How many would agree or disagree that the most effective motivation a trader can have, or an individual in life can have for that matter, is betterment of self. Think about it: if your motivation is money, then at a certain point your desires will ebb, either because you have obtained all the money you could want or need, or else you have reached a point where your sense of fatigue is stronger than your sense of desire. If your motivation is personal accomplishment, then you will eventually run into the wall of "how much accomplishment is enough" or else burn yourself out in thrall to the idea that there is never enough. The ability to pursue betterment of self is the only goal that all thinking individuals truly have equal access to. The playing field is far from level: some are born with wealth. Some have the good fortune of powerful mentors in their lives. Some were simply in the right place at the right time. Others have incredible amounts of raw talent. But everyone, down to the most mediocre individual, the most downtrodden, down and out person, has the ability to pursue betterment of self, and to strike a blow against mediocrity in that regard. Perhaps betterment of self, or rather the character and heart of the individual that results from betterment of self, are the only true ways to measure success. Two men are millionaires. One earned his money, the other inherited it, or happened upon it with a windfall. What is the real measure of difference between them? Who they are. (The one who earned it is not necessarily the more successful one either.) Betterment of self is also sufficiently "metaphysics neutral" for both atheists and theists to have useful access to the concept. My determination of who I want to be, who I want to become, is defined by my faith. But for those with weak faith or no faith, betterment of self can still be a powerful benchmark, defined in their own way. I think pursuing betterment of self is ultimately a reflection of the biblical teaching that the heart is what's most important, not appearances or physical accomplishments. This belief is grounded in basic observation as well. How can men be directly judged by their accomplishments when there were so many factors out of anyone's control? Who can claim superiority because of genes they inherited, or situations they stumbled upon, or teachers they had the good fortune to sit under at a formative age? But in terms of the heart, who a person is, what kind of character that person has, how much they embrace nobility and strength and things that separate man from animal- those things are intrinsic to the soul of the individual, independent of uncontrolled circumstances. And those intrinsic elements are refined and purified by betterment of self. It's also ironic that pursuing betterment of self leads to more success. The classic virtues: honesty, patience, wisdom, discipline, delayed self gratification, humbleness... all lead to better trading, and ultimately to larger profits. Ultimately they lead to a more balanced life, a fuller lifeâ¦ a roadmap to contentment. Betterment of self is also a motivation that allows the trader to walk between the Scylla and Charibdys of fear and greed. Trading for money, trading for status, trading as a fantasy world to block out the real world... all these outcome based motivations are fraught with pitfalls that manifest themselves as either fear or greed. The only way to remove an unhealthy focus on outcome, while retaining a healthy motivation, is to focus on betterment of self. Obviously there are other motivations: the desire for financial security, the desire for personal accomplishment, the value of freedom that cannot be taxed, etc. But at the end of the day, what is left over once you have succeeded, and what can lift you up when your goal seems depressingly far away? What has the power to bring you to success, no matter how rocky the road beforehand, and then to sustain you and move you to higher and higher levels once your initial version of success was achieved? Betterment of self is the only thing I can think of. For theists, this extends into pursuit of your calling. For atheists, this extends into pursuing your personal version of life fulfillment. But for both, there is benefit in stepping back from the outcome and placing more emphasis on who you are, and who you are becoming. There is real freedom in getting off the outcome based treadmill, and ironically, it lets you enjoy your successes even more than those who are overly attached to results. A millionaire who needs his money to be happy is a slave; a millionaire who can be content with any amount of money is free, and can enjoy his gifts more freely. Another benefit of true commitment to betterment of self is that it is more likely to be a true guide than other motivations. Many, if not most, who want to be traders were never meant to be traders. A motivation of greed or fear or boredom can mask that truth, whereas devotion to betterment of self will give you the inspiration to really listen. Maybe that inner voice, finally paid attention to, will tell you yes, you were really were meant to be a trader, there is no doubt of it: this is your life's passion, this is where your heart beats, this is who you are. But for many it will reveal a hidden motivation that isn't strong enough to sustain the journey, and a need to pursue a different path. Painful in the short run, but a blessing in the long run. Anyway that's it, I just felt like sharing.