I used to hold on to things… a lot.
I would hang on to every business opportunity until it died a slow death.
I steamed about a former employee that stole from me, or a competitor that copied me.
I stubbornly held on to bad trades and lost more money than I care to admit.
But then something interesting happened.
I let go.
I learned to let things fail fast, to ignore unscrupulous competitors, and to cut losing trades very quickly.
You see, life is just too damn short to hang on to things that aren't working. I've also learned that we can make a lot more money if we just learn to let go.
In this post I'm going to share couple personal experiences and lessons I've learned. Despite being hardheaded and stubborn, I do my best to learn quickly from my mistakes. Hopefully you too can learn from my past mistakes.
Trading – Letting Go Of The Need To Be Right
Trading financial markets goes against many of the things that are ingrained in us as humans. It also conflicts with a lot of the things we're taught his children.
We're taught that losing is bad, risk is dangerous, and working harder produces bigger results. In trading, the opposite is usually true.
Over the past 15 years I talked with thousands of traders. 90% or more of the people I talk to are struggling to make money. There are hundreds of reasons why a trader can lose money, and in this post I'm just going to focus on one… Our inherent need to be right.
It's often the people that are most successful in traditional business that failed miserably when it comes to trading.
Why is this?
It all boils down to letting go.
You see, successful entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, or anyone that considers themselves a high performer in the traditional sense, will think that they can place their will and desires on the market. They operate on the belief that the harder they try and the more they push, the more success they'll see.
So whenever they trade the financial markets, they end up forcing bad trades, over-trading, and ultimately losing confidence in their ability to be patient for the best trades.
On the other hand, the most successful traders are often people you wouldn't think at first glance… Nerdy passive computer savvy people, stay-at-home moms, and quiet introverted people.
The reason why these people are naturally better traders is because they typically don't let their egos get in the way of making good decisions. Where the retired attorney will try to look for the absolute guaranteed correct decision, the timid computer programmer might be able to let go and think in terms of probabilities.
I have one of the worst personalities possible for trading… I'm stubborn. I'm impatient. I get irritated when I feel out of control.
So it's been an incredibly challenging journey to admit my weaknesses and determine how to trade despite them. I've had to structure my personal trading in a way that fits my own personality.
I use to get irritated if I missed a good trade. I used to feel the need today trade all day. I used to feel like I was wasting time if I sat for a couple hours and didn't take a trade.
My fix? Well, I no longer consider myself a “day trader”.
If I place the label of “day trader” on myself, then internally I feel like I have to trade every day. But the reality is the less frequently I trade the more I profit.
In my experience (and what I've heard time and time again from brokers), over-trading is the biggest reason people lose money trading.
Now, I simply show up to the markets and wait for the best market conditions. If I see a great trade and market conditions are conducive for trading, then I'll check my mental state to decide if I'm going to participate in the markets.
If all three of those don't like up, then I don't trade. It's that simple.
I look at it kind of like hunting. If you are in the woods hunting for a big deer, you wouldn't shoot at every squirrel that walked in front of you, would you?
It's very similar for trading. Why burn up your trading capital on low probability, high-risk trades (a little squirrel) when you can wait for the massive 12 point buck to walk in front of you?
Entrepreneurship – Pushing For Profits vs. Adding Value
“Drive as much traffic to your website as possible, then convert a high percentage of visitors to paying customers.”
This is the mantra touted by Internet marketing gurus everywhere. But this has created a huge problem…
It's created thousands of websites that sell shitty products, offer little to no value, and waste people's time.
Instead of just worrying about “traffic and conversions”, what if we did something completely different? What if we focused on VALUE?
What if entrepreneurs and creators let go of worrying about immediate profits and focused on giving REAL value first, then had faith that their loyal fans would buy their products?
What if we let go and focused on solving real problems instead of just creating cute products and services that don't benefit a large group of people?
Seven years ago I massively got this wrong…
I started my trading education business in 2007 because I noticed a huge shift in market conditions, and many of the things that worked in the past were dead. Thank you high-frequency trading!
I began by focusing on selling software before giving value. Even though I knew my product was good, nobody else really understood why old trading strategies were dead and why traders needed to change their focus to rules-based strategies.
It wasn't until I started adding value for free that my business really started to explode. I started giving value first through free YouTube trading videos (I was the first trader on YouTube), and educating people about how high-frequency algorithms were changing the financial markets. Now some competitors are even copying my trading videos word for word.
Now we see YouTubers giving value first on a huge variety of topics like: travel tips, hair and makeup, health and fitness, cooking… The list goes on and on.
There are many ways to add value and gain a loyal following:
- Write a book and give it away for free
- Start a podcast and interview the most knowledgeable people in your field
- Create software that solves a huge problem
- Film a video series teaching people about a confusing topic (Example: My Bitcoin Basics playlist)
So when entrepreneurs and creators let go of the end result and focus on the process of adding value, their chances of building a loyal fan base (and making a lot of money) is much higher than the old-school way of just pushing for sales.