Trading is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
If you’re trying to win the Ironman Triathlon where contestants must first swim 3.86 kilometers, then bike 180.25 kilometers followed by a 42.20 kilometer run, here are some of the key ingredients you need: A long-term committed outlook, years of consistent and serious training, years of studying and observing other Ironman participants, a mentor, sound nutrition, physical & mental fitness and sleep. It should go without saying that if you start out sprinting as fast as you can you’re going to quickly burn out and even worse, you’re going to lose.
Just like an Ironman triathlete or marathon contestant must be well-prepared and pace themselves to win the race, you must do the same to win the trading ‘race’.
Simply put, without the proper knowledge, training, preperation and skills, you will never win at the game of trading. So, in today’s lesson, I am not just going to preach to you that you “can’t get rich quick” in trading (you really can’t), instead, I am going to give you sound, actionable insight into what you need to do to win the long-term trading game, which is the only game that matters.
Have you heard the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare?
Remember the old fable of the tortoise and the hare? That story is as applicable to trading as it is to anything else. The hare got over-confident, arrogant and lazy, essentially, he was thinking and acting emotionally rather than logically. Conversely, the tortoise, was slow but he was consistent and methodical, he wasn’t in a rush, he wasn’t burning up all his fuel right away and he wasn’t emotional or arrogant or lazy. We all know which one of them won the proverbial race, and if you don’t, read my article The Tortoise and the Hare trading metaphor.
In a trading ‘race’, the slowest guy tends to win. What I mean by that is, if you start off going too fast as most traders do, trying to make a lot of money fast by trading constantly and risking a lot per trade, you’re going to lose and eventually get passed by the guy taking his time and doing things right.
I know you may not want to hear it and I know if you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ve read this before, but if you want to be a successful trader over the long-term, you’ve got to go slow and be consistent. If you start trading too much and risking too much, you will burn all your money and be out of the race quicker than the hare. If you find you are so worried about your trades that you CANNOT STOP watching the charts after entering a live trade, you are trying to sprint and being arrogant (like the hare), and this will QUICKLY lead to your demise. You should be able to turn your charts off after entering a trade, walk away until tomorrow and be totally find whatever the outcome. Be like the tortoise, not the hare.
Pace yourself to win
What matters is your end of year trading results. Most traders don’t consider that when placing a trade. They get lost in the trees, so to speak, and can no longer see the ‘forest’ (the bigger picture).
One trade shouldn’t matter, so make sure you don’t make any one trade matter by risking too much money or by feeling desperate to win. Traders get themselves into trouble by making every trade too important. This is not how you pace yourself. Remember, it’s your results over a large sample size of trades that matters.
You pace yourself to win the long-distance trading race, by doing the following:
- Identifying your edge
- Sticking to the edge (not over-trading) – waiting for your edge.
- Preserving risk capital
- Having a plan and following it
How to become an expert on trading, or anything
It’s common knowledge that to become an expert on anything you must commit considerable time and energy. Trading included. But, can we break this down into more specific chunks so that you can better understand what it takes to become an expert trader? Yes, I think we can…
First off, you may have heard the “10,000 hours concept” which says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at just about anything. This was propagated by a popular book some years back, but it’s since been rebutted by many scientists who have stated that whilst practice and time spent certainly matter, the exact number of hours to become an expert on something will vary from person to person depending on multiple variables that differ from one person to the next.
However, you would agree that consistent long-term study is a critical component to becoming an expert in any professional field, right? Think doctors, scientists, lawyers, college professors etc. for these people it’s a long-term commitment and the wealth starts when they finally get a career in their chosen field, not whilst they are still learning.
So, how do you become an “expert” trader? What do you need to do?
- Be committed. You have to decide early-on if you’re in trading for the long-haul. It’s a proven fact that people who commit to something long-term have a much better chance of succeeding at it over those who are maybe just experimenting or unsure.
- Learn what’s important. In trading, if you spend months learning all the minute details of all the different technical analysis indicators, not only are you wasting your time but you’re missing out on learning about what actually matters. Learn to read, interpret and trade based on simple price action strategies, learn to read a chart from left to right, learn trading psychology and money management, ignore everything else.
- Train like you mean it. You will need to demo trade before going live. But if you just screw around on your demo account and don’t trade it like you are trading a live account, it’s not going to do much good. I suggest traders only demo trade for a month or three, to get the hang of the platform, then start live trading with small amounts of money. You’ll learn a lot more trading live with small amounts of money anyways.
- Find a mentor. Quickest way to learn ANYTHING? Learn from a mentor. I can be your trading mentor; my course and members area are designed for this.
- Get feedback. You need to know if you’re on the right track. If you are a member of my traders’ community, you can get help and feedback from other traders in the forum and you have access to me on the email support line. To master anything, you need good constructive and even critical feedback at times (to learn and improve).
A marathon winner trains and plans
If you think you can just open a trading account, waltz into the market and start pulling down cash like Gordon Gecko, you’re going to lose the race.
You must train (learn and demo trade) before running the real race. You must have a plan of how you will win the trading race. People who run the Ironman train for YEARS, they plan, they prepare, from everything to their clothes to what they will eat to how much sleep to get the night before.
