“Trading can be your passion and a way to make money and create wealth but it is not the meaning of life. Your highest goal should be happiness and trading should just be a stepping stone on your path there.” – Steve Burns
The best traders I know are not chained to their trading desks 24 hours a day, watching every tick, and obsessing over the markets every waking hour. Being a trading workaholic is not the path to success; it is the path to burn out. Greater effort does not always mean better results. It is doing the right thing with the right timing and in the right way that creates results not simply doing. Busyness is not always the best and many times my best results came when I did the least and let a winning trade run day after day and week after week. It is not healthy to work on your trading so much that it hurts your health, mindset, marriage, or friendships. While getting over the learning curve will require a lot of reading and research even this hardest stage has to be balanced with the other areas of your life. In trading it is a much better practice to measure ten times and cut once than to saw away the wrong way for a long time.
Becoming overly obsessed with trading can cause a loss of perspective where losing trades take on too much meaning and drawdowns can affect how a trader feels about their own self worth. When you diversify your life with a good relationship or marriage, friends, hobbies, some entertainment, a sex life, healthy eating, and some exercise, losing trades will not have as big of an impact. When a trader has a losing trade, a losing week, or a losing month they can still fall back on the fact that they are healthy, happy, and have family and friends that care about them. A support system is crucial to keep a trader out of their own head and maintain the proper perspective that it is not the end of their world; it is just some bad results. While the reasons for losses and losing streaks have to be analyzed so the trader can make adjustments the emotional pain and negative self talk can be minimized through a support network. One of the best things a trader can do is have other things to do besides obsess over the markets and losing trades.
Traders need to do the required work but they also need to get a life too.
Here are areas that will create mental balance and life diversification:
Maintain healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
Have a weekly date night with your significant other.
Spend quality time with your children every day.
Visit extended family on holidays.
Maintain a healthy spiritual life through prayer or meditation.
Enjoy fun hobbies.
Relax and read great books or see a movie.
Remember why you started trading to begin with, you trade to have a better life not a worse one. When it is time to work then do your work. When it is time to do nothing, then do nothing. A happy trader is more likely to be a calm trader when they have many paths to happiness in their life and not just trading.