“It was all a dream, I used to read word-up magazine”…
Three years ago today, which was the day my middle child was born, and happens to also be my birthday, I embarked on what would become the toughest, craziest, most self-reflective soul searching journey of my life, and what will continue to be so for the rest of my time.
December 21st, 2016, as I sat next to my laboring wife in the hospital room awaiting our second son, I was surfing around on the iPad killing time when I came across the advertisement of what (little did I know) would launch me into a life changing, goal setting passion I had never planned. It was a stock trading click-bait ad of sorts. See, after my first child, life got real and with human nature came an automatic hustle to make better for he and my wife. And as the 2nd one approached, the pressure to do more mounted tenfold. As I clicked and clicked and continued to watch video after video on YouTube, it was almost an instant obsession. Old memories of when I was a child, telling my dad “when I grow up I want to be a stock broker”, came racing back to mind (he was a CFP by trade) , along with the memories of him saying “son, I don’t think that’s something to pursue” being dealt back. Of course at that time, I had no clue what a stock broker even did, but I was always into numbers and math, that was my thing and always has been. Wiley was born, and the obsession only grew stronger with each day. A day I will surely never forget for many reasons. I had been a tile setter since I came out of boot camp in 2007, by total accident (I was planning on going into finance), and I got “stuck”, growing further and further to hate it every year that went by, even though the money was good, as far as I knew.
I immediately went deep down rabbit holes every chance I could get to learn more by researching the markets, looking for every financial definition, indicator, platform, guru, etc. I could find. I was blown away from the beginning at the amount of free knowledge there was on the internet. And of course, I was more than naïve as to what was legit and what wasn’t. I started spending every lunch break at work, every spare evening minute after the house went calm, on drives, on the toilet, you name it, watching tutorials and knowledge-based videos, dying to soak up everything I could as fast as I could. I felt right away the feeling of FOMO, that I wished I had done all this 15 years prior, I was now 32 years young and wanted to make up for what I thought was lost time. Wrong.
So I dove in with both feet. I funded an account immediately with a few thousand dollars, after signing up for the cheapest trading service I could find thinking that was a good idea. You guessed it, not only did I blow that account within a couple months, but I also was able to see how full of shit this kid was I signed up with. He had one setup. There was no real educational vids, no trade recaps, nothing but bait for new traders to pay a monthly subscription because it was cheap. Thank god it was then, I stumbled upon a real mentor, the one I still hang with every day, Pat Mitchell.
We could go real in-depth and some day we will, but it wasn’t long before I knew this was something I’d do forever. I was new, sucked up all the “noise”, still turning to Twitter, Stocktwits, podcasts, etc. for every new tip, trick, secret, searching for the holy grail. I was fucking clueless. I blew another account within 15 months of the beginning. But see, every trade I made money on, I thought was genius. Fact is, I’d lose twice as much on the next. I was telling myself a lie, refusing to believe this shit takes a long time. I wanted it fast, I wanted it now. This went on for another 6 months, before I had to fund my 3rd account. I always was somebody who refused to fail, I always picked myself up and fought to win. So it was new to me, to get smacked over and over again like this, to keep getting my ass kicked by people I couldn’t see, people I didn’t know, people I thought I could beat. So, I took a break. My wife and I found out we were having a 3rd child, I had some affairs to get in order, I made the choice to go completely sober for 1 year and just fucking dedicate my life to figuring this shit out. Not only this, but doing some real soul searching and finding my purpose. This is when it all changed (Not saying anyone needs to go sober, but for me this was the real awakening, the real enlightenment. I wasn’t some hardcore partier, but I liked to have fun by all means. And fact is, I don’t care what anyone says, you have no clue what being 100% sober does to your mind unless you’ve been there for an extensive period of time, believe me). That day was July 27th, 2017.
