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What attributes do traders and sportspeople share?

In stock trading, careers can hang on split-second decisions. If you make the right decision the financial and personal rewards can be extremely fruitful, while the other side of the coin can prove the opposite. It’s not for the faint-hearted, and the pressure involved can get to even the most composed of people.

In that sense, trading shares a lot of similar traits with the world of professional sport. Both have a high turnover rate in terms of staff and, much like any career, the best are rewarded with significant salaries and prestige within the business.

There are few guarantees in the two disciplines unless you’re working with the stock of leading companies such as Apple or, in sport, with figures such as Tiger Woods, who is always a sound option to take when betting on golf. Woods' intensity at the top of the sport has seen him installed as the leading contender for numerous events during his career, including the 2021 Masters where he has odds of 30/1 to take the Green Jacket for a second time in three years.

His drive and determination have set him apart from his peers and continue to do so, despite his advancing years. The skills he possesses have a lot of commonalities you will see on the trading floor, except maybe the perfect swing.

We’ll now look at the top attributes that you require to succeed at the highest level in both professional sports and trading.

Perseverance

In both sport and trading circumstances can be beyond your control. There will be setbacks along the way, but what separates the best from the mediocre is the drive to recover from those losses to reach the top.

In a sporting example, Woods endured a lengthy drought without a major crown amid a loss of form and a spate of injuries.

However, he continued to work on his fitness and his game, despite his many career accomplishments, and won The Masters in 2019 with a fine performance. No matter how successful the leading figures are in both disciplines there is always a determination to prove a point and win.

Composure

In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to let the pressure scramble thinking and for mistakes to occur. It can happen to the best of traders and sportspeople, but to reach the pinnacle of both professions those have to be rare. The elite traders and sportspeople are able to rise to the occasion in those key moments to deliver success for their company, team or an individual basis.

Those split-second decisions can make-or-break careers, and determine whether someone is deemed as a winner or a loser. You don’t want to be on the negative side of that aspect otherwise you will not have a career for long in these disciplines. Therefore, a clear head is crucial to success.

Work Rate

Sport and trading are two unforgiving businesses. You have to be on your mettle all of the time, and moments are sparse when you can relax. Whether it’s waking up early to monitor markets overseas or burning the midnight oil on analysis there is no shortcut on the way to the top.

Sportspeople too have to be at their physical peaks throughout their careers. Any drop off will result in poor performance on the field or track, which may result in a short time in the profession. It’s clear to see the people who put in the work to those that do not. Hard work is how legacies are created.

On the surface, you would not think there are many similarities between working on the trading floor as a broker and playing a game at a professional level. However, the key attributes to success are commonplace and will continue to be forever.

By John Eddy

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