After going on the trading, life, and personal development journey, I figured out that you can break it out into a list of principles and steps to take. There is of course a large amount of information on this topic, but I will break it down for you into just seven steps.
This process can work for all sorts of different people and industries. You can use these seven steps to attain trading success, lose weight, sell more in your business, repair a relationship, etc. It can work for a wide array of goals.
I believe this lesson and the future lessons are important because most people are going about trading success in the wrong way. They catch the “trading bug” and then plunge head deep into the trading forums and technical analysis and forex robots, etc, without having an overall philosophy and strategy in place.
#1 – Your Goals, Dreams, Vision, Magnificent Obsession, Desires
Jim Rohn once said:
It is possible to plan our future so carefully and so clearly that, when the plan is complete, we can become so inspired by it that it will become our “magnificent obsession.”
There is a very special emotional magic that takes place when we design the future and set new goals with a specific purpose in mind. As we see the future clearly in our mind’s eye we experience a level of excitement in anticipation of the day when all that we dream will become a reality.
What do you want out of life?
What are the goals you want to accomplish?
What do you dream about having?
What is your vision for the future of your life and the people around you?
What is your magnificent obsession?
What are your secret desires that you wish you could bring into being?
Before you set out on your journey, you need to know where you want to go. You have to know what you want to become. You have to know what you want to achieve. You want both your mind, body, thoughts and actions focused on a specific target, or group of targets.
You wouldn’t set sail on a boat or get on a plane without a destination. Why would you go on the trading journey or life journey or business journey, without an idea of what you want?
Thus, know what you want. Know where you want to go. Know your magnificent obsession. You don’t want to be driving a car and trying to go in 10 different directions at the same time.
Stephen Covey talks about this in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he says to “Begin with the End in Mind.”
Some people believe that vision is not important. That the only people who can succeed in the world are the people who already have the money and that you won’t be able to get any. That somehow the rich are hoarding all the money, etc. That it is only the rich that can keep getting richer, etc.
Well vision is important. Michael Milken, the man who made $550 million in 1987, which at the time, was the most any human being had ever made in a single year, once said that it wasn’t financial capital that was lacking in the world. He said that VISION was lacking.
Milken said in a speech in 1986:
The common perception is that capital is scarce, but in fact capital is abundant; it is vision that is scarce.
Vision is value! Seeing what other people cannot see can give you an edge over others and a big edge in life. All of the great traders of the past and all of the great historical trades of the past, they all saw something and had a vision that other people did not perceive.
Now there are a few different philosophies associated with this.
The first one consists of people who say you should know what you want in intimate detail. They say that you shouldn’t just say “I want $1 million dollars and a big house.” They say that you should go further than that. That you should describe how you will achieve the $1 million dollars. What business will you be in? What good or service will you provide? Or if you are trading, from what trading strategy do you suppose the profits will come from?
If you want a nice house, they say that you should describe how it will look like. What color will be the house. What type of furniture and paintings will you put up. How will the landscaping look like, etc. What will be the sounds of nature around the house, etc.
I believe there is merit in this approach as the deeper you can describe your own dreams to yourself, the more intense your desire is to achieve them. For most people in the beginning, including myself, this was difficult because you don’t always know fully what you want. There are so many choices in life and you are not sure if you are always after the right thing. You wonder if the things you are going after are the real you, or if they are just a superficial or artificial you. Sometimes you can even lack the imagination and “mental colors” to form such intimate detail because you may be limited by your beliefs from childhood, weak paradigm and weak perception of the endless possibilities that life has to offer.
Jim Rohn once said:
This is what happens to human beings with limited knowledge. They lack the “mental colors” with which to create a complete picture.
The second approach consists of the group of people who say that you should only have a general target in mind. That you should NOT go into intimate detail. They say that if you just have a general goal, your mind will find the best way to accomplish it. That you shouldn’t try to limit the way you should get $1 million dollars. That you should just write that desire upon your heart and mind, and you will eventually figure out the proper path that you should take.
