Another year has passed, it seems, all too fast.
It was 12 months ago that I wrote a short post about the challenges of learning to trade and how easy it is to give up along the way.
And by now, I’m sure there are a number of people who read that post 12 months ago, who have since quit trading anyway.
Few Are Willing To Stick At Something Long Enough To Get Good At It
Just like how it’s common for people to pick up guitar for a few months and quit, there will always be those who come into trading with high hopes, but quit before they’ve given an honest shot at it.
After all, it’s easier to dream about achievements than work to make it happen.
“Want 6-pack abs?”
“Great, just show up at the gym every day.”
“Um.. I’m busy. Maybe next week.”
I remember someone who once said, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
But as we know all too well, sometimes even a plan isn’t enough.
If it was, everyone with a gym membership would look like an Abercrombie model.
Clearly, planning to do something isn’t enough to actually get you to do it.
So what’s missing here?
The difference between a wish and a goal, is commitment.
Telling a girl you love her, is a wish. Bringing her to meet your parents, is a commitment.
The analyst telling you “the EUR/USD is likely to move up to 1.3900”, is wishing. The trader who uses his own money to enter a buy trade, is making a commitment.
Commitment makes it painful for you to back out on the goal you had set for yourself. It measures how badly you want it to happen.
Now think about this.
How committed are you really, to your goals? Because for every hundred people who are wishing for them, only one will make the commitment.
And if you aren’t truly committed, why lie to yourself with an empty wish?
How Did The Past 12 Months Go For You?
Have you gotten closer to your trading goal? If you’re committed to it, you’d know.
If there was progress, you’d know how much. If there wasn’t, you’d know what you’d have to do to get back on track.
Commitment is what separates the players from the wannabes.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” – Randy Pausch
There’s a high correlation between wanting something badly enough, and getting it.
And guess what the difference is between the people who want it bad enough, and the people who don’t? Hint: it starts with C.
Remember, the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. Maybe that includes you.
… or does it?
The Commitment I Made, Years Ago
Almost a decade ago, I spent over $20,000 on trading courses to learn how to trade.
But even that wasn’t a real commitment, not really. Because what was important to me at that time wasn’t the money.
It ate into my savings, sure, but my lifestyle wouldn’t have been significantly affected if I had quit halfway. It wouldn’t have been too painful for me to walk away.
So the first real commitment I made, was declaring to myself that I’d either succeed as a trader, or die trying.
Because I meant it.
I told my closest friends, trading was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Never before had I ever made a declaration like that, knowing that the chances of success are slim.
I was able to make that commitment because deep down I knew there was no other way for me. I would rather die trying to achieve my goal, than to live a second-rate life without it.
The difference is, I’ve declared it to everyone… and there was no way of taking it back without losing respect for myself. And to me, self respect was (and still is) very important.
Looking back now, it was one of the hardest, yet best decisions I’ve ever made.
Of course, this didn’t mean that I went on to quit my job immediately – there’s a difference between being committed and being dumb.
But the moment I knew I would rather go all the way and die without succeeding, than not try hard enough, I no longer struggled inside.
From then on, there was no question of how badly I wanted to be an independent trader. Every cell in my body pointed towards that goal.
Are The Brick Walls There To Keep Others Out? Or To Keep You Out?
Ultimately, you’ll have to come to your own decision, if you’re serious about trading.
Because I’ll tell you right now – the walls in there are pretty thick.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to make money from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, at their own time?
The more attractive the goal, the thicker the brick walls.
Must you be 100% committed to trading, to succeed? I’m not sure. But I can tell you it won’t take anything less than 90%. From my perspective, the bar is pretty high.
Commitment + Plan
So commitment is crucial. But so is a plan.
Don’t quit your job tomorrow, thinking that blind commitment is enough to bring you to your goal. You’ll have to be smart about it.
Have a sound plan, and stick to it.
Make 2014 the year where you progress far enough to know that you want to be trading for the rest of your life, and that nothing less will satisfy you.
As I said, the bar is pretty high.
The question is, does this motivate you? Or cause you to step back?
Perhaps, your immediate reaction to this, is a clue to how badly you want it.
Regardless, I wish you all the best in whatever you set your mind on this year.
Thank you for reading and have an awesome new year.