Originally posted at forexfactory on April 25, 2011:
A general thought, not directed at anybody in particular.Not everybody can be a successful trader, just like not everybody can be a successful painter, athlete, tv star or poker player.Yes, I know, I’m stating the obvious, but too many times I’ve heard “you just have to find what works for you”. Trading is a tough business, not everybody has the smarts for it, especially if they rely solely on the advice of others instead of working hard to find a unique edge.
When I was young I liked making music. Eventually I realized that at most…
Well it is true that not everyone can be a successful trader. However, that line of thinking is extremely poisonous to the aspiring trader. The aspiring trader needs to be believe that it is possible to succeed in trading with every fiber of his/her being. Why? Because there will be the inevitable struggles, losses, and self doubt, and they need to be able to overcome those barriers to be able to get back in the game and play.
I can’t tell you the amount of of times I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a trader. Probably thousands of times I thought of that, mostly in my early 1-3 years. Sometimes it would happen 20 times in a day. There are so many times you get close to calling it quits. Maybe you think its not for you, maybe you think the game is stacked against you, maybe you think the markets are a big conspiracy, maybe you think you aren’t smart enough, maybe you think you have some learning disability. The list of reasons are long and varied.
Truth is, many successful traders are usually first generation. Why? Because it takes a certain level of wanting it really bad to be able to get through the obstacles. You need to hunger for trading success and want it very bad to be able to have the staying power to succeed.
Most people aren’t born with some special talent, nor are they placed in an environment growing up that sets them up to succeed in trading. Thus, they need to learn the proper mindset, psychology, develop the right habits, create the proper environment, etc.
The longer I am at this game, the more I realize that you don’t really need much talent or smarts. I never had talent or smarts. I was actually quite an underachiever I must say. Now you absolutely need to develop some finely honed skills to succeed absolutely. But anyone can learn the skills, so long as they have the hunger for it, and want it really bad. I can assure you that if you spend 10,000 hours on trading spaced over 2-5 years, studying the right concepts, apply the knowledge you have acquired, and have a very high staying power and tolerance for short term pain, then you stand an extremely high chance at success. I would go so far as to say it is guaranteed, but everyone is different so I won’t use that term.
You need repeated and preferably massive exposure to the important concepts, methodology, trade examples, inspirational examples, success stories spread over 2-5 years and that should do the trick. Part of the trick is to have a deep understanding of order flow, information flow, liquidity, market participant expectations, and what will compel them to move prices, and completely slaying your inner demons, fears, misconceptions, and wrong expectations of the market. But hey, I am a bit biased toward order flow
Now I would say that you need to end up liking part of what you do. You may not be able to initially decipher where it is for you or not. I didn’t find out that I liked trading until well after 3 years into the journey. But eventually you end up enjoying a large chunk of it, say 30-70%. The rest is the crap you need to deal with that exists in every endeavor.