How I Went From An Employee Mindset To An Investor Mindset

When I first started trading years ago, I had no idea about the type of trader I wanted to be.

All I knew was that I wanted to make money trading. I didn’t really care how I was going to do it.

I mean… did it really matter how I traded, as long as I made money in the process?

As it turns out, this question was far more important than I’d initially thought.

What I didn’t know, that I didn’t know

Coming from Singapore, my life was pretty much mapped out for me the day I was born.

This was the plan:

– Go to school and get good grades

– Graduate from university and get a good job (preferably as a lawyer or banker)

– Work for a couple of years, save money

– Get married, have kids

– Invest in the stock market

– Climb the corporate ladder for the next 30 – 40 years

– Take vacations 14 days a year (if I’m lucky)

– Get the 5 C’s: cash, credit card, condominium, car, country club membership

– Retire at 65, kick back and relax

You might be familiar with this plan.

As a young adult, this was pretty much all I had to look forward to.

This was (supposedly) the best life had to offer. It couldn’t get any better than this.

Or could it?

Enter The Trader

Years ago, in an attempt to break out of this cycle, I studied the art and science of Forex trading.

It was a journey filled with psychological and emotional challenges, but after years of learning from seminars, books and DVDs, I finally settled on a trading approach worked well.

And I thought I’d made it. I thought I’d “arrived”.

Trading Became Another Job

But as I continued along my trading journey, I began to realize that I was completely dependent on short term price fluctuations.

Every time the market rallied or dipped 20 pips, I’d be ready to jump in to take a trade. I was often stuck to the computer for hours, and had to skip more than a few meals in order to keep monitoring the market.

I become highly stressed and high-strung, my personal relationships suffered, and my health deteriorated… I even developed a stomach ulcer before 30.

Before I knew it, I’d become a slave to the market.

Technically, I didn’t have a boss to answer to. But there was no doubt that the market was calling the shots in my life.

How I felt, when I ate, when I could go to sleep… was all determined by the market.

I had practically no control over my lifestyle.

And one day it hit me…

I realized that I’d signed up for yet another job.

Employees Trade Time For Money

I thought that being a trader meant that I could make money without getting a job. But the way I was trading, was little different than having one.

And in a sense, it was worse. At a job at least, your paycheck is pretty much guaranteed.

The way I used to trade forced me to sit in front of the computer, waiting for an opportunity – kind of like fishing, except without the fresh air and with a whole lot of stress.

I’d sometimes wait for days in vain, as the market continued to consolidate and not go anywhere. And I’d waste all that time doing nothing, because there was nothing I could do but wait.

I couldn’t leave my trading terminal.

When I got sick and couldn’t trade, I couldn’t make money. When I went for a vacation, I couldn’t make money.

Like an employee, if I wasn’t actively trading, no money came in.

This made me realize that my approach to trading was flawed.

I wasn’t just trading currencies… I was trading my time for money.

Something had to change.

Investors Trade Money For More Time & Money

Time is a resource with a hard limit.

When the time comes for me to depart from this world, I won’t be able to buy another minute of time. All the money in the world wouldn’t matter one bit.

And the thing is, I have absolutely no idea how much of this precious resource I have left. I could leave this world in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 2 months, or even next week.

This realization slapped me right in the face.

This wasn’t just about the game of trading… it was about the game of life.

So from then on I decided not to take part in any endeavor that required me to trade my time for money. That’s a losing game.

I wanted to trade in a manner that required as little time as possible. I didn’t want my trading income to be determined by the amount of time I spent in front of the computer.

And Icarus Was Born

So that was the context that ultimately led to the creation of the Icarus method.

It’s what I wish I’d learned when I first started trading.

In those days, the naive trader in me didn’t care how I made money trading… as long as I made money.

Now, I understand that while money is important, there are far more important things in life… like time, health and peace. Things that I wouldn’t trade away for money.

I’m done with those days of chaotic, frustrating, emotional roller-coaster rides. I’m done with the shallow thrills and depressive effects of short term trading.

In fact, these days I’m not even at my computer when my trades make money for me.

And all I had to do was to understand how the game of trading is played, and position my trades to benefit from that knowledge.

This, I think, is what being an investor is about.

