Trading in 2023: What I'd Tell My 19-Year-Old Self
10 mins read

By: sarvesh

Trading in 2023: What I'd Tell My 19-Year-Old Self

Setting the Stage

What’s up everyone. Today, I’m going to share a very controversial article that many people have been asking me to write. It may ruffle some feathers because what I'm about to say may not align with the common themes you often hear about trading on YouTube or from 99% of YouTubers and gurus.

This article is essentially about how I would approach trading and using Prop Firms if I were starting all over again, knowing nothing about trading, and if I were in your shoes at ages like 19, 18, 20, 24, or 22.

First of all, Prop Firms offer you the opportunity to access capital, and this recent development, available to retail traders, is a significant advantage for many who might not otherwise succeed in trading. So, let’s go back to the fundamentals of this entire journey.

Embracing Repetition and Dedication

Most courses that you're considering purchasing from various gurus often promise quick results, claiming that for just $1,000, they'll transform you into a profitable trader in a matter of weeks or months.

In reality, if you're a retail trader, it's going to take you at least a year, maybe six months if you're exceptionally talented. Success in trading is not solely about intelligence; it's about accumulating the necessary experience, akin to trigger time when firing a gun – you need repetition.

Think of it like practicing basketball, where Kobe would invest countless hours honing his skills before anyone else even set foot in the gym. It's all about getting those reps in, just as when you lift weights at the gym.

Repetition is key. Therefore, in trading, be prepared to dedicate at least a year of your life, spending 12 hours a day staring at the screen, experimenting, and fully committing to this endeavor. That means cutting out all the distractions and nonsense if you genuinely want to succeed.

You'll have to eliminate most of the partying, the late nights, and the reckless behavior that's typical of a 20-year-old. We've all been there, going out to bars, getting completely wasted, and then spending the next two or three days recovering. All of that has to go out the window if you're serious about becoming a millionaire.

This level of dedication is what it takes. After all, we all know how to look like Schwarzenegger, at least halfway there. We know what to eat and what to avoid – no sugar, candy, pizzas, or pastas, just protein and vegetables. Hit the gym for two or three hours, and you'll look fantastic, right?

But how many people do you see on the streets who actually look like Schwarzenegger? Very few, right? The same principle applies to trading. Year after year, there are books, courses, and fancy gadgets advertised on TV that promise incredible results. Yet, we all know the basics – eat salads, consume lean meats, do push-ups, lift weights. It's not rocket science.

The same simplicity applies to trading, and this is where it gets controversial.


Recognizing Patterns and Technical Analysis

Many people believe in the existence of a holy grail in trading, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Trading is primarily about training your mind to recognize repetitive market behaviors through a specific lens.

So, what are these lenses or filters we train our minds to use? They are patterns. These patterns fall under the umbrella of technical analysis, including concepts like ICT, smart money concepts, Ichimoku Cloud, moving averages, support and resistance levels, and order blocks.

All of these elements serve as the prism or filter through which you analyze specific situations. Over time, typically six months to a year, or even two years to be realistic, you'll begin to develop an intuition that operates on a subconscious level. You'll recognize these patterns, and your mind will immediately respond once you spot them.

However, achieving this level of unconscious competence takes time and extensive practice. Competence in trading is a result of hard work, and it's worth noting that most traders don't last long enough to reach this promised land. They often fall prey to articles and individuals promising quick riches, like me or others who might flaunt their wealth and claim they can teach you everything for just $1,000.

It's similar to the phenomenon that occurs after New Year's, where everyone makes resolutions to hit the gym, but by February or March, only a fraction of those enthusiastic gym-goers remain. Trading is no different; it demands relentless effort.

Trading is a harsh and unforgiving business. It can bring even the toughest individuals to tears. The reason it can break people down to the point of crying or feeling suicidal is because you must let go of your ego to grow and achieve competence. You're essentially battling yourself – your fears, your greed, and all those emotional states that hinder you from making rational decisions.

It's a battle of you against you. Nobody forces you to hit that buy or sell button at a particular moment. Many novice traders mistakenly believe that prices can only go up or down, simplifying a complex reality.

The Controversy of Trading Techniques

Now, let's get to the heart of the matter. A long time ago, someone advised me to choose a trading discipline that resonates with me and stick with it.

Understand that this won't work 100% of the time; it's the same with concepts like ICT or using order block charting, automated indicators, and so on. You'll often witness prices blasting through these tools as if they don't matter.

The real breakthrough comes when you grasp the essence of trading. It involves understanding what the significant players in the market are doing, the dynamics of the macroeconomic environment, and the direction money is flowing. This understanding allows you to construct narratives.

Once you've constructed these narratives, you can leverage technical analysis, regardless of the specific technique you choose. Whether it's support and resistance, order blocks, smart money concepts, or any other method, it ultimately doesn't matter. What matters is your ability to discern when to enter a trade and when to steer clear.

This is where discretion plays a vital role, and acquiring a competent discretionary skill set takes time. So, stop the futile debate about which technique is superior or inferior. Instead, I recommend getting yourself a book like "Market Wizards."

