I started my trading journey in 2017 but it wasn’t because of my own will. It was a requirement. That was the time when I had to learn how to trade my crypto earnings into USD and cash them out from a free crypto blogging platform called Steemit (now Hive). From trading cryptocurrencies, I then explored local stocks, and then Forex. This article summarizes the lessons I’ve had in those years until now. And the things I’m about to mention are the trading basics I wish I knew as a beginner.
If you read this article by chance but have an interest in trading, this short guide may come in handy in the future. This is a culmination of all the learnings I gained from joining trading groups both online and offline, as well as my exposure to different kinds of trading markets.
But if you think what you’ll get here are chart patterns or indicators, I’m afraid this isn’t the one you’re looking for. It’s more than that. Take it from someone who traded real money with huge losses and big wins, but never consistent earnings for years — not until I fully grasped the core concepts I’ll be sharing with you.
Disclaimer: Trading is a very risky investment. It’s the modern gold mine but it can also be your money’s vacuum if you do it wrong. I do not recommend testing the depth of the water with both feet unless you’ve made in-depth research about the adverse effects of trading.
I was wrong.
When I started trading, I was very overwhelmed.
We all have a prejudice that trading is only for the rich. That you need to have a huge capital to start trading. Well, ages ago, that holds true but not today.
If you’re a retail investor back then, you have to either call or visit your broker to let them know what stock you want to buy or sell and for how much. And since it’s kind of a tedious task, trading back then seemed to be reserved for well-off individuals.
Currently, you can now open a $200 international trading account and as low as 1,000 Pesos for the local stock exchange. All thanks to online brokers and to the technology for making trading more accessible than it has ever been.
Although it’s now easier to earn through trading, not all traders have found their luck in this modern gold mine arena. In fact, in a particular study, around 95% (or even more) of traders FAIL! And for years, I was one of those.
And just like everyone else who started trading, I used to see trading as a get-rich-quick scheme.
Imagine a day just clicking buy and sell buttons while looking at your charts in front of your computer. And you never have to burn yourself out doing the usual corporate jobs since you’re already earning indefinitely from your virtual ATM machine.
This has been every trader’s dream.
Still, 95%+ of traders fail.
I personally know some friends who already burned a shitload of cash but are still in for the game. Well, I used to have some huge losses as well. That’s always part of the game.
Now, you might ask. If most of the traders fail and lose huge money, why do some people still choose to stay?
Simple. Trading allows you to compound your money for the rest of your life like nothing else can.
It’s a life skill that opens a vault of endless cash. Who would say no to that?
But Trading isn’t just reserved for the smart ones.
Aside from thinking that trading is only for the rich, I thought trading is just for the smart ones. That it is only reserved for the geniuses who understand the complexity of numbers and charts.
But again, I was wrong.
For years, I have come to realize that trading is not a number game or a test of intelligence.
I know so many smart and highly-profiled folks who burned a shitload of cash in trading. In my early years, I was one of them too.
If trading is only reserved for the smartest and most educated ones, then we would see more and more professionals who would quit their job to pursue full-time trading. But instead, it’s the opposite.
In fact, outcries from professionals are very common in trading groups where you can see portfolios that lost almost half of their capital.
Trading is not reserved for the rich. It isn’t reserved for the smart people either.
Trading is a game of emotions and human psychology.
As a matter of fact, a chart is just the summation of two powerful human emotions: FEAR and GREED.
Charts are merely visual representations of how traders behave and react to the emotions they have with money, regardless of the market type.
This is one of the reasons why women are rarely seen in the trading world. Because we’re prejudiced against being overly emotional. And as a lady trader, I experienced two different treatments from my male counterparts: either they’re amazed or they look down on me and my capabilities as a trader.
But for years, I was constantly trying to prove to myself that it’s not about the gender that dictates success in trading. It’s about how someone manages their emotional attachment to money.
The Emotions of Trading
When I joined online and offline trading groups, I always ask advice from the ones who already have proven track records in trading. And surprisingly, most of them won’t advise focusing on chart patterns and indicators as opposed to what you mostly hear from youtube and “trading gurus”.
Instead, they’ll tell you to focus on managing your emotions. Because this is where most traders fail: they trade based on how they feel and not based on what they see.
Well, managing emotions seems easier than what it really is.
It’s easy to act cool when deep inside, you’re scared seeing that the life savings you have betted on trading is now on a losing streak. It’s easy to act calm when deep inside, you want to trade beyond your limits to get rich the quickest possible way.
We are all aware of how things could go south if we make decisions based on our emotions. Trading is no different.
Here’s a funny meme of an emotional trader:
I got it wrong.
When I learned that success in trading mostly lies in having controlled emotions, the silly part of me constantly tried to restrict my emotions in all aspects of my life. It even went to the point when I can hardly empathize with other people. And that cost me my personal relationships.
Looking back, I just laugh knowing how I took those traders’ advice all wrong. Yes, they constantly told me to manage my emotions. But they’re pertaining to my emotional relationship with MONEY and NOT my emotions as a human.
The funny thing is, I’m not the only one.
When you belong in large trading groups, you’ll mostly find people who seemed to lose their humanity to trading. More often than not, you will encounter traders who make fun of someone else’s losses instead of giving sound advice. You will encounter traders who seem to behave like robots for they made money as their end goal. They became so good at restricting their emotions that they did not realize they’re blocking all the unwanted human emotions along with the healthy ones.
In trading, you have to let go of your attachment with money, not your attachment to your humanity.
So how do you know if you have emotionally detached yourself from money?
You’ll realize you’ve detached your emotions with money when all you see are charts, candlesticks, and numbers. If you constantly think about how a particular trade will fund your next meal, your baby’s essentials, or your sibling’s tuition fee, then you might have to work on your emotional attachment with money.
Until you see pure numbers, lines, or graphs in a chart and not their money equivalent, you’ll know you’re still attached to money itself.
When I made an outline for this post, I initially planned on teaching the basics of candle and chart reading but I realized everyone can learn that. There are many youtube videos and articles talking about those. But not everyone is aware that trading isn’t just about technicalities. It’s also about managing emotional attachment with money and understanding human psychology.
Still, I’d love to discuss the other trading basics in my next posts, so stay tuned!
But before I end this, I just want to erase those misconceptions that trading is only for the rich, for the smart asses, and for men. Trading’s end goal isn’t the money itself, but the person you become along the process and the person you become when you’ve got money more than what you ever need.
Trading taught me self-discipline. It also taught me how to manage my emotions in a much healthier way, as well as how to become a more generous individual because I’ve already detached myself from viewing money as a mere asset.
I’m now speaking in a place where I’ve come to realize that life isn’t just about acquiring money and assets. It is about what you do with it that makes the difference.