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Trading Psychology

3 Questions You Must Answer If You Want To Make It

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/5/2023 7 min read

Trading is probably the hardest thing to do to make an easy buck.

Very few professions allow you to write your own ticket. There’s no boss to hold you down, office politics to deal with, and no cap on your future earnings.

Yet, most folks who get into trading fail.

And while the odds may be stacked against you, I’ve got a good understanding of what it takes to make it. Not only did I become a millionaire trader in my early 20s, but I’ve also helped over 30 of my students on their way to seven figures.

It boils down to having the right expectations.

Here are three critical questions you must answer if you want to join the minority of consistently successful traders.

Do You Have The Right Expectations?

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Anyone can open a brokerage account, fund it, and begin trading. Anyone can get lucky by hitting a button and making money on a trade. However, if you want to be consistent and make money over time, you’ll need much more than luck.

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish near term and underestimate what they can do over the long term.

You see, trading has many components: idea generation, pattern recognition, risk management, and mental focus. It takes years to master these components.

However, most people who jump into trading want results right away. Even worse, they set the wrong goals for themselves.

Early on in your journey, you must focus on LEARNING. The last thing you want to do is set monetary goals in year one.

For example, one of my top students, Jack Kellogg, who has gone on to make more than eight figures in trading profits…didn’t make any money in year one. In fact, he lost about $2k.

Imagine if he set a goal for himself to make X amount of dollars in year one. He would never have made it to year two.

That’s why you need to focus on learning and developing your skills. Your friends and family may think you’re wasting your time, but the process, in the beginning, is slow.

My best students studied their butts off…in slow markets…like the one we’re experiencing now. However, when things picked up, they took advantage of the opportunities in front of them.

The action in the market is slow right now. If you’re just starting your journey, this is good for you. If you can trade in this market, imagine how you’ll do when there are actual plays.

Do You Have A Purpose?

frequently asked questions about penny stocks to watch
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When I got into trading more than two decades ago, money motivated me. I wanted nice things, vacations, cars, and fancy dinners.

Every day was a thrill for me. And I would ride the emotional waves that came with trading. I would knock down big wins and then suffer large defeats.

I didn’t have a mentor and was trying to figure things out through trial and error.

But something changed with me.

I no longer got excited about the money. The adrenaline rush wore off.

Luckily, I found my purpose elsewhere.

First, I decided to donate all of my trading profits to charity. This excited me because I knew every winning trade was going to a good cause. It helped me stay focused and disciplined.

Second, I’ve gotten great fulfillment by helping other traders.

I don’t want to sound like a jerk…but I’ve been successful for over two decades now. If I make $10,000 or $100,000 in a month, it won’t change my lifestyle. However, very few things get me excited as watching new traders develop and get their breakthroughs.

That’s why you’ll consistently see me celebrate my students who are putting in the effort and studying daily.

You must know your purpose because there are some bumpy roads you’ll travel through in your journey.

You will be tested. And there will be moments you have doubts. Remember your purpose during those trying times.

Are You Around People Who Inspire?

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The average person thinks day trading is just for gamblers. And while there’s some truth to that. I can tell you that the best traders are not gamblers. They understand that trading is speculative, but they are also masters at risk vs. reward and risk management.

My father gave me access to my bar mitzvah money. It’s what I used to fund my trading account. He thought it would be a great lesson for me, expecting I would lose it in the markets.

Once my parents saw my seriousness, they became my biggest supporters.

By the age of 21, I was a millionaire trader.

However, I understand that not everyone has a support system at home.

Trading is risky with no guarantees. That’s why some folks discourage their friends and family from getting into trading.

That means you’ll have to draw inspiration from somewhere else if you’re not getting it at home.

That’s why I put out so many free training videos. 

I want the next class of millionaire traders to be inspired by the ones who came before them.

The number of millionaire students I’ve coached has risen dramatically over the years because there’s more inspiration for new students to draw from.

I believe anyone can make it as a trader if they commit to learning and studying. Set the right expectations and give yourself a long enough timeline, and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

If you’d like to discover more about my coaching program and how I’ve helped dozens of my students hit seven figures in trading profits, click here to learn more. 

P.S. Want to learn a strategy that has helped me on my road to millions? Check this out.


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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (205) 851-0506 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”