once the technical side of things has been fully understood, psychology then becomes the final piece of the trader's puzzle. Now, while I can preach week after week about the fundamental aspects of mental mastery, I also recognize that a sound state of mind can sometimes be hard to achieve when things are getting on top of us. If you can't look after personal well-being effectively, then how can you ever hope to look after you trading account properly? A balanced state of mind is nothing more than the result of a balanced and well-maintained lifestyle.
As I am writing this, I am also periodically chatting online to my trading partner in the Fund which I manage and trade for. It has been a long week of early starts, late nights, detailed analysis and record keeping, but nevertheless a great week at the same time. We both take our work very seriously and we trade our client's monies with responsibility and due-diligence at all times. You can never achieve anything worthwhile in life by taking shortcuts and in the world of trading, it is absolutely no different. Professional Risk Management is serious business and you have to take it seriously at all times. However, we also recognize that we both have our lives to live, too and the reason we trade is to enrich those lives and hopefully the lives of others. In an effort to maintain our work-life balance and keep ourselves in form, we have rules on when to "switch off" from the markets and get on with being regular human beings. When Friday early afternoon is upon us, it is time to put things to bed and get some down time from work. Trust me, when it's the weekend, the last thing on my mind is the market.
In the early days of my trading career, things were very different. I used to hate weekends because the market was closed! I would have been happy if the markets were open 7 days a week. I thought that the more time I spent at the screen, the better trader I would become. I was not hungry for trading success...I was starving for it. I neglected my family, my friends and my health in the quest for market domination and glory. If the truth be told, I made myself ill, lost weight, shut myself off from the world and pretty much became a recluse. On one particular day, my long-time friend of 25 years came to visit me unexpectedly as he hadn't heard from me for weeks. We used to meet up or chat on the phone several times a week, but the friendship had become diluted due to my unhealthy addiction to the markets. The first thing he said to me was, "Mate, you look terrible ñ how much weight have you lost?" As you can imagine, my response was rather negative and I took great offense to his statement. After he had left, I sat back and thought about what he said. I looked in the mirror with an honest attitude and saw exactly what he had seen: A tired, worn out and fatigued young man who didn't look like he was enjoying his life. From that moment, I decided that this person in the mirror was not the person I wanted to be. I made a cup of tea and took the rest of the day off and instead of trading, I looked back on why I wanted to trade in the first place. What was I really trying to achieve?
Surprisingly enough, I realized that I had completely forgotten why I had ever wanted to trade. I was never driven by the money in the first place. I was attracted to a change of lifestyle more than anything else and to maintain a career where I could choose my hours of work and fit them around me instead of the other way around. I wanted the freedom to be flexible and get the most out of my life. It seemed that in my quest for trading glory, I had completely forgotten why I set off on the journey in the first place. I decided to take the rest of the week off and went to the gym, spent time with my family and did some much-needed socializing with my dearest friends. It dawned on me that I would never control the markets, so I focused my energies on taking back control of my life, and it was a positive change for the better. My trading got better, my social life improved and the balance was back.
These days when I teach, I encourage all of my students to think long and hard about their true motivations for trading in the first place and remember them along the whole way. There is a very fine line between devotion and obsession and the activity of market speculation has a nasty habit of blurring the line between the two. The doorway to the market will always be open...it's not going anywhere and will be there for you tomorrow. The same can't often be said for real life and while there will be plenty more "shoulda, woulda, coulda" moments in your trading, you don't want to make a habit of creating the very same moments in your personal life as well. In closing, I would like to thank my friend and brother, Sean, for his wise words and support along the way. Cheers buddy...
Wishing you a great week,
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