When I was in year 10, my whole year group got carted off to a huge Career Expo in the hope that we would all magically discover the job we were destined for.
As I walked around, I was drawn to nothing. Well, not nothing exactly, there were lots of handsome private school boys to look at, and they were far more interesting than the desks full of free stickers from the Health Department.
So, rather than using the opportunity to dig deep and research potential careers, I decided I knew exactly what I was interested in and headed straight for the Defense Force display.
I squeezed through the throngs of blazered boys toward the front of the desk where a defence force guy was speaking about all the cool things you got to do in army training.
Not being inclined to crawl through muddy tracks on my belly, but being very inclined to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of handsome boys, I nodded and looked interested and generally made the most of a very tedious excursion.
To my surprise – and school girlish delight – I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to smile at whichever boy had noticed me, when a TV camera and a big boom mike appeared.
“So are you interested in a defence force job?” the reporter asked.
“Yes, I want to be a pilot!” I blurted. Which I didn’t, but when faced with a TV camera I couldn’t seem to control my mouth.
Naturally, that night at 7.30 pm I was broadcast on TV telling the whole world I wanted to be a pilot, much to the surprise of my parents who were certain I was going to be a hairdresser.
Why Trading Is Different
Nearly every proper career in the western world has some kind of lure that is nicely in line with our personalities and our perceived gifts and talents.
For example if you ask a landscape gardener why he chose his line of work, you might hear “I love nature and the creativity my job requires.”
Or if you ask an accountant why they chose to be an accountant, they’ll no doubt say something like “I like dealing with numbers and wearing corduroy”.
If you ask someone why they want to trade, you just don’t get that.
I get asked quite regularly to teach people to trade, and it’s never because they have a chart fetish and they can’t be happy unless they’re gazing at charts 9 hours a day. It’s not the love of the job that is the lure, it is the perceived benefits that come as a result.
You are much more likely to hear “I want to trade so I can earn good money”, which usually translates into “I want to make some easy cash because I’m intrinsically lazy and don’t want to study medicine. Or study at all for that matter.”
Or like today, I heard “I want my kids to be proud of me”, which insinuates that they currently aren’t, and trading is going to fix that.
The problem here is that trading initially creates more problems than it solves. If you think trading is going to help solve your existing issues, you’re wrong.
If you’re lazy, trading won’t make a success of you.
If you feel like you need to redeem yourself or prove something to someone, trading is a bad choice of vehicle. There are many easier and more productive ways to prove your worth, because the odds of becoming a successful trader straight off the bat are so low it is much more likely that you’ll inadvertantly confirm their opinion of you.
No-one starts off their trading career with the natural gifts and talents that allow things to come easily. In fact it’s the opposite – we’re all hardwired to fail at trading.
It’s a miracle that traders exist really, because most of us come to trading through false pretences that ensure we don’t get what we initially came for. Easy money? Nope. Instant success? Nope.
No wonder there was no “Private Trader” desk at the career expo.
I came for the easy money, and four years later I’m still here – but why? Quite simply, it’s because trading is the greatest career on Earth.
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