Skip to content

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved.

The benefits of military discipline with Erik Smolinski

Learn from Erik Smolinski how his military background helped prepare him for a successful career as a financial trader.

Reading time: 44 minutes

Trading level: Beginner


Video poster image

Introduction by Louise Bedford

Trading can be confusing. Even when you think that you’ve mastered the necessary skills, often you will come up against a completely new experience that will take your breath away. 

Personally, I have found that drawing on inspiration is essential. Inspiration can come through people in high-performance arenas, as well as learning from exceptional traders. As you clock in multiple trading hours, it will not only be the techniques of mentors that you are looking for, but also you'll want to take lessons from their views on life.

That’s why I’ve invited Eric Smolinski along today.
Eric is the founder of He is a Marine veteran, and a trader for more than 15 years. He became a self-made millionaire before the age of 30. He was raised in a single-parent household, with quite humble beginnings. 

He had 2 mentors that selflessly shared outstanding advice in his younger years, and now he looks to pay forward what he's learned about mindset and trading. I’ve asked Erik to share the lessons from his background as a marine, and to let us gain an insight into the way his mind works. 

Welcome Erik…


It’s hard to talk about trading without hearing the word ‘discipline’. You have a strong background as a Marine Officer and a martial artist. What are some of the skills and techniques you’ve adopted to be successful in the markets that all traders should consider? 

What does having financial freedom mean to you?

Do you feel that your early experiences with money set you up for success? Or was it more that you knew what you wanted to avoid?

I've heard you say: "The beauty with investing is you can start with very little and begin the compounding clock." I definitely understand how when you were hungry before you’d developed wealth. But right now, what gives you the energy to keep running towards your goals?  

I have heard you ask “What is one piece of risk management advice you’d share with a friend”. That’s an interesting question. What would your answer be?

I know you’re not only trading the markets – you aim to harness several sources of income. Some people think you should just stick with your fast ball, and not have a Plan B. What would you say to them?

I loved the 'Make Your Bed' speech given by Admiral William H McRaven. Military discipline to overcome day to day hardships. What are your thoughts about this?

I've heard that the military teaches you that your body can handle 40% after your mind has given up. Do you feel that’s accurate?

I’ve heard that they train combat medics in quite extreme conditions. They have loud noises, chaos, and people throwing things at them – to try and replicate the type of conditions they’d experience on the battle field. Students who do well on tests put themselves under pressure by doing practice tests under exam conditions. How important is a ‘success environment’ when it comes to trading? 

Do you have a ‘try this at home’ tip?

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Australia Pty Ltd. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.

IG Academy - Learn at your own pace

Choose from a huge range of resources, designed to help you learn however – and wherever – it suits you:

  • From beginner to advanced
  • Learn at your own pace with step by step courses including videos, interactive exercises and quizzes
  • Hear from experts in live and on-demand webinars