by Sam Seiden, VP Education, Online Trading Academy
We have all heard that line before but have you really lived through it? Have you experienced true financial loss at a level where you didn’t know where or if you would get the money for that next mortgage payment or even that next meal? Have you gone through a divorce and lost your family and fortune at the same time? Or worse yet, have you experienced the loss of a loved one due to an unforeseen illness or accident? Life is both incredibly hard and wonderful at the same time. I have been through some hard times myself. For one, I lost my mother when I was 15 years old unexpectedly. In the blink of an eye, she died and my support system, the person guiding me through life, the most important person in my life was gone.
While the next few years were very hard, I look back now and realize how that event really helped me live the amazing life I live today. My relationships with loved ones are so strong and incredible, I appreciate every minute of every day no matter what I am doing, and much more. I now live an amazing life because of that unfortunate event when I was 15. Unfortunate you see goes hand in hand with fortunate.
Trading is a difficult challenge that will test your emotions more than you can imagine. From birth, we gravitate towards things that make us feel good and run from things we fear. If you take this instinctual and conditioned action in trading and investing, you will lose. For example, if you wait for news and charts to look “good” before you buy into a market, price is already high and at retail prices at that point. You can’t buy when price is at retail levels and profit consistently.
If you sell into markets when everything including news, indicators, and opinions are “bad”, you are selling when price is low and at wholesale levels which is the last thing you should do.
The goal is to buy low and sell high.
You must understand that proper trading is not easy on the emotional side and you don’t want it to be. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it and making money but that is just not the case. The people who do well over time are the ones who understand that the path of learning and practicing takes time and it can be a bumpy road for some. Those who quickly become consistently profitable understand that how you make money buying and selling anything in life is EXACTLY how you profit buying and selling in the markets. They are the group that picks up the Supply/Demand strategy the quickest.
The key difference between those who don’t get that simple concept and struggle or even fail and those who stick it out and succeed is that those who have a successful mindset embrace the bumps in the road with a positive attitude. They realize that the bumps are needed failures that allow them to grow. You see, when you experience failure, it is really success letting you know that you have identified a flaw that needs to be corrected or removed, and that’s a great thing. Trust me, when I lost my mother, I made every mistake you could make for years. It was not fun at the time but wow did I learn how to live a great life because of it. While I would give anything to have my mother back, I am truly grateful for that bump in the road.
I grew up playing hockey at some of the highest levels. When I was very young, I would watch other players in practice and admire the ones who never fell down. As a kid, no one wants to fall down, lose the puck, or make a mistake in practice. However, very soon I realized that the kids that fell down often ended up being the best players at the end of the season.
I always worked hard in practice but began to understand that the only way I would fall down is to work harder and take myself OUT of my comfort zone which means out of my normal thought process. That set off a chain of events that helped shape everything in my life and always will. I would skate harder and harder in practice and made sure I fell down during practice. As long as I was falling down, I knew I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone which meant I was growing and getting better.
I then took that thought into games and realized that I had better change my way of thinking there also. If I focus on the other team as the opponent, the best I will ever be is a little better that they are. If I focus on myself as the opponent, I will never stop growing and improving. Instead of being scared to fail, I now understood that success is IMPOSSIBLE without failure. Furthermore, the key is to fall down in life and smile with a positive attitude.
Many things in life are difficult if not impossible to control, but you can always control your attitude toward things. I coach little kids and take the same approach with them. If they are not falling down during practice and most importantly not making mistakes, I make them do the drills again. The reward comes in the games when they achieve success from the actions they practiced. Five years ago they won the presidents cup which means we didn’t lose a single game all year. They stopped competing against the other teams and realized the only competition was themselves. A positive attitude recognizes that failure is really a learning experience, a key lesson or test that will help you succeed toward your goal.
Did you know…
1) He was broke and used social security money to start his business: Colonel Sanders
2) He was cut from his high school basketball team: Michael Jordan
3) He was fired from his newspaper job because he was not creative enough: Walt Disney
Most people are afraid of failure in any part of life, especially things like trading and personal relationships. This is because we all grow up conditioned to NOT make mistakes. This is SO wrong. In school and sports and everywhere else during the development years, perfection is always expected which really suppresses growth as few will dare to move beyond their comfort zone due to a fear of failure.
You have to understand that failure does not happen TO YOU, it happens FOR YOU. It is a gift that offers the opportunity to grow. When you shift your mind and think this way you will smile with each failure, knowing that you have just identified a flaw that needs to be corrected, removed, or improved. Adversity is scary in the moment but it is always when we grow the most. Failure is only permanent when you allow it to be. How wonderful adversity and failure really are. When you live by a set of core values and unshakeable convictions you become stronger and less fearful. You see the life’s journey for what it is, an exciting marathon for which you control the rule book and road map.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of a bumpy road in trading or in life, stay encouraged. You will make it to the peak if you realize that the valley is NOT your permanent address. Never forget, to become a butterfly, you must want to fly so bad that you are willing to give up being a Caterpillar. Growth and change always go hand in hand with failure and fear. If you approach failure and challenges with a positive attitude, you will see how quickly you can use failure to achieve unthinkable success in every part of your life.
Hope this was helpful, have a great day. And, don’t be afraid to make a mistake or two…
About the Author
Sam Seiden is the Vice President of Education at Online Trading Academy. Sam brings over 15 years experience of equities, forex, options and futures trading which began when he was on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he facilitated institutional orderflow. He has traded equities, futures, interest rate markets, forex, options, and commodities for his personal interests for years and has educated thousands of traders and investors through seminars and daily advisory services both domestically and internationally. Sam has been involved in the markets since 1991 both on and off the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He has served as the Director of Technical Research for two trading firms and regularly contributes articles to industry publications. Sam is known for his trading, technical research, and educational guidance.
Points of interest:
- Chicago Mercantile Exchange Floor
- Author of Market Advisory Letters
- Fund Manager/CTA
- Speaker to Investment Groups, Universities, and Private Seminars
- Contributing Author for Stocks, Futures, and Options Magazine, Active Trader Magazine, and Futures Magazine
- Trading and Investment Conference Speaker