Does Trading Have to Be Such a Struggle For You?

We all know trading is very hard. Those who say otherwise are frankly full of BS. But does hard necessarily imply struggle?

Struggle Is Not What You Think

Let’s think about the definition of struggle. Here’s what the dictionary says:

1. To contend with an adversary or opposing force.
2. To contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.
3. To advance with violent effort.
4. To be coping with inability to perform well or to win; contend with difficulty.

While all of these definitions make logical sense, I believe they miss the heart of what struggling is all about. You see, struggling, above all else, is a state of mind. It’s an internal resistance to external factors. It’s a state in which you fight with yourself and circumstances, striving to move away from what you feel is an undesirable condition. Struggle is all in the mind.

But what about if you’re currently losing money in your trading? What if nothing seems to work no matter what you try? How can you possibly not struggle with that??? Let me offer you a different alternative.

The Nature of Reality

If you studied Eastern philosophy, Quantum physics, and Freudian psychology, you would realize that they all point to a common conclusion. And this conclusion is that there is no objective reality ‘out there’. Rather, reality as we experience it is a product of our thoughts and interpretations.

So instead of reading that, thinking “wow that’s profound”, and then moving on, stop and see how you can actually put it to use in your life and in your trading. If there is no objective reality, then no matter how hard something is, we don’t have to struggle if we change our interpretation of it. Let me give you a personal example.

How To Stop Struggling

When I was first starting out in trading I was absolutely overwhelmed by all there was to learn and how much I’d have to figure out and experiment with. For a while, this made me struggle. I resisted it and felt a great amount of pressure and stress. But then it hit me. Here I was pursuing my passion- the thing that I’ve always wanted to do- and yet I was missing out on the experience of the journey due to the stress and struggle I was creating for myself. I suddenly realized that years later when I would become profitable, I would look back with fond memories about these early times. But if I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the difficult path and revel in the challenges, what kind of memories would those be? I’d be missing out on the whole experience.

I honestly have to tell you that when I changed my interpretation of the situation to one in which I felt lucky to be doing what I loved and experiencing all the challenges, the stress instantly melted away. The ‘struggle’ was gone. The journey didn’t stop being hard. The challenges didn’t disappear. But my interpretation of them was different, and so ‘reality’ changed for me. And ironically my new interpretation gave me more energy and motivation, and I progressed faster. Reality was simply reflecting my changed thoughts and perceptions.

So think about all the challenges and hardships you’re currently going through in your own trading journey. Does it really have to be a struggle for you? Can’t it be hard and challenging without making you feel down and stressed? Think back to why you got into trading to begin with. Get in touch with that. Remember the fascination with the markets and the want to master them. You’re living it. You’re doing it. You’re in the very process of it. You’re undertaking a journey that most are too afraid to commit to. Revel in that. Enjoy it. Experience it fully, and stop fighting it and trying to fast-forward. You’re not struggling. You’re creating struggle for yourself. And you can choose not to.

  • Ziad, these all articles are so apt and contributive. So does Awais’ videos. Thank you so much for them. I believe these topics can really open eyes to new traders and encourage the more experienced traders to better results.
    I definitely agree with you, all feelings and emotions are created in our mind by ourselves. Markets are neutral, they provides us neutral information. There isn´t any positive or negative energy. Only we can assign to particular information pros and cons. So why to bother with that? Why to makes us feel dissapointed or feel pain? This findings have helped me A LOT recently.
    You´ve just shown us antoher area where we can improve are mood by just making decision about our mental state. Thank you for that.

    • You’re most welcome Petr. I’m very glad that the posts are helping! And it’s great that you’re actively using insights from life in your own trading. The more we can integrate useful concepts into our mind and apply them to our trading, the better we will do.

      Please shoot me an email to ziad.masri@opentrader.com… I’d like to share something I think you might like.

  • Leo

    Your posts seem to come at the right times for me Ziad. Particularly today where I once again had inconsistency with my execution. I see a lot of myself in your early experiences and am glad you are around to show the way. To realise that struggling is just a state of mind is a good step forward for me. Thanks.

    • Glad it helped Leo! And it’s an honor for me to show the way to committed and dedicated traders.

  • JASON S

    Great post Ziad. Will apply to my mental thoughts throughout my education. After reading this post I was telling my wife this morning that it was her perceptions that were making her miserable about the building work being done on the house and she can choose to change it for the better. After all she’s getting the kitchen she wants. She did look at me rather strangely. ! :-)Cheers Jason.

    • Thanks for sharing Jason :) Yes, the reactions you’ll get from people when you tell them things that are outside of their current belief system will be very interesting. 99% of the world is living life thinking that things just happen to them, not realizing that they’re creating their reality and experience of it based on their thoughts. You gain much personal power when you consistently start applying such principles in your life. And your trading will really see a turn for the better!

  • TygerKrane

    Phenomenal.
    I’m going to have to link to this in my trading blog.

  • Ryan

    I’m going to be a bit of a contrarian and challenge your premises that the complete removal of ‘struggle’ from the equation is possible. Many will read this article and agree with your comments but the reality of tomorrow and another losing trade will find ‘struggle’ front and centre. My view is that you need to confront and make room for struggle as opposed to seeking to eliminate something that will wait for the next opportunity to rear itself. For me this was recognising the lack of confidence that I had in myself. Once I started to get in touch with where the feelings of anxiety were coming from, was I able to truly deal with my issues and how they were effecting my trading.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” Sir Winston Churchill

    • You beat me to my next blog post Ryan :) You’re absolutely right, and I wasn’t implying that you just look to eliminate it without self-awareness. Also, this post was just one aspect of what you should do. The other is what you just highlighted here… i.e. looking within and seeing what is causing rise to the struggle to begin with. Thanks for the great comment, and lookout for a post that addresses this very thing!

  • Guest

    Great stuff, thanks for sharing :)

  • I’ve been living with this viewpoint for so long that I feel like I’m reading something I would write myself. It’s fantastic to see someone else share this and be able to articulate it in a way that makes sense for people who are “new” to it. Thank you.
    -AT

    • That’s great to hear AT! The more traders can learn to have this viewpoint, the easier their life will be and the better their trading will become.

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