Thursday, February 26, 2015

Be Modest and Realistic

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
William Shakespeare

It may be enjoyable to occasionally dream of how you'll solve all life's problems by making a few million dollars trading the markets, but deep down you know it's unlikely to happen. It's hard to make that kind of money under most market conditions and without sufficient investment capital. In the end, that kind of thinking will just get you discouraged. It is important to identify such flawed plans and make them more modest and realistic. 

In setting goals, it is important to have realistic expectations. Trying to make huge profits quickly is unrealistic; modest goals are more realistic, and thus, more satisfying. Many (especially new traders) make goals that are not realistic, nor achievable. If your expectations are unrealistic, you'll fail quickly, feel disappointed, and very possibly just give up. If for instance you have insufficient capital that cannot cover draw-downs, fees, and commissions, you are being unrealistic. If you are trading with unreliable strategies and expect to make money on a consistent basis, you are also being unrealistic. It is not only impossible to achieve unrealistic goals, it can create a great deal of stress, which itself can produce trading errors. Setting more realistic expectations eases some of the pressure and will help in building sound trading skills.

Seasoned traders emphasize that such consistently profitable trading may take several years. And it is hard to achieve. It requires dedication and effort, yet many new traders think only minimal effort is needed. For example, they may think they can trade profitably by treating trading as a hobby rather than as a serious business. They over-estimate their ability level. They over confidently think that they have skills and abilities that they do not yet have. Do not ever underestimate the tendency to be overconfident. Conquer the tendency to trade beyond your skills by cultivating a sense of healthy skepticism regarding your trading skills and your trading strategies. Be realistic about what you can actually achieve. 

In the end, it is important not to get your hopes up too high. Novice traders think they'll make more profits than they can realistically see, or they believe that when they achieve huge profits, all of their life problems will be solved. Motivating yourself by fantasizing of these potential rewards will likely fail in the end. The only way you will achieve profitability is by setting realistic goals. You must accept the fact that trading is just plain hard work. You will have to put in a heroic effort to achieve success. With enough persistence, hard work, and determination, however, you will build up the skills you need to become a consistently profitable trader.