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Behind Every Successful Trader: The Importance of Hard Work and Continuous Learning




Don't underestimate the significant amount of time and effort that successful people have invested in their pursuit of progress. Although they may make it look simple and easy: becoming good, looking professional, making consistent profits, or achieving success took time and effort, and there is continuous education if the person wants to stay successful and remain a leader.


Many times when we observe someone who is successful in a specific area (sport, industry, or life), we tend to make assumptions and comparisons that are often untrue. We fall into the comparison trap, thinking we are not successful if we use the same baseline as someone who has been studying or practicing for years or even decades. It may sound silly when we have perspective, but people, including myself, get discouraged all the time when things do not happen automatically: when success doesn't just fall in our laps.


In addition to stock trading, I am very interested in real estate and I attend real estate investor meetups regularly. When meeting new people, and the initial question of "what do you do?" arises, I consciously notice their facial expressions before I say, "I trade the stock market full time." The look on their face is usually either total shock or amusement. The next thing they usually say is, "Good luck!" while laughing and they tell a story about how much money they lost in the stock market. Their comments almost always include how risky stocks are or how much they have lost in their Robinhood account.


When I ask them if they know they can insure their stocks the same way they insure their properties, they have no idea. They don't put time learning about stocks like they learn about real estate! If you want to improve and become successful, you must dedicate time and effort to the thing you desire. You need to learn all you can from successful people who are actually doing what you want to do. Be careful of those who only tell you how to do it, but you are unsure if they are just talking about the past. Learn from people actually doing it well right now!


Let's consider some questions you should ask yourself if you want to become a better stock trader (you can substitute "stock trader" and the stock terms for most everything).


  • How many hours do you study trading strategies?

  • Do you spend time each day/week/month practicing by backtrading and reviewing your trades?

  • Do you attend meetups and expand your knowledge and network?

  • Are you actively reviewing your losing trades to see if you could have prevented the loss or managed it better?

  • Do you seek advice and guidance from successful people to help you learn quickly and avoid some of the mistakes we ALL make as new traders?

It's easy to look at someone who is successful and assume that doing what they do is going to be easy. Don't get me wrong; it can be simple, but more than likely, there will be discomfort, fear, and some failures along the way to success. How you view your failures is crucial to your success. Pretty much every leader or super-successful person has a story that involves overcoming major adversity to get where they are today. When you hear them speak about it, they look at this adversity (even if they lost everything) almost with appreciation. It makes sense as many of them literally went from rags to riches.


The point of today's post is to remind you that when you see someone posting pictures from cruise ships and talking about selling puts on RCL to pay for their cruises, realize that this success did not happen overnight. This is not to discourage you; creating a trading plan is simple, but you need to appreciate that you are unlikely to double or triple your account overnight or even in a year or two from just trading. If you do get lucky by taking outsized risks, it is likely from taking a gambler's mentality, and if you need a reminder that the house always wins


Tips to Become a Better Options Trader:

  • Avoid comparing your progress and results to others.

  • Study how stock options work and become familiar with calls and puts.

  • Understand the Greeks of options, including theta decay and delta.

  • Learn the market cycle and how macroeconomic events impact the stock market.

  • Once you understand the basics, study different strategies and practice those that match your risk profile and account balance.

  • Before taking your first trade, prioritize risk management and trade small.

  • Learn how to manage a trade, regardless of the direction of the underlying market.

  • When a trade doesn't go your way, go back and study it to determine if there was a better way or if you missed something.

  • Network with other traders and learn from their mistakes, but be aware of sales pitches that promise quick riches.

  • Don't let others change your plan without careful consideration and practice.

This list can go on and on, but the point is that becoming a successful options trader requires effort, time, and education. Whether you want to be a stock trader, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, a real estate investor, or a pizza shop owner, don't assume that success comes easily. There is a lot of effort that goes into making things look easy.


If you're interested in joining a community of traders and learning more about these strategies, consider joining Good Kids Trading (GKT) by clicking here.

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