You could say that I was born to be a trader. It’s almost like I did not have a choice, even if I wanted to have one, Trading was and will always be in my blood.
I first grew interest in the markets when I was a young boy. My father, a trader with now around 35 years of experience, was an avid investor. Back in the 1990’s I distinctly remember him calling his brokers and saying ” Buy this, sell that, place an order for this…” etc etc etc. I was fascinated as to what he was buying and selling, secretly hoping it was something on the long list of toys and games I had requested of him. Whilst many of the toys did not materialise, I was always hooked onto his conversations.
As I grew older, my interest peaked. My father used to bring home the financial times every weekend, and assigned me the task of highlighting certain stock prices based on a criteria. I had no idea what it was all about, but I was fascinated by the numbers and arrows, what went up and what went down.
Soon after, towards the end of the 1990’s, Retail Trading platforms were entering the market, and for the first time I was able to experience watching my father placing trades on the computer. I was amazed, the flashing lights and numbers, the big spikes up and down, the excitement – for a kid it was great to see.
My father was obviously intrigued that I was so interested, and he started explaining in simple terms what he was doing. As I grew to learn more, I become more and more interested. Then finally, at the grand old age of 12, the moment I had been longing for had finally come – I was about to place my first trade! Now, it wasn’t anything special, all I had to do was click a button. I have no idea if that trade won or lost, at the time I don’t think I even cared. I just remember being at the screen on the CMC marketmaker platform and clicking that button. From that moment, I was hooked, and subconsciously I had no doubts that it was what I will be doing for the rest of my life.
As I grew older, I spent my vacation periods trading one of my fathers accounts. This was when my education truly began. It has been said that to truly master something you need to put in 10,000 hours into learning the subject. For trading, the only way to accomplish this is spending time in front of the charts. There is only so many times you can learn about different candle patterns and strategies, but unless and until you spent time in front of the screen and put these techniques and strategies into practice, it is all useless.
I spent most of my vacation periods in my teenage years doing this. I wasn’t particularly successful, but neither was hugely unsuccessful. Monetary wise I was probably in a small drawdown, but nothing of significance. It was after I turned 16 did things really start to get interesting. My father sent me to Traderhouse, which was a trading room set up not far from where we lived, where I could trade in the same room as professional traders. This was an amazing experience for me.
As time went on, I completed my studies and went into further education. Finished my degree in Banking followed swiftly by a masters, and went into the corporate world. However deep down I knew I was not built for the corporate environment, and after 7 years, I packed up and went full time trading.
In the early period admittedly I had a gamblers mentality. I over-leveraged, moved my stops, revenge traded.. basically I made every mistake in the book. Because I wasn’t trading size, the mistakes I made were never painful enough to force me to change, and I carried on doing what I was doing.
After a few months I pumped £10,000 into a trading account. Within a couple of weeks I doubled it, averaging around £1,000 a day! As a young man this felt completely insane and I couldn’t believe it. It all seemed so easy. I thought I cracked it…. As you would expect,It was at this time that the biggest lesson of all started for me.
The following Monday, I lost £9,000 in one day. 50% of the account in 2 hour period. Simply due to over trading, and risking to much. I was devastated. Emotionally I was a mess and well, mostly just in shock. Over the next few weeks my account bled and bled, mostly from adopting the attitude of wanting to ‘make it back’ and get back to where i was. I promised myself I would do the right things if I could just get back to where I was. Big mistake.
Long story short I virtually wiped the whole account down to peanuts. At the time it was excruciatingly painful, but I look back now and think for the long term it is the best thing that could have happened to me. It was at this time I started my journey of understanding the importance of and developing my trading psychology. I spent months and months learning about myself, examining behavioural patterns not just in trading but in my day to day life. I understood that to develop the desired behaviour in trading I would need to improve my life outside of trading also.
There were many lessons I learnt along the way, many setbacks, many peaks and troughs but I kept my head down, worked hard, focused on achieving excellence in the process and I have not looked back!