Habit #1: Read Every Day
Being a successful trader requires incredible discipline and action. And that means you need to be consistent.
Consistency is only formed through habits. Everything you do in your life is a result of habit and your environment.
Obviously, there are bad habits and good habits. And obviously, the logical and rational choice is to choose good habits all the time.
Unfortunately, we are human beings and because human beings are complicated, we don’t always make the right choice when it comes to our habits.
For some reason, we still smoke knowing it could cause lung cancer. We drink excessively at the risk of alcohol poisoning. We eat overly processed foods that make us obese and lead to diabetes.
But we do it because it’s fun in the moment.
We have bad habits that do not serve us well in the long-term because we value instant gratification more.
Forming good habits, on the other hand, takes time and doesn’t always give us instant results.
You’re not going to transform into Arnold Schwarzeneggar overnight from just pumping iron at the gym for one day.
But anything worth having is always hard before it gets easy.
And one of the most important habits every successful trader must develop is reading every day.
In fact, anyone who wants to be successful must read every day.
Why Read Every Day?
Why do you need to read every day? Believe it or not, you should view it as important as breathing and eating. You must consider it an innate function that’s important to your survival.
The most important reason for reading is to make sure your brain still functions. And your brain needs constant information for you to grow.
You Already Read Every Day
You’ve already done the hard part. It’s safe to assume that you already read everyday. You read everything from billboards, emails, all the way to memes. The information you read gives you knowledge.
And knowledge is power.
Better yet, Information today is globalized and can reach you at the click of a button or your fingertips.
The only question you need to ask yourself is, “do I read information that helps me move forward in life?”
Everything you consume shapes and influences you in some way. So you need to know that what you put into your brain matters!
Your brain is a piece of software that needs to download, process and apply information that makes you better in every aspect of your life.
It will need regular updates to form new synapses and connections. And it will need to filter out information that does not help you.
How to Read Every Day
You already know that you read every day, now you only need the information that helps you improve as a trader
How can you make this into a habit?
Well, think of the end goal you’re trying to achieve. The reason for forming a good reading habit is to have a better life.
Now think of how much time you are willing to commit to having a better life.
Is that something worth spending 15 minutes a day? Or maybe an hour? You can set a specific time of your day to read. Everybody has 24 hours in a day. But your 24 hours can be very different from a single mother with 3 kids or the billionaire Jeff Bezos.
So if you get bogged down with the mundane chores of life or anything that is a time-suck, maybe a specific time won’t work for you. Maybe you can commit to a time window or certain time of the day.
You can also use any of the following metrics for reading every day:
- Read 10 pages a day
- Read a chapter a day
- Read at least one page before you go to bed
- Read for 30-60 minutes
- Read for 15 minutes
Each of these metrics should at least account for your 24 hours. And you can customize these metrics as you go along.
Next, get a list of books that will help you improve as a trader and your life in general. Professional traders such as Warren Buffet swear by books such as The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
That can be a good entry point.
But don’t limit yourself to non-fiction. Read novels, poetry, and short stories. Read anything that will spark your imagination and captivate you.
Read things that will challenge you with different perspectives and viewpoints outside of yours. But make sure it still aligns with your integrity and values.
Remember, anything that you read won’t always apply to you or make sense. It may even be downright misleading.
But reading every day can vastly develop your critical thinking skills and sort out the BS quickly.
As you are aware of what you put into your body, be aware of what you put into your mind.
The Benefits of Reading Every Day
If you still think reading every day isn’t possible or is too much work, then you need to think of the benefits. That can give you incentive.
Here’s a whole bunch of benefits you get from reading every day:
- Jump into someone’s mind: Reading gets you access to someone’s life work, voice, and world which means access to different viewpoints, solutions, and valuable information you could never figure out on your own. Two heads are better than one. This is an incredible phenomenon where you are coming into someone’s creation from a different point of space and time…in real time. Books are essentially time capsules of information. Better yet, you get to do it for free or for a reasonable price, considering the amount of time that goes into writing a book.
- Develop more empathy: You feel another person’s emotions. You feel all their joy, anguish, and triumph. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will help you hold on to your humanity and give you an incredible level of self-awareness. Something that’s very important as a trader
- Increase your vocabulary: Reading increases your vocabulary. You learn new words and therefore improve in your communication which makes you more intelligent and efficient in getting information from one space to another. This also means you can build strong relationships and be more confident with how you express yourself.
- Become a better writer: Reading books over time can roughly translate to writing better. Because of reading, you pick up better vocabulary and communication skills. So how would you not be able to share that when you write? Besides you may be writing everyday anyway (emails, text messages, essays, etc,) with the information dense world we live in, that is hard to get away from.
- Become a more interesting person: Anybody who reads every day will always have an interesting story to tell. You will probably learn interesting facts, stories, tips and valuable information you can’t wait to share with others. You can be that guy at the party who can explain why the stock market really crashed in 1929 (should it ever come up in a conversation and someone is willing to listen)
- Connect with more-like minded people: Reading connects you with other people who may share your interest in trading or other subjects. This is a great way to not only read but cross-check, process, and apply additional information to your trading and life overall. It’s important to always bounce ideas off other people in book clubs or online forums. This way, you don’t tie yourself to one interpretation.
- Make More Money: Remember not to read passively. Download what you read into your brain, process it, and apply it! This is how you make more money. You should read books that teach you a skill. Knowledge is power. And you can only make money if you provide value and solve problems. And there are plenty of books that show you how to do that. If you want to earn more money, you have no choice but to read more.
But Wait There’s More…
Further benefits of reading include:
- Improve concentration and focus
- Develop self-discipline
- Create more self-awareness and reflection
- Add more relaxation to your life
- Delay dementia in old age
What’s It Going to Be?
Now that you have incentive to read every day. It’s only a matter of following through. By now you should know what’s at stake and why you’re going to read every day. It is not going to be easy because this is a good habit that requires you to commit time to a better life.
But motivational speaker Brian Tracy says it best…
“Bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with. Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.”
So what’s it going to be?
Hopefully, the right choice is clear to you.