I recently listened to an interview with Naval Ravikant on the Farnamstreet podcast and one thing struck me immediately once I saw the connection to trading and why so many traders fail.
Naval talked about the differences between “external multiplayer games/activities” and “internal single player games/activities” and why following the wrong lifestyle will lead to failure and unhappiness.
Most people are living in the external multiplayer game lifestyle where they do things to impress other people and to look good on the outside. Classic examples are buying the newest sports car although it’s way too expensive and you don’t really need it because you only drive back and forth to work anyways, buying the latest smartphone although your old one still works fine and all you do is check your Facebook and emails, trying to beat your neighbor (although you don’t even like him) or posting photos on your Instagram with the only goal of getting likes and impressing friends (and mostly strangers you don’t know) while it doesn’t represent your life at all.
Rarely never do these things lead to inner happiness, quite the contraty, and the people following such a lifestyle are always after the “next thing” because they get their high from other peoples’ confirmation and jealous looks. It’s like a heroin addict who is after the next shot to make him feel better.
However, the way life should be lived is like an internal single player game where you do only those things that make YOU happy without caring what other people think. We all know a few of such people who “do their thing” and live an authentic lifestyle. Such people don’t only seem to be happier, but they are also often emotionally stable. At the same time, those people are not necessarily the most successful people financially, but we still tend to admire their attitude and way of living because they found a way to break away from the materialistic lifestyle that keeps you trapped in the 9-5 routine.
So, what does this have to do with trading? Fair question and it might not be as obvious at first glance but you’ll see how it affects your trading decisions.
Some people like Twitter, Instagram or hanging out in random forums and find it valuable, but when it comes to actual trading, it’s horrible for your progress. When you see other people flashing lifestyle pictures or posting yet another great trade, while you still cannot make any money on demo and are stuck in your routine, it can easily lead to frustration if you are in the external multiplayer mindset. Such traders then often start looking for the next ‘hot’ system that promises great returns without putting in the work. Or, even worse, you’ll start pretending to be something you are not and so create a lot of internal dissonance (lying to yourself and knowing that you suck) and stop focusing on what is important: studying to become a better trader.
The successful traders, business men or athletes don’t brag or show off. They work in quietness and let their results speak for themselves, and they don’t get their satisfaction from what others think. They are 100% focused on themselves without caring about what others are doing.
In trading, you are not even competing against someone else and you alone are your only opponent. There is no need to compare yourself to other traders or ask how much someone else makes because it won’t help you become a better trader.
If you want to make it as a trader, there is only one way: dig deep, study hard, focus on one trading method, track your trades in a trading journal, make constant tweaks and do not listen to other people. You might not agree but how far did this bring you?
Life, and trading, are internal singleplayer games where you have no opponents, where the only goal is to make yourself happy, live an authentic lifestyle, be true to yourself and make sure that you are a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. And always keep in mind: there is no reset button at the end, so make sure that you are doing what you really want from live and have no regrets. One year from now you wish you’d started today and be more serious.
In my life, I could have gone the “easy” path of a well-paying 9-5 job in one of the largest companies worldwide and join the 9-5. But deep down I know that this wouldn’t make me happy because I wanted more. I was looking for personal freedom, the chance to do “my thing” and not having anyone tell me what to do, when it’s OK to take holidays and having my next 40 years mapped. That’s when I decided that life for me isn’t about what society or family wants from me, but only what I want matters. I sold all my possessions and booked a one way ticket to Asia. Fast forward 4 years, I am still traveling around the world, trading Forex, building online businesses and loving every day. In the beginning, most people doubted me and said I was crazy but the same people now ask for advice because their external multiplayer game lifestyle is not really what makes them happy – even though they might be financially better off than me. Don’t use money as a measurement for success; the only thing that matter is how happy are YOU now.
There was a fun question from Naval Ravikant in the podcast and the way you answer it will show you a lot about yourself and whether you are in the external multiplayer game or internal singleplayer game mindset:
Do you want to be the best lover and known to be the worst lover?
Do you want to be the worst lover and known to be the best lover?