The largest academic study ever conducted on day trading shows that most traders lose money even during a bull market. Only 5% of active traders were able to earn significant profits two years in a row.
Are 95% of traders dumb? Hardly. As a trading coach , I believe traders are among the intelligent and motivated individuals.
Even so, most traders get fooled by news or price action and behave in ways that limit or erase profits.
Is this self-sabotage? Fear of success? A hidden wish to fail? I don’t think so. The struggles of most traders arise for a different reason: the trading environment turns our own reward-seeking and self-protective instincts against us.
Trading for a living is harder than it seems at first. You were probably not mentally or emotionally prepared for the randomness in the market you trade.
There is a saying that goes: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” In trading, however, it’s the very definition of normal. Let me explain.
We constantly get tricked and trapped due to random price action. Our job as traders is to behave consistently and predictably in the face of very different results than we expect. This is a skill few have practiced in daily life, where results are more directly linked to action.