Module 12   Innerworth — Mind over marketsChapter 188

At Least You Know What to Expect

It’s hard to become a consistently profitable trader. You’ve got to put in long hours, and many times, your hard work doesn’t pay. But when you become a seasoned trader, the situation improves dramatically. Seasoned traders put in much less time and effort. And more importantly, they make huge profits, which are relatively immediate. You know exactly where you stand, and that’s one of the biggest advantages of trading for a living. Keeping this advantage in mind will help motivate you to continue honing your trading skills until you master the markets.

Throughout their lives, most people try to earn rewards that are deferred, unclear, and relatively unimportant. People in power usually try to persuade their followers that the rewards they are trying to earn are actually important, but they are often transitory and of little real value. For example, many people spend their lives seeking out approval from parents, teachers, and supervisors. It is often assumed that if one follows the rules, it will lead to long-term payoffs. We usually receive immediate minimal rewards, such as approval, a good grade, or a paycheck, but the bigger prizes promised for later rarely materialize.

In addition, the objectives are often unclear and unimportant, and thus, we spend much of our time trying to meet expectations that probably won’t lead to a meaningful reward in the end. The reality is that meeting parental expectations may be rewarded by their approval but may lead to nothing more. Similarly, following a teacher’s expectations may earn a student a good grade but may have few long-term consequences. And satisfying the objectives demanded by a supervisor may lead to a nice sum in an employee’s paycheck, but if the supervisor and corporate leaders are wrong, it could directly result in the loss of a steady job.

Not only are the payoffs temporary and deferred, but the real payoffs usually are given to someone else. It’s different when it comes to trading. You are the only person who you must please in the end. You can have a different “relationship” with the markets. The market isn’t a person you need to satisfy or please. It’s an inanimate object with no motives, agendas, or expectations. If you understand it, can anticipate its moves, and trade it, you will be paid handsomely and immediately. It’s useful to remember this fact when trading. You don’t need to “do the right thing” to satisfy the expectations of someone else. You don’t have to be afraid that you’ve missed a subtle demand and will be reprimanded.

The only expectations you need to satisfy are your own, and you can set those expectations to suit your needs. It’s just you, the markets, and no one else. You have complete freedom, and if you can develop winning trading strategies, you will receive immediate rewards with no professional obligations. Almost no other profession offers such freedom. So when you are scouring over charts, and spending long hours honing your trading skills, motivate yourself by remembering that trading offers clear and immediate payoffs.

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