I have read a lot of articles recently about why you should not try to trade for a living. Why, there’s even an increasing amount of fame for a James Altucher (the Charles Bukowski of his generation) article about why you should not be a day trader.
Here are 16 reasons that I think you should be a trader.
1. Trading does not provide you the “lifestyle of your dreams,” but it’s a freakload better than sitting in a cubicle under flourescent bulbs and listening to your co-workers gossip about each other while taking breaks to smoke weed in the commissary. I am not sure if offices still even have commissaries, or if that is just a military thing.
2. Trading will teach you to grow up in a hurry. You either grow up and start taking responsibility for the faulty parts of your human machine, or you lose your money. Growing up can be a good thing.
3. Trading forces you to become a problem-solver.
4. Trading encourages you to automate what can be automated, to streamline, to reduce, to perfect. These are good things unless you are a New Age Zen Nihilist and think that it’s all hopeless anyway and in some alternate universe you are Lee Harvey Oswald, so why don’t we just head over to the commissary and smoke some weed before the assistant to the regional manager gets back from lunch?
5. When you are a trader, you confront your darkest emotions. Depression, hopelessness, excessive hopefulness, elation, ecstasy, fantasy (which is not an emotion, so oops on me), and disappointment. Trading rewards consistency (and by the way, so do sexual partners, business partners, and your children).
6. Trading teaches you to get by with less sleep. Mostly bad, I agree. But if the earth is ever overrun with mindless flesh-eating zombies (such as the current Republican presidential candidates), you will need to stay awake for days while you head for safety in a colony of survivalist Republican manly hunter people. At least that’s my guess, because as soon as the zombies invade I’m just going to turn on Netflix streaming, and fall into such a state of drunken stupidity the zombies will completely pass me by.
7. Trading keeps you accountable. 71% of people who work for a company are not accountable to anyone, and the 29% who are don’t understand that the person they report to is taking all the credit and planning to fire them, anyway. With trading, you confront your performance on a daily basis. No one else to blame!
8. Trading teaches you to be personally responsible for whatever happens. It’s not your brokers fault. It’s all your fault. Everything is your fault and you should stop whining. You either made money or you did not.
9. Trading teaches you to be self-sufficient. Jennifer says some neat things in You Already Know. Self-sufficiency does not mean that you shun the world, buy a cabin in Montana, and store up guns and baked beans for the Apocalypse. Although we’d probably all do better at trading if we protected ourselves from the rest of the world more effectively.
10. Trading teaches you stop bragging. Ever find yourself bragging about how great you are at trading, only to find that Mr. Market steps in, smashes your face with a hammer, and runs away with your account? I have.
11. Trading is difficult. There is a false notion in circulation that “easy is best” and if “it’s not easy you shouldn’t do it,” which is garbage. If you really believe that, then you wouldn’t even get out of bed most days. Living is not easy every day. But easy isn’t good. Easy all the time weakens us, it spoils us, it rots our spirits. You don’t want easy. You want to be durable, happy, solid.
12. To learn to successfully trade you have to learn to be patient. This pays dividends in every other part of your life. Our parents told us that “get rich quick” was a scam. Trading is proof that they were right. There isn’t ever an “overnight” success. You never see what was going on behind the scenes when someone hits it big. With trading, you are in the trenches, and you have to build your wealth.
13. Trading teaches the power of compounding gains, which is the greatest thing in the whole world. Your gains pile on top of your gains. This works for relationships, raising children, trading, and growing fat by eating too much, by the way. And it works for all kinds of other things too.
14. Trading encourages precision. We all wish that we could be slobs, lazy, and disgusting but get away with it. But trading says, “No, you have to get some important things right.” I like that. With trading, you can’t just fart around for 24.9 hours of the day and then pop in and say, “I’m ready for some money!” You’ve got to show up on time.
15. Trading kicks you in the face but trading picks you up again.
16. Traders believe in the power of the individual to accomplish something great. And you’re one of those individuals. You can’t make a trillion dollars tonight. You can’t make a million dollars this month. But there is the potential for you to be something more than you have been in the past, to make something special out of each day – and to be able to measure that greatness, and improve upon it tomorrow. Trading asks you to give your best. And if you don’t, the markets open up again tomorrow, and invite you to work at it again. No one to keep you down but yourself, no one to hold you up when times are tough but you. You learn that you are weaker than you ever thought. And that you are more powerful than you ever imagined.
Happy trading to all.