I came to the market wanting to get rich.
Mega rich. I was broke, in debt, looking for a way out. It might surprise you to know that desperation is not the best way to trade! LOL
After a few years of intense study and dedication and tough choices, I did turn my shit around. But not by getting rich in the market. By focusing on money, spending, net worth and budgeting. Indirectly, or directly, the market taught me all of these things and pushed me toward what I call:
The Retail Trader Lifestyle.
From where I’m sitting, a lot of newbie retail traders also come to the market looking to get rich. They don’t understand the learning curve or the work involved and they for sure don’t understand the psychology of risk.
That’s okay. The market makes a great teacher. And if they stick around long enough trading becomes more of a lifestyle than a lottery game.
For one, there’s work involved. Real work.
Learning chart patterns. Scanning markets. Managing emotions. Calculating risk. Without a doubt, treat this as a business, with the proper amount of respect and effort, or get out.
The fantasy of clicking buy when the green line crosses the red line will empty your account faster than you can say: Holy shit my account just went to zero!
No joke. The market will be your second job. And will require just as much time, effort and dedication as your day job. If not more. It’s time you accepted this and got real about it.
IT’S COUNTER INTUITIVE
In many ways, to be successful at trading you have act opposite of what your psychology will tell you. Getting comfortable with this level of discomfort was one of the biggest hurdles for me as a trader.
For a long time I thought I had to find a trading system that had zero losses. Ha!
I spent years hunting down this impossible dream. I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to hunt down the perfect winning percentage. I needed to learn how to lose.
And to become comfortable with it. How’s that for counter intuitive? But if you can do what 90% of people can’t do (feel comfortable with being uncomfortable) you will make money.
IT TAKES TIME
To get this (trading) right takes time, money, patience, practice and the ability to understand the process. You’re going to lose. A lot. And even after your proficiency has increased you will still have to manage losses. That’s it. Period.
Still, even after all of that, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming BIG. Not in a carrot dangling sort of way. I mean in a real, I can do this sort of way. After all, our industry (and our country) is filled with names who have taken relatively small amounts of equity and traded it up to large sums of money.
To accomplish that goal will take all of the commitment and creativity and motivation we’ve got. We have to stay focused, keep our dreams front and center, and work our asses off!
That’s what the Retail Trader Lifestyle is all about. It’s about appreciating what you have while striving to do better. It’s about taking risks and accepting the process of growth. It’s about learning to be your best and operating at your highest levels of performance.
It’s not about wanting to win the lotto or get lucky or find short cuts.
YOUR BRAIN, FRIEND OR FOE?
Learning how and why we do certain things, what money means to us, what risk means to us, how we speak to ourselves, the images we repeatedly play in our head and what we focus on are all very important in the market.
You have to know that it’s okay to have the dreams you have. You have to know why you have them. And you have to know when you’ve reached them.
RETAIL TRADER, KNOW THYSELF
When I’m not studying trading books, or backtesting, I am reading slef-help books, motivational books and human potential books. I eat right, I exercise and I manage stress.
These actions have all helped my trading tremendously. In fact, they have helped my entire life.
I didn’t always live this way. Before I started getting serious about the market and about my life, I existed on junk food, little sleep and no exercise.
Believe me when I say that this wasn’t living at all! Seriously, does it make any sense to go after a life of luxury and waste your days living in the gutter? Hell no.
You don’t have to be rich to take care of yourself!
Any book on human performance that I’ve read has stated the same thing: know what you want and be specific about it.
Write it down. Visualize it. Feel the feelings of actually having what you desire and watch it become a reality. New home, new car, new clothes — write down a Lifestyle List of your own and KNOW that you can have those things.
This is what I suck at! I’m a dreamer at heart and nothing makes me happier than sitting around daydreaming the day away. But to make things happen I need to take action.
I have to pull the trigger on the next trade. I have to go the the grocery store and stock up on healthy food. I have to exercise. All of these things require doing something.
You can have the biggest dreams on the planet — but if you don’t take action TODAY you will stay exactly where you are.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF
Being good to yourself means that you take the time to learn the craft of trading. You learn how the market works. And you learn how to manage risk.
It does not mean that you take all of your rent money and you place it on a shit .0001 penny stock and you watch your account evaporate before your very eyes.
Look, I feel you. You want shit to happen NOW! Not tomorrow. Not next week. NOW! I get that. I’m the same way.
You have your job. You don’t like where you live. You have bills. Commitments. I hate to break it to you, but the market isn’t going to free you from shit like that. You have to start getting that stuff in order by yourself…THEN your market performance will improve.
Respect yourself. Respect the market. Respect your life. If you have debt, pay it down. If you spend too much money on crap, cut back. If you don’t work out, start walking. Eat an apple.
Be effing good to yourself and you will be amazed what happens.
LIVE THE LIFESTYLE — NOW!
To me, The RetailTRADER Lifestyle is all about NOW! It’s about living good NOW. It’s about dreaming big NOW. It’s about taking action NOW.
You don’t need a huge market payoff out there in the future somewhere to accomplish that goal. You can do most of it NOW!
Here, let me show you how. If I write down my list of goals and WHY I want them I will see that I want things like…
- More time
- More money
- A killer vacation
- An awesome car
- A house on the beach
After writing down those things, I can ask myself questions like: Why do I want more time?
When I explore it further I might find out that I want more time so I can…
- Workout more
- Design a new website
- Spend more time with my girlfriend
- Go surfing more
Do you see that I can do these things without being rich?
What about wanting a house on the beach? Part of why I want that is so I can run on the beach in the morning. Right now I live 3 minutes away from the beach.
What’s stopping me from driving to the beach in the morning and taking a run?
Do you see what I’m getting at? Your dreams may be closer than you think.
The market has given me a lot — a lot more than I thought in a way much different than I thought it would. I’m sure it can do the same for you. And it has nothing to do with whether or not your next trade is a winner…or a loser.