The goal of any trader is to turn profits on a regular basis, yet so few people ever really make consistent money as traders. What accounts for the small percentage of traders who are consistently successful? To me, the determining factor is psychological—the consistent winners think differently from everyone else.
I started trading in 1978. At the time, I was managing a commercial casualty insurance agency in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. I had a very successful career and thought I could easily transfer that success into trading. Unfortunately, I found that was not the case. By 1981, I was thoroughly disgusted with my inability to trade effectively while holding another job, so I moved to Chicago and got a job as a broker with Merrill Lynch at the Chicago Board of Trade. How did I do? Well, within nine months of moving to Chicago, I had lost nearly everything I owned. My losses were the result of both my trading activities and my exorbitant life style, which demanded that I make a lot of money as a trader.