Updated: Jul 20
10th February 2022
Have you ever noticed that people who are successful in various walks of life conduct their lives in a way that is true to their "identity" of whatever it is that they've chosen to identify as?
Phil Mickelson is a "World Champion golfer"
Connor McGregor is a "Champion UFC fighter"
Max Verstappen is a "World Champion Formula 1 driver"
Zapiro is a "Brilliant cartoonist"
Paul O'Sullivan is a "Dedicated justice warrior"
Pauli Van Wyk is a "Top investigative journalist"
Billy Gundelfinger is a "Top divorce attorney"
Emma Sadlier is "South Africa's leading expert on social media law"
These people know what their "identity" is, and everything they do in their lives forms a part of supporting and sustaining that greater identity. They live true to their identity. They ensure that all the little things they do are building blocks that align with that greater identity. These people haven't reached their success by accident.
They have worked long and hard to achieve their success, and they have lived true to their identity in a consistent manner day after day and year after year.
Now these are all famous people at the very top of their game, I know. They're extreme examples of success at the pinnacle of their chosen fields. Not everyone can get to that extreme level of success and fame, but that doesn't mean you can't reach high and live your life true to a chosen identity.
You might want to be a "reliable plumber" or a "committed father" or a "dedicated woman's rights activist" or a "social media guru", or ...... "a successful trader".
Since this is a trading website, I'll focus on that for the rest of this article.
If you want to be a successful trader, you need to make that your identity (or at least a significant part of your broader identity). You need to wake up each morning and say to yourself, "I am a successful trader", and then you need to go about living your life according to that identity.
Trading needs to be treated like a business. And as such, you need to give it the same level of dedication that you would give to any other business that you want to be successful in. That means a lot of hard work.
Unfortunately, trading is a profession that is very poorly marketed. There is a lot of misleading information out there about what it means to be a trader. That misleading marketing and information draws in lazy people wanting to make a quick buck without doing too much work. Bad news for those people.... life doesn't work that way.
I've never met a lazy person who is successful at anything. Everyone I know who is successful has worked hard to achieve their success. They have been dedicated to their calling for many years, and they have made their chosen vocation "their identity".
For me personally, the identity I want to live to is "disciplined trader". The end goal is financial freedom, satisfaction, and fulfilment. There are many ways to achieve those things, but my chosen path is through trading and my ancillary activities around trading.
That means I need to make sure that my whole life supports that bigger identity to achieve the longer-term goal. I also need to be able to measure the progress along the way to ensure that I am on the correct path.
Embracing Your Trader Identity
In terms of living to that identity of "disciplined trader", I know that means a lot of hard work. Plenty of time doing research and keeping up to speed with the ever-changing markets. Lots of sifting through charts. Lots of daily planning. But more than these direct things, it also means maintaining a balanced psychological state. It means that various physiological inputs need to be managed: physical exercise, levels of hydration, a good diet, and enough sleep.
The Mental Endurance of a Trader
Trading is a mental endurance sport. As such, it is important that I manage my mental state so that my decision-making is sound. A healthy body is a healthy mind, so it's important to remain physically healthy.
As you can see, there is a lot more to living true to the identity of being a "disciplined trader" than just the action of hitting the buy and sell buttons.
Measuring Success: The P&L Curve
In terms of measuring success as a "disciplined trader", the P&L curve is the most obvious measure. For me, my mission is to ensure that the P&L curve is moving steadily upwards into the top right of the page with relatively low volatility and shallow drawdowns. That is the by-product of all the other inputs.
If all the various aspects of my trading business are working in harmony, then the by-product will be a P&L curve that moves up into the top right of the page.
It all comes back to one central point: I want to live true to my identity as a "disciplined trader".
Have you thought about your own identity? Are you living your life true to the identity of a successful trader?