Our Principles

To start on the right foot, it’s important to understand the underlying principles behind everything we’ll be doing. Icarus is not just a “how to trade” program – it’s a whole new paradigm.

Whenever you find yourself confused about something or getting frustrated, come back to these guiding principles and you’ll never stray too far from the right track.

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

There’s a thin line between being effective and being efficient. This confusion is especially prevalent in the corporate world where “doing more” seems to mean “being effective”.

Just so we’re on the same page:

  • Being effective is doing things that bring us closer to our goals.

  • Being efficient is performing a task in an economical manner.

There’s an important difference between the two.  Don’t confuse “doing something well” with “doing the right thing”. Efficiency is certainly important, but it’s useless when you’re not doing the right things (i.e. being effective) in the first place. Deciding what to do (and what not to do) is much more important than doing it well.

As Entrepreneurial Traders, we’ll focus our efforts on being effective and eliminate everything that doesn’t bring us closer to our goals.

Minimum Effective Dose

There are simply too many topics and sub-topics in the world of trading. By the time you’re done exploring most of these areas, you’ll be too tired and confused to trade effectively.

Rather than gaining a shallow understanding of each topic and spreading ourselves too thin, we’ll focus on the 20% of areas that will account for 80% of our profits. You can explore the rest when you’ve built up your trading account and have nothing better to do with your time.

Not every topic in trading will be worth the trouble of learning and applying. I’ve been there and learned the hard way so I can save you the trouble now. Just stick to what we’ll be covering in Icarus, and ignore everything else.

Moderation

Have you ever turned a hobby into a job? Or perhaps you know someone who’s done that? Having too much of what you want is the surest way of turning it into what you don’t want.

Even though trading is extremely enjoyable, spending hours upon hours doing it every day is the surest way to kill your interest in it.

Limiting your time in everything you do will lead you to satisfaction and fulfillment.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

It’s human nature that draws us to lottery tickets and gambling tables. We’re wired to chase that big win, regardless of how improbable the likelihood of it happening. For most people, that’s what drew them into trading in the first place – big profits in a short period of time. What they don’t tell you about this approach is that all it takes is ONE unlucky trade to do irreparable damage to your trading account.

ETs focus on small, consistent gains. It’s not sexy, but it’s the only effective way to build an account over the long run. Warren Buffett didn’t become the world’s richest man in six months. He stuck to solid principles and built his portfolio over decades. He’s probably the least exciting investor I know. But he’s effective.

Don’t Feel. Follow.

Trading is the adult equivalent of going to the arcade. The lure of the excitement of beating your opponent is tremendous (especially for us men). Every day, thousands of traders start their trading platforms looking for an emotional fix – they want to feel excited, powerful and rich. Each click of the mouse gives them a shot of adrenaline, making them feel alive.

Unfortunately, if you let your emotions dictate your trades, you’ll be in more trouble than you think. So don’t “follow your gut” – that’s for traders with decades of experience.

As a new ET, understand the plan, execute, and stick to it.

Don’t get fancy, at least not at first.

Think.

One common characteristic among the traders I admire is the ability to think and reflect. If something doesn’t make sense, find out why. This is a crucial part of being a trader where you’ll need to filter the truth from the majority of B.S. out there in the world.

The ability to be realistic and adapt to changing circumstances relies on your independent assessment of any situation.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford

Principles of Learning

These are the guiding principles that have helped me tremendously over the years as a learner in various fields:

Shoshin

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism that means “the beginners mind”. It refers to an attitude of curiosity, enthusiasm, openness, and a lack of preconceptions when studying a subject. Remember how you felt when you first learned how to ride a bicycle or drive a car? That’s Shoshin.

Even when you’ve mastered the concepts taught here, don’t abandon the beginner’s mind. Always question, and always be ready to shift your position and perspective. If something doesn’t make sense, ask why. The moment you think to yourself, “I know everything” – that’s when you lose.

“Certainty is the mother of fools.” – Patrick Jane

Always be curious; always be open to new perspectives.

Progress over Perfection

Keep moving. When you come across something you don’t understand after 5 minutes, make a note of it and move on. Don’t harp on one thing you don’t understand and linger on it for the next hour – you can always come back and review the matter again later. Chances are that what you’ll pick up in later sections will give you a good idea of what you initially missed out on.

Optimal over Options

As we move forward, I’ll show you the one path that works, rather than every possible option or tool. I don’t want to give you options – I want to give you answers and solutions that moves you forward. I will not tell you every way to do something – only the optimal method.

The best time to do it is yesterday

Take action right away. Don’t put it away and “get back to it later”. You know you won’t. And you don’t have the luxury of time. A paycheck can stop at a moment’s notice, and that moment isn’t up to you. Every day you aren’t building your business, you’re building someone else’s. You’re sacrificing your time, potential for wealth, and autonomy – to enable someone else’s.

Every single day, you wake up with pocket aces in the poker game of life: your right to build something of your own and your raw capability to do so. Stop compromising, stop doubting, stop hesitating. Stop folding your hand and watching others play the game. There’s no room at the table for spectators. Even if you make a few bad moves along the way – you’ll always live to play another hand.

“Someday” never comes.

 

Next: Myths & Misconceptions