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A Successful Life - Ari Kiev

In his book, "A Strategy for Daily Living," trading expert Dr. Ari Kiev notes, "A successful life does not result from chance, fate, or good fortune, but from a succession of successful days lived in pursuit of a worthy pursuit." Dr. Kiev points out that you can work toward your goal every day, day after day, and eventually even the most elusive goal can be achieved. Perhaps you will make more progress on some days than others, but what is most important is that you never give up and spend every day working toward your goal.
this idea makes a lot of sense to me. it also makes sense that so few people ever actually fully realize their own potential. it seems especially applicable to traders.

say, for example you have a goal to earn a degree, say a Master's or Doctorate or whatever. well, the majority of people do not pursue either degree. of those who do pursue it, many will not complete it. of those who do, many take paths that take them on longer journies than others will take. regardless of how it happened, each got there the same basic way - one day at a time.

a similar beginning is seen in trading. few are called, fewer are chosen, fewer arrive, etc. but there are several differences that make the journey less probable.

first, one of the key elements in trading is losing and being wrong. pursuit of perfectionism is deadly. taking step back is a daily event. a common goal for many people is to reach breakeven. additionally, during these losses, this backstepping, these wrongs, it is unbelievably easy to build bad habits that greatly increase the likelihood the same steps/mistakes/losses will be seen again.

second, there is no correlation to amount of time/work put into the pursuit and level or likelihood of success. sure, it seems easy to assume it takes work and time to succeed as a trader. and i agree. however, someone may be able to reach a desired level after spending 3hrs on avg per day while a person spending 14hrs per day is unable to reach the same level of success. putting in your time is important but not a lock on making it.

third, learning to trade is like learning an ocean. it constantly changes, mutates, grows, adapts, adjusts, and moves. what was there yesterday just may not look the same or even be there today. the markets are alive. that's why books are seen as a secondary resource at best for learning to trade. learn it live, as it happens.

fourth, since my position is with the retail trader in mind, the trader is always the underdog. the big dogs have more money, more brains, more tech, more resources, more everything than the average trader. whether he is a consistently successful and seasoned trader or a wannabe just getting his feet wet, the trader is never expected to win.

and finally, in trading the difference between now and the previous second is larger than any expanse imaginable. there is no end to books available with historical examples, records of previous market activity. knowing what happened or worked yesterday is no lock that you have anything usable today. if i learn today that 2+2=4, i feel confident that 2+2=4 will be true tomorrow. in nearly any other pursuit, studying or learning historic behaviors, patterns, and tendencies gives you a very strong basis for future behaviors, patterns, and tendencies. many times, nearly flawless reliability. in trading, we have a constant: price fluctuates. before the TA crowd comes unhinged, i'm not suggesting there are NO observable or tradeable patterns. my position is that there is no 100% reliably tradeable pattern. if anything can be traded with 100% success, it will never be shared or if so, immediately lose its purity and therefore its efficiency. either way, it doesn't happen. that's why you can have a company release a good earnings report, and the market rallies, but when the same company release a proportionally better earnings report the next quarter there is a selloff. a strategy or pattern that works 70% of the time does not work 30% of the time. same pattern, same variables, same conditions, but 3 times out of 10 it fails.

there's more, but i'm tired now ...

with all this producing a seeminly insurmountable task of becoming a consistent, successful trader, why even do it? why try? why even bother? because it's there.

guy, i hope you're happy. you gave me a link to another topic, i get side-tracked with this topic, and BAM! i'm in dissertation mode.
Excellent "little" dissertation omni! Thanks!

I liked your comparison to the ocean and its constant shifting making it difficult to learn. For a moment I thought that trading was unique with this shifting landscape but then as I thought about other professions I realized that they are all pretty much the same.

A professional golfer or football player often faces similar situations but never the exact same situation. All of the training that they have done will prepare them to make a good judgement call at the point they need to "make the play" but even these professionals don't always get it right.

Gary Player is often quoted: "The more I practise the luckier I get." The more he practises the familiar all these situations are to him. A bunker with a big lip is much easier If you've git a hundred balls at it over the past week.

Trading is no different. If you've seen this type of market a hundred times over (through practising on past replay data for example or reading through charts and examples) then you will know what the probabilities are for market direction. Your practise makes profits.

So you want to be a pro?

How many hours of practise did Tiger Woods put in before he reached the point that he was at break-even (like omni pointed out)?

Was it 100 hours? or 1,000 or 10,000? How many hours of practise and real trading have you done? Compare your experience to your results. Don't give up. Each day one at a time. Isn't there an AA slogan a bit like that? One day at a time... or something like that...
i agree, a professional athlete shares an amazing number of commonalities with the professional trader. the main ginormous difference i see is that i can't plunk down $2,000 and be a pro runningback or an NBA starter or a pro on the PGA tour. that aspect of trading STILL amazes me.

as usual, good points guy, thx for your comments.
This is a good point. Trading is probably the only arena where for $2,000 you can enter and "play" against the best and most seasoned professionals in the world - and beat them!