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.