Dries Cronje: How I Became an Antifragile Trader

Okay, so my name is Dries Cronje. I guess you gathered that much.

But who am I?

And why would anyone trust me to be their guide on their trading adventure?

Dries Cronje: How I Became an Antifragile Trader

Before we get into that, let me just clarify the following…

This website is not about me. It is about you.

It’s not about my trading journey. Or my history. It’s about your journey.

In this story, I’m not the hero. You are.

In addition, if you’ve spent any time in the Trading Psychology section of the website, you’ll see I’m a big believer in the state of consciousness that can be called presence, and therefore I have little interest in the past (or future for that matter…). So, dwelling too long on the past is not really a useful exercise for me.

Also, much of the history that I need to share could be judged as negative, so it doesn’t necessarily feel great focusing on all this. But for you to see where I was, where I am now, and how I got here, I need to share some of the juicy details. Please bear with me if it all feels a little negative at times!

I share what I write here for those who are considering working with me and who need to know more about me.

If that’s not you, click away to any of the other pages on this site – you’ll find the information there much more useful. This is the only place where I talk about myself, and as stated, I’m doing that on purpose.

I try to keep what follows brief, for the reasons stated above.

Dries Cronje in the Previous Century

I was born in Pretoria, South Africa in the 1970s to a family from the mining town of Carletonville. My father was working in the mine at the time of my birth.

I grew up near Johannesburg, and after school went on to get my bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science at the University of Johannesburg. I graduated at the end of 1999.

In Search of Ultimate Reality

Soon after I started my career, I felt a pull to find what is really real. I went into religion (Christianity), and I went deep. I became a fundamentalist of sorts. Thankfully that stage of my evolution didn’t last too long.

Somewhere between 2005 and 2009, I discovered the work of Eckhart Tolle, and some Christian mystics. Not long after that period, in an effort to really follow what I came to experience and know as Christ (not Jesus), I walked away from the Christian church, the ministry I was working for at the time, and Christianity.

I have been a non-judgemental spiritual enthusiast ever since.

I love everyone equally, and I don’t believe in an angry God or in hell. The God I met in my long sessions of searching, solitude, and silence was loving, accepting, forgiving, and didn’t need me to worship Him / Her / It due to a too small divine ego.

I was loved, and this Source Energy wanted to work with me, through me, to create a better world.

I came to know this Source as Christ. From what I’ve seen and experienced, Christ does not dwell inside Christians only. Christ is in every human being on this planet, waiting patiently to be discovered and to be allowed to help transform this world.

Many if not all other religions and traditions point to this truth using different language.

Becoming Antifragile

I have suffered many setbacks in life.

One of my favorite authors who I had the pleasure of meeting in person, Father Richard Rohr OFM, taught me that spiritual awakening comes to us through spiritual practice, deep love, or deep suffering.

I don’t necessarily consider myself as “awakened” or “enlightened,” but I do know that I suffer, struggle, and fight less than I did in my younger years. I know that when I prioritise presence my life is enjoyable, and everything happens for good (even if I can’t always see it in the moment).

If this is due to a form of spiritual enlightenment, it came to me through disciplined spiritual practice daily since 2007, and suffering.

I started taking trading and trend following serious around 2011. I made a loan to be able to fund my first trading account.

In 2012, when my daugter was five and my son three years old, I found out my (then) wife had been sleeping with my (then) best friend for two years. He also had a wife and three sons, and what followed was the horrific destruction of two beautiful young families.

Amid all of this I managed to leave some trades open on the market without stoplosses and promptly lost nearly 40% of my very small initial trading account.

Learning to live alone without being able to see my children (except every second weekend) was some of my darkest times.

However, over a period of months (or years) I managed to grow really find of being alone. I started enjoying the silence and space.

True Love

I met a beautiful, amazing woman too soon after my breakup, and after a brief ten month roller-coaster of a relationship she broke up with me.

In the short two weeks that followed I learned more than at any other time in my life. I discovered my true innate power as the creator of my own life, my experience, and my circumstances.

I learned the destructive power of criticism and complaining, and I discovered the life changing magic of appreciation.

After two weeks, Lucille and I got back together, and our relationship was completely different than it had been before. As we enjoyed life together, everything just improved further, and today we have been happily married for almost five years.

