How the Marines Prepared Me for Trading

I served five years in the United States Marines Corps from 2003 until 2008. I’m now a Marine veteran, so don’t ever call me a former Marine. That title, Marine, I’ve earned, and it can never be stripped away.

I learned a lot during my time in the Corps and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve seen mankind at its worst and its best, at the same time.

One thing I realized recently was that my time serving prepared me for trading. Let me tell you why.

The Combat Process

The military is a big machine that relies on everyone doing their part. The machine will only run smoothly and keep moving forward, if everyone’s doing their part. I was constantly at the mercy of others doing their part, so I could focus on doing mine.

I was part of a large urban assault on the city of Fallujah in November of 2004. We moved through the city within a few weeks. During this time, there would be hours of boredom followed by a few minutes of intense action. And then back to boredom.

I learned an important skill here, to sleep anywhere. I slept through 2,000 lbs bombs being dropped, gun battles, and tank cannons blasting.

I was able to sleep, because it was part of the process. Humans need sleep to survive, and we needed to be able to rotate and sleep in cycles. Two hours here, thirty mins there, this is just to fulfill our basic human needs.

I remember sleeping so soundly, despite the battles raging nearby. I had to trust the process, that I would sleep while others in my platoon stood watch, and then I would repay the favor. I felt obligated to sleep, so that I could be vigilant and alert when it was my time to stand watch. 

After returning home, sleep was often harder to find. But if artillery was firing into the night, I could sleep like a baby.

The point is much of what was happening was out of my control. I had a small role to fill and for the mission to succeed, we all had to do our part.

The Trading Process

Trading is also just a process. You can’t control the outcome. Sometimes I have losing trades, and sometimes I have winning trades.

The role I play as a trader is to follow my process. I try not to dwell on the losses, I just accept them as part of the process.

You must find your edge, create a process, and follow it to a “T”. If you spend all your time trying to predict the winners and the losers, you’ll never find success in the markets.

Conclusion

Don’t try to control too much in trading. Much of it is outside of your control.

Your job as a trader is to craft an edge that fits your lifestyle, risk tolerance, and personality. Once you find that edge stick with it. Believe in the process you’ve created.

You must accept the process and understand that losses come as part of the process. Only then, will you be able to become a consistently profitable trader.

Semper Fi!

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