The Cycle of "IT"
It is time to revisit an ever important topic. I have been in the trading and trading education world for many years. This has allowed me to watch traders grow at different levels and reach different levels of success and failure. I have often wondered and speculated on the difference between those who achieve success and those who fail. For me, the answer lies in the proper definition of success when it comes to trading, or any occupation for that matter.
Let me explain a scenario that I have experienced hundreds of times with individuals going through trading education. There was a gentleman back in 1999 whom I met at a trading seminar. He walked up to me before it started and introduced himself. He had been reading my daily trading advisory letters and was very excited to meet the face behind the letter and take the seminar that I was giving. He explained that he had a family and that trading was going to be "IT" for him. He wanted to make lots of money at it and do it for a career. After the seminar, he thanked me and could not wait to get home and get started on his quest for "IT". A couple weeks after the seminar, he sent me an email and said he was doing well but he said, "Sam, if I could only take all my stop losses according to plan, I would really make "IT". Time went by and I contacted him and asked him if he made "IT"? He said yes. I said, "How is IT"? He said "IT" was good. He then said that if he adjusted his rules a bit and added a moving average for a trail stop, he could hold on for larger gains and really make "IT"! More than a year went by before I heard from him again and when I did, I asked him the same question, did you make "IT"? He said he did. I asked him how "IT" was and he said "IT was good". He also added that his marriage was falling apart and he did not know where things were going in his personal life. He said that he only needed to make a little more money from trading than he did from his day job to quit the day job and that this would be "IT", this would save his marriage, his family.
Let me let you in on something I realized long ago. "IT" is never "IT". The "IT" cycle will have you chasing an illusion of happiness your whole life in many forms if you let it. If you are looking for "IT", it only exists in a much grander vision. This grander vision will meet all your needs and become "IT" for you. I want to invite you into a simple reality that most consistently profitable market speculators share. They are not looking for trading to be "IT" for them. They have a much grander vision. The best traders I know spend very little time trading and spend less time talking about trading. They make plenty of money trading and they use that money to feed the grander vision. One person I know has done very well in trading and bought three vacation homes on a lake all next to each other. He has a family with many kids and invites families who would not be able to afford to do this to stay at these vacation homes in the summers. His life is all about his family, that has always been his grander vision. Because of this, he is not looking to change or improve his trading strategy; he does fine. In fact, he never talks about his strategy, he would never waste the time as he is too busy with his grander vision. I know his strategy and let me tell you, I see many people come out of the Online Trading Academy classes with better strategies that don't make money because they are always looking to improve the strategy so they can really make "IT". People who keep changing their trading strategy and keep taking more and more seminars and read more and more books never make it in trading. They are always looking for "IT". From what I see, the successful people at Online Trading Academy become passport members, take the classes, and then go and run the strategy they have developed from the education. They don't rush off to take more and more seminars and courses. The group that has taken every trading course around the world and has read every trading book written is not the group that makes money trading; this is the group that typically pays those who have a grander vision.
In trading, the best outcome each day is more money in your account. If you keep striving for more money, you will never be happy because you will never have all the world's money. How many times do men and women get into relationships because they think that partner is "it" for them? They are counting on that partner to make them happy and fill all their needs and voids. These relationships always fail because the other partner will never meet these expectations. So much pressure is put on that partner to be "it" for that person. Trading is not all that different. The pressure people put on themselves with unrealistic expectations is simply setting you up for failure.
Why do I trade? The focus for me is the grander vision, not attempting to attain all the world's money. THIS is what allows me to run a simple and successful trading strategy year after year after year. I have not changed one thing about how I trade in many years. The income from trading allows me to feed my grander vision. I have played hockey all my life and still play in the most competitive leagues around. I also coach kid's hockey and that has been great for me. Many of these kids can't afford to do certain things that will benefit them. Trading allows me to dive into these kids' lives and expose them to things most of them could not afford to do on their own. For example, I don't have an i-Pod but could afford one. Instead, I felt much better buying these kids one year family memberships to the fantastic museums in Chicago. Hmm, loud music in my ears or exposing a child to some of the best science, art, and history museums in the world? If I wanted the i-Pod, I would also want the i-Phone, and the i-Car, and the i-life… You see, "IT" never ends and in the trading world, this thought process will drain your account. Instead of buying the latest power computer, my grander vision had me buy the Dr. Seuss series of books for a local school in the area that didn't have a budget for new books. My grander vision is making a difference in the life of children, which will end up making a positive difference in the world. That is what I spend most of my free time doing. This just so happens to also allow a successful trading strategy to run, there is no pressure of better numbers and more dollars.
The next time you have a few minutes and you are about to tweak that trading strategy because your strategy, while profitable, may not be allowing you to really make "IT", understand that "IT" is never "IT". You are likely chasing something that does not exist. You're walking east and west trying to find the North Pole. Instead, open your mind to the possibility of a much grander vision which has nothing to do with trading. In doing this, you may just find that the grander vision is what will finally allow you to execute your successful strategy with disciplined precision for the rest of your life. More importantly, this grander vision is likely where you will find "IT".
What if you are not a consistently profitable market speculator yet? Don't give up! Remember, most of your failures could have been converted into success if you had continued on for a short time longer or made a little more effort. With a positive attitude, you are ready for all the adversity and short-term defeat that leads to success. You see, adversity is really a stepping-stone requirement along the path to success. Without the positive attitude, adversity more often than not leads to failure. When you eliminate failure as an option and remove all escape routes, you will be surprised how fast you figure out how to succeed. What about Thomas Edison? He attempted to create the electric light bulb only to fail 10,000 times. How did he press on with so much failure? That all depends on how you define failure. He viewed each failure as a very positive step in his quest because with each failed attempt, he was eliminating a way NOT to produce the light bulb. The more times he failed, the closer he was to achieving his goal. The same goes for trading. So often, people give up just as they are about to become consistently profitable. The next time you get discouraged because of a few trades that didn't work out, think of Edison's 10,000 bad trades and the success that came from that failure. Next, once you invent your light bulb, make sure you spend your life using it to feed your grander vision, not trying to improve "it".
For those who find "it", please let me know.