1. Brain skills

There is nothing like trading to find all your peculiarities, all your prejudices, all your assumptions and unfortunately, all your weak points. To succeed at trading you can’t just be good (if you are much better than average you still only breaking even), you have to be excellent. This is tough but the upside is that the market has memory and is completely impersonal. It doesn’t hold a series of crappy trades against you, nor does care about how old you are, what you look like or your gender, it just IS. All the values we attach to those concepts are cultural and only get in the way of trading success if we believe them. Spoiler alert: I am 51, female and in the past I made hundreds of absolutely awful trades.

2. Body awareness

To succeed you need to know what is going in your mind and body. How many times have I heard traders ask themselves ‘why did I move my stop/not take that trade/randomly extend my target?’ The reason why these things happen is those old chestnuts fear (flight) and greed (fight) have hijacked your nervous system and sent the rational decision maker sitting in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) down the pub. If you can work out what’s going on before PFC has got to the front door, you have a good chance of keeping it where it belongs. The earliest sign that things are going awry are subtle body sensations.

3. Love

I love trading – not always – but enough of the time. I love the patterns, the intensity, the immediacy and the infinite possibilities.

4. Money

Money should be #1right? No. There are much easier ways to make money than trading but nothing that gives me the first three things. So of course it’s for money but that can’t be the primary reason for doing it.

Having said that, imagine reading a story like this Whale killing: Iceland accused of slaughtering rare whale and being a able to send a few grand to Hard to Port? I would love to have the funds to give significant support things that are important to me.