Trading and why we do it

Trading the financial markets is a profession desired by huge numbers of people. In order to better understand why people want it so badly and how people often motivate themselves to pursue it, let’s have a look at the field of hypnotherapy. When removing the supposed reasons for a person’s behaviour during hypnotherapy sessions, like peeling away layers of an onion one at a time, eventually, you are able to uncover the individual’s true motivation. Typically, you’ll discover that a perceived negative behaviour is actually the unconscious mind’s way of, in some way, protecting the person. As with most things, what we think is the reason for wanting something is often no more than a series of stimuli that bring the desire into the conscious realm. Once in the conscious mind, one then begins to ponder what it would be like had they already obtained the thing or situation desired. This is when sparks begin to fly. We place ourselves in an imagined, future scenario in which what we desire has come to fruition, along with all of the emotional attachment that goes with it. This is how everything starts and our ability to imagine future situations using the neocortex, is why human beings are ruling the planet.

A human being’s path to change normally looks something like this:

  • We are unhappy with something
  • We imagine a solution to the problem
  • We begin creating a solution in our minds – and depending on how good we are at imagining, we may or may not believe that what we have imagined is possible
  • If we do good, then we believe it and begin looking for ways to make it happen

It’s both beautiful and brilliant.

What motivates most to begin trading

Humans are lazy and always looking for shortcuts, so it’s crucial that we find some really good reasons to leave our default state of comfort and make changes. Why should I? What will I get out of it? This question needs answering with conviction – and the proof that taking a new direction is worth our while needs to motivate us and be believable. For this, most people turn to the Internet, and this is often how the process starts and develops:

  1. You’re tired of your job and are concerned that it is not sustainable (the problem)
  2. You share your concern with a friend/partner
  3. You start searching for an alternative form of income (looking for a solution)
  4. You find some information on the Internet about trading
  5. You read testimonials about people who are earning large sums of money (look for proof that it’s worth it)
  6. You start imagining yourself as the person in the testimonial (imagining)
  7. You see yourself living in luxury, driving swag cars and living in paradise (believing)
  8. You see yourself as being so happy in your mind’s eye that you begin to develop emotional attachment to the imagined version of yourself (conviction)
  9. You begin to take actions to bring you closer to that future you

Does this sound familiar?

Selling the project to ourselves

It is very easy to find 101 reasons to learn how to trade because it looks and sounds so easy, and, the people who are writing about it seem to be doing so well (sarcasm). This is when we need to begin identifying our reasons for wanting to learn how to trade. First of all, is the act of trading the solution to our problem or merely the path that needs to be walked? Trading alone, is simply what needs to be done and is a solution to nothing. The apparent success of those you read about on the Internet is likely the result of someone who walked the path and enjoyed the process of doing so, on their way to becoming successful. This is true of trading, as well as anything else that requires skill to become good at. The fruit of your efforts will be paid in full, if and only if, you stay on the path and enjoy the process, as not enjoying the process will cause you to become distracted and ultimately quit.

Our beliefs

Once you’ve managed to sell yourself the idea that trading is the solution to your perceived problem, you have just altered your beliefs. Before trading came into your conscious awareness, you perhaps never even considered it at all – and now, due to your mental imagery efforts, you’ve managed to convince yourself that it is the perfect solution to your problem. Beliefs are very difficult to change and in fact, many are willing to die to preserve them. Some things we believe with complete conviction and others not. How can we take something once considered trivial, with no emotional attachment, such as the act of trading before we learned of it, and transform it to something that we will do much to confirm? It must be believable. If you can see it in your mind as a picture and make it appealing and believable, then the likelihood you’ll embrace it as a truth will increase exponentially. Can you believe that once upon a time people believed that the earth was flat? Now we believe it’s round.

What if I don’t enjoy the ride?

As mentioned, if you don’t enjoy the process then you’ll likely never make it to your destination. Trading is many things so there is a good chance that you can find something about it that will motivate you to stay on track. I got into trading via a work project, which was related to a piece of software. I enjoy software development so this made the path very enjoyable. Trading is related to so many things, including macro economics, technical analysis, liquidity distribution, it’s a software problem and a great one at that it you’re into deep learning. It’s about psychology and so much more. If you want trading to stick then you have to focus on making the process of learning about it enjoyable and not on the result, which simply isn’t a good enough reason for wanting to learn about it.


If you are motivated to learn about trading because you believe the hype on the Internet that you’ll soon be driving luxury cars and living in paradise, then think again. Trading is a skill that requires enormous time to learn, understand and master. If you want to master trading or anything else, you must invest yourself. Nothing of real value comes easy or is free, or even cheap. Invest in yourself for the long-term and it trading it truly something that you want, refuse to give up when things get tough because they will. Find what it is that will motivate you to master trading and not be distracted by things you read on the Internet about what others are doing, and you’ll be pleased you did.

Thank you.

See also

Four trading fears and their affect on your trading

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