Light The Fire

It is a constant and exhilarating journey knowing each day I will be put to a test, a subtle, almost intangible challenge of calm and control, focus and consistency, awareness and optimism. Each day I continue to commit myself to learning more about these skills of concentration, attitude, managing pressure, staying motivated, monitoring energy levels, thinking right, and all the while enjoying it. Each day the same challenge exists to choose excellence and reject what’s always easier: mediocrity. The ultimate test in trading is always to accept the gauntlet of the ultimate challenge: self-control and self-mastery.

I love this quote. I have it in one of my ‘quote docs’. I don’t remember where I got it from or who wrote it, but each time I read it a fire is lit within me. It reminds me that excellence is a choice. We can choose it each and every day; each and every time we sit at the screen to trade. And that’s powerful. Because so often it’s easy to slip into routine, coast along, and just go through the motions. No passion. No enthusiasm. No fire.

We get caught up in the problems, the things that aren’t going right, and the frustration of not quite reaching our grand trading goals. And the fire slowly dies out. And we forget why we took up this crazy business to begin with. But this quote has always reminded me to reconnect with that. It reminds me to reconnect with that heroic quest that attracted me to trading in the beginning. The stoics out there will cringe at this and say that there’s no such quest. That’s it all about the money. But I beg to differ. If they want to live an uninspired life, that’s up to them. I want the quest.

I want to feel alive each and every day. I want a fire to burn, and I want it to burn long and bright. Each day that I live in an uninspired manner is a day I feel I’ve wasted. And yet it’s always my choice to do so. I can make a conscious effort to remind myself each morning, and midday, and night that something bigger is taking place here. That I’m part of a larger quest that is defining my life. The quest for self-mastery. The quest to uncover and overcome all my hidden limitations. The quest to reach beyond the common view of the possible and the known and to experience something incredible.

If you don’t think trading can be your vehicle for this then either you’ve let the fire die out or it was never there to begin with. If it’s the latter, there’s nothing wrong with that. Trading can be just a business that makes you a great income. That’s fine. But find what fires you up and pursue that too. Because when you light that fire, your trading will benefit too. And if you’re in the former camp, don’t feel bad. We all slip there from time to time and forget how much better life is on the other side. So put aside self-judgment and simply resolve to choose excellence. Rekindle that fire, and let it infuse your trading. Think back to all the things that attracted you to trading and what you love about it. Reflect on that and forget about the frustrations. Write it down and read it every day. Condition yourself. Make it a challenge that inspires you. Do whatever you have to do.

And once that fire is lit again, your trading- and your life- will be reborn.

  • Jeff

    Great quote. I found it in The Intuitive Trader (page 227). Searched Google, filtering for Books.

    • Thanks for reminding me where I got it from! :)

  • This is truth! peace…

  • jay

    dear ziad,

    all your posts are awesome. it really gives me a lot of inspiration and also change the attitude towards trading.

    however , i’ve one query. does all your posts relate only to traders doing intraday. how about long term traders who holds position for weeks/months. do they have a different mindset/attitude towards trading than like ours – intraday traders ?

    lets say a trader trading the weekly charts. all he can do is after entering into the market – wait patiently for weeks – trade either works out or moves in his favour and he manage the trade accordingly spending little time towards the chart.

    but we on the other hand, trade intraday – and feel the constant pressure throughout the day.

    does the process of trading is easier for a long term traders vs hard for the Intra-day traders?

    your opinion on this will be highly appreciated.

    thanx in advance !

    • Thanks Jay… glad you’re finding the posts beneficial. And it’s great to know that they’re causing a positive change in you.

      As far as what you asked, it’s a great question. I wouldn’t say longer term trading is easier- just different. If you’re someone who has issues with patience, then you will find longer term trading much harder than shorter term trading. In swing and position trading, you also have the issues of overnight risk and surprise news having a major impact on your positions, while in day trading you can sleep well every night and generally avoid the vast majority of market moving news.

      So the answer is that it depends on the person. Day trading has its own whole set of issues like the pressure of quick decision making, and the amount of focus and concentration it takes. If you’re someone who struggles with these things then you will find day trading harder.

      But in both cases, most of the same things still apply. Correct risk management; sound entries and exits; positive mindset and psychology etc. And in both you have to master yourself in some form and constantly work to get better at your trading.

      Hope that clarifies things.

      • jay

        thanks ziad for taking the time to reply.

        the reason why i asked is i was trying both Intra and positional trading. while i lose on Intra-day, i make money in positional easily without straining too much.

        of course, easy doesn’t mean trading mechanically. i put in plenty of hours each and every day scanning the weekly charts and looking for the best possible set-up (as you say its not just a mindless setups based on indicators) – i look for break-down failures in an uptrend and when the trend is strong i look for break-outs – all based on pure price action and nothing else !

        also have a action plan when it didn’t move as i expect.

        but on Intra day i think i struggle because i can’t handle immediate decision making and the pressure it gives ! and i don’t think it as a weakness because my strength lies in positional trading.

        Now its time for me to quit day trading (your article on “quitting what doesn’t works out” came to me as timely gift ! ) and focus more on positional trading where i have a feel for the markets !

        thanks ziad – you make a tremendous contribution to my trading career going ahead!

        (on the other article, you wrote that currently you were facing some set-backs ! i wish and pray god to come out of your setbacks and to give more mental stamina during these periods – so that you can handle setbacks like a pro in future ! )

        Wish you a happy and Prosperous wealthy trading year 2013 !

        Do you know how each day i start my trading day ? – by reading this (attached as an image) which you wrote on another blog !

        Thanks again Ziad !

        • Thanks so much for the comment Jay. It’s awesome to know that you read that note I wrote to start each day, and that my other articles have had such an impact on you. It really makes all the time we put into this blog worth it.

          As far as the set-back I was facing in my life, it’s just a temporary thing, and my perspective on it quickly changed and I’ve taken it in stride. In fact, it has helped me become more self-aware and create a more positive mindset, and this will end up helping me not only in life, but I’m sure it will also transfer into my trading and make that even more successful. So it’s a blessing in disguise, like most setbacks tend to be if we look to grow from them.

          All the best to you in your trading and new path. Always stick to your strengths and things will turn out fine.

  • F. Albert

    Thank you Ziad,

    A beautiful reminder of what we all feel as traders and, sometimes, as you said, we may forget.

    Happy and Passionate Trading

    Fernando Albert

    • Thanks Fernando. Glad you like it, and happy and passionate trading to you too! :) (I like that phrase)

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