Are You A Trading Poseur Or The Real Deal?

Markets have gone through some tough times the last several month which can have traders of all levels questioning their trading motivation and results.

It’s never a bad thing to take a personal inventory of your trading, your trading mindset, your results, and set goals that keep you on the right path.

One question that may be hard for any trader to ask is:  “am I serious about what I’m doing here and am I dedicated to trading?”

How you answer this question can be a step forward to better trading success and to ensure your mindset is where it needs to be.

Whether you swing trade Forex, day trade Futures or trade Options, one thing you must have is a level of dedication to the point that it’s almost uncomfortable.


Copy Successful Traders

Not all of us can pick up the phone and pick the brains of some of the best and brightest but Aaron Fifield at Chat With Traders has assembled some great interviews with traders who’ve found success in this tough business.

Through his chats, you can learn from Tom Basso (Mr. Serenity), Linda Raschke, Schwager, Peter Brandt, Anthony Saliba….the list goes on.

These traders have a variety of different experiences and knowledge to offer listeners but there are similar stems of wisdom running in parallels. In particular, one idea that comes up so frequently, although it’s not especially “sexy”, is how ubiquitous the intense levels of dedication of top traders is.


Successful Traders = Killer Dedication

If you ask anyone how hard they work at trading, they will tell you they spend a lot of time but time at your screens and cumulative time spent on trading is often mistaken for dedication.

Would you describe an office worker who turned up to work every day and did a full day’s work, as dedicated? Probably not.  Reliable, sure. Dedicated, not really.

It’s been said that half the battle is “showing up”.  Perhaps but without the other half, all you’ve done is “shown up” with nothing to show for doing so.

Put them on the spot and many top traders will reveal just how hard they have worked to get where they are now. It’s not a headline grabber and it’s probably not something you’ll want to tout about if you’re trying to market a trading course:  “Roll up, roll up. Come and buy my 10,000 hour trading course for $3k.”

The truth is:  it’s blood, sweat and tears that really got them where they are today.

For the most part:

  • They don’t have greater intelligence than most other people
  • They haven’t got some kind of super-human reaction speed
  • They haven’t even got a world-beating trading system that allows them to take money from the market at will

They may have some great insights and techniques which can help you take some shortcuts to trading success but a great strategy in the hands of a bad trader will lose money, whereas a bad strategy in the hands of a great trader can be profitable.

trading strategy

If you want to be consistently successful over a long period of time and make a career out of it, you’ll also need to demonstrate that you are capable of being dedicated to trading.


Motivation, Drive and Competition – Game Changers

Don’t mistake desire for drive.

Don’t mistake enthusiasm and “talking a good game” for competence.

What gets people to the stage of performing on a regular basis has to do with finding the “trader mindset” and there are a number of aspects which are part of this.

One of which is the ability to keep going when things aren’t going well for you.

  • To keep working on your trading outside of the act of trading itself.
  • To spend the hours and hours on work that might seem dull and provides no guarantees of generating positive returns.

One of the biggest driving aspects that helps us to perform in most anything is something that the retail trader is often lacking– competition among peers.

Retail traders sometimes have the drive to dedicate themselves to the task of trading but not often. Retail traders often either have a job or another source of income which allows them to “take things at their own pace”.

But when you feel like there’s plenty of time for something, it becomes very easy to convince yourself when something else more pressing or exciting crops up, that you can come back to it later.

For those of you reading this that are over 40, you are probably becoming aware that the “plenty of time” we had in our 20’s, is becoming “not enough time to do all that we want”.

Money and account equity is valuable, but your time is more so.

There’s also no fear that if either they don’t make money immediately or don’t trade, they’ll have to stop.  You are not pressured to perform – there is no cost NOT to do it.

In a prop firm, you have that – every day you are sat at your trading desk, it’s costing the owners money. Any split you stand to make out of your trading profits will come after desk fees – so they do want to make this money back.

But if you don’t look like you’re making any progress, there’s no point you being there – especially when there are others around you making money.


Successful Traders Use Their Time Wisely

There are many things that you could spend time on, and here are some that you should consider:

  • You must learn about how markets work, what drives them and how they move
  • You must spend time researching and back-testing your strategy
  • You must adequately prepare each day for both news and market technical
  • You must ensure that you are capturing and analyzing your own performance in order to improve
  • You should consider whether you can simulate competition within a trading community

It’s never a bad time to take a look at your current approach to trading and the levels of effort and dedication you’ve demonstrated.

If you find anything other than a highly professional business-like approach, pick apart your current life schedule and figure out what is truly important to you.