There is merit to this approach as well. There were times I was banging my head against the wall trying to force the market to give me profit using a certain type of strategy – say moving average crossovers and forex robots, and it just wasn’t working. I had to be more open minded. To learn more about the market. To shift to a different strategy – an order flow based strategy.
Now that you know the two general philosophies, you can try both. I use them both.
In addition to the “intimate goals” vs “general goals” debate, there is also another part of this process. How often you should remind yourself of your goals, dreams, vision, etc. I have heard some people say that you should write down your goal on an index card, and put it away in some drawer and forget about it or only look at sparingly. That is one approach.
Then other people say that you should read your goal and see your goal as often as possible. This is the other approach, and my preferred method.
I much prefer to read my goal, to see vivid images of my goal as often as possible – both in my imaginative mind, and in the physical reality using pictures, etc.
I do mix in the first approach as well occasionally.
Sometimes I work furiously for 2-4 hours or so, then take a break, to give myself time to rest. I let my mind drift a bit away from the task on hand. This way, you can gain perspective and many times even have the answer or solution to the problem given to you, even though you didn’t spend time thinking directly about it.
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#2 – Make A Good Plan To Get What You Want
Once you know what you want, you need to develop a plan to get what you want. Preferably a good plan, but even a mediocre plan is a great start. You can always add to the plan later and get rid of the the actions and steps that are not getting you what you want.
What does a plan consist of? I say it should consist of a list of things to do. A list of things to get done. Action steps that you can take.
Jim Rohn used to say, that in order to generate a solution to a problem, the first question you should ask is: What can I do?
In other words, what action steps can you take that will bring you closer to your goal. What action steps can you take that will help you conquer any roadblocks that appear?
I would suggest you write down every single possible thing you can do. A list of a dozen or two dozen books you can read. A list of daily habits you can do to improve your discipline and skill. A list of skills you need to learn. A list of people you may want to meet. A list of important questions that need to be answered.
Personally, I have very long lists of things that I want to do and get done. I have a long list of things I can do to improve my own personal trading. I have a long list of things I can do to get what I want in my personal life. I have a long list of things I can do to improve this website. I have a long list of things I would like to blog about. I have a long list of books I would like to read. Etc, etc.
I know that not all the things on my list are truthful and in tune with reality. I know that some of action steps will be wrong and need to be crossed out and may become irrelevant at some point in the future.
I know that I won’t be able to get to everything. I know that I need to prioritize. I know that some of my desires will change in the future and be removed from the list. I know that the action steps can be modified as they go along.
That is a good sign!
Personally, when I look back at some of my notes and action steps from when I first started to learn how to trade, I laugh at my naivete. My plans and action steps over the years have become a lot better and more aligned with the truth. They are based on much more sound reasoning and accurate beliefs, rather than the warped beliefs of an uninformed mind and distorted opinions of other people.
A good quote is:
You know you’re on the right track when you become uninterested in looking back.
And as Paul Tudor Jones said in Market Wizards:
I really don’t care about the mistake I made three seconds ago in the market. What I care about is what I am going to do from the next moment on.
Develop a plan and list of action steps you can take that you can get excited about!
As Jim Rohn said in Leading An Inspired Life:
You know where you want to go. You’re getting ready for it. You’re doing all the things you’re supposed to do. By getting ready to achieve your goals, you’re moving closer to them.
The things that you are doing today are getting you ready for tomorrow. It’s exciting. You know that you’re getting closer every day.
After you have a list of a few dozen or even a few hundred different things you can do, you need to prioritize them. Not all of them are of equal importance. You need to organize the list according to priority and your ability to do the tasks.
Some of the things on your list you can probably do them today with zero or minimal resources and by yourself without help from anyone else. If you need to read a book, well you just skip the Starbucks or donuts for a few days (or whatever you have to do to save up the money), buy the book, then instead of watching two hours of TV one night, you only watch one hour, and spend the other hour reading the book every day until it is completed.
