It has been about 7 months now since I’ve started taking trading seriously as a potential means of earning a full time income. During that 7 months, I’ve gone from nose diving into trading/psychology books 8 hours a day, to sim-trading 8 hours a day, to reading more books for 8 hours a day, to re-trying old methods of trading, back to sim-trading some new shit, to dedicating time at developing my own methods for trading and on and on. It just seems like a vicious cycle to break out of. One which I think if you don’t break out of, you remain in the loser’s circle of non-successful traders. But it’s so fun to try out new shit! 😦
I liken it to the people who are unsuccessful at the gym. If I had to guess, I’d probably give it similar odds to trading that around 90% of people fail to stick to a gym routine, lose weight (or add if you’re a skinny bastard), add muscle and have it become part of their lifestyle. (To be honest it’s similar to any sport or activity – successful golfers, artists, musicians, etc.) But I choose the gym because I’ve become part of that winner’s circle….. and it was a long, grueling process. And I enjoyed it and it is still part of me today.
I started when I was about 14 years old. My dad dropped me off at the gym one day after school and paid for a monthly membership. He told me to spend an hour here each day, whether I wanted to make it productive or not was up to me.
So I started off by watching what the older guys were doing. Asked them what to do….tried out the bench press, squat rack, did some curls. After a week or so I started to enjoy it. The pump. The dopamine boost. The progress I was seeing in myself. The cheerleaders were all over me in math class hanging off my biceps, feeding me grapes and ironing my shirts on my stomach. Yep. True story.
I kept at it, 4 to 5 days a week. Weeks went by. Months went by. Years went by. I kept at it. Everyday, upping my weights, adding calories to my diet, focusing on certain movements/exercises and adding to my arsenal…. and most importantly, not getting lazy.
I started to get people complementing my physique.
“Wow, you must work out.”
“You look great. I wish I could build a body likes yours.”
But there is always one variation of a question that I think applies very much to trading.
“Hey man, what do I have to do to get big/lose weight/get a body like yours and how long did it take you?”
When I tell people it took me years, I almost always get an “oh shit!” response. As if it only takes a 3 month membership and some protein powder to look like Dwayne Johnson. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. And whenever I see the looks on their faces and their motivation almost immediately sink because of the work they realize has to be put in, I can’t help but to realize that the trading game is not so different.
But what is required to move forward? Well, I always tell people, just make sure to push yourself. Lift one week and track your progress. Increase your weight the following week or month. Stick to the basic lifts and don’t pay attention to what others are doing. You can add all those fancy lifts and stretches down the road. Don’t skip days too often. 0 And #1 – just keep at it and don’t give up.
So…..a few take away’s I am really trying to focus on:
- Reduce/limit information overload. I know enough to be successful at trading. Reading books on lifting and watching Arnold movies aren’t going to do much for your success in the gym and the same goes for trading.
- Focus on tracking my progress. I actually got away with this early in my fitness life. Although I didn’t track my weights in a notebook, I knew week to week what my previous weeks weights were. If I wasn’t able to increase it in the next few weeks, I knew something was wrong and I had to find ways to correct it – diet, supplementing other supporting muscles or maybe just getting more sleep. Same for trading. I need to track my progress and find where my weaknesses are. Are a majority of my short trades losing? Am I getting burned during certain parts of the day? Am I up on the day and losing it all because of over trading?
- Frustrating days will come and come frequently. Days when I think what I’m doing isn’t working. Days when the lows are much lower than the highs of the high days. Stepping on that scale and seeing that you didn’t lose any weight. Checking your body fat and seeing that you actually gained 1%. I’m doing all the right things, why aren’t I making progress? What many don’t know is that sometimes your body holds onto that last pound or percentage dearly and when it comes off, it’ll come off quick with drastic results. The only thing needed is some perseverance. And perhaps those big hits will come and they are just right over the hill. Key is to not change or overhaul what I’m doing because of a few speed bumps.
And that’s it for this post. My trading lately has been steady. I am still focusing on equities. Swing trades and the occasional day trade. I keep my risk limited and let my winners run (taking partial profits along the way). Trying to build my account so that I can take an income from it some day.
I just wish I could fast forward this learning and development stage to the part where I get to party on my yacht with the helicopter pad and smoke some cubans with my homeboys and sip champagne with my bishes and upload it to Tim Sykes instagram page, owing all my successes to him. Uh huh. No.