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Trading Psychology

7 Reasons I’m Thankful to Be a Trader and Teacher

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/17/2022 14 min read

I’ve got an attitude of gratitude right about now — so here are 7 reasons I’m thankful to be a trader and teacher.

First, I have to say I’m super thankful for my life, my family, my friends…

For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is a holiday about stuffing your face and football. That’s fine if that’s your thing … but don’t forget to give thanks for all the good things in your life, too.

As a teacher, I like to lead by example. It’s one reason I show every single trade I make. So, here are a handful of reasons I’m thankful to be a trader and teacher … these are some of the biggest reasons that I do what I do.

I want you to find this level of satisfaction in your life, too. As you go through this list, think about your goals and what you want in the future. How can trading help you get where you want to go?

1. Freedom

I’ve been to over 100 countries. Recently, I hung out with sheep at Mont-Saint-Michel and filmed videos in Australia between trading, teaching, and working with Save the Reef. I even visited some of my top students in the Midwest (OK, not all my destinations are exotic).

I love adventure. I love seeing and experiencing new things and new places. And I get to do this ALL THE TIME.

I wasn’t born into this lifestyle. I’m from a small town in Connecticut. Boring! I get to do all of this because I trade.

For me, the freedom to do what I want, when I want, and from where I want is one of the biggest benefits of trading.

Believe it or not, trading isn’t just about the money for me. I have money. I’ve bought cars. I’ve done all the ‘rich people’ things. But honestly, my biggest motivation to trade is to have the freedom to live the life I want. And money gives me the freedom to do this.

Every time I get to see an amazing sunset or view, I’m grateful. I’m thankful that I’m able to have this life.

Trading has given me the ability to live this kind of life. Do you want this kind of life too? Let that be your motivation to study hard!

2. My Students

Jack Kellogg, Dominic Mastromatteo, Kyle Williams, Timothy Sykes photo courtesy of Don Mash
left to right: Jack Kellogg, Dominic Mastromatteo, Kyle Williams, Timothy Sykes – courtesy of Don Mash

I’m SO thankful to have such dedicated and hardworking students … They inspire me to be better in everything I do, from trading to teaching to how I live.

I didn’t have a teacher at the beginning of my trading journey … That’s part of why I’m a teacher: I want to be the mentor to my students that I never had.

I don’t let just anyone join my Trading Challenge. You have to apply. I don’t want to waste my time on people who aren’t committed to studying and learning how to become self-sufficient traders.

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My students can see past the tricks of newbies who promise quick riches. My students prefer to learn to think for themselves rather than following someone blindly. They follow my lessons — things I learned the hard way over 20 years of trading.

I can be hard on them sometimes … but it’s because I care. I want my students to live up to their potential so they can make their goals a reality.

So when I see students killing it like @M_Anthony86, it really makes me feel great:

… or like DansGamePoker:

I don’t expect my students to be perfect. But I love it when I see them noticing how they can continue to improve and vowing to do better next time, like @aldopilers.

It gives me hope that my setting an example of being transparent and showing EVERY TRADE might rub off on other traders. Maybe my students and I can have an impact in this industry that’s filled with so many phonies.

I’m real, and my students are real. I truly appreciate the community I helped create!

3. Patterns That Repeat Over and Over

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m really just a glorified history teacher. And I’m so grateful for patterns that play out time and time again. They create opportunities for traders.

Not only have patterns helped me execute the trades that made me a millionaire, but they help me teach my students, too. Patterns will never be exact replicas, but they repeat closely enough that if you observe over time, you’ll start to understand how a potential play might pan out.

The more information and data you have, the more intelligent your trading plan will be. That’s why it’s so important to constantly study and observe the market.

My student @InceNY1 understands the value of studying:

“Getting” penny stocks doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort and, yeah, plenty of trial and error. But eventually, you’ll start to see that the same patterns play out … and over time, you can learn to recognize them.

You won’t be able to take advantage of every opportunity. You might be late to the game sometimes. But don’t fall prey to FOMO. Observe and take notes. There’s still value in observing patterns even if you’re not trading.

Why? More often than not, similar opportunities will arise in the future. It’s not about getting every single one. It’s about learning over time how to recognize them and taking advantage when you do see them, like this:

4. Fraudster Promoters

Yep, I’m even thankful for the fraudster promoters who pump up stock prices.

Why? Because they create opportunities.

