Do you consider your trading to be a hobby or a career?  What seems to be a simple question can potentially be what makes or breaks you as a trader. Trading is not a gift, it's nothing dynamic that you are born with the ability to do.  Trading is a skill, and like with any other skill it's up to you to determine how much you master it. I truly believe that the amount of commitment you put into your trading goes hand in hand with the amount of success you will have. When I say commitment I'm not strictly talking about hours in front of charts, or how many times you watch trading videos. This commitment starts with having the right mentality.

Let me ask you another question, when people ask you what you do for a living how do you respond? Six months ago this is what I would have said: "Well I just got laid off from my job so right now I'm volunteering as a track coach and doing some investment stuff on the side." It seems stupid now but when asked I would shy away from admitting that I was a trader. I'm not sure if I was embarrassed or ashamed that they wouldn't understand what I do, but you can obviously see that I didn't fully embrace my role as a trader.  To me, I made trading seem like it was a hobby of mine that I kind of just played around with on the side. And trust me thinking of trading as simply a hobby (if you're pursuing to be a successful trader) is the wrong mindset to have. Don't get me wrong, I had full intensions of being a full-time professional trader, but my actions just said otherwise. The good thing about having a hobby, is the fact that it's something you don't have to do. A hobby is something you pursue in your leisure time and if you don't have time for it, or if it ceases to fulfill you, you can always quit. A hobby is something that you don't have to be 100% committed to. If you're thinking of your trading in the same light then well, you're pretty much screwed.  In order to be a successful trader you must take your craft seriously and treat it like the job that it is. This means setting a specific time to wake up, writing out a daily routine to follow, having rules of engagement and following them. But probably most importantly is being 100% committed to your trading system win lose or draw.

As I'm sure your trading coach warned you, periods of drawdown come and when they do they are not fun. However they are part of the game and are something that you have to fight through in order to reach ultimate success. When my first draw down streak came I ran from it. I treated my trading strategy like it was a hobby and when it wasn't working out the way I wanted it to, I tried to find something else. Literally a week after I abandoned my original trading strategy because of a bad month, I watched it go crazy with me not involved. This was a moment that I will never forget because if I would have simply continued to trade I would have made back triple of what I lost in the previous month. Yes, I did want to toss my computer out the window, but I knew that it all started with me and not taking it as seriously as I should.

At this point I made the conscious decision to become 100% dedicated and committed to becoming a professional trader, and this started with calling myself a Professional Trader. This past weekend I got to visit some friends and family members that I haven't seen in a long time. When question came up about where I'm working I confidently responded "I'm self employed as a professional trader."  No stuttering, no trying to make it sound different than what it is. I now have a lot pride in what I do and am proud to let others know. I've been doing this ever since I re-dedicated myself and although it's not the main reason for my success, truly embracing my title was a very crucial step. I believe that success starts in your mind and if you believe in something strong enough, then you can will it happen. Of course you need to commit to other aspects as well but it all starts in believing that you can and that failure is not an option...ever! So I leave you with this question, is trading your hobby or job?

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope you were able to take something positive from it. Akil L. Stokes

P.S. Currently there is a bug on the site that won't allow me to access your comments. This is currently being looked at and when I am able to I will respond to all of them. 

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