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Penny Stock Basics

8 Ways To Maintain Trading Motivation

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/10/2023 7 min read

If you follow me on Instagram here, you know that I’m a BIG believer in sharing photos/videos/captions designed to motivate my students to study harder as ALL of my trading challenge students are absolute beasts when it comes to their studying/prep-work and work ethic.

And because we’re only human, it’s good to recognize that it can be hard to keep up trading motivation, particularly when you’ve had a bad trade or feel that you are not advancing as quickly as you’d like and especially when you have a small account and no matter what you do it seems like it’s just not worth all the effort. But it’s crucial that you never forget that trading is hard work, no doubt about it. It demands a strong work ethic and long hours.

These eight tips offer insight for some tried and true ways to remain motivated in the tough world of trading. Keep it handy for when you need a pick me up because the path to becoming my next trading challenge student is a long one, filled with ups AND downs so you must be prepared for this marathon and remember it’s NOT a sprint and that you cannot cheat your way to knowledge and success.

1. Join my challenge. I am a self-made millionaire by way of trading penny stocks.** I designed the Tim Sykes Millionaire challenge to help aspiring traders become successful traders. The program was created based on my own experiences and draws from my success. It’s an education which is streamlined, so you can avoid many of the pitfalls I experienced on my way to financial success when I had nobody guiding or mentoring me and I had to learn everything the much harder way.

However, in addition to offering a targeted education that is designed to help you become a self sufficient trader, my challenge also forges a community. Along with me as your mentor, you and a team of similar-minded traders will be working toward a common goal. The challenge offers education, accountability, and community: all of these things together can offer plenty of trading motivation.

2. Look at visionaries. If you want to get motivated fast, start looking at the lives and stories of business visionaries. Sure, you can look at traders, but you can also look at other entrepreneurs, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson. Absorb how they thought creatively and created opportunities where nobody else saw them.

In one regard, it can make you feel lazy to look at all of the accomplishments of such visionaries. However, it is also extremely motivating. It makes you want to try harder and do better. Get inspired by the success of others; let it make you want to succeed.

Tim Sykes studying and trading
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3. Take a break. This might seem like an odd thing to say, but somehow the thing that can help you stay motivated is to not work so hard. There’s this mentality that you have to be chained to your desk to find success. That’s not necessarily true.

There will be times when you’re engaged in a project and working 16 hour days. This often happens to me when I am creating new lessons for the Tim Sykes Million Challenge Team. But there will be other times when it’s not necessary. During those times, take advantage of the chance to relax a little bit. You’re not being lazy, you’re just making the most of the time you have. Don’t be so stuck to the idea that you have to be at your desk at all time to be productive.

4. Revisit your goals. If you feel lacking in motivation, it’s probably a good time to revisit your goals. Sometimes, a reminder of why you got into trading and what you hope to gain from it can give you a jump start.

It’s also important to revisit your goals because sometimes they can be causing your lack of motivation. It could be that your initial goal came too easily and you need to aim higher. Or, perhaps what you set as your goal now seems boring and unexciting to you. Things change constantly, and you need to adapt to stay committed. Let your goals be flexible, and adjust them so that they can continue to keep you motivated and hungry to move forward.

5. Read the business news. Reading the business news can help your career in many ways. For one, it makes you aware of what’s going on in the world; this is never a bad thing. Second, it can give you ideas for investments, or it can help act as research. You never know when you might pick up a tidbit that might tell you that the time is right to invest in a certain stock or sector.

But reading the news can also be motivating. It can show you what ideas are moving the business world, and what direction entrepreneurs are going in. Often, reading about business trends can motivate you and give you ideas for how to advance your own career…use this tool daily like I do to keep track of all the news that influence stocks or sectors.

6. Learn something new. Constantly learning new things is one of the not so secret keys to success for longtime millionaires. For one thing, it keeps you from becoming too set in your ways, which is a sure fire plan for lack of success. After all, when your mind stops expanding, you stop being able to adapt with the fast paced business world. Eventually, you’ll become extinct.

Learning new things can expand your horizons and also be humbling (in a good way). It helps you remember to keep questioning even what you think you know. In this way, it keeps your brain in good shape, and makes you a more well rounded businessperson. It keeps you inspired and wanting to become better. This is the best type of trading motivation! And as a side benefit, trying new things and continually learning will probably make you a more interesting person overall.

7. Remember your successes. Sometimes, you can get sucked into the humdrum routine of being a trader, and you can lose motivation. Everything seems to require effort, like you’re constantly walking uphill.

Truthfully, while routine and repetition are important as a trader, it’s important to snap yourself out of it before it starts feeling humdrum. After all, you should be enjoying this, right?

Take a moment every now and again to look back at all that you have accomplished. Even if it feels like you are spinning your wheels now, you’ve really accomplished a lot. Sometimes, looking back on past successes can help remind you that you have a bright future and bring your trading motivation back.

8. Read about market collapse(s). And on the total flip side of the last tip? If you’re lacking trading motivation, sometimes all it takes to zap you out of it is to think about how much worse it could be. Go ahead, take a little time to read about various market collapses in history and ponder how colossally those traders’ motivation must have suffered. Comparatively, you have it pretty good. Sometimes, all it takes is reminding yourself how fortunate you really are to bring back your mojo.

Motivation can sometimes be hard to come by as a trader. Keep these tips on hand for those times, so that you can remain on track, stay committed to your goals, and make a killing in the market.

How do you stay motivated? Leave a comment below and let me know as I want to help keep you motivated and grinding along on your journey!


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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”