By |2019-05-17T15:54:08+00:00May 17th, 2019|Philosophy|45 Comments


  1. chai April 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    we shouldn’t seeking clues and advantages in complexity. we should strive to adopt simple trading systems and have a better chance of remaining robust and profitable, and become one of the minority winners

    this what my mentor telling me

  2. Marvin April 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    I believe you have it right Chris.

  3. Danica Vuksanovic April 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    I find this so far extremely useful I hope it will help me to be consistently good in trading and in effort to make forex trading my longterm business

    with respect Danica Vuksanovic

  4. Shakeel Murad April 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Dear Chris Lee

    Your blog post is wonderful.I fully agree with you that type of trading at the cost of our health,time,relations and peace of mind is totally useless.

  5. Mark April 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    Thanks Chris. So true.

    Its allot to think about. I guess it can be what makes you throw in the towel in frustration(even though you really had the knowledge and ability) because you just couldn’t take a step back and get a better perspective.

    Icarus is a terrific and sustainable way to think about forex trading


  6. tino rumac April 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris

    i can relate to your article 100% and its all true as well.

    part of my new trading strategy is to trade higher time frames this cuts out most of the lower time frame noise plus allows me time away from my computer, i also find that the higher time frame have much more reliable signal.

    i am interested in your icarus programme just not sure if i can afford it at the moment

    stay well and keep trading well


  7. Chris Lee April 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. It helps me to better understand the type of posts that are useful to you.

    Tino, please take your time. Icarus emphasizes trading in comfort, so we’ll welcome your participation whenever you are ready.

  8. Euan April 15, 2012 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I agree that you had to change your trading style, look at becoming a long term trader, as Tino says above, when going away not chasing as few pips every hour or scalping.
    Then use mulipal entries that will reduce the need of sitting waiting it just you will have to learn to manage your emotions on the ups and downs which is part of the job….cheers

  9. Chris Aingworth April 15, 2012 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,
    Awesome posting! I have been trading on and off for 3 years now and I hear what you are saying. I recently listened to an audiobook by Robert Kiyosaki regarding trading your time for money and I agree with what you say. That is exactly what employees do and it makes very little sense. I still haven’t been able to make a consistent profit trading, so I am still working on my system, but I know that I will eventually be successful and then start looking at things the way you are looking at them now. I don’t want to have to trade my current job for a ‘Forex’ job in front of the computer screen. Really got me thinking! Thanks!!


  10. Gordon April 15, 2012 at 3:37 am - Reply


    Yes, there are lots of familiar things that you brought up in your blog today which remind me of my starting off in this Forex world. Before I came across your earlier “Candlestickmadeeasy” I’ve not even a clue what were those that we need to equip myself to go into this so-called FOREX (which was introduced by my friend ). It’s like crawling in the dark without any guide as to where I was heading. Sticking to computer every single moment. As I realised (coupled with your materials), higher time frames and others could help tremendously in looking at the market moves. Of course, there are other factors that go with that too…viz fundamentals, economic events that each country undergo. With your Icarus, things are getting better in terms of managing ourselves towards the market. Again, I feel it s not easy. But it needs patience, tolerance, disciplined mind, etc. I believe that things and the way people react to the market may also evolve overtime……with the emergence of robotic systems,etc. But the fundamental way of trading will still (I feel) be the way forward….Trading with confidence (If I can manage myself) I don’t know about others!!!…… Its a long journey.


  11. pupx2 April 15, 2012 at 5:10 am - Reply

    yes your candle sticks book was 100% informative and enlightening, worth the money and effort,I just do it for a hobby,as time goes by have learned more and more, am doing psychological levels at present,also swing highs n lows to go along with the psychological levels n all makes good sense, to become a good trader takes time and study,just before Easter had 14 out of 15 winners , however after Easter went flat and didnt trade much last week ,hope next week will be better,happy trading to all. 🙂

  12. Don. Bennington April 15, 2012 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I totally agree with you, I am slowly working my way through ICARUS, I also bought your Candlesticks Ebook and try to trade with the information that I have learned from that as well as watch the news.
    keep up the good and useful information. It is a big help for us.
    Kind Regards
    Don. Bennington

  13. Banjo April 15, 2012 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Hi Chris!
    Hindsight is a magical thing in that it opens your eyes after the event-I went on the same journey as you say was what was mapped out for you, however when I reached 65 here I was still trading time for money even with having my own business
    Then comes a recession & bingo I find myself back practically where I started in 1982
    While well aware of the pull of the “get rich schemes” especially when one is feeling desperate, after careful consideration I commenced my “Demo” education in FX some 15 months ago (I did not expect to still be in demo after this time)
    Two important things have happened—-First, I have been fortunate to realise from my business experience that in FX trading until you gain the nessessary knowledge & skills one doesn’t put their best foot forward until you can profit consistantly
    Second—you need a competent teacher/mentor
    After down loading your Candlestick e-book and reading your Manifisto I have chosen to become part of Icarus as your observations & your simple trading systems indicate the potential for me to become part of the minority of profitable traders
    I am currently doing Market 1 in the programme & looking forward to the rest of the modules
    I look forward the the balance of the course and really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience, skills & teaching methods
    Yours in (profitable) trading