Other things may require a bit of cash investment.
Yet others may require substantial cash outlays and outside help from a team of people or employees and they may have to wait a few months or years.
If you don’t have much cash or a team of employees to help you, then focus on the things you can do that do not require those things. As you make more money, gain more skill, you can tackle the action steps on your list that require more capital and a team of employees helping you. I can assure you, there are a TON of things you can do to improve your trading results, using minimal cash outlays and no need for a big team.
Read your list of things to do a few times per day. Read about your goals and vision and dreams a few times per day. When you don’t have the list right in front of you because you are going about your day, then try to think about it many times during the day.
#3 – Belief In Your Plan and Yourself
I have actually included this as a separate step – Having Belief In Your Plan and in Your Destiny!
The reason I have included this as a separate step is because I have had numerous occasions in the past where I developed a really kick ass plan, only to have it fail because on some level of my personal self, I did not believe that my plan can get the job done. I lacked belief in myself.
And when you lack belief in your own plan, you don’t do the tasks to the best of your ability. You don’t give it your best effort.
A good plan, combined with lack of belief, is susceptible to failure, while a mediocre plan, with fervent belief, if much more likely to succeed, since you will be more perceptive to spotting the improvements and modifications you can make, as your passionate desires and belief in your plan and destiny fuel you.
If you don’t believe in your own plan, then who is going to believe in it?
If you don’t believe in yourself, then who is going to believe in you?
I am not saying that it isn’t nice to have other people believe in your vision and believe in your abilities. That is always welcome, and I love such energy from people. They are an added benefit.
However, you cant rely on other people believing in your plan and trying to inspire you to work your own plan. Have strong belief in your plan and vision.
After all, there is an old saying, which is over 60 years old that says:
If you do not follow your own thoughts, then you will follow the thoughts of the fellow who followed his.
A powerful quote. It pays to dwell on that and think it through.
Oftentimes the only difference between two people with similar plans, is the intensity of their beliefs. The person who believes in their plan, even if it isn’t a perfect one, or very good one, will most likely want to take action and expend energy going after what they want. The person who may have a very good plan, but doesn’t believe much in it, due to self-doubt, criticism from others, etc, may not take much, if any action towards going after what they want. Thus, the person who didn’t have a good plan to start with, but took some action towards their goal, will eventually find ways to refine their plan. They will find ways to improve because they took the steps towards getting what they want. Eventually, they will surpass the person who had a very good plan to begin with, but didn’t believe in it.
#4 – Action Towards Your Dreams
So now that you know what you want, have a good plan to get there, have fervent belief in your plan and destiny, then what is next step?
Taking action towards your dreams.
Why don’t more people take action? There are thousands of variations of reasons why as human beings are complex with their own unique problems and sensitivities, but usually it is because of fear of failure and worrying about the results. They fear the embarrassment that will come if they fail. They fear that they will look like a fool to their family, friends and community. The fear the lack of results.
There are two ways you can fail:
You can fail through fear.
Or you can fail through effort.
If you are fearful and worry too much about things which will never happen or are irrelevant, then you are basically whipped before you start. That fear and worry creates all sorts of anxiety that impairs the natural, harmonious functioning of the body and mind.
It is far better to fail through effort. To give it your best shot and if you still happen to fail, you can move on to learning from the experience.
And rest assured, there is a big difference between failing through fear versus failing through effort. It is far better to fail through effort, than fear.
As Jim Rohn once said:
When the record book on you is finished, let it show your wins and losses. But don’t let it show you didn’t try.
So what is the solution? Change your attitude about the mistakes of your past and of the ones you will make in the future.
You are not your past mistakes. You are what you learn from them.
As Og Mandino said:
Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.
And as Jim Rohn said:
As we invoke the power of creativity and intensify our efforts to conquer each new problem, we actually speed up our progress.
