5 Traits Successful Traders Share with Elite Athletes

When you walk into a Wall Street trading firm, you’ll probably see more than a few former Division I athletes on the floor.

Some companies, like SMB Capital (you’ve probably heard of them! ), are even said to prefer former athletes.

What does being an athlete have to do with trading?

I think it has everything to do with what these people are like and how they think.

Here are five things I think successful traders and top athletes have in common:

  1. They are hard to beat.

Top athletes are naturally very competitive, and because of this, they need to always look for ways to beat their rivals. Do you know what this is?

It should, because I’ve talked about this a lot in my other articles. If a trader wants to be successful, he or she must find a way to stand out from the crowd. What makes him or her special?

Athletes who compete are often also very self-motivated. Self-motivation is one of the most powerful ways to get things done.

Do you remember Isaiah Thomas? Thomas was not the tallest player in the NBA, but he was one of the fastest. He also had a personality that was very fierce.

In the sixth game of the 1988 NBA Finals, Thomas played with an injured ankle but still managed to score 25 points in one quarter thanks to his drive and speed.

The best athletes and traders go the extra mile to reach their goals because they are driven by this kind of inner drive to beat the competition.

  1. They take each thing as it comes.

You don’t have to be right all the time when you trade. If you let each win (or loss) get to you, you might become paralyzed by your feelings and not be able to move on. Your vision gets blurry, which makes you lose even more.

Athletes win and lose on the field, just like traders make good and bad trades. But they know that one game doesn’t make them who they are, and they can move on.

They use the loss as a way to learn how to do better next time. They also don’t let past failure (or maybe even success) affect how well they do in the future.

  1. They know the “basics” well.

Successful athletes and traders make sure they know the “basics” before moving on to more advanced moves.

This is why professional basketball players practice basic drills and moves for hours and hours.

Before they even think about more complicated moves like the step-back fade-away jumper, they will work on their form when doing lay-ups and jump shots.

Even Stephen Curry still takes a lot of free throw shots during warm-ups to make sure he can make the shot when it really counts.

In the same way, successful forex traders make sure they know the basics of trading well.

You’ll have a hard time finding a successful trader who doesn’t know a lot about support and resistance levels and the basic chart and candlestick patterns cheat sheet.

  1. They are strong mentally and emotionally.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Roger Federer had always given up in the finals of a major tournament? He probably never would have broken Pete Sampras’ record for most Grand Slam titles.

The best athletes and traders don’t let their feelings get in the way of their decisions or shake them up. Even though their jobs come with stress and pressure, they can stay on task and carry out their game plan.

  1. They are always working to get better.

The best people are the best because they always try to get better. Top athletes know that they can’t just rest on their laurels if they want to stay ahead of the rest of the pack.

I can’t say enough about how important this way of thinking is in trading. The markets are always changing, and they will always expect the best from you.

The best people in their fields know how important practice and hard work are. They learn from their mistakes by looking at how they did in the past, and they also try out new methods to add to their arsenals.

This doesn’t mean that you have to be athletic to be a good forex trader, though. I’m also not saying that you’ll be a good trader just because you’re good at sports.

In the end, you must approach trading like a top athlete approaches his sport. You have to keep getting better at it.

Basically, you’re an athlete, and the markets are just your playing field.

“If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

- Warren Buffett


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