People you meet on the street, co-workers, friends and family all will tell you that are a waste of time and money and trading stocks and Forex is nothing more than gambling with your money and if you want to make money you have to work for it. Trust me when I tell you that trading is no gambling if you know when to enter and exit a position, getting ready for a trading day after you've done your homework, because when you work right and according to a set of rules you will succeed, just ask the thousands of people who make a living from trading all over the globe.
Making money from a trade means you have to understand the market and the trading world itself. Because it's no gambling you have to listen to news, know to read charts, know to identify entry and exit points to a stock or a currency and know when to take profit or limit your loss. You see, there are many stocks and Forex trading strategies but you'll learn them all little by little, you have to know that there is no right or wrong strategy there are trading strategies which suit you and ones that don't, so the smart way will be to identify the ones you are comfortable working with and adapting them, not to change strategies every once in a while.
There are several ways to trade so first you need to know which kind of trader you are:
Day trader which means trading each day, intra day trader which means making more than one trade a day every single day (these are mostly the professionals), short term trader which means entering a position for a few days or weeks, swing trader which means taking advantage of a huge movement in a stock and currency and "ride the swing" or long term trader which means entering a position for a few months or years which is more of an investor already.
Remember also not to chase losses, work with your mind and never your gut, enter or exit a position only when it reached the certain point you marked yourself, never trade if you haven't planned ahead since you always need to know what you plan to buy, the price of the stock or currency you'll enter and when to exit that position. Only when you're organized and work smart, don't mix feelings and cool then you'll do fine and with more experience, trial and error you will learn the market and make money because trading is a job just like any other.
These are only a few tips and rules you should write down and remember, but know that it's always smart to keep reading and keep learning. With time you'll become a pro too if you follow these rules and have self-discipline.