A couple weeks back I had the opportunity to speak to children from the Chicago Public Schools. Another chance for me to attempt to remove my ridiculous and irrational fear of public speaking. I thought maybe they would remember a story I told or maybe something I said. Motivation and writing a blog are very similar. It is not so much what you say or even how you say it that makes it powerful but more about getting it in front of the right people at the right time.
I sat there not really knowing what I was going to say. I traded the open and left 20 minutes before to think about what I was going to say. At the very least I knew I was going to talk about trading and needed no preparation for that. As I sat there and listened to the other brilliant speakers it became clear what I needed to say. It was nice to be able to speak and be part of the audience.
The short version of what I said is what if there aren’t obstacles? What if they are made up? What if the energy it takes to fight the imagined ones were used to fight the real ones? What if “the man” doesn’t exist?
By no stretch of the imagination would I call myself successful. But I can say that I took a path that was much different than those that are around me. It was a better path for me. Much of the reasoning behind that different path is that certain things have stuck. A message I heard that could not get out of my head or someone I looked up to.
I went to high school in a small town. But it was also the town of one of the most successful high school and college women’s basketball in history. Stephanie White. You can read more about her here. I have always been naive to think that if someone can do it I can do it too. So I had those two things going for me.
Secondly my high school coach said to the team “Have an excuse to be there”. He was talking about weights at the time but that framing allowed me to see that word in a positive way. It something I never forgot either.
How this relates to trading.
Mentally trading is not easy. There are so many traps along the way. Family, life, sickness, fatigue, constant evaluation, loss of money, lack of discipline, and I can go on and on and on. The best part of the trading is the ability to write your own story. It is the ultimate individual sports. But there are two type of individual sports. Tennis and golf or track and field. I have created an environment around me that is more like track and field. I have people around me that tell me when I am messing up, when I need to stop, that I will be ok and vice versa.
I have and provide a filter that allows me to see things another way when it is needed. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for that. I realize not everyone has that. They need to go other places for that. Maybe it is my blog or his blog or his blog or his blog or her blog or his blog or his blog or their blog. I do not know. Just like you lean on prices you need to lean on people from time to time too. A fresh perspective.
But be careful that you are not going to blogs for excuses.
I am forever annoyed with blogs that place the blame on anything but the one making the decision. Only socializing losses is never a good idea. Trading provides the venue but the game is constantly changing. There are people who are always going to try to get your money but in the end their business model will fail if it is just a gimmick.
If you blame those people, I can’t imagine the hopelessness that is coursing through your body. There is no way you can give it your all and if you can’t give it your all why do anything.
I was probably in 6th grade and a girl was talking about something a waitress had said to her. The waitress said “The day you stop learning is the day you die”. I am 11 at the time and I probably took it to literally. As I got older I understood what it meant. I can’t think of a more true statement when it comes to trading. When non-traders make a comment about how stressful trading is, I make it a point to clarify the stress. The stress in trading comes from breaking your rules and needing to continue to learn everyday. If the money part stresses you out it is because you made a mistake before. You have a choice, to some extent, about the money stresses. Dollar amounts do not matter as much as the process that you execute the trades.
The original title of this post included the words “underprivileged” children. Those are dangerous words in the mind of the wrong person, like blogs that make execuses. They shouldn’t forget it but they can’t let it define them. A reason to succeed not fail. The same is true about trading. Ultimately it is up to you. If you do not think the fight is fair, it is hard to prepare to win. Action causes motivation, motivation does not start the action. Whatever enables you to take the first step do it. Be careful how you filter information as you may start to eventually believe it.
We would really appreciate your feedback, if you like, hate, or think we are full of crap. Please leave a comment, a voice mail (312) 725-9121, email info @ traderhabits (dot) com or twitter, stocktwits, youtube and facebook. Subscribe to Traderhabits by email or to newsletter.