Choosing a Trading Discipline

Alright, let's talk about that book – "Market Wizards." You may want to grab a copy; there's even one called "The New Market Wizards" for professional retail traders, which is one of the latest in the series.

Now, there's this famous trader, Peter Brandt, who's well into his 60s or 70s and quite popular on Twitter. He sticks to a classical, somewhat boring 1970s style of technical analysis. He trades head and shoulders patterns, triangles, and other seemingly basic stuff that might appear futile if you tried it. But here's the kicker – he's making money.

Why? Because to make it into the "Market Wizards" series, you have to provide audited financial statements of your trading success. He's a millionaire trading what many would dismiss as complete nonsense. If you were to ask on YouTube whether you should trade this way, most would dismiss it as garbage, as if anything else in trading isn't equally polarized.

The truth is, there's no universal algorithm. Some people claim to have discovered the one algorithm that rules them all, but it's a fallacy. If such an algorithm existed, the person who found it would be a billionaire many times over, not just showing off a fancy Corvette worth $100,000.

But let's get back on track. Even experienced traders who've been in the markets for decades, like the guy teaching smart money concepts, still offer valuable insights. Their wisdom comes from years of experience and, especially in their older content, you'll find excellent guidance for your journey.

Remember, Mike Tyson's coach wasn't Mike Tyson himself. Tyson had a coach who wasn't a world champion. So, don't disregard someone's ability to teach you just because they aren't the ultimate expert in their field. They can still help you become better.

Transitioning to Pro-Firm Accounts

Here's the deal: Figure out what works for you and discard what doesn't. Over the course of a year or two, develop your trading system. Once you have a successful track record in percentage terms, it doesn't matter if you're trading $1,000, $10,000, or $100,000.

Now, the pro-firm account comes into play a year or two later, not right away. Don't treat it like a casino and take unnecessary risks because the risk managers will spot reckless behavior and rightfully kick you out. Pro firms aren't in the business of giving you money to gamble; they expect you to be responsible.

Here's the simple strategy: Use that initial 12 to 24 months to hone your trading skills. Then, utilize the pro-firm account to grow your capital. Don't rush into buying a million-dollar account; start with a $50,000 account. As for choosing a pro firm, all the debates about which one is slightly better are irrelevant when you're starting with a smaller account.

Just pick one, start with a $25,000 to $100,000 account, and focus on consistency. Once you become consistent, the pro firm will have an interest in retaining you because you're making them money. They'll gradually scale you up because they're on the lookout for promising traders, just like you.

Within a two- to three-year period, you can start earning more than you might make after four years of college education. You could be making a monthly income of $50,000 to $100,000 or more. That's the plan I'd give to my younger self after spending 20 years in this industry on Wall Street.

Remember, it doesn't matter if you're starting in your 30s or 40s; the key is dedication. Just like you won't lose weight by going to the gym once or for a week, you have to take trading seriously.


The Reality Check of Trading

Do you aspire to be in a profession that allows you to make millions of dollars? Well, let's get one thing straight – if it were ridiculously easy, there'd be a line of people raking in millions, and we'd all be living in a world filled with Ferraris.

So, let's be real. Trading is exceptionally challenging. The reason it's tough is that you need to sustain yourself over a long, grueling period. Like any journey, it's not a straight shot to the moon; you'll face ups and downs, moments of doubt, and even questioning your choices. Your parents might ask, "What the heck are you doing?" and so on.

This is why 99% of people opt to become salary slaves, earning $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, or $500,000, and that's their limit. Don't get me wrong, that's fantastic, and many would kill for that opportunity. On Wall Street, people can make that kind of money in a single month or two.

The trading craft demands discipline, and it will reward you if you put in the work, just like going to the gym. But here's the catch – it requires an immense number of repetitions. The problem is most people have unrealistic expectations about the number of repetitions required to achieve success.

That's the bottom line.

The Bottom Line: Dedication and Focus

For those who prefer the TL;DR version: Understand that it takes one to two years to become proficient in this craft, regardless of the system you choose. Just pick one; it's about getting that lens, filter, or prism through which you view the market.

Learn how big players perceive the market by delving into fundamental analysis and assembling the pieces of the puzzle. Read books, study bank reports, watch YouTube tutorials, and engage in the right Telegram or Discord channels. Over a year or two, you'll start forming a decent picture of how things work. Remember, no single person can teach you everything.

And one last thing: if someone's trying to sell you a course promising to make you proficient in trading for a thousand dollars, be cautious. You can find the same information for free on YouTube.

However, if someone is willing to mentor you and physically guide you through the trading process, that's a different story. At on our Discord, we offer free classes three times a week, and our senior traders share their screens daily.

Now that you know where to look, you have no excuse. It's time to hit the gym and put in the reps, dedicating 12 to 15 hours a day for the next year. Ignore the distractions in the outside world, adopt a monk-like focus, and get serious about it. In a couple of years, you can emerge as a victorious, resilient trader with substantial earnings.

Alternatively, you can choose to dabble in various things, be a jack of all trades, and we all know how that typically ends—with excuses like "the market is nonsense" or "dropshipping doesn't work."

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