What are the essential attributes of being a successful trader?

When it comes to trading the financial markets you’ll find there is a minefield of information. Or I should say misinformation in a lot of cases.

Blogs, social media, videos, and even podcasts can be misleading.

Of course, there is truth out there but knowing what is right for you as a trader may be different for another.

Learning to trade is one thing.  Applying what you have learnt to suit your personality and impose it onto the markets is another.

What’s more important isn’t so much what misinformation is available it’s the type of person that wants to consume it.

You’ve all seen the Instagram posts with lambos and bundles of fake dollars.

Laptop open by a pool with a champagne glass next to it with a guy or girl claiming they make gains every day.

This is feeding the consumption of the complete opposite type of personality of what an aspiring successful trader should be.


Below is what I believe are the essential attributes necessary to make it as a successful trader.


1. Focus on the process.

  • They focus relentlessly on the process of learning and evolving and certainly not the money and lifestyle portrayed by wannabes.  Their focus is on the substance and quality of the learning process ensuring that they are making steady progress. I’m a firm believer that if you have that buttoned down the money and success will follow.

2. Are not egotistical and remain humble.

  • If you have an ego and you plan on ‘having a go’ in the markets you will get welcomed, made comfortable and then you will get wrecked. Your ego will not allow you to get over mistakes or necessary losses which is a completely normal part of trading. A larger ego seems to be especially apparent in academics and people who do well in further education. Perfectionists will also get a harsh lesson and wake up call.

3. Do not quit.

  • This may sound over simplistic but stick with me. I’m not stating by not giving up you will definitely make it. However, you will have a distinct advantage over those who will quit. (80% of people) Driven, resilient and motivated people do well in life generally. This applies in the trading arena also.

4. Are disciplined.

  • Preserving capital is essential. If you have no capital you cannot trade it really is that simple. Strict risk management forms a major part of trading success and is essential. The discipline required to impose the management parameters isn’t very easy, although as a task is very simple. People that fall under point 2. will find this difficult.

5. Are honest with themselves.

  • Being honest with oneself is one of the easier things to do. However, acting on it is completely different.  Being self-critical to the point of change being required doesn’t come naturally. When learning to trade, you have to pick apart your weaknesses and work on them. Learning to trade you will and must look inward. It exposes every weakness in a person that they wish they never had. Greed, fear, stupidity, impatience and addictive personalities. Once recognised they can be handled and managed by simple tweaks to their approach.

To sum up

Now that you have read the above points you need to be honest with yourself.

If you lack any of the above points then you just need to tell yourself that that is where you need to make more effort in making a change. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will not make a successful trader.

A good place to start would be here to get a feel of the markets while being guided and obtain a first-hand insight into how a full-time trader operates, demonstrating discipline, resilience and integrity.

What to watch next