I stayed sober for exactly 14 months. During that time, I read more books than I had read my entire life. I watched less TV than I had watched since I knew what TV was. I lost 40 lbs and got in the best shape of my life. And, I discovered my true desire to dedicate my life to pursuit of passion; being financially free and having ultimate freedom. No boss, nobody to answer to, no 9 to 5, real freedom. Pat inspired me like nobody else ever had, seeing what he came from to where he’s at today. His story is just like my story, I’m just a few chapters back. So I committed myself to his program, studying, reading, watching charts/screens every day, ect. It was obsession like I’d never known. Just like your parents or grandparents told you a million times, “hard work pays off”, it’s so fucking true. It’s just that most people have a false notion of what hard work is. This shit isn’t easy, you really have to give it your all, and it took me just over 2 years to really see what that meant. And it’s still just a start, I’ll always be a student of this game, of the markets, and understanding that is one of the never-ending factors that have helped me grow as I understand these nuances.
Over the last 3 years, my 6 month goal turned into 1 year goal turned into 2 years, has now just turned into the understanding that I must trust the process. Each journey is different, and once I stopped putting time frames on it, and started shedding layers of ego day by day, is when I started to find real consistency. I see a lot of my colleagues in the room everyday struggle, saying they “need” this, or they have “deadlines”, or “I should be further along than I am”, and I get it. I love to help others too, seeing them in the same mindset I was in. It’s fucking hard man, and fact is, nobody has the “secret” or the “golden ticket”, it’s a cornucopia of things that must come together due to the hardest of work and dedication. But when it “clicks”, holy shit does it feel good, and almost seems fake. It’s the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced, seeing all those late nights and hours sacrificed while I could have been out fucking off or doing god knows what, paying off.
I continue day after day to get challenged mentally. Coming off a several-month streak of very few losing trades and even fewer losing days, the best I’ve traded since the beginning, to getting kicked in the teeth by the market and being brought right back to reality. That’s the thing about this game, no matter how good you’re performing or how great you feel, the market will dunk you in holy water and baptize your ass in a split second, and that’s okay. I’ve had amazing green streaks only to get slapped with a red day that has made my mind go numb and stir nasty thoughts like “maybe this is too hard” etc. But there it is, the most important part of trading, to be mentally tough. You must keep your goals in the driver’s seat and at top of mind. It’s a hard thing to do, but along with everything else in life, mindset is king, if you believe it you will achieve it, period. One of the million clichés that we all know, that “90% of traders fail”, may be true and it may be false. But one thing I’ll never forget reading is that one main reason for this is because those 90% can’t handle the pain, the failure, the mental anguish this shit will put you through, and the reason they fail is because they quit, they can’t handle it, they just aren’t cut out for this. Most of us have been lied to and led to believe we can get rich quick in the game, and it’s just simply not true. Listen, if you can’t handle pain, stop now. But if you can find discipline, passion, strength, determination, and if you’re lucky enough to have a mentor like I do, anyone can do this, but you will need to sacrifice.
So here I am, 3 years in. I’m so fucking close to taking that ultimate leap and going all in, doing this full time. That will be a dream come true and something I’ll never stop working toward. I do have a goal date, but it’s a soft date that I won’t be pissed about if missed. Our family is first, and it will happen when it’s right. I won’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen on “that date”, or “that month”, because I just know at some point it will happen and the process will organically take it’s place.
In concluding, my whole purpose in starting this post, is to hopefully help even just one person understand that this journey is your own. I know most of you have heard all this shit before but at least for me, it can help to hear from a peer. This isn’t going to happen for you like it happened for John Smith, or anyone else. You’ll endure some of the hardest mental battles you’ll ever endure, and want to quit more than once. But you can’t, you just have to trust the process and keep on grinding. You have to tune out the noise, the imposters, the ego trips you read on Twitter and the people telling the world about how much money they are making, and the people that WILL tell you this is an impossible achievement, (and that WILL happen) because that will subconsciously fuck your mind up and make you believe you aren’t good enough, or that it’s just not working for you. This is the hardest part whether you believe it or not. Some of the best traders in the world will still admit they are students of the market, and you must remain humble and willing to learn at all times. Keep your ego in check and understand it’s okay to hit slumps, it’s going to happen. It happens to the best. As long as you check the boxes, never stop learning, be humble, and stay focused, you got this. Take it from me, a guy who used to know it all until I realized I didn’t know shit. Anyone can do this. Chin up, and CHEERS.
P.S. Don’t EVER be afraid to reach out and ask for help, from anyone…. What’s the worst that can happen, get told no? Contrary to popular belief, there are good people out here.