Throughout our lives, we look toward others to define ourselves. As children, parents and teachers tell us whether or not we are doing well. Significant others offered praise when we met their expectations and punished us when we broke the rules by going our own way. The broader society tends to reinforce looking outward for the standards that we should achieve.


The media bombards us with images of success: “Buy a sleek, new sports car and impress the neighbours. Wear the latest designer fashions and watch heads turn as you walk by.” Out of sheer habit, one continues to ask, “How well am I doing?” and that question usually leads to asking, “How well ‘should’ I will be doing?” When words like “should” and “must” enter the picture, however, one places a lot of unnecessary pressure on oneself to perform. And when the pressure is on, we usually choke under the strain.

There’s a danger when you look outward. You start to judge yourself. You start to think that you are doing well or poorly based on how others may see you. But it is much better to look inward and follow your own personal standards for where you want to go next. 

Comparing ourselves to others is useless, and at times, counterproductive. You’ll make more profits if you learn to look inward for your own personal standards than outward in an effort to beat out the next guy. Each trader brings his or her own knowledge, personality, trading method, and tools to the trading arena. Through a coordinated integration of these various components, the trader builds up a set of individualized trading skills that produce lasting success.

Such integration doesn’t happen overnight but through hard work and persistence. Over time, one makes trade after trade, gaining key experiences along the way, until it all comes together in the end. One needs to find one’s own personal talents, accentuating one’s strengths and working around one’s limitations. Every trader is on his or her own path. For some people, the path is full of many curves and is quite long. For others, the path is straight and short. It is essential that you follow your own path and accept the amount of effort and time it will take to reach your goals.

Studies of successful and creative people have shown that such people tend to work by their own standards. Even in competitive situations, creative people don’t compare themselves to others. They look inward and let their internal standards guide them. They know that through persistence and determination, they will achieve success. They don’t force it. They know that if they allow themselves to follow their passion, success will come naturally. If you take a similar approach to trading, you’ll achieve lasting success.

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