My Decision to Become a Day Trader

For me, day trading has always been about one thing – freedom.  I wanted to have the freedom to be able to work when I chose, without employees or a boss, from anywhere in the world.  Having that kind of lifestyle flexibility is something that almost everyone says they want, but few have taken even the smallest initial steps towards that goal.

Why not?  Because it seems like it will probably take a lot of hard work, has some risk of not working out, and for most it means entering uncharted professional territory far outside their comfort zone.  The thing is, they’re right!

It does take effort and plenty of determination to become a day trader, but in my opinion nothing could be more worthwhile.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately after embarking on my latest adventure thanks to the incredible flexibility my profession provides me.  I’ve recently arrived in Thailand where I will be spending the next four months trading, teaching through Samurai Trading Academy, and exploring this amazing country and some of the surrounding ones too.  For me, this epitomizes the kind of professional freedom that got me into day trading in the first place.

The Beach in Thailand

Of course, I didn’t always have the freedom to travel to different countries for extended periods of time without worries of getting back to my “normal job”.  It only came about because I made a clear decision about what was important to me and then took the difficult steps to get where I wanted to be.  It wasn’t easy, but nothing truly worth doing ever is.

When I first made the decision that I wanted to become a full time trader it had little to do with an initial passion for the markets.  I had always been interested in stocks since being introduced to them in a classroom stock portfolio exercise many years before, but I had yet to really dig into what active trading was all about.

So how did I come to the conclusion that I should spend months or maybe even years completely dedicated to developing my skills in the markets?  It was all about identifying what really mattered to me, where my passions lied, and envisioning where I wanted to be in the future.

Career and Lifestyle Maze

Realizing What’s Important

At the time of my major career decision to become a day trader I had been doing consulting work in the US over a couple of different states.  I enjoyed the work as I was helping others to build their businesses from the ground up, but there were some things I definitely didn’t find as appealing.

For one, I was always on my way to the next meeting as I drove or flew from place to place.  My time was scheduled to the minute to fit in as much as possible with people spread out in numerous cities and towns.  Worse, what little personal time I had was often interrupted by phone calls from those I was working with or messages that urgently needed to be returned.

It didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t a good plan for long-term happiness.  All of it made me feel that I was spread “too thin”, with little time to enjoy the things that were important to me.

It was at this point that I realized I needed to make a change.  I had to figure out what truly mattered for my quality of life and I needed to map out a plan to improve it.

After a period of introspection, I came to the conclusion that what truly mattered to me was having complete career freedom.  I wanted to be able to schedule my own hours and more importantly I needed to have the ability to take a day or even a week off on a whim.  I didn’t want employees or customers that I would need to manage my time around.  Most of all, I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world so I could exercise my passion for travel.

Achieving this sort of career independence was a lofty goal, no doubt, but I knew it was extremely worthy of my time and effort.

 

Deciding to Become a Day Trader

In the following weeks I considered many career options and eventually decided that learning how to become a day trader would fit the criteria perfectly.  I already had some interest in the field as I mentioned and it fit my general background in commerce well.  It had minimal start-up costs, offered a work day I could set myself, and would give me complete location freedom.

Simply put, day trading fit my career and lifestyle goals exactly.  What started as a logical decision to become a day trader soon ignited an intense passion for the markets that continues to this day.

 

Path of the Samurai

Keeping on the Path of the Samurai Trader

It’s perhaps interesting to note that, for me, choosing to become a trader was never about the money.  I didn’t care if I made millions because I knew that my freedom would be worth far more.  I think that’s an important distinction because for many people the initial reason they become interested in trading is purely for rapid financial gain.

The trouble is that for most of us, this kind of financial focus isn’t a sustainable passion over the long term as it usually provides little if any real fulfilment.

I’ve come to believe that it’s vital to identify your true motivations and underlying passions before you enter the trading arena if you want to reach your goals.  

Do you want to be free of the typical career path?  Is spending more time with your family what drives you?  Do you have an intense desire to travel and experience other cultures?  These motivations are easy to sustain over the longer term compared to those that are purely financial with no underlying emotional drive.

Having these motivations is what has allowed me to develop as a trader and has kept me on the Path to trading success for many years.  My experience training others has been similar – those with a desire beyond their financial bottom line are the ones who end up finding the greatest rewards.

Without true passion and a white hot desire to achieve your goals, it will always be difficult to bring forth the effort and focus  needed to become a successful trader.  You must take the time to consider what truly matters to you before embarking on your trading journey, then take calculated steps to get to your destination.

The Path of the Samurai Trader is not an easy one and is fraught with various perils, but those with full knowledge of their underlying passions are the ones that persevere and reach their trading and lifestyle goals.

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About the Author

Cody HindFounder & Head Trader of Samurai Trading Academy. Cody has almost a decade of day trading experience in the Emini S&P 500 futures and Forex markets. He has also coached dozens of traders, helping them to achieve their financial goals.View all posts by Cody Hind →

  1. PhilPhil08-17-2013

    Awesome article Cody, its always great to hear from someone with similiar values in relation to why we are on this day trading path.

    How did you find that transition period of working and learning to day trade at the same time?Was it something that took you a while or did you decide to quit your job and go for it? :)

    • Cody HindCody Hind08-18-2013

      Thanks Phil. Glad you liked it!

      I actually had a pretty short transition time, though I would recommend to others that they take more time to make the jump than I did. When everything wrapped up with my work in the US, I moved back to Canada and decided to sell a property in Calgary and head to Vancouver. This gave me a lot of extra cash so I decided to just “go for it” and jump right in. I did start slow with very small size (I was trading FX only back then) and just worked up from there. There’s a lot of pressure doing it that way though, and I would suggest that anyone who is serious takes at least a few months to transition into full time trading once consistent profitability is achieved.

  2. JamieJamie08-18-2013

    Excellent article Cody. It definitely spoke to me:)

    • Cody HindCody Hind08-18-2013

      Thanks Jamie. If anyone can understand why I wanted to make the switch to trading full time, it’s you. There’s an open offer if you ever want to dig into trading a bit more… I think it’s the least I owe you considering the number of beers you’ve bought me over the years.

  3. JanJan08-21-2013

    Hey Cody, this is the type of philosophy and story that inspires me to make the move soon, I look forward to studying with you in the fall !!

    • Cody HindCody Hind08-21-2013

      Thanks Jan. Looking forward to helping you achieve your goals as well!

  4. ClintClint08-21-2013

    Great article Cody. I have been trying to achieve this goal for many many years now, without much success. Its never been about the money persee. Of course it is about some money, but it has never been about a mansion, boat and fancy car to me either. I worked 16 years for a company, set up offices in China and Asia, hired and fired staff, project managed big and small implementations, played the bad cop to my bosses good cop and when bad times hit, I was out on my arse with not so much as a thank you (and owed 5 months salary).

    So this is why a day trading business is an even more important goal to me now. And hopefully my story serves a lesson to others.

    The freedom from having to rely on a job and others to pay me is my goal.

    • Cody HindCody Hind08-21-2013

      That’s the tough thing about the corporate world these days – there’s simply no security in it. I became disillusioned with that before I even got out of university so I’ve always taken the self-employed route. Still comes with it’s own risks, but at least you can rely on yourself instead of putting your fate in uncaring corporate hands.

    • JanJan08-22-2013

      Wow, I did 18 years in IT working with ERP systems and share your pain and future desires, Clint. I sincerely wish you the best of luck, I am trying to accomplish the same :)

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