It’s been a long time since I have written anything for the blog: almost 10 months. Apologise for that. But after Covid ended my irl work got really busy and between that and trading I haven’t had really much time to focus on writing. Also to be totally honest: writing doesn’t come easy to me. I kind of have fun doing it, but it’s totally outside my comfort zone: my vocabulary isn’t that wide and you can clearly see I keep making grammar mistakes here and there; but still: I hope you may find some value from my posts.
Kind of interesting in hindsight to re-think that while in Covid time we complained so much about restrictions, self isolation and blah blah blah, but now looking backward I truly believe it was a blessing (at least for me). All that time to focus on myself, my projects, my development. I don’t think I’d be where I am today in my trading journey without the pandemic. It helped me immensely to speed up the process.
Anyway, recently I’ve done a month-long session with a mental coach (Sara) which helped to understand so much about me in terms of strengths and weaknesses, offering solutions to fix my issues as well as strategies to reinforce my edge. I highly recommend her. Nevertheless, one day we were talking about the duration a trader needs to become consistent and I mentioned to her about the bamboo story. While I don’t recall exactly where I heard it the first time (probably in some book), I think it’s one of the best examples to describe what trading really feels like. Or at least what felt for me. Please watch the brief video below to understand the meaning and then I will give you some context.
So 5 years. I’ve listened to so many podcasts and stories talking about these famous “5 years” for a trader to become consistent. I’m literally getting now into my fifth year of trading and honestly I couldn’t agree more with such a time frame for development. I think 5 years is kind of a standard duration for many expertise fields. Uni is also 5 years (at least where I grew up – Italy).
Anyway: back to trading, this is by far the most difficult discipline I ever encountered in my life and that’s why you literally need 5 years to “see the light”. It’s not about finding a trading system or a strategy, it’s about getting to know yourself: your flaws, your edge, your psyche, your discipline, your focus, etc. When I listen to stories of these kids becoming profitable after 6 months I’d either laugh or ignore them. I’m not saying it’s impossible to become profitable in less than 5 years, but I think it’s pretty rare. Either you are a prodigy or you have access to some sort of super edge (which is also rare). And if you don’t, then you need to understand that developing your skills and understanding yourself takes time, and that’s why 5 years is an acceptable duration.
I’m sorry people: I’m no prodigy. I also started the journey thinking I’d be quicker than the average trader to become profitable, I actually believe that everyone needs some sort of extra confidence and ego to boost yourself through the journey while keeping motivation high, but eventually I realised I was no exception and 5 years is just a pretty decent time frame to begin to understand yourself and the whole trading game.
My journey was a boom and bust all the way up; I can’t even count the times I thought I was finally “arrived” and profitable, just to go 10 steps back the next week (LOL). Literally happened to me dozens of times. <<Yes, this time’s for real, I got it, I’m profitable, 8R this week, next one going to be massive!!>> and a week after the challenge was blown or I took 5Ls in a row just to lose it all and more.
Every quarter that passes and you look back to review your performance and you kind of laugh at your “past-self” thinking how dumb you were just few months ago. That laugh is what gave me strength to keep going on, knowing that if I was so dumb just few months back, I’ll be much better in the next ones and so on. Well, months aren’t enough, you’ll need years. Your boom and bust cycles will eventually slow down and you’ll see some progress. This (pic below) is exactly how it felt for me during the trading journey.
I know many people say that results will eventually go exponential, but I’m not there yet so I don’t feel like lying just to sound smarter. I haven’t seen this exponential curve myself. I hope to experience it soon and share with you all as part of my journey.
To conclude: there are no shortcuts to success, you need to go through the process. You need to learn how to manage your risk, how to read charts, and how to develop a strategy that works for you. I’m not saying it will take 5 years for everyone, but it’s a decent estimate of the amount of time it takes most traders. So be patient and don’t give up too soon!
You also need to practise consistently and stay disciplined. Develop a trading plan and stick to it, even when things don’t seem to be going your way. And don’t forget to take time off from trading every once in a while, as it helps you clear your head and recharge your batteries. Finally, keep learning! There are so many resources available these days that can help you become a better trader, so make sure you take advantage of them. Read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts – be a student forever: keep the curiosity alive but don’t lose focus on yourself first.
Good luck with your personal journey. We’ll speak soon.