top of page
  • Writer's pictureJerremy Alexander Newsome

The 6 Human Needs and How They Relate to Trading

What do you need? Have you ever stopped to think about it in depth? I mean, sure there are the basic physical needs like food, water, and shelter, which must first be satisfied before we can even think beyond this level. Once they are, though, once we are fed and healthy and safe, what's next? 

We are curious creatures, I believe, with an innate desire for learning and growing, becoming increasingly dissatisfied with a stagnant existence. We are all on a journey and the impetus behind it is six very basic human needs. My name is Angie Barbosa and I was first introduced to this concept several years ago at a motivational event that became a pivotal breakthrough point in my life. While the idea has terrific applications for all areas of life, I'm focusing this article on how they are relatable to a trader because honestly, you are here because you want to learn to be a better trader, right? We yearn to catch those beautiful upswings and ride the crashing waves down . . . but why?

If it's just "to make money" success will be fleeting and the gains won't stick. There must be a deeper need driving us, and there is! There are six, in fact, and there are good things to be gained by learning about them and how they relate to trading.

Love and Connection: People need to connect. We need to feel ties to other people, animals, and especially to ourselves as in our sense of identity. We also build ties with inanimate things such as habits, values and ideals. These connections can be positive and deep, such as in an intimate love relationship, or negative like an aggressive interaction with someone from the opposite political party. 

Good or bad, we crave connection, which is why solitary confinement is so dreaded. I'd like to share a story from my personal journey, so you'll see how this need affected my trading results. I am an outgoing person and love connecting with others. I have never had any trouble making friends and my wife and I were part of a close-knit group when we started learning about the stock market. We studied long and hard, devoting time and energy, and we were very excited about this new venture! We wanted to share it with our friends, but they didn't understand. 

Are you familiar with that blank look yet? Many of them thought we were crazy. Have you also received any of those crooked eyebrows or quizzical expressions?  The more we studied and practiced the less time we had to spend recreating with our friends, and the more we wanted to talk about our growth and learning the less they wanted us around. Invitations all but ceased, and one day we realized,  we were lonely. You know the frog in the pot of slowly-boiling water story? It had happened so gradually we didn't even notice it, but once we did it was devastating. To have something like this distract us from our studies seemed ridiculous, but distract us it did. 

We were sad! 

We were angry! 

How dare they ditch us, not yet comprehending that it was us who'd grown away from them. At some point in our teaching we learned that this is a common experience for new traders, which made it slightly easier to bear, but still "why did it matter so much at a gut level?" Then we learned that it is one of our deepest human needs, and without connections we suffer. Our happiness, our health, and yes, our trading. What this means for you is that you must work to find a group of like-minded people to associate with. It is of the utmost importance that you are able to share your journey with others that are also studying this art. It is much easier now than it was even just four or five years ago, what with the explosion of social networking and new applications for the stock market trading world. From the moment we began reaching out and touching others, we were touched back and it was as if a weight lifted. We were able to put our focus back where it needed to be, and also share the excitement of our journey with others who understood. With this basic need being met, our trading experiences and our lives are much enRiched!

Significance: People need to feel important. Whether the recognition comes from external sources or from within, we need to feel like we truly matter. There are those on either end and at various degrees along this spectrum; some live in the spotlight and are heaped with positive attention and praise, while others blend in and draw negative attention by emphasizing their helplessness and problems. Both bring the same satisfaction of this need, although one is more productive than the other. When you plan your trades and trade your plans, recognizing your own successes, in this way you are satisfying your need for significance. Traders who are actively connecting with others have many opportunities to contribute towards the satisfaction of this need for others. Lifting each other up by sharing trading plans, journal entries and trade set ups is a great way to knit the community of traders together and promote our successes which increases our motivation. In this way we link the need for significance to the need for connection. See how well they go together? Again, we are fulfilling needs and enRiching lives!

Certainty: People need to feel secure. We want to know that things will happen in a certain way, at a certain time, in a certain place, and have a foreseeable outcome. We need to have our basic, physical needs met, and if we cannot count on this we do not feel comfortable enough to move forward. It is common for those who feel they have no control over one aspect of their life to exercise a ridiculous amount of control over another to try and compensate; for instance, a child who is moved from one foster home to another and then another might begin to hoard food.

