Of the many wannabe traders I have seen pass through various seminars and even training courses, through to live trading sessions, it’s true that the vast majority have professional trading as their goal. Let me tell you- that can sometimes be fool’s gold.
Just as not everyone is suited to be Prime Minister or Governor, so it is true that not all individuals have what it takes to become full time traders. Indeed the ‘Traders scrap heap’ is littered with those who sought and in some cases achieved, the goal of exchanging their previous boring lives for that of excitement and prestige, as a Pro Trader.
In most cases, the harsh reality of the journey in today’s world, is that massive sacrifices have had to be made – certainly financially but also from a health and well-being perspective. The stress of having to perform in order to produce a return on a more than likely substantial investment in both time and cash through blown accounts can and has often, resulted in a less than happy family environment. If the family’s still around after maybe a decade of slogging away on the bottom rung of a trading institution’s ladder, declining health as the result of alcohol/substance abuse is likely to be an unwelcome ‘replacement’ partner.
The Out of Balance Realisation of the Dream
The issue of course is the short sighted approach to their transformation from keen and eager wannabes to those who ‘can’. They are taught and greedily feast on the information that is Long on trading techniques but Short on teaching life skills.
Why are we not likely to exchange our $60 cheque for someone else’s $10, when we seem to accept working under stressful conditions for six days and receive only one day per week to ‘get to know’ our family. Even then, there are lawns to be mown, gardens to tend, house and vehicle maintenance, TV, Facebook. The inequity of spending six days fulfilling others expectations under unhealthy, stressful conditions is simply ludicrous. But the real tragedy, is that family and friends get less and less attention and once solid, lifelong relationships, breakdown.
As trite as this may sound, it’s true that becoming a successful Trader in Financial Markets isn’t easy but to become a ‘life’ trader is by far the more difficult proposition.
There can be no question that the most precious commodity in life is time and NOT money –NO? Consider that on average, each individual will have 84 yrs on this earth. Then consider that money is an infinite resource – USA continue to print it whenever it suits them! Can you add to your life expectancy? Perhaps a couple of years by improved health and lifestyle choices but certainly not indefinitely (many have tried). In excess of four trillion dollars is paper traded on the forex market every day yet what is its value? Perceived is the answer because it is relevant only to how much is in circulation at a given time. Time on the other hand cannot be re-printed or created and therefore has far greater value to us, yet we choose to trade it off for something which is only a perception!
Not everyone is ready to return to the jungle of course so until something other than money is acceptable for the exchange of goods and services, we need to have some in our lives but we do need to understand what is REALLY important.
The REAL you – Pro Trader or Beach Trader?
The Pro Trader has committed his time to the pursuit of making money. The Beach Trader has opted for time recovery. It’s true that money CAN buy you time (mainly other peoples) but without a clear objective towards freeing up your own time, 84 may well become 74 and you’ll be the proud owner of the best looking tombstone in the cemetery and the loneliest, unloved kids who lost their parent, years ago.
Releasing yourself from the ‘time shackles’ is a quest achievable only if it becomes a habit or routine event. The forming of that habit enables more and more free time as you become more skilled at it. The notion of creating more and more money to trade it for time in the future is a mouse’s wheel that few get off and is the habit that must be changed. The right balance between financial growth and time enjoyment is the elusive key.
But the kids can’t go without
As parents we all strive to give our children what we believe they want. These days it’s Ipads, Smart Phones, Xboxes and the like which all do what? Consume their time and teach them little. Staying inside the mouse wheel to produce the money to buy these consumer items teaches our children ONLY how to buy these mostly useless ‘things’. What if we were to teach them that they are far more valuable than any piece of technology, by spending time with them. We don’t need to be Freud to understand that our Children will act as we do. If we want them to work their insides out to accumulate as much monetary wealth as possible, whilst ignoring their emotional wellbeing and health – we simply need to stay inside the mouse’s wheel.
The Trader from the Beach
The REAL trader does not live a life of stress – he/she is relaxed and content. As individuals, we each have our ‘beaches’ – places or even people or items of clothing that have a calming or peaceful effect on us.
To get the ‘beach trader’ mentality started, we simply need to visit the ‘beach’ more often. You can begin the process right now! Give the wife or a mate a call and organise something at a favourite spot. Walk out into the garden and ‘smell the roses’, find your old high school sweater and wrap it around you as you walk to the park. Pop down to the actual beach and meditate or hey, grab a ball and throw it with your son or daughter! Just 10 mins tody, then again tomorrow soon builds to thirty and then an hour until in a couple of years – you spend a great chunk of your day ‘at the beach’! Your serenity will increase to new levels, your health will improve, your work and trading will benefit greatly and yes, your bank account will love you for it! Once your ‘beaches’ have been identified the ‘beaches’ of your life and apportioned them significant importance, your business dealings (including trading) will be far less demanding and less stressful to undertake. Absolutely everything revolves around your ‘beaches’. They are the cornerstone of your mental and physical health, your source of energy to tackle and conquer any project – including forex trading.
Your trading MUST be such that it does not take you away from the beaches – in fact, it must be a method of trading that gives you time to go to the beach and therefore requires minimal time to execute. In considering the trading strategy you are to adopt, consider the time you have to devote to trading, do not try to shape your life to trading, the reverse works best and allows you maximum ‘beach time’. Your method of trading must not compel you to a life where you only worry about the markets. It must allow you free time to effectively maintain your everyday life. You mustn’t kid yourself that a ‘chart watching’ method will not affect your life. It is you who ultimately will create and use your method, so you need to take a long look in the mirror and place solid lines in the sand that should never be crossed.
These lines must speak not only of time, but also of your capital. Your trading capital must never adversely affect the ability to visit your beaches. In other words “do not trade with money you cannot afford to lose” Remember well – your beaches ensure the peaceful life and sustenance to you and your family!
Keep your stress levels at bay.
Stress is created only if there is a problem somewhere! A problem is an opportunity that allows you to exercise your ability to solve it. Problem solving carries a beautiful reward – it makes you happy! It also makes you realise that the stress it caused you, was a waste of energy. Keeping stress under control can be achieved by limiting your exposure to it. HOW? Never risk too much capital because if you lose it – pressure builds for your next trade; don’t be involved in too many positions at the same time – in unforeseen circumstances, you will be called upon to make discretionary calls on the run yet not be skilled enough to deal with them, placing yourself completely at the mercy of the market; please always plan ahead, your stop loss and take profit, not knowing how much you can win or lose you will also create uncertainty, leading to stress.
If you do feel stressed, practice meditation, breathe, take a ride, do exercises, but especially identify the source of stress and make decisions in order to remove it. If you can solve it fantastic but if not, try to accept it for what it is:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Summarizing the Rules:
1- Identify your beaches and Make them protected heritage
2-Create a way of life to free up time
3-Create a trading method within your life and not disconnected from or that has control over your life
4- Create strict rules taking into account the three sacred factors: TIME, MONEY, and STRESS.
5- Remain calm, smile and embrace your freedom of choice