The Magic of Successful Trading


“Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth: that by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspirations, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his.”

-Steven Pressfield

Now we are getting to the part in The War of Art where Pressfield covers what exactly it means to “be a pro.” This is the part where you actually have to commit to putting in the work, day in and day out.

Great writers don’t simply sit down at their computers and fire out brilliant writing. They force themselves to write stuff that isn’t great over and over again until something great finally does come out. What Pressfield argues is that forcing yourself to work on your craft everyday makes that magical moment where something great happens far more likely to occur.

In the stock trading world, particularly for trend followers, just about anyone is capable of putting on a home run trade at any time. But the best, most consistently successful traders don’t just fire magic bullets at the market whenever the mood strikes them.

They sit through hundreds of trades that don’t do much of anything. They endure one small, disciplined loss after another, patiently waiting for the next home run to find them.

Great trend following traders take every trade that meets their specifications, and they lose on most of them. But that is the only way for them to be sure that they are going to be active when the big home run trades come along. They have to put in the time doing the work.

You aren’t going to waltz blindly into the market and magically find great success, but if you work hard over a long period of time, that success will almost certainly be willing to find you.

Photo Credit: Eva Peris