Bitcoin is quite literally the most dangerous, competitive and difficult to trade asset in the world (non-black market). Its consistent volatility is a once in a lifetime, possibly millennium, kind of thing. That volatility is, by nature, inherently dangerous. But it also means unprecedented opportunity and because of that, brings with it many of the best traders in the world.
With competition so high, a trader must be on his/her mental game to compete. Most importantly, you must not get run over and lose money.
If you want to trade Bitcoin (for a living, as a side hustle, or even just to accumulate more of it), you need to know yourself. Before wading into those waters, look deep down and ask yourself these questions; sincerity is imperative or you may lose everything.
Are you disciplined in life? Do you live your life disciplined? Or are you a bit scattered?
Do you get stressed/ anxious/ emotional easily?
Are you addicted to any controlled substances? (drugs, alcohol, etc.)
Do you have a coffee/caffeine or other stimulant addiction? (including nicotine, sugar)
If so, can you shake that addiction or are you spending years battling it?
If you answered yes to any of the above (other than living a disciplined life), then you should probably not trade Bitcoin; not until you clean up your house (metaphorically). Consider working on getting your house (brain) in order and then you might consider trying.
Even then, trading for real money will bring you more stress than you can ever possibly imagine. I've had some extremely stressful jobs, from law enforcement to management consulting in corporate America - nothing even comes close to trading (stock market or crypto). So if you lean towards addiction or bad habit forming to alleviate stress, it is probably not for you. Trading is a zero sum game: for every winner, there is a loser. Your mind MUST be stronger than your competitors (other traders), and you must be able to control your emotions.
How to master the mental game? Try starting with mental exercise. They include things like meditation, affirmations, yoga, breathwork, ice baths/cold showers/cold water therapy, hot therapy like Temazcal, extreme sports like long distance running & power lifting - these things push your MIND as much as your body. Your body goes through stress and your mind pushes through it. Strengthening both the body AND mind results in a beautiful little circle; one encourages the other.
If you have a messy house (maybe you’re going through a nasty divorce, maybe you recently lost everything in Vegas, maybe your parents just passed away, maybe you lost your job), you should not be trading Bitcoin until you are certain your mind is RAZOR SHARP. or you will get run over. You are up against the best traders in the world in this game, and most of them do stuff like the above.
So why not try meditation to start? It’s pretty simple on the surface level and requires no physical exertion; just a little of your time. And there is only enormous potential upside, with zero downside. This is not a risky or costly endeavor.
But here’s where people mess up. Like exercise, you need to commit to it for a LONG time and make it a habit.
Try sticking it into your routine to start. If you want to know what optimal routine & discipline look like, check out Mark Wahlberg's daily routine. He is married with kids, always working making movies and is busier than almost everyone. If he can commit to a routine, most should be able to.
Mark's prayer time is akin to meditation; prayer and meditation are very similar - both help with inner peace - but they aren't entirely the same. The point is: this is a top-performing, disciplined man who focuses on routine, family, and mental & physical health.
I don’t want this to come off as ‘holier than thou,’ because I am far from perfect. I, personally, have been addicted to caffeine, nicotine and sugar - all of them - at various points in my life. I also used to get really bad panic attacks. I think it’s hard to be very risk tolerant and not have somewhat of an addictive or slightly obsessive/compulsive personality. What’s key is knowing that, knowing yourself, and correcting it/ figuring out the remedy. For me, it started with meditation.
I can hear the moans when I talk about meditation. In fact, I seldom actually do talk about it, because it's such a cliche thing any more ("Meditation changed my life!" / “Meditation is Silicon Valley elite nonsense!” / “You need to get woke and start meditating!”) I know it turns people off, so I seldom bring it up. I think meditation finds people when they're ready for it.
Common responses regarding meditation: "I've tried and it didn't stick." "It's just not for me, I can't stop my mind from racing." "Meditation is hokus-pokus new age hippy bullshit pushed by radical leftists!” Yada, yada.
Here's the thing. All meditation really is, is sitting alone, in a quiet place (or even a busy place once you get good at it), and staying in the present tense, preventing your mind from wandering, observing your thoughts as they arise, and then deliberately returning to the present. That's it. It's really not more complicated.
The mind naturally wanders. It's a normal thing. We all get caught up in our thoughts. Meditation is controlling your thoughts, staying present, and inevitably your mind gets stronger. Your ability to control your thoughts and emotions improve, thus leading to a better quality of life.
But it won’t happen tomorrow. Or the next day. You must stick with it. Nothing great that must be earned comes easily.
Naval Ravikant said it best. He said something to the effect of: "Think of meditation like this: You go to the gym. you take out a five pound dumbbell. you sit on a bench and do five bicep curls with it. And then you leave the gym. you're done for the day.
Not much of a workout, right?
But the next day you go back, and you do five more curls with that five pound dumbbell.
And the next day. And then the next day. And you don't stop.
After a month, you won't notice it but your arm will gradually be stronger, and your bicep more tone.
And then you kick it up to six pounds and six reps. And so on.....”
Think of meditation that way. One 'rep' in meditation is simply catching your mind when it's wandering/ noticing whatever random thought comes in ("Oops, hey, my mind is wandering when I'm supposed to be meditating"), and saying to yourself: "Let's come back to the present." This action/ redirection is one rep for your brain.
Like working out, you must stick with it, day in and day out, for it to have a real impact. You won't notice anything right away. You may not notice anything after a month. but after month three you will probably start to notice differences in your mind, the way you think, your emotional control, your poise, focus, decision-making, and a general calmness of mind. After six months of consistent meditation you will be hooked for life.
And that's what it’s all about: peace of mind. For me, it cured my anxiety and has made me more prone to positive thinking, rather than negative. It's a cumulative effect that ripples out in so many other areas of life, it would take me ten more pages to explain all the other benefits. But it was the best decision I ever made.
I started with an app called "Insight Timer" - it's free and has a ton of good stuff and options. But if you really want to commit, I’d suggest paying $99/year for Sam Harris' Waking Up app. It has a great beginner course - fifty days straight - and it will change your life (free one week trial). Sam walks you through every aspect of meditation, and you will get it when you're done. In fact, you'll probably 'get it' after day ten.
Happy meditating :)