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It’s For the Money


It’s For the Money


Have you ever picked up a magazine, like “GQ” or “Vanity Fair,” and glanced at the ads? Glossy, well-photographed pages show fast cars, fashionable clothes, and the latest electronic gadgets, all next to the most beautiful people on the planet. These are motivating images. They draw out passion and desire. It makes you want to go out and earn a fortune to buy it all. After all, that’s why we trade. It’s for the money, right?

Trading sounds exciting, but many people who pursue trading as a profession find it “boring.” That’s their word for it, not mine. How can it be boring? It’s exciting. You put your ego and money on the line, and the outcome is not a certainty. It’s risky, and taking a risk can give you a thrill. Why do people trade? There probably isn’t one reason. For some, it’s the excitement of taking a risk; for others it’s about providing a particular lifestyle for their family, and for others, it’s just the family business.

People’s motives are complex. There are many possible reasons for why people pursue trading. But the more important issue is the primary reason you trade. Why do you study the markets every day to find a new market opportunity? Why do you need to trade? There are other ways of making a good living. These aren’t shallow questions.

You can trade for money, status, wealth, excitement, or out of obligation, but these must merely be secondary motives. The primary motive for trading must be a true love of the profession. Successful traders say that they would trade even if they made only a living wage. Trading is an art form. The markets are fascinating to study. Trading is a skill that few can master. We’ve interviewed hundreds of traders at Innerworth in an effort to find what gives them a winning edge. And we’ve found that the most successful traders see trading as an intellectual challenge. They aren’t in it for the money, but for the inherent pleasure it gives them. In their study of traders, Robert Koppel and Howard Abell (1994) draw the same conclusion. In their book, “The Innergame of Trading,” Koppel and Abell observe, “The top traders all love to trade…for them it is their true mission.” Winning traders don’t feel they “should” trade, but see trading as a mission, something they were chosen to do.

When you have a strong passion for what you do, it’s never really boring. Sure, there are those times when you’re trying to do so much that you feel a little stressed, but to the winning trader, that’s all part of the fun. They enjoy living up to the endless challenges, and relish the fact that they are good at a profession where over 90% fail. They aren’t motivated by money, fame, or glory, but by a true love of the game. Their passion fuels their drive to hone their trading skills and reach the top of the field. It’s quite a paradox. They don’t seek out the money, but in the end, they develop such a high level of skill that they end up extremely profitable. So if you want to be a winning trader, don’t focus on the profits. The profits will come. All you need to do right now is develop a passion for the profession and allow that passion to compel you to do your best.