This is one of the quotes about trading that stuck with me. I googled it and it’s from Ed Seykota, I probably read it in one of the Market Wizards books, which I can highly recommend.
The exact quote is “Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose, so they win by losing money.”
Now this applies especially well in the retail world of traders. And it’s one of the first things I tend to ask when mentoring someone: “Why are you trading”. Now of course the answer “to make money” is the one that comes back the most often. And to be honest it should be the #1 motivation, even though it helps tremendously if you enjoy trading and especially the process of research and development to gain an edge in the markets.
But what are you really in for? I know for sure that many traders out there are just trading out of fun. For whatever reason they’re bored and need some excitement in their life. Or they’re just gamblers who could also have ended up in Poker or sport bets. Or chartists/technical analysts who just love to draw lines into charts and share it with other on trading forums who have the same hobby.
None of these motivations are wrong, just be sure you know why YOU are here. Really ask yourself why you’re trading or why you want to get started. Do you really want to learn a new, complex and difficult business from scratch? One where you’re competing against some of the smartest and most competitive people in the world? Are you ready to put in the time, nerves and money needed to get started the right way and keep on going even though the market shows you the finger again and again?
If so congratulations! So far I haven’t found another profession that’s as challenging and interesting day in and day out as trading. I love waking up and knowing what I’m up against. Knowing I might find a new little edge today in the markets. Going through my trading routine and enjoying the freedom trading provides. It’s also one of the most scalable businesses out there and it has many other advantages…but to make it here as in any business you’ll need to do some hard work that isn’t always exciting.
Now if you’re just in for the exciting ride, to gamble or because you love looking at charts, that’s all fine too! As Seykota said, “Everybody gets what they want out of the market”. If you want a fun ride, you’ll get it, again and again. Just put in some trades because “the market looks like it’s going up”, leverage up those positions and then watch every tick on the chart while keeping a close eye on your P&L. Sure you’ll blow a few grand every now and then but that’s simply the cost you pay for the ride.
Just be honest to yourself about why you’re doing what you’re doing and then simply enjoy it! Or if you really want to take this serious, as a business make up your mind and start to really dive into this. Educate yourself, find a good mentor and start searching for a real edge in the markets. Then trade like a pro, not like a gambler. And guess what? Serious trading is as boring as your day job. It’s the research that’s challenging and exciting. So if you don’t enjoy that, you’re probably in the wrong business.