By Rob Colville on February 21, 2018 in
If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics recently, you’ll know how hard the athletes who are competing are working. You’ll understand the training that they have to go through, and the elation they feel when they win a medal, or beat a world record. Maybe you understand all that because being a trader is like being an athlete, and you recognise some of the feelings and the work ethic.
There are many ways in which being a trader is like being an athlete, and one of these is the drive to be good at what you do; the drive to succeed. Statistically, becoming a professional athlete (or trader) is not likely. However, that doesn’t stop those who know it’s what they want to do from striving to get there in the end. And of course, if you don’t become a professional, being an amateur is still a good thing to be. At least you’re enjoying what you’re doing; or that’s the idea, anyway.
Another way in which being a trader is like being an athlete is in terms of failure. You’ll see it as a learning curve, as an opportunity to understand what went wrong and get better next time. What you won’t do is give up at the first sign that something has gone wrong – and that’s important. To be a professional trader or athlete you can’t stop doing your thing just because of a setback. In trading, the key is not to put too much money into any one trade. That way, if you do lose, you won’t devastate your cash flow.
Being focused is something that both traders and athletes need to be. Letting temptations in the short term get in the way of long-term goals is a recipe for failure and disappointment, which is exactly what being a trader is like being an athlete. Many traders can easily get caught up in what’s happening right now, what their latest trade is doing, how much money they’re hoping to make that day, or that week. They don’t look ahead, they use up all of their energy (and sometimes money) on the here and now. And although that’s a good way to live in some cases, it’s not good in the least if you’re a trader or an athlete. You need to look at the bigger picture if you want to be ultimately successful.
Being a trader is like being an athlete because both professions will come across similar problems. One of these problems is ‘choking’ when working on something important. This is due to over-analysing what is happening, and over-thinking things when in reality they already have the skill and the training to simply go ahead and do it. It’s not the trade or the track that causes the issues; it’s thinking about them far too much. Yet in training, an athlete won’t worry so much, and they’ll do brilliantly. Similarly, when a trader uses a demo account, they’ll enjoy what they’re doing and trust their own instincts and charts much more than when they start trading with real money. It’s all down to over-thinking. And there is no need for it. You know what you know and you can do what you can do. So do it.