As for the mistakes of the present and of the future, they are just temporary. They are temporary, because at any moment you can change. If you have lived for this long with your current knowledge and skills, then you will most certainly do better in the future with the increased knowledge and skills you will acquire in the future.
You can think of mistakes as merely “interesting experiences.” You can extract the lesson, then forget about the past and move on.
Lets say someone wants to lose weight. They don’t have to worry about “oh my, how will I possibly lose 30 pounds, its virtually impossible” or ‘I will never lose weight.”
They just have to visualize the slim person they want to become. They list all the steps they can possibly take (steps based on reality and truth). They have belief in their plan. And they take action towards their objective without fear of failure or worry.
They don’t have to worry or think about the potential results of the future. They just need to DO. They just have to take action and expend energy towards their objective, and the results will come.
Take action towards your dreams and on your plan without fear of failure or worrying about results.
You have to expend energy towards your plan/dream. If you do not expend energy towards getting what you want, you are highly unlikely to get it.
Now, there are different forms of energy. There is expending mental energy in the form of thoughts. Thinking about your goals and your list of things to do is helpful.
Then there is expending physical energy. Getting the body in motion to complete the action steps on your plan.
Which form of energy should you expend? Mental or Physical? Well, do them BOTH! Duh.
What if I told you that your chances of succeeding as a trader by just thinking about your goals, plans, and the right strategies, etc, with little physical action, was 30% success rate, spread over 5 to 10 years.
What if I also told you that your chances of succeeding as a trader, by both thinking and taking massive action towards your goals, plans, and the right strategies was 80% success rate within the next 12 months.
Now, I obviously don’t know what the exact percentage chances are for your unique situation. I always hated to think about my chances of success in percentage terms. I hated all those statistics they threw around about traders that say that 95% fail, etc. I never wanted to believe that I was part of the 95% that would fail. I always wanted to be in that top 5%.
So while you can’t know your exact percentage chance, you can be damn sure that your success chances are far higher if you expend both mental and physical energy towards your goals.
If you want to make $50,000 or $100,000 in trading profits, well how do you think that money will come to you? Is it going to be magically deposited into your bank account out of the blue? You need both thinking and action combined together.
Do it all! Do you want the process to take 5 or 10 years? Or do you want the process to take less than a year?
I don’t mean to say that you will reach the apex of your trading powers in just 1 year. I have continued to learn and grow every year. As Paul Tudor Jones once said:
If life ever ceased to be an educational experience, I probably wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
What I mean by achieving trading success within a year is to develop a strong trading and personal philosophy, know the truth about the market, execute your system to extract sufficient profits, etc. To lay very strong foundations for success and rapid future progress. You will surely learn and grow every year that you continue to trade and make the effort to do so.
What I am saying about the 5 or 10 year process, is to make sure you don’t become one of those people who treats trading as some hobby, and dabbles in it, and they run around with distorted opinions and warped beliefs about the markets for years and years, going on into decades and eventually passing on those distorted opinions to their children.
If you know where you are going, your success chances are higher.
If you have a good plan to get there, your success chances go higher.
If you have fervent belief in your plan, your success chances go higher.
If you think about your vision and plans often, your success chances go higher.
If you take action and expend physical effort towards your goals, your success chances are higher.
If you really think about it, if you know what you want, have a good plan based on truth and reality, have fervent belief, take massive action towards your plan, then why would you not get what you want? You will get what you want!
A great quote sums this up by Lao Russell:
When you take the first step to give yourself to that which you want, it will also take its first step to give itself to you
Take the action steps and expend energy to give yourself to your goals, vision and dreams.
#5 – Modify And Improve As You Go Along
Operate under the principle that Motion Beats Meditation. That it is easier to modify your course of action when you are in motion than if you were standing still. It is a lot easier to change the course of a project when it is already underway, rather than if it was languishing somewhere for months.
