Why do you trade? Most people would think it's obvious. It's for the money, right? What many winning traders know, however, is that money is a poor motivator in the end. It's much more satisfying to pursue trading for the pure joy of mastering the markets, regardless of how much money you make. Winning traders are motivated more by the process of trading than by the profits they are making. It's common to hear traders say, "I love trading so much that I would do it for free if I had to." Indeed, when one looks into the backgrounds of top traders, the story seems to be the same: They all tried to get a job in the trading industry as soon as possible, any job as long as it involved trading in some way. The markets fascinated them. The money was either secondary or not an issue at all. Successful traders love the challenges the market offers and view their work as meaningful.
Consider what Ben, a successful trader, said about money to our TE staff, "Money doesn't make a person happy. Trading is what I do and I enjoy doing it. The money aspect of it is obviously cool and everybody wants that, but I don't know how to do anything else." Staying detached and apathetic towards money can help put you in the proper mindset. Curt, a successful winning trader wrote in to say, "One of the reasons I was successful was because money wasn't the reason I wanted to trade. Because the allure of money wasn't the reason I was trading, it was a lot easier for me to withstand the ups and downs of the market, and to execute without that affecting the way I was executing." When you aren't worried about the money, you can take a more carefree approach to trading. You feel that you don't have to win, and knowing you can make a mistake here and there allows you to relax and trade more creatively.
In modern society, we are pushed to make money. We think we need money, and see trading as a way to make a lot of it. Ironically, if you are focused only on the money, you will become disappointed and eventually fail. Pursuing trading as a passion is a more satisfying way to trade. It's more useful to focus on pursuing goals that are intrinsically interesting and personally meaningful. One should pursue trading because he or she enjoys the intellectual challenge. Market action is intrinsically interesting. It is a rewarding intellectual challenge to devise innovative new trading strategies and to see how well your ideas pan out, just for the fun of it. Viewing trading from this perspective can powerfully motivate you.
Whether it's art, sports, or business, the folks at the top are not primarily motivated by fame, glory, respect, or status. They are driven by the pure love of the game. Winning traders, similarly, have strong interests in the markets, and this passion is the driving force that puts them at the top, year after year. Those who find trading intrinsically satisfying, enjoyable, and meaningful will put in the necessary hard work and achieve high performance levels. So don't focus on the money and status that successful trading may bring. Enjoy the process of trading. Seek out challenges and the satisfaction of meeting them. You'll end up more profitable by doing so.