Over the ten years that I've been running this site, I've spoken with quite a few traders on the verge of quitting out of frustration.
In the last month, there have been two. And for both, as for everyone before, I've offered an alternate plan.
Because I don't think frustration is a valid reason for quitting.
For me, there are only two reasons to quit.
Firstly, because of unacceptable threat to relationships, finances, health or lifestyle. (And even then, quitting might just be temporary while these things are put back in order).
And secondly, because the passion is completely gone.
So I thought this might be worth documenting on my website (via this article).
In two parts:
(1) Identifying Unacceptable Risk
Spend some time alone or with your partner and get absolutely clear about this:
- What are you NOT WILLING to risk losing?
Trading DOES pose a threat to relationships, finances, health and lifestyle.
What are you not willing to risk losing?
Document it. Put in place strategies to protect it as much as possible. Define a clear "stop trading" point. And constantly monitor.
If your "stop trading" point is hit, stop trading. Protect what is more important.
For most of us, trading is not an end-goal but rather just a means to provide other benefits. There are other ways to achieve these benefits. Find another path which poses less risk to that which is most important in your life.
(2) Identifying a Loss of Passion
Burnt out? Exhausted? Tired? Frustrated?
Ready to quit?
Fine. It's not for everyone.
Perhaps your path is elsewhere.
But first, here's another idea.
Maybe burnt out is not necessarily an "end-state" but rather a feeling that we get when stuck at some particular stage along the journey.
And if it's just a feeling, then this means there is more journey ahead. We just can't see it right now.
So rather than quit, what if you instead let the emotion and pain subside. And then made your decision with a clearer mind.
Try this plan instead:
- Take some time off. Minimum three months. Completely free from all contact with the financial markets and financial media. Ignore all social media from traders. Ignore all email newsletters (including mine).
- Then, consider whether or not you want back in.
You'll know after a break from trading whether or not the passion remains.
If not, if there's nothing there but dread, you'll know you're making the right decision. Never look back. Surrender yourself to the possibility of new beginnings and new adventures ahead. Your path is elsewhere. Find it.
But if you find something inside screaming in excitement at the idea of getting back into the game, that's fantastic.
Start again. Start smarter.
Burnt out is not necessarily an "end-state". It's just a feeling that we get when stuck.
And it's not the time to be making critical life decisions. Take some time out. And reconsider with a clear mind.
I've recommended this extended break to quite a few traders. Some have contacted me after the three-month break. More often than not they're feeling refreshed and excited about a new start to the game.
But there have been some who found the opposite. They're grateful for having had the break and allowing themselves the chance to reassess. But also incredibly relieved to see that quitting is the right decision. They know with 100% certainty that trading was not the path for them. And they now look forward with excitement as new opportunities open up in front of them.
Take a break. And then reassess. You'll know for sure whether or not the passion remains.
Best of luck,