“As a trader, I face failure almost every day. It can be stressful, but at least the objectives are clear: make profits. And they are immediate. I don’t have to make a sales pitch and wait to see if a potential customer is going to buy my product or wait to see if a business proposal I’ve written for six months is going to get funded in the end. I may have to face losing trades every day, but at least I know the outcome fairly quickly.”

Many seasoned traders share this viewpoint. One of the reasons people quit their high-status corporate jobs to trade the markets is that the payoffs are clear and relatively immediate: Master the markets and you’ll make money and get it now. Throughout our lives, we strive for rewards that for the most part are arbitrary. Significant others constantly try to persuade us that the rewards are actually important, yet they are often transitory and of little real value. For example, we seek out approval from parents, teachers, or supervisors.

They’ve told us that if you follow their 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 rewards promised for later rarely materialize. In addition, the objectives are often contrived, 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 truth 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 you a good grade but may have little long-term consequence.

And satisfying the objectives demanded by a supervisor may lead to a nice sum in your next paycheck, but if the supervisor and corporate leaders are wrong, it could directly result in your unemployment. Not only are the payoffs temporary and deferred, the real payoffs usually are given to someone else, not you. 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. There’s no parents, teachers, or bosses to satisfy.

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 based on your preferences. There’s no bureaucracy, no office politics, and no rivalry among coworkers. It’s just you, the markets, and no one else. You have complete freedom, and if you can develop winning trading strategies, you 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 keeping this advantage at the forefront: Trading offers clear and immediate payoffs.

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