  14. Raj April 16, 2012 at 2:39 am - Reply

    I truly agree with yr statement of spending less family time and more of computer time. This time after it make sense that we have other better things to do besides just spending time watching the market the whole day and ends up just earning peanut or nothing at all (it happen to me, after 12 hrs of watching the market no profitable trade). Its just depressing. Maybe Icarus I will join to manage my time and energy well.
    Keep up the good work Chris.

  15. Abel Munonyara April 16, 2012 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for one more brilliant article Chris.
    I really love and appreciate how you view Trading as a “cog” in the “wheel of your life” and that is exactly how I am hoping it to be in mine and not a “disguised job”!

  16. Yarimawa April 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    You appear to be wonderful. You have really got the ability to read my mind. Thanks for the good job and keep it up.

  17. Ross April 16, 2012 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris.

    I read this article with interest as with most of your articles.
    However I would like to ask a question from you.

    You said you spent “all your time in front of your computer”

    What time frames were you trading. I used to trade 15 minute charts, but found all the oportunities were mostly at two in the morning and I was missing them.

    Then I read an article of yours about two or three weeks where you suggested using a longer time frame which woke me from my tunnel vision.

    I now trade 4 hour charts, I check them each morning and evening for oportunities.

    I am not glued to my screen and have had several succesfull trades and I still carry out my day job (Contractor).

    If I have a trade going I check more often usually after each new candle and move my stop to break even or profit earlier rather than later.

    There is a saying I have heard “Let your profits run and cut your losses”. After many profits lost following my report advisor directions, I now lock in profits as soon as possable, and if I get stopped out and miss a higher profit, so be it.

    Your thoughts?

  18. Chris Lee April 17, 2012 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Hi Ross,

    That’s a really good question which deserves a post of its own. I’ll definitely be writing about this over the next couple of weeks, so please look out for it.

    To everyone: Thank you for your questions because it helps me create posts that are most relevant to you… so please keep your questions coming!

  19. Arthur April 18, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I have for a very long time wanted to quit my job and trade professionally. I have studied various methods of trading but never quite got the strategy to allow me to be consistently profitable (despite an Finance) I have traded but not gotten the results I wanted and that is after “blowing” two accounts. I want to learn to conquer my fears but more importantly keep greed at bay. I have used technical analysis to the exclusion of fundamental analysis. As stated in your 5th strategy principle – the power of laziness is not upon me because of your article and my determination to succeed, I am willing to put in the extra effort to achieve my goals. I like your conservative approach to trading. Boring as some may think, its the end result that counts.Having read your article Employee Trader vs Investor and the 5 strategy principles, I am looking forward to joining the Icarus Method training programme (b4 I quit my job) and I am very grateful to you for putting everything into perspective.I should have come across you 5 years ago.



  20. Raoul April 24, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,I am agree your opinion.Thank you for your kindness give me your surefire information.I want to learn more tech from you.

  21. kordell May 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm - Reply


    This is Kordell. Just checking in to see how you are doing. Im glad to see that you have join the ranks of position trading. It is the only way to go. I can trade once to twice a year build a position and relax. I am building 5 positions now in the gn ga au nu acad. I started building in April and I check my trades just a few times a week. Glad to hear you are doing good. Send me a line.

    • Chris Lee May 10, 2012 at 5:19 am - Reply

      Hey Kordell, hope you’re doing well! Yes, trading on the longer term is a lot more rewarding.

  22. alfredo arcieri June 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris :

    Humane & practical . What a good learning .

    Alfredo Arcieri

  23. Readul June 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    I have few questions to you. If a person do not pass time front of monitor, how he or she will be experienced about it? You screen experience also important. You past more time now you can easily understand

    • Chris Lee June 19, 2012 at 6:59 am - Reply

      Hi Readul,

      Great question!

      Screen time is important, but you’ll need to be specific about what that means.

      There’s a big difference between spending 5 hours daily in front of the monitor, versus 10 minutes at the end of each day to see how prices moved throughout the day.

      Both can be considered “screen time”, although each brings with it a different set of costs and benefits.

