During Thanksgiving dinner, Jack tells his wife, “What do I have to be thankful for? I’ve made a bunch of bad trades all last month. My life could be going a lot better than it is.” What Jack doesn’t realize is that his life could also be going a lot worse. When things don’t go our way, it’s natural to become frustrated and fall prey to a victim mentality. “Why me?” is the mantra of the losing trader. Winning traders, in contrast, take setbacks in stride; they look on the bright side and work hard to get back on top.
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, a day where we look at our lives and appreciate what we have, rather than mull over what we don’t have. If you are like Jack in that you haven’t been doing very well and feel down, try lifting your spirits. The markets are closed, so you might as well take the day off and enjoy it. Appreciate what you have accomplished. Every trader has accomplished some sort of milestone, whether it is merely having the courage to make trades or having enough skill to realize steady profits. Trading is an inherently rewarding profession. It’s a fun and intellectual challenge, and exciting. Be thankful that you are able to engage in such an activity.
Usually, people feel unappreciative of what they do have when they compare themselves to others. Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s tempting in the modern, competitive world to constantly ask, “How am I doing?” Comparisons are useless, however. Run your own race. Don’t constantly think you are trying to beat others to an imaginary finish line. People who achieve great things work independently and on their own terms.
They don’t care how others are doing. They follow their own timeline, follow their own passion, and look inward for where to go next. Trading is a creative activity. You alone are the one who needs to hone your trading skills. You are the one who must find a method that matches your aptitudes and personality. Comparisons to other traders just make you feel frustrated. How you perform has nothing to do with how others perform. All comparisons will do is torture you. You will feel jealous or envy.
When you see that you are doing relatively poorly compared to a fellow trader, you are likely to think of distracting thoughts such as, “Why can’t I do as well?” or “I must not be as good of a trader as I had thought.” Don’t look at anyone else’s record but your own. Everyone has a different learning curve. To keep your spirits up, you’ll do best as a trader to focus on improving your past performance record, rather than looking at how other traders are doing. You don’t know what factors created their performance records, so comparisons can only mislead and hinder you. How well you are doing compared to others does not have a direct bearing on how you should feel about your inner-worth and feelings of success in life.
There are many good reasons to feel extremely thankful for what you have accomplished. Appreciate what makes you unique. Spend Thanksgiving Day celebrating your talents, whatever they are. Appreciate what you are able to do and give thanks that you are able to do it. Happy Thanksgiving.