In the movie “Broadcast News,” Tom, the future star network anchor, asks Aaron, the under-appreciated correspondent, “What do you do when your life exceeds your dreams?” Aaron retorts, “Keep it to yourself.” This is a good piece of advice for winning traders. One of the issues that would-be traders often forget to consider is how their lives may change when their hard work pays off and they begin to trade profitably.
In one of our studies at Innerworth, we found that relatively few of our subscribers expected to encounter adverse effects when they finally make huge trading profits. In other words, it doesn’t seem as if a lot of our subscribers harbour a “fear of success.” That said, it does seem, however, that many new successful traders claim that success isn’t what they had expected.
There are many tales of how winning traders finally realized huge profits only to face unpleasant social consequences for their hard-earned success. For example, once your family and friends see that you have a little extra money, they may be envious or jealous. They may resent you for having more money and resources than they do. There’s also the common misconception that trading is “easy money” and that you don’t really deserve the profits you’ve worked so hard to earn.
At an extreme, winning traders may feel out of place with their new wealth or discouraged that their family and friends don’t give them the respect or admiration they were expecting. Some successful traders may feel a strong urge to find new friends and new surroundings. Do you secretly believe that the more profits you make, the more difficult your life will be? If you do, this belief may lie in the back of your mind, powerfully influencing your motivation to trade. There’s an easy way to neutralize this tendency, however. Just keep your success to yourself. There are many good reasons to do so.
Many traders achieve success, but it is often transitory. It’s hard to maintain success over time. One of the main reasons for a lack of lasting success is extreme stress. Stress, and the social pressures behind it, should be minimized. Social pressure is a significant source of stress. For example, if you decide to increase your standard of living or brag about your success as a trader to build up your reputation in your social network, you’ll feel a strong need to maintain social status and protect your reputation.
These social dynamics are more powerful than traders realize. They shouldn’t be underestimated. The best way to neutralize this influence is to just keep your success to yourself. Don’t show off. Don’t talk to your friends about trading, and certainly don’t tell them how well you are doing. The more you stay humble and modest, and secretive to some extent, the easier it will be to stay focused on trading. Remember, winning traders don’t trade for the profits anyway.
They find trading inherently rewarding. They trade for enjoyment, for the pleasure it brings them. Paradoxically, when traders forget about the profits, they achieve high levels of performance. When they focus on the profits, however, their performance usually starts to falter. So in the end, there’s no reason to make drastic changes to your lifestyle just because you are making wins. In the long run, it’s better to keep your success to yourself, save your profits for a drawdown or other rainy days, and enjoy the process of trading. By doing so, you’ll achieve lasting profitability.