Let's relate this to trading the market now. Is it possible for any of us to know with absolute certainty what the market is going to do? I suppose someone with inside market information would, but only for a specific stock in a specific situation at a specific time. In general, though, who has got the Crystal Ball? The most well educated, experienced, talented and gifted traders still cannot tell you with 100% certainty where a stock's price will move. So then, how is a person with a strong need for certainty ever going to find satisfaction trading the stock market? You can ask me this, because certainty is my primary human need, something else I learned at this motivational event. 

This may sound odd but hear me out: I have extreme confidence every trading day that stock prices are going to move, some in the direction I thought they would based on my analysis and some in the opposite direction or completely sideways. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that this will happen. Ta Da - My need for certainty is met! Do you know what this does for me? It gives me the freedom to be wrong with my analysis and still have confidence that I am a successful trader! I analyzed my chart, planned my trade, executed my trade, the market did what I am certain the market will do every single day, and I am a Rock Star! If the trade was a win I am successful. If the trade was a monetary loss, I am still a successful professional trader because I mitigated my risk with a well-planned stop and knew with certainty exactly how much money I would lose if the trade was broken. That, my Friends, is a fully satisfied need for certainty and it is quite enRiching!

Variety: People need change. We are creatures that easily tire of monotony. How often do we hear, "Let's get out of town for the weekend!?" I clearly recall my mother's sure-fire cure for summer boredom. "The first complaining child gets to clean a toilet." 

You can bet we quickly found fun things to do! I think we can all identify this need within ourselves fairly easily, and can you see how it is basically a contrast to the previous human need of certainty? We need to feel secure and safe, and at the same time need a certain degree of spontaneity. As I mentioned before, there is no lack of variety in the stock market. It is a veritable playground of ups and downs, swings and stalls, quick reversals and unexpected moves! Learn your craft well, take advantage of virtual trading platforms, create your trading plan; then take action and get out there and have fun! A little spice in your life brings enRichment!

Growth: People need to grow. Imagine a garden where you've planted corn. You weed and water, watching the seeds sprout and the stalks begin to reach toward the sky. Each new day brings inches it seems, until one day the plant doesn't grow any taller. No new growth the next day either and it doesn't take long for you to realize that something is terribly wrong. People are like plants that wither and die when they stop growing. Contrary to the Beatles song title, Let it be, we cannot just "be"; we either grow or we die, and there is no Option C.

Each of us has a deep, spiritual need to expand our capacities, and there are an abundance of opportunities in the world of trading to do so. Wherever you choose to get your education, have fun! Once you've learned the basics of trading, it's always a great idea to pick a favorite trading strategy that resonates with your personality and style and work it until you're a Master. Remember, the market rewards the specialist! When you're at the point of bringing in consistent returns using this strategy, pick another that fascinates you and master that as well. There's a wealth of terrific information on the World Wide Web, and if you're cultivating your connections like I mentioned earlier, you'll also have a strong network of really great people to bounce your ideas around with. Never stop challenging and enRiching yourself, Friends!

Contribution: People need to contribute. I remember a time when there were wildfires burning in the small County where I lived many years ago, and as I listened to reports of the volunteer Firefighters working so hard to contain the blaze I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to join them. I surprised myself! I knew nothing about fighting fires and had never even given it a thought, but in that moment I just wanted to do something to help.

Sandwiches? Bottled water? Anything! This basic human need is closely tied to our need for Growth, and here's the application to the trading community. Are you a talented teacher or coach? I have learned so much through the process of teaching others and these opportunities abound in the trading culture. Even if you've never seen yourself this way, consider opening yourself up and offering to be an accountability partner or trading buddy. Perhaps you've been blessed with financial gain and like the idea of helping others. 

Recently, Real Life Trading hosted a Free Week into our trading rooms. We rarely do this (for multiple reasons), but when we do, we donate all proceeds to Charity. In the first week of July, 2015 over $400.00 were donated to various charities. How incredible this experience was! 

What I do know for sure is that if you've got a heart for giving you will begin to see opportunities to engage and contribute, and the mutual enRichment might just surprise you! I realize this article is longer than most and for those of you who stayed with me, thank you and I sincerely hope you found value. 

Questions? Email me! 

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page