Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone going down the entrepreneurial road in life – the road less traveled. We as traders are perhaps the purest form of the entrepreneur.
Many of us left behind secure jobs in corporate America (though as many of us know, that security is merely an illusion). Many of us left behind thriving small businesses (myself included). Many of us were engineers, doctors, teachers, computer programmers, initially taking the more comfortable and paved road in life. But then something happened along the way – there was a divergence in the road, and you decided to take the one less traveled, the one that would lead you to an industry where 90% fail. The fact that you followed your passion to become a trader (no matter where you’re at in your trading career), you have my respect.
Respect to the trader who has come and gone, unable to find their way to profitability. You took a chance, a risk, and though it may not have worked out the way that you had originally envisioned, at least you possessed the courage to try. How many will be filled with regret in their final moments of life, regret that they settled for what was comfortable and safe despite their ever present lack of passion for the career path that they chose? Far too many, in my opinion, and that’s a damn shame. So, if you tried to make it as a trader and were not able to see it through to profitability, for whatever reason, know that though it may have felt and still may feel like you failed, you actually succeeded in the sense that you took a risk, and that’s what life is all about, taking risks. There is no shame in that, only the highest level of respect and admiration.
Respect to the trader who hasn’t yet been able to reach profitability, has experienced dark days of setbacks and devastation to either their trading account(s), their psyche, or both, yet they continue to persevere, unwavered and determined to become profitable. As long as you have the ability to learn from your mistakes, to constantly hold yourself accountable when you deviate from your methodology or your trade plan, to never stop learning – there is nothing that can stop you.
Respect to the trader who is consistently profitable, you sacrificed a lot to get where you are. You were honest with yourself about your weaknesses (something not easily done) and it was through this honesty that you were able to move forward on a path towards profitability. You never gave up despite your family and friends telling you that trading was gambling and that you would surely fail. You continuously strived to learn from the mistakes of yourself and others, and didn’t blame others for your setbacks. You knew that setbacks were part of the game, that the difference between a successful trader and an unsuccessful trader was how they reacted to and rebounded from those setbacks. Those setbacks made you the trader who you are today.
Respect to the trader who gives back to others. Whether you’re profitable or unprofitable, giving back along the way is something that will only make you a better trader and person. Whether you’re giving of your time, talents, or money, you’re part of the driving force behind a movement of selfless trading professionals who seek to recreate the image of the trader that has been tarnished by Hollywood, politicians, and greedy egomaniac sociopaths like Bernie Madoff and Jordan Belfort. Which leads me to my final point:
Respect to the trader who acts like a trader.
- A trader is not someone who mocks another trader for their losses or misfortunes.
- A trader is not someone who sugarcoats their performance if they share it publicly, keeping in the dark the cost of doing business trades (losses) only to shine a spotlight on the winners; doing so only hurts the community of new traders who get the impression that successful traders don’t experience losses and drawdowns.
- A trader is not someone who takes advantage of the naivety of others via sham trading subscription services or products.
- A trader is not the majority of the guests on CNBC acting like they have a fucking clue where the market is going in the short term. A trader doesn’t predict, a trader reacts.
To end this post, this video is one of my favorite inspirational videos and was made specifically as a tribute to traders by @eminiplayer. I recommend bookmarking it and coming back to it when you need to get amped up, inspired, or reminded what this game is all about.