  24. OLA June 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Chris, thank you very much for your write up, may God continue to bless you, that is just what many of us are going true. I promise to read your Manifesto,s and get back to you soonest.
    Thanks and God bless you.

  25. Augustine Oshilim August 8, 2012 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,that initial plan of life was what everybody has. Those plans were made by our parents and handed over to us to key into. But a time comes when you have to make your plans based on your visions and philosophy of life.
    Thanks for your write up .

  26. James August 28, 2012 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Hello Chris. The Icarus training price is reasonable, but to have an established account of $20 – 25K will be hard to muster. As I did have that amount once but through buying courses (mostly indicator type courses)and losing trades, I down to less than half of that amount. Is the drawdowns are such that I need to start with that amount? Thanks in advance!

    • Chris Lee September 2, 2012 at 6:56 am - Reply

      Hi James,

      $20 – $25K is the estimated minimum an account needs to grow to, to replace the average paycheck. It is not the amount required to join Icarus.

      The Icarus method accommodates accounts of almost all sizes, but I’d recommend $2K or more.

  27. Bhagirathpuri Goswami September 30, 2012 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Dear Chrish,

    Above given lesson happens almost in everybody’s life,but some persons like you are feeling and after that changes their life style (trade style). Really speaking I also feel this type of experience that I am earning money at the cost of my time, family relations, health,and so many valuable things which will not come again in our life again.You are really inspired person, this is a gift of God to you.Go a head we are with you.

  28. Ken November 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply


    That’s *another* very good post from you. I’m in total agreement – while trading well is one of the most useful skills anyone can have, time spent in front of a screen watching the markets would be better spent doing almost anything else.

    Do you ever give talks/seminars in person? I’m probably making another trip to KL next year.

    • Chris Lee November 8, 2012 at 3:01 am - Reply

      Hi Ken,

      Sorry but nope, I don’t. Seminars are not exactly my style.

  29. bharti January 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    it is interesting

  30. Garry January 26, 2013 at 2:50 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the article which is well written.
    I have a question – I am from India where Forex trading is illegal. However we can trade in currency futures in 5 pairs like USD/INR, etc.
    Will your Iracus method help in this circumstances?


    • Chris Lee January 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Garry,

      I do not trade the futures markets extensively (only spot Forex) so I cannot say for certain.

      However, the futures price usually follows the spot price so in most instances the concepts are equally applicable.

  31. Terry W. January 27, 2013 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Thanks for the post Chris, it really hit home with me as that is exactly how I feel now, scrammbling for another way to make some income, but I’ve noticed that is “has” taken away alot of time…. too much of it. I’m hoping to join your program so I can learn how to trade more successfully. There are some methods that have been successful for me, but most aren’t so I’m hoping to use your phlosophy and methodology to help in my own trading…. Cheers, Terry

    • Chris Lee January 29, 2013 at 8:12 am - Reply

      Hi Terry,

      Good to have you on board. Please feel free to write in if you have any questions with it!

  32. Jake February 13, 2013 at 2:18 am - Reply

    Hey Chris, I really enjoy reading all your posts. You always have great insight. I actually look forward to reading your emails. And trust me my inbox is getting flooded with so-called forex “gurus” daily trying to sell something. Which you don’t. You just give great advice and direction for those of us in need.

    Thanks greatly appreciated


    • Chris Lee February 13, 2013 at 2:50 am - Reply

      Hi Jake,

      Thank you! I really appreciate your encouragement. 🙂

  33. margaret June 16, 2013 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Hi Chris
    You are so spot on
    I grateful for this insight

  34. Steven Murombe January 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    You made me look. Very inspiring. I agree investors must trade money for more time and & more money. Thanks Chris

  35. Lille Low August 3, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    May I know how does Icarus work that enables you to make money even without you trading?

    Thanks for your wonderful blog, I have learnt very much from it!

    • Chris August 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Lille,

      Glad you like the blog. 🙂

      Icarus does involve trading. That is, you’ll have to be the one to set the trade orders.

      The difference is that compared to most other trading approaches, it doesn’t require you to sit in front of the computer/laptop all day to trade.

  36. Patti January 10, 2015 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Great post. Been working on the same idea’s you portrayed in the employee/investor article. Sitting in front of the computer all day is not my idea of life. I too, like many of the previous posts, am looking into trading the higher time frames. I also agree with the “noise” dilemma when trying to catch a trade on the lower time frames…can really drive one crazy. Anyway, great post. The only thing I am not familiar with is…what is Icarus?

    • Chris January 10, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Patti,

      Thanks! The Icarus Project is my full Forex trading course. You can find out about it here.

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