The Psychology behind Motivation


Obviously, since you are reading this book, you either trade Forex or are considering becoming a trader. At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you’re trading full-time, or just considering it as a way to supplement your current income. What is important is that you understand your own reasons for trading in the first place, and more importantly, understand what will motivate you to find success.

There are two reasons why this information should be important to you. First it is an exercise in self-discovery that will help you with two of the ideas we shared in Chapter 1 (The Psychology of Decision Making, and the Psychology of success); most importantly though, it will help you to find your drive to succeed. It is that drive that will keep you going when things get rough (and they will).

Too many people choose a career path for all the wrong reasons. What they end up with is a life that is even more dissatisfying, and they end up unhappier than they were in the first place.

In any career, there are those who among us who seem to be suited specifically for their role. They tend to have a natural ability to fit in and succeed and are generally among the top in their field.  For most of us though, there is more gray area, and deciding whether or not we are right for any given role requires more thought.

Learning what motivates us to get started as a trader is a great place to start.

Money as a Motivator

If you ask any new trader, what their reasons are for getting started in Forex, you would likely hear one answer fairly consistently – “money”.

In our society, there are many people who try to justify what they do with finances. The problem is that money, although it may work well as an attractant to get people to try a system like Forex, isn’t a good long-term motivator.

There is one thing you should get from this section of the chapter, and we will explain why as we move on, that is:

“If all that motivates you is money, it is very likely that you will fail. To truly succeed in any given career there needs to be more than just financial justifications.”

Money motivation is actually a fairly common problem in any given high-paying field. People use money as the motivator to choose their path, and subsequently end up in a role where they have little chance of success.

A major portion of our lives is spent in the careers we choose. By choosing a career path for money alone you are suddenly putting a value on something that is more valuable than money (your own life). In doing so you are setting yourself up to become resentful, and ultimately to experience only mild success. It’s actually quite rare for someone who was attracted to a career by money alone to experience anything more than average success (and thus average monetary rewards).

In any career path, there are obstacles. Getting good in any chosen field requires overcoming those obstacles. If you are stuck resenting your job, you may learn to cope with the obstacles, but rarely will you make the breakthroughs needed to overcome them.

To look at an example of this let’s look at real estate as a field. As a career choice, the high-ticket commission sales role of a real estate professional attracts many. There really is an unlimited income potential for the committed professional, and there are some who are quite rich from their roles as salespeople.

Here are some quick facts about real estate agents:

  • 5% of agents earn 90% of their income in the business
  • Those top 5% earn well over 6-figure incomes, some earn 7 figures
  • The other 95% of agents share a mere 10% of the income made in the field
  • The average salary for a real estate agent in the US is $39,000 annually

There is a reason I choose this field as an example. It provides an easy way to show that money won’t work as a motivator. It is one career that attracts many people with money as their motivator. It’s also one career that many quit within the first 6 months.

When starting in the real estate business there is a major obstacle right from the start. Very rarely would you start as an agent and make money right away. In fact, if you made your first sale within one month of starting you would be doing better than most. To build an income requires dedication to: build a clientele, to work with clients and do well and get referrals, and constant dedication to making phone calls, cold calls, etc.

What happens is that the person who was originally attracted by money suddenly finds that the money isn’t there. A first-year agent might make $20,000, which is a far cry from the six-figure income they dreamed about when starting out. In other words, they’ve hit a major obstacle that very few money-motivated people will ever overcome.

They aren’t in the business because they love selling, or love getting people into their new homes; they were in it for the money. Suddenly, the money isn’t there, and in most cases those agents quit.

A lot of this problem comes from one major misconception. There is a common misconception among low-income and middle-class people about those who are wealthy and successful. This group tends to look at the richer members of our society and think that they got wealthy because they were motivated by the acquisition of wealth. This is rarely the case.

It is much more likely that those among the rich were more successful in engineering a successful life. That is – they chose a career that fit them well, and they excelled at it.

Now, none of this is to say that money doesn’t matter. In our society it obviously does.  The point I wanted to get across loud-and-clear was simply this. If money is your only motivator to beginning your career as a trader – you will fail (or experience only average success)

Overcoming the Money Motivator

When you look at any individual Forex trader, and you ask them to analyze why they got into trading (and why they continue to do it), here is a common list of answers:

  1. Money
  2. Freedom from a day-job
  3. Freedom from a boss
  4. Freedom from coworkers
  5. Not having to deal with the world
  6. Tired of making someone else more money than they make themselves
  7. Simply to Succeed

Alone those reasons may seem like enough to motivate you on your way to success, but there has to be more. There has to be a degree of passion that leads you to drive forward. Since passion is a word with many definitions let’s define it for a moment, in the context I mean it here, to better understand.

passion: “an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action”, “something that is desired intensely”

If you have passion then you have that extra element. The one that will drive you beyond your normal boundaries to learn to overcome any obstacles and succeed.

