I have been in the industry for years and have met and talked with thousands of traders from all walks of life. Traders who are highly successful in their fields, doctors, attorneys, engineers, programmers, traders with multiple Ph.Ds and a list of accomplishments that would rival any on the Who’s Who list.

And 80% – 95% of these traders lose money.

What in the world? How can this be? How can some of the most accomplished, successful people not be as successful in trading?

Well, let me put it to you this way. Does a brain surgeon take his success and experience and say “I’m smart enough to be a brain surgeon, surely I am smart enough to fly a plane using the education I already have.”?

Or, does an experienced pilot walk into an operating room and assume that his flying accomplishments prepared him enough to do a brain surgery?

Of course not. But unfortunately, that is exactly what happens with trading. If you want to be a successful trader, you have to educate yourself. Period. There is no way around it. You cannot say you are smart and therefore will be successful in another field without the proper education. You cannot do that with trading.

Why do traders try to do that? There are many, many reasons. I believe the biggest is what is at risk. A surgeon doesn’t try to fly a plane without proper education because the risks are death. A surgeon may try to trade without the proper education because the risks are acceptable in comparison…money.

But then, when they lose, they take it personal, almost like if they don’t succeed at this, maybe they aren’t as smart as they thought they were…so pride enters the picture…and once that happens, there are only a few nails left to drive in the coffin.

The other nails are greed and fear (of failure, not losing money), all of which are magnified when traders fail to be properly and fully educated. The irony is that even if you are properly and fully educated with regard to the technical aspects of what it takes to be a successful trader, pride, greed, ego and fear all still have to be addressed as they will still derail even the best of traders.

The answer is to make education a high priority in your trading career. It always amazes me how some traders are willing to risk $500 – $1,000 on a single trade but won’t spend so much as $100 on their education. The long-term payoff on education is far, far greater than the potential payoff on any single trade. Afterall, education provides you with the knowledge of how to decrease your overall risk while increasing your overall return, so that the trades you do risk money on later are based on a greater amount of understanding.

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