After months of trading in a slump, Jake tells his best friend, “I think I want to quit the trading business. Why am I doing it? There must be a better way to make a living.” Have you ever felt like Jake? Trading is stressful and demanding. It’s understandable to feel like throwing in the towel at times. If you are ready to find a new job, or if you just don’t seem to have the same passion for trading that you used to, there is a lot you can do to rekindle your desire to trade the markets with fervour.
Even the most exciting job can become boring at times. Think of the hobbies, activities, and things that you once found exciting but no longer find interesting. It may be a sports car that you couldn’t wait to drive but now view as a daily driver, or a favourite, expensive designer outfit that today you see as commonplace as a pair of jeans you bought on sale at Wal-Mart.
What is viewed as exciting is all a matter of context? Remember on “Seinfeld” how George used to lie about being an architect? It sounds so glamorous, designing some of the landmarks that define part of the essence of New York City. But not all architects design such buildings, and so, it may not be what it is cracked up to be. And what about trading? When you get bored, watch “Wall Street.” If only we had so much wealth that we could change the course of a company.
Or what about the commodities brokers in “Trading Places” who tried to corner the frozen concentrated orange juice market? These are romantic images that can inspire you. The problem is that if you are like most traders, you no longer see these romantic images as accurate. They may have motivated you when you first started trading the markets, but now that you’ve had some experience with trading, familiar concerns creep up: What am I doing that’s really productive? Am I really making a contribution? How long can I keep this up?
Trading is a tough business. If you lose your passion for trading, all it means is that you are human. Here’s an obvious cure. Why not take the rest of the month off. It’s the holiday season. Maybe you’re just stressed out. A little rest will help put things all in perspective. Once you are rested, relaxed, and re-energized, you’ll be ready to tackle the markets in 2006 with zeal.
Here’s another strategy. Remind yourself of how great trading really is. You work for yourself (unless you are an institutional trader). You can work at your own pace, and feel that you have freedom. Remember what it was like to work a 9-to-5 job? Perhaps you don’t. Well, that’s an idea. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Maybe you could arrange to visit a friend for a day at a regular 9-to-5 job.
Or since it is the holiday season, you could take time off and find a part-time holiday job. It’s not forever. It’s just a way to rebuild your passion. Sometimes we forget why we trade. Again, like a thrilling sports car, we start to see the thrilling job of trading as mundane. Drive a compact car for a week and you’ll see how great your sports car drives. Work at a regular 9-to-5 job for a few weeks, and you will find your passion for trading quickly. It may sound extreme, but it works. Maybe even after the first day, you’ll think, “Oh, now I remember why I became a trader.”
It’s hard to trade successfully day in and day out. Some traders never lose their passion, but many forget just how exciting the markets can be. If you lose your passion, don’t sit around sulking about how boring life can be. Go out and see how the other half lives. You’ll remember why trading is a great profession. And you will trade with renewed vigour.