Similarly, with trading, it is a lot easier to modify and improve your vision, plans, beliefs, actions, etc if you stay in motion. Stay in the swing of things. Keep imagining your vision. Keep making plans and adding to your lists. Keep believing in yourself and your destiny. Keep taking action on some of the things on your plan. Keep analyzing the market every day and every week. Then it gets much easier to see where you are potentially going wrong and can change course for improvement.
If, on the the other hand, you take a big break from your vision, plans, beliefs, actions, and analyzing the market, etc for many months, then ramping that trading project back up can take some more time because you got out of the swing of things.
I do like to take time out, stop working on the things on my list and just meditate and think. I do that occasionally. However, I think it is more powerful if you can both take action on some of the things on your list, while at the same time thinking about how to modify and improve. I feel that the combination of action plus thinking at the same time, greatly increases the chances of spurring the “higher vibrations of thought” that are talked about in the book Think and Grow Rich.
As Robert Ringer said in this book, Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves:
There is something wondrous about action that is impossible to adequately describe. Action is the key to the brain’s ignition.
Action produces genius, magic and power.
As I look back over the years, I have modified my trading habits and strategies many times. All those modifications came during periods in my life and trading where I was in the swing of things taking a lot of action, analysis, and trades. My habits, mindset and philosophy look very different today than they did when I first started the trading journey. I have also modified the habits in my Order Flow Mastery Course several times already in the past six months.
#6 – Speed Up The Process and Transformation
You want to do all that you can to speed up the process of getting what you want. You would rather get what you want today, rather than next week. Achieve your goals this week, rather than next month. Fulfill your desires this month, rather than next year. And complete the trading journey this year, rather than it taking a decade.
Well if so, then you have to find ways to speed up the process.
Jim Rohn gave us two additional questions to ask that can be of help:
What could I read?
Who could I ask?
In other words, lets say you want to be a trader. Well what good books can you read that can help speed up the process? I have listed the ones I like on my Recommended Trading Books List. There will be other lessons on this blog about how to pick the right trading books to read, how to get the most out of them, etc in the future.
You don’t have to force yourself to develop everything on your own. There is a lot of good information in books that can speed up the process. While I was forced to develop a lot of the techniques in the Order Flow Mastery Course from scratch, there were plenty of books and articles that, when I properly interpreted them, were instrumental in moving me along at a rapid pace.
Sometimes, you just need the right information, said in the right way, by the right person, at the right time in your life, for it to have a big impact on you.
Then you can make a list of people you could ask. Perhaps you know some good traders that would be willing to answer some questions. Perhaps you know some good traders that you can take to lunch and absorb their information and philosophy like a sponge. It is important that you only ask people that can actually help you and that you admire and respect. Ask only to people of value. Beware the useless and low value people in society that will only respond to your questions with insensitivity, warped beliefs and distorted opinions.
Other questions you can ask to speed up the process include:
What new skills can I learn?
Who can I be around and spend more time with?
What are the good questions to ask?
What insights and revelations do I need to discover or develop?
What new beliefs can I adopt?
How can I develop a powerful life and market philosophy?
What can I do to develop a healthier attitude and perspective on life and the markets?
#7 – What Are You Doing?
If you don’t do the six things listed above, then ask yourself the question: What am I spending my time on?
If you don’t think it is a good idea to have goals/vision/dreams, to have a plan, to have belief, to take action, to modify/improve, to do things to speed up the process, then what do you think is a good idea? What are you spending your time on?
Perhaps you found something better than the above steps, and if you did then I am happy for you and would love to hear from you.
But if you think the above steps are good, and you haven’t done them yet, then what are you waiting for?
Are you spending time running yourself down? Trying to drink away your sorrows at the local bar? Watching 30 hours of TV a week? Hanging around the wrong people that are constantly gossiping and seem to have an endless supply of dirty jokes and weird conspiracy theories? Hopping from trading forum to trading forum, system to system, forex robot to forex robot?
Don’t wait. If you think the above seven steps are sensible and proper, then Do it Today! There are only so many tomorrows!
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