Once I had the opportunity to befriend a young man on a train journey. When I asked him what he was up to, he said “I’m getting ready to start trading.” His answer made me smile, as it was the first time that I heard an answer from someone that he is “getting ready” to do something. Out of sheer curiosity, I asked him what he actually meant by “getting ready.” He quite callously remarked, “Ah, you know, you’ve got to get ready to do something before you actually do it. Or else you’ll fail at it. So I completed a course on forex trading, and now I am trying to get some capital for investment. Once I get that, I will be ready to trade.” Though I felt happy about him having the concept of “getting ready to trade,” his response actually raised eyebrows too. This new friend of mine seemed to be taking this task too lightly. I decided not to reveal that I’m a professional trader. I wanted to know more about how today’s youth approach professional trading and how they prepare themselves for it. So I tried to continue the conversation.

I asked him more about his formal training. I was quite happy to learn that he had done a decent course on forex trading. However, I learned that he completed his course only a few days back and he was already trying to find a large amount as capital to start his professional trading journey. So, I routed the discussion through roads of risks involved and fund management. It really intrigued me. I learned that he fairly lacked an understanding of the actual challenges that are awaiting him and the actual skills/ knowledge he needed to have in order to succeed in trading. I was pretty sure that he would not have a smooth run, but decided not to discourage him and instead tried to follow his progress closely. So we exchanged contact numbers and maintained the friendship.

To make a long story short, when I contacted him after a few months, I heard what I was expecting. Once the response was, “It’s not going so well, but I am confident I can bounce back.” Then later, I heard what I feared the most. “I quit forex trading. I lost a big sum. The whole thing is a hype. Only the big shots make money.

Now, can you identify where he went wrong? 

The truth is that his idea of “getting ready to trade” was incomplete and distorted. He was actually never ready to trade. This, in fact, is the problem of many beginners. And to some extent, even experienced traders. Knowledge about trading techniques and good capital are not the only factors that make you ready to trade.

As per the ancient master strategist Chanakya, who single-handedly masterminded the overthrow of the Nanda King, there are four important aspects – the four pillars – that make you ready to trade (or do any form of management or business). They can be summarized in the acronym LIFE:

⇀    Logical Readiness

⇀    Intuitive Readiness

⇀    Financial Readiness

⇀    Emotional Readiness

Logical Readiness is what you get by undergoing a thorough professional training. This is called explicit training. However, that alone is incomplete. What you also need is implicit training – i.e., hands-on training in the form of a guided mentoring where you learn a lot of lessons without the mentor actually teaching you. With your keen observation, you learn how a master trader responds to challenges, tackles difficult situations, and manages funds in unfavorable situations. This is nothing short of a valuable asset. Chanakya says unambiguously that you get such practical wisdom only by spending time with a ‘senior’ – a senior not by age but by wisdom through experience. We shall explore this more in upcoming articles.

Intuitive Readiness is what you achieve through a combination of logical and emotional readiness. You rely on informed intuitions as opposed to mere hunches. Your days with your mentor and consistent effort at disciplining your mind gives you the power to make informed intuitions. And believe me, when applied cautiously, it’s a game-changer!

Financial Readiness is all about learning how to save, manage, and use your money. Here, you prepare yourself to make money work for you as opposed to you working for money. This is a skill that you must learn and develop because your capital or funds are the foundation on which you build your trading career. It is the canvas on which you paint your picture. Without the canvas, no matter how great an artist you are, you cannot show your skills! Along with money management, you should also learn financial risk management.

Emotional Readiness is perhaps the one factor that is most neglected. Even if you are completely ready in terms of intellect, intuition, and investment, all your efforts will go down the drain if you are not emotionally ready to face the stress and challenges of the market. To deal with the ever-changing market, you must develop a never-changing emotional state and attitude.

Pay heed to the wisdom of the ancient master strategist. Build these four pillars. You will surely surge ahead in your trading journey.

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About Author

Mithun Girishan is the founder of MMM (Mithun’s Money Market), a consulting firm providing quality training programs in capital markets. He is an investor, trader, coach and a continuous learner. In addition, Mithun provides consultation and mentorship to many retail investors and company directors across the globe for investments, trading and hedging their wealth in stocks and futures. His passion lies in exploring new avenues in financial markets as well as learning theoretical and practical economics and its application in daily lives. This has exposed him to a wide range of markets spanning from equity, commodity, forex, futures to options.

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