The goal is to win long-term, not short-term
I’m not gonna lie. You can get lucky in this game and make some fast money. However, it won’t last if you aren’t doing everything else I’ve discussed here today. You will QUICKLY give your wins back to the market. In this vein, I am telling you that you need to have a long-term goal of winning each year and you work your way back from there. Break that goal down into smaller and smaller pieces you can act on every day. The more you prepare and plan and calculate how to reach your trading goal (or any goal) by breaking it into smaller actionable goals the more likely you are to achieve it. Trust me when I say 90% of traders lose on the long-term and 90% of traders are NOT doing what I just told you to do. Be one of the 10% of traders who win.
Here is a very small list of some of the many world-famous investors and traders who built their fortunes over the long-term, not quickly….
- Warren Buffet – Everyone knows his story, greatest investor of all-time, slow, methodical, consistent.
- George Soros – It might seem like he ‘got rich quick’, but Google his history and you’ll see he dedicated his life to finance and investing long before he “Broke the Bank of England”.
- Check out my market wizards article for many more!
Over my 15+ years trading the markets, I’ve done and seen it all. Really. I’ve learned that you simply cannot get ahead in the trading world by deviating from what you know is the right thing to do. The people who can remain self-disciplined in the face of temptation are the ones who make great traders. You will be faced with constant temptation after you fund your trading account, it will just be you, the charts and your key board and mouse. No boss, no one watching you…will you have the integrity to do the right thing when no one is watching? Will you have the ability to pace yourself or will you try to ‘sprint’ to the finish line?
I can tell you without doubt, the teachings in my trading course and my trading strategy and approach, if applied how I teach it, will get you to the finish line a winner. It may not be the fastest route, but it’s the right one. You don’t want to lose all your trading money a week after you open your live account, trust me, it’s not fun. You need a mentor to show you what to do but perhaps more importantly, what not to do, to answer your questions and guide you. It’s up to you to make the next move and take the first step on the path of profitable trading.
What’s did you think of this lesson? Please share it with us in the comments below!
28 Comments Leave a Comment
THOSE WERE GREAT WORDS NAIL THANKYOU .
Mr. Nial your website sacred Graal, thank you
Promise Nial that you will train me to become like you. I am very willing to learn and become like you!
GOOD TO MEET YOU
Thanks Nial. I am still in the learning stage: reading up, just started on your course at the members site. Glad I joined. Learning lots from your emails and posts; and beginning to formulate a trading strategy to try out on the demo later. Appreciate your professional insight, advice and help. Be blessed!
I am new and used to trade like a sprinter and made money but lost more even faster, after breaking all the rules. Trading was like a minefield. I even had friends who advised me to get out of trading as they had not had much success. Thanks to your articles I now pace myself and trying my best to follow a set strategy derived from your teachings that is showing positive results. I have begun to switch my thinking and am now going through the stage where I am in realisation that the technical part is the easy part but the mental part is the hard part. I have found your advise in multiple facets invaluable, so thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I believe that the more you give the more you receive and wish you much success. THANK YOU.
My long term goal is to develop this marathon trading mindset. I am already on the path, i just need the discipline and focus with hard-work to see me through the finish line. Appreciate bro
Honestly, Nial i feel fulfilled haven read this article. If one sincerely takes to all these trading strategies you mentioned here ,one will be a better trader . iam a new comer in the trade and i would like to follow your footsteps. i appreciate you.
I loved your article Nial, thank you so much! I wish I knew you long before I started investing in the market, but it is never too late! Cheers !
anyone else like this as much as i do
You are the best mentor in the forex market, could not have done the right without your training. We have to learn how to breath slowly and relax. It is very much a mental therapy to become good at being successful, and we have to listen to good advise especially from people like Nial who have been through the mill and made it. Thanks.
HE STRESSED THE POINT OF BEING PATIENT MOST
Thank you Nial.
I have read most of your articles. Applied your suggestions and teachings. The stress has all but gone and now I tell myself to let the market do the work. We cannot control the outcome of our trades.
Thank you Nial
Very much appreciated.
After working in this business for just under 2 years, I am beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
This does not mean I am making buckets of money, but rather that I can now recognise my mistakes, I am no longer watching my account diminish but beginning to grow, albeit very slowly.
Each week I can see improvement.
Each week I am making less mistakes.
One day in the future, I’ll be able to call myself a “Trader”
This article is on par with the great Mark Douglas thanks Nial
Thank you for this lesson, it makes me sober.
This is a precious gem.
insightful I must say. Thanks alotThomas
Hi, I have read all your suggestion and guides about market but this time your issue is very weird and i’d like to ask you be more explicit whenever you want to give important subject about FOREX Market, please.
“You will be faced with constant temptation after you fund your trading account, it will just be you, the charts and your key board and mouse. No boss, no one watching you…will you have the integrity to do the right thing when no one is watching? Will you have the ability to pace yourself or will you try to ‘sprint’ to the finish line?”
I am 100% certain that i will be successful trade, because of you. thank you NIAL. may God reward you for what you are doing. I believe in the law of sowing and reaping. And you will reap what you are sowing.
thank you very much.
Thank you so much sir i really appreciate your article I Learned so much things about (forex) god bless you
As always brilliant. Glad to be a student of yours and a member of your trading community.
Great article and timely at the start of a new year..
Can tell you really care about your students. Great advice. Trading sure is a test of character.
Youre always on point, Nial. Thanks for constantly reminding us on the best practices of trading the market.
Really, good concept for all us.