Inside the Successful Trader
With the changes in the perception of Forex trading from being a high speed, high risk gamble, to being a scientifically driven investment vehicle, supported by social media, there are likely to be many more Forex traders in the coming years.
All of these will have dreams, big or small; some are destined to fail, many more will make a success of trading and if we were able to see inside the minds of each, we'd find clear reasons why some made it and others fell by the wayside.
Jump in a car for the first time, set off thinking you know what to do because you’ve been a passenger so many times and you’re heading for a crash unless you’re lucky enough to be a natural driver.
The analogy could well be applied to trading Forex where disaster can be just as painful, not just to your purse but also to your pride and emotional well-being. Looking inside the successful trader you’ll see a complex organism where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
It cannot be stressed strongly enough that successfully trading Forex isn’t a given just because technology has developed to save time, analyze markets and trends or to automate trades. Forex is a complex beast and unless you spend a lot of time beforehand researching so you know what you’re doing; examining and then preparing yourself so you can leave emotion and psychology out of the process and finally developing the discipline of a monk so you don’t undo all your good work, you are dramatically increasing your chances of failure.
When we’re successful, we are happier – that’s obvious, but in being successful, we can develop an aura of perceived invincibility which will cause us to try things that under rational circumstances we’d recognize as foolhardy. Equally when we’re unsuccessful, we lose confidence and this stops us entering situations, or as a Forex trader, trades that have every chance of being successful. Our low confidence can drive us further and further away from the market and many potentially successful traders have given up completely, perceiving themselves as failures but not recognizing that the reason for it is purely because they weren’t prepared and they failed to practice discipline.
The paths of history are littered with failures; the Duke of Monmouth, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Wat Tyler and other countries can add many more to the list.
These people, whilst filled with resoluteness, failed to grasp the bigger picture and whilst they had the tools to do the job, their egos and their lack of knowledge ultimately consigned them to a list of historical ‘has-beens’.
The opposite can be said of the author of the book, ‘The Art of War’, Chinese military tactician, strategist and general, Sun Tzu. His is not a name that will be familiar to many, but his analysis of previous battles and wars, the psychology of his enemies and his success on the battlefield where, in the heat of the moment, everything could have gone wrong but for his composure, should be the handbook for the aspiring trader.
The Art of War is divided into 13 chapters most of them addressed issues of positioning and directing the soldiers for war and it dealt with these issues from a phycological point of view. However, the Art of War has been applied to many fields well other than that related to military.
if you read the book before, you will find that much of the text is about how to fight wars without actually having to do the battle itself: it gives tips on how to outsmart your opponent so that physical battle is not necessary. As such, it has found application as a training guide for many other fields that do not involve actual combat.
Your first step towards preparedness for what Forex trading will expose you to should be to read the book and, as you do, note down how you think his strategies could be applied to trading. Read it again - and again if necessary, until his tenets are firmly implanted in your psyche. Let Sun Tzu get inside your mind to guide your decisions or steer you away from rash behavior and you’ll have one of the most important tools in readiness for successful Forex trading.
To help you make a start, it’s considered that his book can be reorganized into four sections that make it easier to link it to successful Forex trading strategies
• Purpose: For Tzu it was why you want to fight and why you want to win, for you, it’s why you want to trade successfully.
• Market conditions: For Tzu it was knowing his enemy, knowing the environment of the battle and seeing the consequences of his actions. For you it will be knowing the instruments you’ll be trading, the market sentiment and what effect it will have on your trades.
• Strategy: For Tzu it was matching his tactics against his enemy, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of his enemy and the best way to neutralize the strengths and take advantage of the weaknesses. For the trader, it’s identifying a profitable position, knowing when to enter the trade, identifying risk and reward, sticking to stop/loss level indicators and following the plan to the letter.
• Trading routine: To Tzu, this was making sure he was disciplined, not changing routines, strategies and plans that worked. For the successful trader, it’s much the same.