A Forex Trader’s Biggest Lesson: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others!
Being around other people with big dreams is exciting. Over the last year, I’ve made a significant effort to surround myself with people who had achieved what I wanted to achieve or who were striving to succeed in business and trading.
While I believed it would never be possible to succeed in my passion, that is currency trading, I became to see the possibility of living off trading arise.
I started a podcast and produced content in the hope to help fellow traders for the first time in my life. That made me known to more people than ever (even though I’m still proud of having a small united audience).
By keeping up with the people around me, however, I began to realize a very dangerous tendency most traders with great ambitions have. That is, comparing themselves to others.
That made me think.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been comparing myself to others.
In school, it was comparing my grades with fellow students. During conferences, it was about the responses I got from the audience relative to other speakers.
Then in trading, it was about comparing my return to traders.
“I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even. Nine times out of ten, we compare ourselves to people who are somehow better than us and end up feeling more inadequate.” — Jack Canfield
Yet, overtime, I realized how dangerous this was to compare myself to others for various reasons. I’ve discovered the hard way how comparing ourselves to others is one of the worst thing we can do if we want to perform at our best, especially in trading. In this article, I want to outline the reasons for not comparing yourself to others, and hopefully convince you to find your own way in life.
Social media increase comparisons between people
“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick
According to Alexandra Sifferlin, citing a study from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University, “the most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers” (read the article).
While the study above focused primarily on social successes, I am very confident that the same can be said for traders comparing their returns to others. I’ve been guilty of this way too often.
Frequently, I’ve seen traders post about how well they’ve traded over the past month or how much money they’ve made in such little time. That gave me a point of measure to compare myself against.
Was that measure appropriate for my situation? I don’t know…
Most people are willing to show you how great they are but…
Don’t get me wrong here. There is absolutely wrong about showing off your successes to other people. In fact, sharing your progress with others often results in praise for a job well done, which is a positive reinforcement. By sharing your progress toward a specific goal, you are more likely to accomplish it, says Lisa Evans (Fast Company).
The more I got into talking with traders, the quicker I saw an eagerness for those traders to share their returns. There was an excitement in posting how great their monthly return was on social media.
The problem with this lies in the tendency for people with similar goals who haven’t got results to compare themselves.
The more we see people sharing about their successes, the more we expect ourselves to succeed. Unfortunately, when we don’t succeed as much as others, we become disappointed and much more likely to quit.
I also want to highlight the fact that what you see online or the successes other people share are often far from the true story. While people feel great sharing the things they are proud of, they are much more reluctant to share what doesn’t go their way.
After all, who in this world would like to admit his thousands of Facebook friends he has failed to reach his goals?
I don’t know that many people willing to do it.
This isn’t to blame anyone but to make you understand that the view of successes you have from the people around you isn’t real.
Finding Your Own Way
I got particularly inspired following an interview I did on my podcast. One of the questions I always ask my guests at the end of the interview is “If you could give one piece of advice for traders on how they can thrive, what would that one piece of advice be?”
“Find your own way as a trader.” — Dave Floyd
That was something I knew, but hearing it this way made me re-think whether or not I was really following my own way.
Put simply, I do not believe that there’s one way to do things. Each and every trader has a growth curve to experience and eventually has to put its strengths into the equation.
Expecting that your results at any given time should be close or consistent to those of others means that you would be a copy of those people. Is this really the goal?
I prone an approach through which a trader trying to grow keeps the focus on himself.
The important part in finding your own way
Finding your own way as a trader or as in anything in life requires you to embrace a certain mindset. You must accept being bad at what you’re doing at first. Then, you must ensure you are aligning the steps to improve constantly.
A huge part of progress is boosted when you are able to recognize your accomplishments. When you are proud of yourself, you will get all the motivation you need.
Applying this lesson to my own life
I would comfortably describe not comparing myself to others as a breakthrough lesson. I feel much comfortable now that I track my progress against myself.
However, only looking at the way we perform today can draw us into settling down. To avoid this, I take time to reflect on my progress weekly. Not only that, but I set goals of things I want to implement. Lastly, I track the new habits I try to build and this gives me a strong feeling of accomplishment.
So the next time I see someone posting about great results online, I confidently know that I’ve done what I needed to do and that I’m following my own path as a trader.
The good news is that this can be applied to any area of your life. You may see someone performing better at work, having a better relationship, or even a more abundant social life, but as long as you know what you want to do continuous progress toward it, you can be proud of yourself.
Does this resonate with you? Comment below and let’s have a chat!
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on September 20, 2016.