#028: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A FULL-TIME TRADER
It is more than 10 years since I have decided to become a full-time trader. What has the trading itself brought to me? What does it mean to me to face new market’s challenges day by day? Let me make a small summary of more than a decade of my life with markets.
At the outset, allow me one personal confession. The profession of a trader isn't always easy, it has its demanding aspects, but it still remains for me the best profession in the world. I love trading and all challenges that markets bring to me. Being a trader brings me satisfaction that I feel every morning when I can get up and think about new ideas and thoughts, about new strategies and how to improve the ones that I already have. I don’t consider trading to be a job any more, I consider it a lifestyle that allows me to improve myself in different areas of my life, find new possibilities in myself and challenge the limits. Markets can be one of the most treacherous things in the world, but they can be also kind and generous. You get never bored with the markets, they will never let you take a break. The markets and their challenges satisfy me and allow me, among others, also great (self)discovery.
The lifestyle of any trader is completely different from the lifestyle of 99% of the population - and you should get used to it (and that is, in the beginnings, not easy). As a trader, you have your own life and your own path you walk. You are not interested in political talks and you don't get excited about the daily stuff that the majority talks about. You don't care that there is no money and that there are crises. There aren't such things in markets. The markets are completely free world with so much money, at any moment, you can imagine - or you want. You just need to learn to fight for them. The possibilities are unlimited and they are here continuously, non-stop, at any given moment. There are no crises in the markets, there is only higher or lower volatility and limitless possibilities. When you are a trader you don't care about the government, about the social benefits, allowances, meal vouchers, or any other similar things that are completely out of a trader’s lifestyle. You care about the only thing - how to be better than you were yesterday, how to keep your edge, your lead over other traders, how to be in the markets tomorrow and how to keep yourself in the profitable part of the traders. You live (and fight) the markets 24 hours a day - but the traders don't call it a fight, they call it a lifestyle. The lifestyle they love and breathe for it every single day.
As a trader, you realize the privileges that you have and which you can use. You travel because you can. You live in various places of the world just because you can. You spend money because you can. When you have a good day or month you can buy things without a blink of an eye that the others need to be saving money for years. You spend your time the way you want - not what the others tell you to. As a trader you constantly do what you want - far beyond the limits of a classic employment, corporate system, or when being a tradesman. You don't have any subordinates, no clients you need to constantly take care of - it is just you. And you cannot blame anyone else when you lose. In the markets, it is only you, yourself. There is no one to blame or to whom transfer over the responsibility. You are the only engine and the key factor in your success or failure. Nothing else, no one else. When you lose money, it is your fault. When you earn money, it is your success. When you are not profitable and you constantly lose money, you need to live with it and you need to make the countermeasures that change you into a profitable trader. When you don't earn, you don't spend. When you earn, you spend. You need to understand that there is no regular salary and that you won't receive your paycheck every two weeks.
As a trader, most of the people will not understand you. They won't understand what you do for a living, how it is possible you don't have to go to work. They will not understand that you can work on your own, they will mistake you with brokers, they will blame you for the financial crises and when they will get really fed up with your lifestyle (most of the people will, even though they will not admit it), they will start saying that you don't create any values. For your free, distinctive lifestyle and keeping your distance from lots of social-political-economical dogmas and the “values” of the majority of the population you will be the weird, arrogant and ignorant person and, most of all, you will be a suspect - because you live in a different way than the others and you don't follow up the problems that the majority does.
As a trader, you will feel most of the time like on a roller coaster. You will have your good months and your bad months. Your task will be to learn to live with it and try to fit it into your lifestyle. You will need to start planning your expenses - to have in mind that you don't know what is ahead of you. You will constantly feel like in a fog - but you will get used to it and you will make it part of your lifestyle, you will learn to be flexible and to operate successfully and flexibly in the fog. The uncertainty will become your certainty, part of you and your lifestyle. You will think completely different from the 99% of others. And this is also the reason why you will have a different life from those 99%. The things the others just dream of will become completely normal for you. The things the others fear of will become common for you as well, you will learn to handle them and they will become a game that will not influence you emotionally - unlike the others.
As a trader, you will finally understand what FREEDOM means. It will be what you will most appreciate, it will be the reason why you will not want to give up trading. You will experience how great it is to have a freedom and how tricky it can be to have so much freedom and free time that you don't even know what to do. You will never have anyone else above you who would tell you what you should do. The most of the people is not used to it and they don't know how to handle the gained freedom. As successful traders you will have money, but you will not have any need to show off because you will be able to handle your ego and the freedom will be more valuable to you than the money, so you will prefer to show off your freedom to material possessions. You will wear shorts and sports shoes to the places where tuxedos are expected, just to express that you are way above it. You will be above the social dogmas and rules - they won't bother you at all.
You will be free, you will be aware of it and proud of it, so you will not be afraid to express it.
The money will become a mean, not a goal. You will be in the most capitalist profession in the world and the only way how to handle the pitfalls and challenges of the financial world will be to start looking for values somewhere else, outside the world of money. You will stop perceiving money as if you have a lot of them or not enough. You will perceive the money you have as an evaluation of how good you are. You will stop labeling things as cheap or expensive. You will see the number of contracts and what appreciation of capital you need to handle to afford it. This will take you to new challenges that won't be easy to get over - and that is exactly what will keep pushing you. You will not trade for money, but for the feeling to be better and better. You want to be damn good at it as it brings you the feeling of inner satisfaction.
If you want to become a successful trader, you need to work on your mental part. You need to move away from dogmas of the society - as traders don't follow those. You need to perceive money in a new way. The constant uncertainty will become your only certainty. You need to love what you do. You need to be generous, open-minded, and positive-thinking. You need to love the challenges and the overcoming of obstacles. You need to develop the winner’s attitude - the will to win and to be better every single day. Your failures cannot beat you, you need to perceive them as an experience and energy to fight for another success.
Overall, being over a decade in the markets has teached me one thing: there is so much to learn, so much to get better at, so much to learn about yourself. There are still new and new challenges you need to face. And that it exactly what is great about it. To face the challenges doesn't necessary means how used to them you are. You can face the challenges in trading while traveling, in nature, on a boat or on an island. I enjoy trading every time I travel. I have traveled 61 countries across the world and I kept developing new strategies. You can have it all: the freedom, liberty traveling - and working on your challenges in the meantime.
Anyway, as traders we can face never-ending challenges while living completely different life from the majority. To make it short - finally live, stop being 9-5 slaves. For me personally, it is something I have always endeavored since I was very young. I am really grateful that those, mostly unpredictable markets, are available here for everyone. And that I can still be the part of them and enjoy everything about them.