How does trading fit into your overall vision for your life? The beauty of trading is that it can be a vehicle to help you create your dream life vision in so many ways. Trading can be anything. And contrary to what most people believe, it is not necessary that trading just replaces your current day job as another 9 to 5 activity where you are glued to the charts all day long. Let me give you a few examples from real-world cases of traders that I have worked with or talked to.
I met a few doctors which truly love their profession and are not looking to replace their job with the often so lonely career of being an isolated trader who spends most of their time sitting by themselves staring at computer screens. Many doctors expressed the goal of using their trading as a side business which will eventually allow them to build their retirement funds quicker, use the extra funds to outsource some of the unwanted tasks of their doctor business and free up time for other projects that would not pay as much.
Especially one case stuck with me and I once met a doctor whose live dream it is to do volunteering work in places around the world where medical staff is needed but not paid. This doctor is using the trading funds to pay the bills and to support his family while engaging in the deeply satisfying work of helping the people who need help the most and are unable to pay for it.
I also met many regular 9 to 5 office workers who enjoy the social aspect of their work and got into trading because they want to reduce their office work to a part-time gig while having trading as a supplemental income. I know of many cases in which people first completely quit their job to trade full-time just to realize a few months later that they miss the human interaction they got from their job. Many went back to their initial job as a part-time employee or started working at a job that didn’t pay as well but brought immense joy because it aligned with their passions and hobbies.
This is also true for many entrepreneurs who get into trading. When your entrepreneurial activity is something you truly enjoy, why would you want to replace it with something else? Why not see trading as another stream of income that can take away some of the pressure while providing another creative and mentally challenging outlet?
Do you love doing arts but are afraid that it won’t support your lifestyle? Then trading could be the vehicle that allows you to generate income while having the time and the freedom to engage in your artistic hobbies.
Granted, none of those life visions is something that you will reach easily within a few months. I do not want to paint a picture with a too romantic view of trading and it’s important to remember that becoming a profitable trader does require a lot of work, sacrifices and it involves uncertainties. The point is, however, that trading can be much more than just another job which is something that most traders overlook. And even more importantly, having a life vision for yourself where trading is more than just a way to make money can be significantly more inspiring and bring purpose to everything you do.
What do you want trading to be for you? We will answer this question in the following chapter when we define our why statement.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
As best-selling author Simon Sinek said, “people operate on three levels: what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.” The why drives your behavior and your actions; the why gives you purpose and will help you keep going when obstacles enter your way.
When you ask people why they trade, the obvious answers are money, freedom and opportunities. Those buzzwords sound good in theory, but they have no real meaning and are too vague. When you are facing your 10th consecutive loss, your account is down 30% or you have completely blown yet another trading account, thinking of money by itself means nothing on a personal level. Cold, faceless money will certainly not set off feelings of joy and it is not going to be enough to motivate you to get back to the drawing board and dig deeper when you feel like giving up.
But what if you instead saw the image of your baby daughter, and how she completely relies on you to provide for her? See yourself enabling your daughter to live out her dream life and the happiness you bring into her life, while working at home and being close to your family. Or look at your spouse and remind yourself that your trading will provide for your retirement and how she/he put her life into your hands. Imagine the house you could afford to buy for your parents, to make sure that they can retire without worries while being proud of their child. How good will it feel? Think of all the opportunities trading could open for the loved ones around you.
Make your why as emotional as possible and create a vision where you can feel the energy, the love, the passion and the excitement. In order to achieve this objective, we need to move beyond the surface level where most why statements remain without any effect. I call this exercise the three levels of why and it’s a simple three-step process that quickly leads to deep insights about your inner motivation. Let’s now look at a handful of examples:
The first level of why: “Money”, “I want to be a millionaire.” or “I want freedom.”
All those statements mean nothing, and they have no emotional charge. Thus, we need to go one level deeper and ask why we want a specific thing or object? What will it allow us to do, or what feelings does it create?
The second level of why: “I want to provide a good future for my daughter.”, “I want to live a life with choices.”, “I want to be free.”, or “I don’t want to worry about money.”
You can see, those answers already sound a lot more meaningful. But they still lack the personal connection. In the third level of why, we want to make the statements relatable, bring it very close to your personal situation and charge it with emotions as much as possible.
The third level of why: “I work from home so that I can see my daughter grow up as close as possible, walk her to kindergarten or school daily, have lunch with her and spend quality time, doing many fun activities together and hear her happy laugh every day.”, “I love my spouse and I want to make sure she/he does not have to worry about retirement. She/he put her/his life in my hands and I want to enable her to live out her dream of buying a house on the Italian coast while engaging in her/his hobbies ….”, or “I see myself living in Japan, China, and South-East Asia and moving from city to city every six months while immersing myself in the local culture. I am renting nice Airbnb apartments, living right at beautiful Thai beaches, in the middle of the buzzing Tokyo city or in the pure nature of Bali. I trade during the day and then have plenty of time to explore the cities with my spouse.”.
Although money is at the core of each statement, money is just the tool that enables you to live out the try why of each level three vision. When you create your own level three statements, go as deep as you want. There are no limits. Charge it as much as possible, see the vision in front of you, see how reaching it will make you feel, add photos, print it out, make a vision board out of it. Whatever helps you to make it as emotional and real as possible, it’s all good.