Let’s expand upon this idea for a moment and put it into the context of choosing to become a Forex trader.  One easy example to use, which often brings out passion, is the will to win. The drive to succeed is more important than money to many people, and in some cases, it is more important than many other aspects of their lives as well.

Many successful people get that way because they are goal-oriented and driven to succeed. In other words, they set a goal and they work until they achieve it. Anything less than seeing that goal through is unacceptable.

If the goal was to make enough money trading to quit their day job, and in turn have more time for their family, for example: Someone who is truly passionate about reaching that goal will work until they do it. Their passion may lead them to do irrational things, such as staying up all night reading market reports and trading when they have to be to work at 6 a.m., or working 20 hours a day for months on end. They work and learn, doing whatever it takes, to realize that goal.

The important thing to notice here is that money isn’t the element that brings out the passion. It is the ultimate goal of having more time for family that brings out the passion, and it is the drive to win that causes him/her to do irrational things and work until that goal achieved.

Analyzing your Own Motivators

After discussing passion and its importance to success, it’s time to talk about what motivates you to become a trader. If you look back at our list of reasons why people get started as traders, there is one thing that you should notice. Many of those reasons are actually just avoiding something else.

As an example:

“Freedom from a boss” by itself isn’t enough of a reason to get started as a trader. In reality, it has nothing to do with trading. It isn’t something that you can become passionate enough about to drive you to succeed.

In other words, “Freedom from a Boss” isn’t a good reason to make a career change unless you begin to look at the underlying reasons and find something that will drive you to succeed. If you really were passionate about avoiding your boss, you could just as easily call in sick, and avoid the stress of learning the whole field of Forex trading.

To learn what really motivates you it’s really as simple as beginning to ask questions. Let’s look at some questions and answers to demonstrate how to analyze:

Step 1 – Ask yourself: What problem will become a trader solve?

  1. I won’t have to deal with the pressure that my boss puts on me daily.
  2. I will have more time for my family
  3. I will be making money for myself rather than for someone else.

Step 2 – Ask yourself: What will each of those answers solve?

  1. What will not having to deal with a boss solve?
    1. I won’t have to deal with the angry way he communicates.
  2. What will more time for family solve?
    1. I will be away from home less, and in turn fight with my wife less often
  3. What will making money for yourself instead of your employer solve?
    1. I won’t always feel like I’m selling myself for too little.

Step 3 – Ask yourself: What will those answers solve, until you cannot answer “what will it solve” anymore.

  1. What will not having to deal with the boss’s anger solve?
    1. I will no longer feel that my creativity is stifled
    2. What will that solve? – I will be free to work creatively
    3. What will that solve? – I am rewarded by being able to working creatively
  2. What will fight with your wife less solve?
    1. I will improve my relationship with my wife.
    2. What will that solve? – I will have a happier home life.
    3. What will that solve? – My marriage will become more as I envisioned it when we got married.
  3. What will not selling yourself for too little solve?
    1. My income won’t be limited by someone else.
    2. What will that solve? – I will be free to make as much or as little as I want and control my own income.
    3. What will that solve? – I will feel more in control of my own future.

When you begin to ask yourselves questions you enable yourself to find things that you can really work towards, and you then have a basis for creating passion. It’s not likely that you will become driven to avoid your boss. On the other hand if we begin to look at the underlying reasons you suddenly have something to work towards that you can become passionate about. It is likely that you can become driven to work creatively if that is what makes you feel rewarded, and it is also likely that you can become driven to be in control of your future, to improve your marriage, etc.

With this information in hand you begin to learn more about your own psyche and decision making process. More importantly though, you have given yourself a basis for the psychology of success, and creating a winning attitude.

Remember from chapter one:

1.   Determination brings resourcefulness.

2.   When you’re resourceful you become more innovative.

3.   Innovative thinking brings us insight

4.   Insight allows us to see obstacles and overcome them.


You now have a goal (or goal’s) to work towards. All of which success as a trader can give you, and none of which have anything to do with money. When you set a goal like “I want to improve my marriage, by having more time at home”, you suddenly have the basis for passion and determination.

If Forex trading gives you a method to see that goal through to its end, then you are much more likely to find success. Your passion towards reaching your ultimate goal will drive you to succeed. Of course you should also enjoy trading, or you’ll have trouble using Forex as your method to reach your ultimate goal.


After reading this chapter you should have a better idea of what motivates you. This information is important to your eventual success as a trader. You should also be able to see how that fits in with some of what we covered in chapter one.  In the next chapter, we will cover some common mistakes that traders make.


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