When trading the markets, you can't merely sit back and wait for the profits to roll in. You have to take an active approach to trading. You must search the markets for new opportunities. That can mean looking through stacks of boring reports, scanning through a hundred charts, or working as an amateur specialist to see if anything can give you an insight as to how prices will move. If you want to trade the markets profitably these days, you have your work cut out for you. How can you get yourself motivated to persist in such a demanding, challenging field? There are three key strategies that can help you get motivated when you are feeling challenged or beaten down: (1) Cultivate a fighting spirit, (2) set up an alternative reward system, and (3) focus on the process not the prize.
Traders often walk a tightrope between arrogant and unrealistic overconfidence and feelings of incompetence and inadequacy. When we feel beaten down, we have a natural need to lift our spirits. Most people's confidence is severely shaken when frustrated. Their knee-jerk reaction is to feel arrogant overconfidence. They build themselves up to the point where they are unrealistically optimistic. But it is vital to remain realistic, ready to face setbacks head on and unafraid to look at your limitations. It's better to cultivate a fighting spirit. What is a fighting spirit? When approaching a problem with a fighting spirit, you set a realistic course of action. You look at the reality of your circumstances and take an active problem solving approach to get ahead. One does not arrogantly believe that anything can be accomplished, but optimistically and realistically devises a plan to get ahead, and once a plan is set, a person with a fighting spirit works hard to make a plan come to fruition.
Although profits are an obvious and natural reward for trading efforts, they may not be forthcoming or closely tied to the amount of work we put in. A single-minded focus on profits is likely to impact your mood in adverse ways. Your mood will rise and fall with your profits and losses. Setting up an alternative reward schedule will provide more consistent rewards and will allow you to persist even when faced with a losing streak. Reward yourself after putting in a fair amount of time and effort toward achieving your goals (the end of each day, for example). Buy yourself a nice dinner or do something you find enjoyable. By patting yourself on the back for your efforts, you'll consistently feel satisfied with your performance, and this will keep you feeling optimistic and motivated.
Finally, it is essential to focus on the process, not the prize. Trading is about making money, but the irony is that if you focus on the outcomes of your trades, you'll put excessive pressure on yourself and choke under it. By focusing on intrinsic rewards, you'll feel more comfortable and creative, and trade more profitably in the long run. It may seem counterintuitive, but by focusing on the process of trading, rather than profits, rewarding yourself for effort rather than outcome, and cultivating a fighting spirit, you'll be willing to work hard and make huge profits trading the markets.