Are you ready to work all day and make absolutely no money at all? If you ask most people that are accustomed to working a 9-to-5 job, they would say, “No way, are you kidding?” But if you are a serious, active trader, there are many days that you must accept the fact that you aren’t going to take home any money.

There are various reasons that you may decide to work for no immediate payoff. For example, market conditions may not be optimal, and should you try to trade under such conditions, you may actually end up losing money. On another day, you may be tired, overly anxious, or just feel awful. If you were to trade with less than an optimal mindset, you could make trading errors that have lasting repercussions. Sometimes you need to merely study the markets and figure out what’s going on, the mode the markets are in. And at other times, you may just want to read up on new trading methods to stay ahead of the crowd.

There are still other times when you need to intensely focus on learning new methods and building new skills rather than trying to gain an immediate profit. Seasoned, active traders look at their profession quite differently than many people view their typical blue- or white-collar jobs. It’s a creative job where part of the skill is the ability to intuitively get a feel for the markets, and understand when they should push themselves and when they should stand aside, and wait for better times.

Spending time that doesn’t directly lead to an immediate payoff is hard for many people to accept. Many people are used to making an hourly, weekly, or monthly wage. But in the trading business, you have to think about things differently. You can’t focus on taking home a steady paycheck. Consider what would happen if you inflexibly thought you had to take home a target profit of $200 day. It’s quite likely that on many days you would work for a solid eight hours without realizing a profit.

If you work under the assumption that it is critically necessary to reach the $200 goal each and every single day, it’s likely that you may start wondering how you’d meet your expectations in the last 30 minutes of the session, and feel a need to get there no matter what. While under pressure, you might take low probability setups or impulsively make trading errors. The end result may be substantial losses that you would need to make up the next day. Rather than making the $200 profit, you could be down $200. You would have been better off standing aside that day.

Trading is a profession where you have to think freely and creatively. Sure, you can push yourself to your limits while studying the markets off-hours, but during the trading day, you have to stay calm and open to your intuition. You have to work with current market conditions, and use your talents to take out profits. Sometimes those profits are huge. At other times, you won’t make anything. But it’s all right. Your overall profits are all that matters, not what happens on any given day. So when you have those days when things don’t seem to be going your way, don’t get upset or disappointed.

If you patiently wait for the markets to move in your favor, you can apply your specific talents to making a profit. It’s just a matter of going where the markets take you.

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