My Personal Trading

I started trading full-time in 2013.

I had the opportunity to sit in the office of a small asset management company in what could be called a quasi-prop-trading setup.

At the time I jumped at the opportunity, thinking it would be the best thing ever to learn from these experienced traders.

We met every morning before the market opened and discussed what happened in other world markets overnight. We then listened in to a couple of morning calls with other “professional” traders.

How Not to Trade

Sadly (and thankfully, I guess), the year and a half that followed taught me all I needed to know about how not to trade.

We cut our winners short, and let our losers run.

We traded against the trend. Often, without any stoploss or any objective thinking about where a good stop might be.

We traded with no real sense of risk or money management.

We approached the market with bias, almost every day.

We lost thousands of dollars and blew up many trading accounts.

Thankfully, it didn’t last long (how could it?). Near the end of 2013, I started developing and trading modern trend trading approaches that was designed from the ground up to be antifragile.

And, in comparison to my time with the asset managers, I look back at these early trading strategies with fondness. They were the predecessors of the incredibly powerful and profitable antifragile trading systems that my traders and I use today.

My biggest financial struggles since those years have not been an inability to produce trading profit. In fact, my strategies have done really well. Yes, we did iron out a couple of remaining weaknesses and fragile design flaws, but today they run like well oiled machines.

Sadly, after those initial financial setbacks caused by irresponsible, over-eager early trading, I’ve had a hard time gathering sufficient capital to trade for a full-time living while maintaining the needed cashflow in my life.

I also allowed myself to go too deep into debt in the years that followed. Keeping myself afloat and paying off my debts have been further lessons in life wisdom and antifragility.

Trader Coaching

In 2015 I started selling some of my trading strategies and automated trading systems online. I also started working with traders as a coach.

This business went from strength to strength, until I struck the biggest tragedy of my life.

My Dear Brother – Izak Cronje

The hardest thing I ever had to endure – by a country mile – was the suicide of my younger brother in August of 2017. When my mom heard the news, she had a heart attack.

Dries Cronje and Izak Cronje

Thankfully mom survived.

Being his older brother and a mentor who he looked up to – and spoke to frequently even during his last weekend alive – made me feel like I was responsible for his death in a big way.

The months and years that followed really broke open the shell of my ego and forced me to look at my life and the person I was with painful, deep introspection.

I questioned everything. And everyone.

Eventually I found those teachers and truths that make all the difference, and that I wish I could share with my brother before he killed himself.

I stopped my bullshit on every level. In fact, that’s a lie. I stop my bullshit on every level every day that I’m blessed enough to wake up. That small, unconscious, self-destructive part of each of us never leaves us.

I’ve stopped blaming myself for my brother’s death or at least for my inability to see it coming and to stop it.

Current Day Dries Cronje

Today I have so much to be thankful for. And I try and live with a constant sense of presence and appreciation.

I guess I’m nearing (or I have passed?) my 10,000 hours of trading experience. My trading systems are looking more promising and antifragile than ever. I’m managing to trade these systems and to grow my capital with speed.

I am aware of the dangers of any attachment. I try to avoid or minimise the use of alchol. I am aware of the dangers of agriculture to our lovely planet, and meat and dairy

I live in Cape Town, South Africa with my wife and the love of my life Lucille. We love it here. We also love travelling, and if world pandemics don’t interfere, we try and travel various times a year, locally and abroad.

May I Be Your Guide?

I deeply enjoy working with traders and serving them. I enjoy it as much as trading, writing, or building my online business.

I believe I can help traders at every stage of their journey to mastery in significant ways. If I didn’t, I would be a fraud, right?

I trade side-by-side with my traders with some real skin in the game. I also help my loved ones and friends to benefit from my trading approaches and systems.

I believe in what I do and what I offer. Many of my past clients are friends today, because they also saw the potential and have used what they learned to create better, more secure realities.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about you. Are you ready to step into the hero role of your own life? Will you allow me to be your guide on this journey?

There are two main ways that you can work with me: You can join the Antifragile Trading Academy, our affordable membership program. I also do trader coaching, and you’re welcome to get in contact with me to find out more about this.