Trading: A Life Less Ordinary

Trading: A Life Less Ordinary

Not everyone could be or should be a trader.

There is no judgment in the statement above.

It is the same as saying that not everyone could be or should be a doctor or a general or a mayor or a boat captain or an astronaut or a stay-at-home dad or mom.

What could be or should be, for any person, is related to what they wish to be, their will to reach their goal, their discipline and commitment, their personal and professional attributes and experiences, their way of thinking, their habits, their surroundings, etc.

I can't say that someone should be a trader because it is a very personal decision.

What I can discuss however is why I chose this profession, among all others.

Trading was for me, long ago, the profession which represented total freedom.

I thought that I could learn quickly and easily and then trade from anywhere in the world, with no need of operating a business, hiring people, ordering merchandise, renting a commercial space, making publicity and marketing, etc.

I thought that I could simply go to Japan for a month and trade. Or go to San Diego and trade. Or go to Paris and then Rome and then Dubrovnik and trade while in each city and even trade while traveling between places.

This was, initially, my vision of things and it seemed that trading could fulfill my goal of traveling the world while at the same time, providing an income, without the need of securing a job or explaining things or asking something to someone or waiting for the understanding or approval of anyone.

By nature, I am level-headed but firm in my beliefs, independent of nature, somewhat of a contrarian as I like to do things which are rarely done and live a life which is not common or typical.

And so my journey started, as I read countless books and looked at markets at the same time.

The first two years, I underwent information overload and none of it helped me obtain good trading results.

The more I read the more I was confused, as each method taught or explained by each person, only went in a different direction than anything else I read and so, it felt like each person claimed to be an expert and claimed to have the solution and hold the absolute truth.

There is no absolute truth, except the P/L numbers, which stand for Profit/Loss.

Whatever you do, if you make money, consistently, this is the one and only proof that whatever you are doing has some value and some merit.

In the world of trading, nothing else counts, not your opinion, not the analysis you made and published on a website or in a magazine, not the backtesting you did or the theories you have.

From this point of view, there is much less pretending and truth-bending and game-playing and hypocrisy in the trading world, because the results speak for themselves.

I am not saying that some traders are not hypocritical or do not bend the truth or are not acting as jerks or worse, as there are good and not as good individuals everywhere and in every profession.

I am instead saying that in the world of trading, one set of info sums up if you have value and merit, your P/L numbers.

From this point of view, it acts as a great leveling factor and puts everyone equal.

Where you were born, what you believe in, your religion or lack thereof, your skin color, your sex, your political affiliations, if and where you studied, your family and ancestors, your social class, background, upbringing, ... are not playing a part and do not determine if you will be or become a good trader.

Having completed a PhD is not a guarantee that you will be a good trader.

Being a man, white, well-educated, coming from a wealthy family, having made all the right choices, can not guarantee that you will be a good trader.

At the same time, a farmer in India can learn how to trade or a university student in Moscow or a retired bus driver in Argentina or a part-time cook in Bordeaux or a single mom in Dublin or in Cape Town, or any other person, can learn how to trade.

For anyone who wishes to learn, it will not be easy.

But the opportunity to learn and to study and to practice and get better, is an equal opportunity offered to every person.

Should every person try?

It will require more commitment, dedication and self discipline than most other professions.

There is no one to hold your hand and guide you. There is no boss or supervisor, to give you advice or to stop you from doing something you should not, due to inexperience or lack of attention. You are on your own, 24/7, 365 days a year.

This, and poor money management and lack of trading discipline, will all create the perfect conditions for you to lose your hope, focus, self-confidence and trading capital.

Everything is there for you to learn and at the same time, in order to become a trader, you will have to face again and again the most difficult, challenging and sobering obstacles, year after year.

This high-level test of yourself and your desire to become a trader, can be overcome, but not easily, no matter how intelligent you think you are, and certainly not quickly.

But if you take some time to do research on great traders out there, you will see that it is possible.

It is up to you to do all that you have to do in order to succeed.

As simple as that.

Is it all worth it?

For me, as trading is my main occupation and has been for the last 18 years, I would not stop and dedicate 5 mornings per week, to anything else.

In the afternoons and evenings and weekends, I will have many other activities.

But I cannot ever imagine ceasing my trading activities, anytime soon. 

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While writing this quick article, here is the summary of what took place on the US Oil Market.

The indicator on the left confirms that we went from positive to negative territory.

The indicators on the right confirms the entry and timing.

Soon enough, the market then went down, then stalled and turned around.

The indicator on the left stated that this was a pullback, without keaving the positive territory, therefore we kept the sell trade.

Could we have been wrong?

Could the market turn on a dime and shoot upwards?

Yes of course, at all times, the uncertainty is present and can never be eliminated, as a market is where tens of thousands of market participants are buying and selling at every moment.

This is where attention and focus, discipline and commitment, money management and sound decisions, all come into play.

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On both graphs, there is a small P/L window.

Some traders I know get mad when a P/L window is shown, as for them, it is cheap marketing tactics, or they say that it adds no meaningful info or that whoever is posting a P/L window is a person that is not modest or has an ego trip, etc.

I hear all that and I choose to disregard it.

As humans, if we see that something is possible, the brain then makes a fundamental connection, that if someone can do it, we can do it as well.

In running competitions, for many years, a record stands unbroken, but then someone comes along and breaks this old speed record and then suddenly, others can break it as well.

What no one else has accomplished, we think of it as impossible.

If on the other hand, we see that someone was able to do something, then this means that we can accomplish the same thing, or at least, that the possibility exists.

This is why I post P/L numbers, to show that it is possible to make money as a trader.

Here, 50 pips (a term used in forex, as Oanda is primarely a forex platform) on this trade.

You can trade with whatever trading capital, multiplied by 50 pips, will give whatever amount.

In time, if you are confident enough, you can trade with a more sizeable amount and ensure that week after week, you earn an income from your trading activities.

This allows you the freedom to work from anywhere and use some time to learn some more and grow and become a better person and tackle other challenges and mature and live the life you want, without needing to be locked into a job you don't like or having to be where you do not feel comfortable or accepting to yield and do as you are told and be less than all that you are.

Be all that you are.

I did not say: "Be a trader."

But if by being all that you are, you decide to become a trader, do it and do it well and succeed and live the life you choose to live.

Good luck,

Francois Normandeau

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  • Alex Walkey

    It takes a lot of practice to become a trader

  • Darren Marks

    Didn't know that the trading world is so complicated

  • Stephen Foster

    Highly insightful !!

  • Jason Birchall

    Brilliant read !!!

  • Mark Willson

    If only I could one day become a trader.....

  • James Walsh

    Thanks for sharing the truth

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François Normandeau

Finance Guru

François is an institutional US Crude Oil trader with over 18 years experience. He is also working with startups, helping them secure investments. He is an active real estate investor, in Europe and North America and has a special interest in the tokenization of real estate as well as other tangible or intangible assets. He holds a degree in psychology and finance from McGill University. He lives and works, south of Barcelona and north of Boston.

   

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