Looking for a New Career but Don't Know Where to Start? If You Have These 6 Qualities, This Might Be Your Calling.
When James Sixsmith was 28 years old, Monday mornings filled him with dread. He was living his dream of playing hockey professionally, but mounting financial stress and a demanding schedule threatened to ruin his young family. On top of that, hockey had broken his nose 13 times.
“I’d drag myself out of bed in the morning, look in the mirror, and ask myself what I was doing,” recalls Sixsmith. But when he thought about career alternatives, he came up empty. “I had played hockey my entire life, I wasn’t the best student, and I didn’t have much savings. I didn’t know what else to do — I just knew I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day.”
Sixsmith discovered day trading, a method of actively trading on the stock market to create wealth. Since then, he has mastered the profession and founded two businesses, Trade Context and SpeedUpTrader, to help others do the same. “I’m proof that you don’t need experience or a finance degree to make a lucrative career out of trading,” says the Advisor in The Oracles, who adds that he’s often asked what it takes to make it in the industry.
After helping thousands of aspiring traders take back their lives as he did, Sixsmith has noticed six qualities that set apart those who succeed from the ones who struggle. If you possess these characteristics and are considering a career transition, day trading might be for you.
Trading is not for those who want to get rich quick. “Learning to trade is hard. It requires patience, but if you put in the work, it will pay off.”
Sixsmith learned to trade before he quit his hockey career, which he says is necessary to make the transition. “Too many people decide to quit their jobs and become a trader tomorrow, which is a surefire way to fail. If you’re trading with your rent money, you’ll get too emotional. When you’re counting on the returns to make ends meet, you give yourself zero chance.”
Sixsmith says you only need around an hour a day to analyze the market, put on your trades, and glance at the charts periodically. At that rate, he’s found that it takes an average of 90 to 180 days to become profitable — if you learn the right way and have enough money to trade with. That’s why one of his companies teaches aspiring traders while the other funds them.
If an hour a day over a few months seems too easy, that’s because it is. “It’s great that you don’t have to stay glued to the screen all day, but the confidence and self-control to walk away from it doesn’t come naturally,” says Sixsmith. “Yet when you play the game of probabilities, it doesn’t do any good to stare at the computer and wait.”
Sixsmith says the more you do that, the less likely you’ll succeed — because you’ll often second-guess yourself and change your plan. “Do less, and you’ll do better. Once you understand how the market works, you can leave the computer fairly confident in your prediction.”
It’s important not to trade if you aren’t in the right mindset, which requires self-awareness. “Everyone feels emotions when they trade. You have to be aware of those emotions and what’s happening in your head; otherwise, you won’t even realize that you’re not in control.”
That’s why he says successful traders document everything. “You can’t figure out why you are or aren’t getting results if you’re winging it. We teach traders to take meticulous notes about their ideas each day, what they did, and if something was affecting their psychology.
“Then you can look back and analyze trends,” Sixsmith continues. “For example, maybe you had a bad day because you were sick or the kids were screaming, and you couldn’t focus. These things matter. With a trading journal, you can avoid making the same mistakes twice.”
Sixsmith says that grit is the No. 1 quality successful traders have in common. His team jokes about the “three-car-garage test” — because if you grew up with one, you might not have what it takes. “The market is hard on your psychology,” he says. “You’re going to take losses. Your success will depend on your ability to get back up when the market punches you in the face, which it often does.
Sixsmith believes grit is the reason that fellow athletes are often great traders. “Especially in the beginning, it takes grit to push through when your mindset tells you not to, and to take your lumps and come back for more until you figure it out.”
Those who have never faced adversity aren’t the only ones who often struggle. “In my experience, many brilliant people have trouble admitting when they’re wrong,” says Sixsmith. “That’s not to say that you won’t do well if you’re smart; but if you’re used to always being right, you may have a hard time.”
Why? Because the market will tell you when you’re wrong — which you will sometimes be. “You must be willing to admit defeat and cut your losses. If you’re scared to be wrong, you’ll hold on to losing trades for longer than you should and exit winning trades too early. That results in minor wins and massive losses.”
Trading also makes you face your demons. “The market will elicit all your character flaws,” says Sixsmith. “If you have anger problems, you’ll break keyboards. If you have trust issues, you’ll exit trades too early because you don’t trust yourself.”
For Sixsmith, it was fear of failure and letting down his family. “When I had a bad trading day, I’d question everything, including myself,” he says. “After I faced that fear, accepted that some things were out of my control, and trusted my instincts, my trades did better, and I became more confident in general.
“If you’re willing to face whatever comes up, you can take your life back. It requires perseverance and good old-fashioned practice; but once you learn to dominate the market, it’s all worth it.”
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