Values Are Your Priorities – Principles Are the Rules You Choose to Live By:
Values and principles are essentially what you stand for. They’re the rules and priorities that you’ve generated in your mind – consciously or not – that guide every decision you make. So take some time to truly consider what you want yours to be.
Most people who enter the markets try to hide behind guru alerts, newsletters, and all sorts of other nonsense – thinking “hot picks” are all that matters. That their own mindset/psychology isn’t important. But who you are (your identity) is an essential component.
If you have the wrong values and attempt to pursue trading for the wrong reasons, then you have virtually no chance of achieving long-term, sustainable success. It doesn’t matter how good your strategy/system might be – you’ll end up compromising it.
The typical market participant has money at the top of their list of values. Although it might seem counterintuitive since we’re operating within “financial” markets, this is actually a bad/detrimental value to have as a trader – especially at the top of the list.
In the trading arena, an obsession over money, ironically, will produce less of it. It undercuts development, resulting in inferior decision-making abilities. That obsession should be re-directed toward new values and principles that are process-focused.
Your values and principles are the true foundation of your identity that dictate the course of your life. Choose them wisely.
The Top Values and Principles That I Live By as a Trader (Example to Consider):
I highly suggest that you go through my values and principles below, think about any modifications/additions/subtractions you want to make, and then create your own list for yourself. But this can serve as a template – it’s what has worked for me.
- Health (Physical, Mental, Emotional, etc.)
- Personal Growth/Self-Improvement
- Humility/Being an Endless Student
- Embrace change, adaptation, and evolution (continuous improvement).
- Build keystone habits, routines, skills, and systems to support long-lasting success.
- Don’t sacrifice your long-term trading goals for instant emotional gratification.
- Focus on what you can control (process); not on what you can’t (short-term outcomes).
- Take calculated risks based on market data/feedback (expectancy, asymmetric risk, etc.)
- Failure is only feedback. Find the lessons in losses/mistakes/setbacks. Use them to grow.
- There are no naturals. Sustained habit/skill-building and experience trump talent.
- The market can’t hurt you – only you can with your own ineffective attitudes and beliefs.
- Your current best is temporary. Your future best is yet to be discovered/realized.
- Trading is a skill-based, peak-performance endeavor – treat it like one with proper training.
Notice how all of these core values and principles are process-focused: learning, training, accountability, growth, continuous improvement, and other constructive attitudes/beliefs. All of this extends far outside the confines of trading – it becomes a lifestyle.
Trading Isn’t About Money – It’s About Self-Discovery and Improvement/Transformation:
There’s no doubt that money is what most people are chasing when they enter the market – it’s their top priority. But this misses the point of what trading is all about. Making it about money/material wealth or status/recognition is a recipe for disaster.
What trading really entails is a tremendous amount of self-discovery and improvement – and happiness, success, and money are merely byproducts of that process. If you go at it with money at the forefront, you’re disregarding the journey required to actually achieve it.
If you’re not genuinely passionate about trading and everything the process involves (accountability, self-sufficiency, habit/skill-building, taking calculated risks, continuous growth, etc.), then it will be difficult to overcome the steep learning/training curve.
So legitimately take some time to think about your values, principles, and what you want out of trading – what’s your mission? Think beyond money – what does money actually mean to you on an emotional level? Do you attach it to your self-worth?
This is a great exercise for building self-awareness, questioning yourself, and then designing exactly who you want to be – the core values and principles you want to live by. This type of mindset/psychology work is what most market participants avoid.
Being motivated by money for a few weeks is easy/common for beginners. But it just doesn’t sustain – only identity does.
Learn More in the Trading Success Framework Course
Written by Matt Thomas (@MattThomasTP)
- What is the “Fantasy Gap” in Trading – A Major Disconnect
- Failure is Only Feedback – Use Losses and Mistakes to Grow
- Transform Yourself Into the Trader You Want to Be in 3 Steps
- The Market is a Mirror – Your Experience is a Reflection of You
- Entertainment vs. Training in the “Trading Education” Space