To Be A Successful Trader, First Act Like A Successful Person

A lot of new traders think something like, “Once I’m successful as a trader, I’ll be (insert positive trait here).” I’m here to tell you that this way of thinking is not only bad for your business, but it’s also just wrong.

You don’t become a successful or happy person after you’re a good trader. In fact, to be a successful trader, you must first be a successful person, even if you mostly fake it. Before you can have consistent trading success, you must be able to change your mind, have the right beliefs about trading, form new and better habits, set goals and make plans for how to reach them. Today, we’ll talk about these things.

“Pretend until you make it.”

People say, “Fake it until you make it.” “Okay,” you say to yourself. “But what does that mean, and why do I have to do that?” What does it look like and include for a new or struggling trader who wants to make a living by trading on the financial markets?

I’m here to tell you that it’s not that hard. You have to fake it until you make it because you can’t succeed as a trader if you’re not already in the right frame of mind. Many traders think that once they start making money, they will get their act together, but this doesn’t work.

Please note that I’m not talking about money at this point. In fact, you can be in the right trading mindset even if you don’t have much or any money, and you can be in the wrong trading mindset even if you’re a doctor, a professional athlete, or a business owner who makes a lot of money. Because of this, I like to call trading “the great equalizer,” because it doesn’t really matter how much money you have. If you don’t have much to start with, this is good for you. All that really matters is how well you know the market, how to trade it, and whether or not you are in the right frame of mind.

When I say “trading mindset,” I’m talking about everything that goes along with it, like having good daily trading habits that lead to good trading routines. Of course, all of these things depend on you having the discipline, self-control, patience, and consistency to make them happen. Now we’re getting to the “meat” of what really sets the men apart from the boys when it comes to trading (most traders are not doing what I described in this paragraph, so they lose money over time).

How do you define success?

Most traders (and people in general) think that success means making a lot of money. Even if they say they don’t, they will say something like, “Success is doing well in my job,” which of course includes making money. In one way or another, money is often a sign of success. This way of thinking isn’t always bad or wrong, but when it comes to trading, it’s a very slippery slope from “money is success” to “I’ll be successful when I’m making money trading.” Here’s why this way of thinking is VERY dangerous for a trader:

Before you can consistently make money as a trader over a long period of time, you need to be successful over a long period of time. Have you ever heard the saying, “Opportunity meets preparation, and success happens”? Well, “prepare” is the most important word in that saying for a trader. You have to BE PREPARED for success; it doesn’t just happen when you start making money trading.

If you don’t know how to “be a successful person,” you should read books, talk to other people, read my articles, and go through my trading courses. There are many self-help books, many people you can learn from (including me), and a lot of self-help information on the internet. Before you can hope to make money trading, you need to get your thoughts, habits, and life in order. As PREREQUISITES, NOT AS RESULTS, you need to have all of these other good traits and habits in order to be successful in trading.

I wrote an article called “Trade Like a Baller” in which I explain that if you want to be a professional trader, you have to fake it and “act as if” you are one until you actually become one. But the word “pretend” might not be helpful. If you want to become a professional trader, you will think and act like a professional trader before you start making money like a professional trader. The only difference should be that you have, say, $1,000 instead of $100,000 in your trading account.

You have to set the wheels in motion for trading success before it will come to you.

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Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Money?

How come everyone isn’t “rich”? Why don’t more traders do well in the long run? To be honest, it’s because most people find these things “hard” to do. What’s easier: sitting on the couch and watching Netflix all day, or reading a book or taking a class to learn something new and improve your skills? Which is easier: putting in the time and effort to study and build a trading routine around a trading plan (and actually sticking to it), or just opening your computer and buying and selling when you “feel like it”? The answer is pretty clear, but it’s not always best to do what’s “easy.”

The truth is that most people who are born in a country with good opportunities and healthy minds and bodies are not “rich.” Almost everyone wants to be, though. Most people aren’t rich because to get there, whether it’s through trading the markets, owning a business, or just being the best at your job, it takes a level of dedication and intensity that most people just don’t have.

As a trader, you have to be committed to following your trading plan and ignoring the almost constant urges and temptations to over-trade and over-leverage your account. But, unfortunately, most people can’t resist the allure of “get rich quick,” and they end up blowing their money.

Excellence in any field comes from doing the right thing all the time and being hooked on the right things and the right feelings. Most people, on the other hand, get hooked on bad feelings and bad actions. Even though it’s “fun” to watch TV every night or play video games, these things won’t help you become great or successful.

Most people are poor, middle-class, or low-class because they can’t resist the urges and temptations to over-trade or spend too much time on fun things. Note that I’m not saying these people aren’t happy. You can be happy with little or no money. But we want to make money trading, so I’m telling you that you need to change your lazy, carefree way of thinking and acting into one that is more on-point, focused, and disciplined. Otherwise, you’ll never make it in the markets.

Conclusion

How well do you keep your office and home in order? “What does this have to do with trading?” you might ask. It has everything to do with it, to be honest.

You see, you can’t be a professional trader or be successful at it if other parts of your life aren’t in order. I truly believe that you need to be organized and disciplined for your mind to be clear and calm enough to trade well. If you have a lot of clutter and papers all over your house or office, I don’t think your mind is in the right place to consistently make money trading.

You really need to act like a hedge fund manager, a “baller,” or a 20-year market veteran. To start trading professionally, all of these people had to change their energy and focus and get the “little things” in their lives in order. You can do the same if you follow the tips from today’s lesson.

“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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