Once you know the game, you can see through these idiots … and they give people like me and my students the opportunity to make profits.

Patterns don’t just play out on stock charts. They happen with companies, too.

It happens all the time: a company’s stock goes up for NO reason based on nothing news. And a bunch of chumps buy a ton of shares.

Don’t believe the hype! Instead, recognize these promoters for what they are: fraudsters. And take advantage of the patterns that they create.

Don’t fall in love with companies selling penny stocks. Look at the chart, and look at what’s happened over and over in the past. Trade based on that.

5. My Charities

When I first made money, I was all about fancy cars and partying.

If that motivates you … awesome. But for me, these things had diminishing returns. Now, what really drives me is charity work and taking care of our planet.

I’m super proud that through Karmagawa, I’ve helped open 57 schools and libraries. We just finished four new schools in Bali.

I’m also proud to be involved with Save the Reef. We’re working hard to save the environment. We’ve done a lot, but there’s still SO much more to do. Learn more here.

It used to be that my trading and my charity work were very separate. But now I can also be thankful that my students are starting to take an interest.

This past September at the annual Trader & Investor Summit, we set up a Karmagawa merch stand. I offered to match the total sales from the weekend. We did about $18K in sales, which I topped up to $20K. I added on another $20K of my own money. We then donated that money to the Bali Children’s Project.

I don’t do this work just to get positive PR. I do it because I’m passionate about creating a better world. Because it’s all connected. If our world goes to crap, there won’t be a world to trade in … So I urge you to get interested and get engaged!

6. Family

I’ll keep saying it until you really, really get it: trading isn’t just about making money. It’s about creating and being able to live the life you want.

One of my goals as a trader was to take care of my family. Thanks to the money I’ve earned, I’m able to do that. My mom and dad were my first two employees!

Thanks to trading and my teaching/mentorship work, we don’t have to worry about things like paying our electric bill or how to afford groceries.  This might sound like a small thing, but since I’ve seen more of the world … trust me, it’s not something to be taken for granted.

There are so many people in the world who don’t have the luxuries that we just assume will always be there.

I’m deeply appreciative of the benefits trading has given not just me but my extended family.

7. The Ability to Keep Learning and Growing

Ever hear the saying, “When you stop learning, you start dying?” Adaptability is key to survival as a trader, so it’s very important to keep learning and growing.

Personally, I love this.

I love being exposed to new knowledge, new places, and new experiences. For instance, a few months ago I got to stay at a hotel where you can feed giraffes from your window! Who knew that was even a thing?”

Trading is an integral part of my continued growth — not just in the stock market but in life.

Without trading, I might be content to just accept the status quo, work from 9–5, live in a house that I couldn’t afford, and focus on acquiring stuff. To me, that sounds like a slow death.

Trading and teaching both force me to keep looking for opportunities. My work keeps me on my toes. I don’t like being bored, and trading helps me continue to learn and grow. It keeps me from dying inside…

… and for that I’m thankful every day. 

Plenty of people do the same thing day in, day out because they think they “should.” Plenty of people are miserable. I don’t want to be one of them. Do you?

Trading Challenge

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If you want to invest in yourself and explore the stock market, consider joining my Trading Challenge.

This is your fast track to learning about the stock market and low-priced stocks. I want to teach you what I’ve learned over the past 20+ years. I want to help you take advantage of what I did right … and avoid what I did wrong.

There’s not a ton of hand-holding. You’ll have to apply and prove to me that you’re willing to put in the work to become a self-sufficient trader. Are you up to the Challenge?

You’ll have access to a massive and growing library of DVDs, webinars, and resources like watchlists and trade commentary … And you’ll also be part of a huge community of like-minded traders who will help motivate and teach you, too.

I want to help you find your way in the stock market — on your own terms. But know this is a long-term prospect. No get-rich-quick schemes here.

A Lot to Be Thankful For

If I’d never started trading, my life could’ve turned out very differently. I might not be a millionaire today … I might be a teacher … I probably wouldn’t be where I am today, traveling the world and living the life that I want.

I have a lot to be thankful for … and so much of it is thanks to my work as a trader and teacher/mentor.

I hope this post motivates you to think about what you’re thankful for and to keep working hard to make your dreams a reality!

What are you thankful for this holiday? I love to hear from you!

How much has this post helped you?

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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 (888) 878-3621 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”