What separates the losers from the winners in life? You may think it is talent, or luck, or being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Indeed, those are all contributory factors, but far from the most important one.
The single characteristic which will determine more than any other whether you end up on the scrap heap of life, or sipping champagne on the super yacht of existence, is resolve, or raw determination to succeed.
Almost nobody travelled a smooth path from broke loser to wealthy playboy – and there’s a good argument to be made that those who did would be ill-equipped to handle it when things started to go wrong through weakness of character. Nearly everyone who has succeeded and reached the top of the pile has done so through grit, drive and motivation.
You can only fail at something when you accept failure as an outcome. All it takes is to reframe what could be perceived as failure into “simply haven’t succeeded yet” and you’ll find yourself almost welcoming setbacks. Each time you fall short, you learn something about yourself, and learn what to avoid next time after you’ve picked yourself up.
I was fortunate enough to be born with a high IQ. I was intellectually head and shoulders above the rest of my class at school, when I could be bothered to apply myself, and I followed a relatively smooth career path from being a junior developer on a starting salary of $25,000 into a IT contractor working at an investment bank on the equivalent of $250,000 per annum within the space of 7 years. Generally, everything I turned my hand to, I was able to master in a relatively short space of time.
That was, until I decided to quit out of work and devote myself full time to learning to trade. When I started on this journey, I had it in mind that it would take me a few months at most to become proficient, before the money started rolling in. Never mind that trading generally attracts the most intelligent amongst the population, and that of those over 95% lose all their money, and of those 5% that succeed, the general length of time quoted to become consistently profitable is in the region of 5 years. Never mind all that, I was going to pick it up and run with it in a few months, because that was what I always did.
Except it didn’t quite work out that way. At first, it was like running headlong into a brick wall. I would sit all day, staring at the charts before me, wondering why the hell the price was moving around in the way it was. Why did it turn there? Why did it suddenly surge? Maybe if I add these technical indicators to my chart which draw squiggly lines all over it, that will help. It didn’t.
After initially beginning to hemorrhage my pot of cash which was to see me through the learning process, I realised I needed to switch on to a demo account before it was too late. Week after week went by, with one demo account after another blown. I began to question whether I’d ever be able to do it, and subsequently began to question even myself at a fundamental level. This was uncharted territory for me. I began to dread waking up in the morning, to turn the computer on, and to sit there failing all day at something to which I’d decided to devote myself, the thing which was to provide me with my lifestyle of untold wealth. They were dark days. My self-confidence dropped, my mood was poor, and I even began to skip gym sessions, and put on weight. It was totally unfamiliar territory. Why wasn’t I able to succeed? What was wrong with me? Perhaps I was not who I thought I was.
The thing was, no matter how bad things got, I never lost my resolve. I didn’t care how long it took, how depressed I became in the process. I would sit at that fucking computer, day in, day out, even if it took me 5 years, and I had to go back to work again several times to earn more cash. Failure was not even a concept which I would entertain. Each day became a battle against my own mind, which was just telling me to take the week off, go do something else. In response, I worked even harder. There was a period of several months where I was putting in 14 hours a day in front of the PC, and even working through the weekends. I became a hermit, with dishevelled appearance and social interactions reduced to grunting at the 55 year old woman behind the checkout at the supermarket.
Piece by piece, things began to fall into place. The rate at which I was blowing up demo accounts began to slow. Some days, I didn’t even lose any money. Very occasionally, I even made money. Gradually, the tide was stemmed. I went a whole week without losing any money from my account. I had a profitable week. I strung profitable days back to back. I then added 50% to my demo account in the space of 2 weeks.
And this is where I find myself now. Certainly not an expert, but now sufficiently accomplished to know it’s time to go back to real money, and show myself, and everyone else who I told that I could do this, that I’m capable of getting stinking rich, very quickly.
In truth, it’s only taken me just over 6 months of full time study to get to this point, which I can’t really complain about. It’s a fraction of the time that many people take. If someone told you that you could go back to college for a year or two, with no cash, but at the end of it you’d get a $1mil/year job, you’d probably give it a shot. Finding the right information at the right time, combined with sheer bloody-mindedness saw me through the worst of it. The dark days are behind me, my self-confidence is restored, I’m back into the gym 6 days a week, and life is definitely on the up.
I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, but it’s hard not to dream. I ran some quick sums – assuming 20 trading days in a month, and a daily account gain of 10%, it is possible in 4 months to compound $1,000 into… just over $2,000,000. I kid you not. 10% daily isn’t really in any way ridiculous either. All it requires is a successful trade at 4% risk where you make 2.5 times your stop. I’ve done it many times already on my demo account. A number of the people whose writing helped me on a forum can add 100% to their accounts in a single day with good conditions.
Touch wood, I will be able to avoid having to go back to work, and very soon, be earning a great deal more than I was when I was last contracting.
Remember, in order to fail, you have to stop trying and give up. If you don’t do that, you’ll never fail, and then by default the only other option remaining is success, no matter how long it takes you to get there. You just have to want it badly enough.
If all goes to plan, by some point before the end of next year, I’ll put up a post of me looking smug stood by my Ferrari. And if not, then I hold myself open to ridicule for shooting my mouth off. But even if it takes another year, or another after that, I’ll get there. Any other outcome is simply unthinkable.
I’ll put up another trading post soon. I’ve not added anything since the first, simply because the way in which I trade and the concepts I’ve been trying to understand have been too nebulous until now, and I’d have been spouting shit more than likely. The concept of Supply & Demand however still remains the most fundamentally important lesson you need to learn.
Keep positive, keep dreaming big, and keep working towards it.