A few days back, I decided to re-listen to episode 37 of the Desire To Trade Podcast, which featured some great lessons from a successful trader.
“In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett
In that episode, I interviewed a guest, Ryan Herron, who blew up 9 trading accounts before seeing some success in trading. The only thing that comes to my mind when I hear about Ryan story is: “how do you keep going after blowing up so many accounts?
So I decided I wanted to share the things I learned from Ryan. Those are lessons from a successful trader who has seen some great success over the past years. He can be found at Joaquin Trading.
Listening to Ryan, I've been able to identify some of the traits that many of the most successful traders interviewed on the podcast have.
I hope that after reading the lessons in this article, you will be able to ask yourself the question: “have I learned those lessons yet?”
If you have personally experienced those lessons in your past trading, my bet is that you're slightly (if not well) advanced in your trading journey.
If you're hearing those for the first time, I suggest you note them down for future reference. 🙂
Let's jump right in!
7 Lessons From A Successful Trader
Lesson #1: Be happy with what you have
One of the first things Ryan mentioned at the beginning of the interview is how important it is to be happy with what you have.
Although this doesn't have much to do with Trading at the first sight, it's something that can change your perspective thus making you a better trader.
I believe it is essential to realize and having a place to live is already placing you in the top percentages of the world’s population for wealth. Having an internet connection is also something we take for granted while more than half the population doesn't have access to the Internet.
To avoid something too far off, I want to propose an exercise I have been doing every single day for almost 3 years. At the end of the day, I try to think of 3 things I'm grateful for during the past day. Those can be anything as long as they bring you some joy and happiness.
Identifying things you're grateful for allowed to really be happy with what you have and to focus on the things that are going well. and being in the stage of gratefulness is needed to progress as a trader.
Lesson #2: Recognize how things are changing
One of the reasons why I wasn't consistently moving forward and my first 2 years of trading is that I wasn't even aware of how I was performing. Was I losing money or making some income? I had no way to tell because I was not recognizing how things were changing and evolving over time.
On the opposite side, Ryan was probably a little bit more aware of his results in trading. Even though he was losing money at first and blowing up accounts after accounts, run says you could see it the progression in his trading activities. he said while speaking about his trading accounts: “I knew there was something there.”
In fact, there was something and Ryan could see himself moving forward. That is an incredible lesson on the importance of being aware of how you perform as a trader. You never want to be stressed out about not performing well, you definitely wanna see what are you becoming better or worse as a trader.
That is mainly done through journaling about your trades and how you're acting, as well as tracking your stats to get a better overview of your trading activities.
Lesson #3: Do the opposite of what everybody else is doing
One of my mentor (a non-trader) introduced me to a saying that goes “If you want to succeed in life look at what everybody else doing and do the exact opposite.”
Today, most people are not getting any results in life. If you are just willing to do the opposite you'll be getting much ahead. That's what Ryan applied in his trading; while everyone says “Buy Low and Sell High”, Ryan decided to “Buy High and Sell Low”, which is a typical trend-following approach to trading. To this day, that is still the strategy a lot of traders use.
Doing the opposite of what everybody else is doing can go a long way. It could mean journaling when everybody else is living in the moment. It could be getting ready while everyone waits with excitement to place a trade.
The first key, however, it's for you to distance yourself from other people and to accept doing things differently. Start small and you'll begin to see how doing things differently can go a long way to becoming a successful trader.
Lesson #4: Do what you tell yourself you’re going to do
One of the easiest ways to feel bad about yourself is to not do what you told yourself you were going to do.
Whenever I tell myself something and don’t follow through, I absolutely feel like crap. However, there’s usually not an immense effort required in doing what you told yourself you were going to do. It’s only a matter of being clear on what you’re supposed to do and then making this the most important part of your life for a while.
What’s interesting with this lesson though is that Ryan started to see results in his trading from the moment he began to act on what he said he would do. That might mean following through on a trading plan or an activity supporting trading such as journaling.
Lesson #5: Becoming a successful trader is like becoming a doctor
It always fascinated me how many people take trading as a hobby when they should be treating it as a profession.
If you aspire to make money trading full-time at some point, then it is needed for you to treat it as if you were to become a doctor. That is going to require a lot more dedication, study, and practice than you think.
On that topic, I recommend going through the following video:
Lesson #6: Jumping around doesn’t make you move forward
In line with lesson 5, one of the main skills that traders end up developing before seeing success is: FOCUS. A trader than can focus will be much more successful than a trader who’s doing random stuff throughout the day.
That explains the importance of creating routines for your trading success. Unlike what a lot of traders think, trading routines do not have to be an abstract list of activities you do outside trading.
As an interesting fact, I remember asking Rob Booker (episode 75) about his trading plan, and he straight up mentioned that he wasn’t looking at trading plans, but as trading routines.
The word “routine” describe how consistent one must be in the application of his trading plan. There must be a combination of focus and repetition in order to create a trading routine that produces results.
Doing things only when you feel like it will leave you broke in trading. That's another lesson from a successful trader 🙂
Oh and… while it might be tempting to implement everything you read about or hear, that is more likely to create a feeling of being overwhelmed and confusion. In short, consistent actions lead to consistent results. Following a routine, on the other hand, ensures you keep taking the same actions over and over again.
“So what does a trading routine looks like?”, you might ask.
My trading routine
Here’s an example from my trading:
- Sleep a full 8 hours or more
- Wake up and meditate for 10 mins
- Stay focused by not looking at your cellphone
- Eating an energizing breakfast
- Identifying major areas of support & resistance only
- Waiting for what’s on my One-Page Trading Plan (every 4-hour).
- Take note of hesitations and feelings in my trading journal.
- Placing stop loss & take profit levels when the entry order is created.
- Readjusting the take profit level on a daily basis if applicable.
- Adding all the trades in my trading journal once closed.
- Performing a weekly review of the currency pairs I follow.
- At the end of the month, sending a report to investors.
- Reviewing my trades at the end of the month.
That, at a first glance, appears to be a very intensive list of tasks to complete. However, I began to implement them one by one. I now do most of those unconsciously and I might even have forgotten some activities that I don’t think about doing anymore.
Lesson #7: Everybody makes mistakes
Even with the perfect routine and a log of your lessons, mistakes will still be present. I don’t think it is possible for even a successful trader to achieve a level where mistakes are non-existent.
We can, however, reduce the likelihood of making mistakes over time. You might start with 1 mistake every day. Then you decrease to 1 mistake a week over time.
Ultimately, you must be comfortable making mistakes, while knowing you are doing something to reduce those mistakes – whether that’s listening to a podcast, reading articles getting to be part of the Desire To TRADE Academy (so you can truly reach your goals).
Eventually, you reduce the number of mistakes and you learn from those. That’s where you become able to contemplate the growth you went through, and get even more proud of your progress.
I've provided you with 7 major lessons from a successful trader in this article. What are the lessons you learned the most? Anything you would add to this list? Comment below or start a discussion in the Facebook group!