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Anthropologist Joseph Campbell identified the essence of heroism across cultures when he described the descent into the depths to battle forces greater than ourselves. The hero is one who accepts this quest, meets the challenges, and brings back from the depths a boon that betters the world. Heroes, however, are not simply motivated to improve the world. Rather, they are driven by the heroic quest itself: the desire to transcend obstacles, test themselves, and be more than they are at present.
Few, few people understand that trading can be one forum for tackling inner forces and outer challenges and continually testing and honing oneself. The successful trader captures the boon of profits, but this is not the crucial motivation. Ask most successful traders if they would put aside what they do in exchange for a guaranteed mechanical system that made money each year, and the majority would decline–just as Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods would have declined if someone offered them millions at the start of their careers in exchange for giving up their sports.
Every meaningful activity–art, science, sport, trading–is a potential pathway to the heroic.
“They call us gamblers.
They say we depend on luck.
They claim that no one can beat the market, and we’re wasting our time.
This isn’t a real job, we should give up our hobby, they say.
But if they only knew…
that we are the masters of risk,
the essence of entrepreneurial spirit,
the liquidity of the economy.
We live by our wits, eating what we hunt,
adapting to the ever-changing jungle landscape that is the market.
We trade the currency you circulate when you shop.
We trade the companies you work for each day.
We trade the gold on the watch on your wrist.
While you wilt at the sight of failure and loss.
We relish adversity.
We are not afraid to take losses to talk about our losses to rebound from our losses.
Those are our defining moments.
Discipline and self-awareness are our companions.
We are what you’ve always wished you could be.
And we’re coming out of the shadows.
We are traders.”
Keeping a detailed trading diary is what makes you grow as a trader. This is what allows you to learn from your experience. Good traders usually have great trading diaries while bad traders simply don’t care about them.
On your trading diary, you should annotate all your trades as well as describe all the reasons that made you take the trade. You should also annotate your pace of mind when you entered the trade and during the trade. Was there any economic release while you were holding a trade? If so, annotate it on your trading diary. The technical indicator that you were using gave you an exit signal, and you ignored it? Well, don’t be ashamed. Write it on your trading diary, and learn from your mistakes.
All traders make mistakes. The difference between winners and losers is that winners tend to learn from those mistakes. Losers prefer to forget about them…
If you want to be a winner, you’ll need to build a great trading diary and make it as much detailed as you can. You can even take some chart snapshots at the moment you entered and exited the trade and post them on your trading diary so that, in the future, you can see the reasons why you made your decision about a trade. In the future you can read your trading diary and learn about some mistakes that you made. This will allow you to correct these mistakes on your future trades.
By Brett N. Steenbarger, Ph.D.
When I sat down to write this article, I thought it would be challenging—but useful—to distill over 20 years of trading experience—and 25 years of specializing in brief therapy—into ten lessons that I have learned while working with traders (including myself!). In that time, I’ve written two books on trading and worked with dozens of professional traders at a proprietary trading firm. What has this taught me? Let’s break it down:
1. Trading affects psychology as much as psychology affects trading – This was really the motivating factor behind my writing the new book. Many traders experience stress and frustration because they are trading poorly and lack a true edge in the marketplace. Working on your emotions will be of limited help if you are putting your money at risk and don’t truly have an edge.
2. Emotional disruption is present even among the most successful traders – A trading method that produces 60% winners will experience four consecutive losses 2-3% of the time and as much time in flat performance as in an uptrending P/L curve. Strings of events (including losers) occur more often by chance than traders are prepared for.
3. Winning disrupts the trader’s emotions as much as losing – We are disrupted when we experience events outside our expectation. The method that is 60% accurate will experience four consecutive winners about 13% of the time. Traders are just as susceptible to overconfidence during profitable runs as underconfidence during strings of losers.
4. Size kills – The surest path toward emotional damage is to trade size that is too large for one’s portfolio. We experience P/L in relation to our portfolio value. When we trade too large, we create exaggerated swings of winning and losing, which in turn create exaggerated emotional swings.
5. Training is the path to expertise – Think of every performance field out there—sports, music, chess, acting—and you will find that practice builds skills. Trading, in some ways, is harder than other performance fields because there are no college teams or minor leagues for development. From day one, we’re up against the pros. Without training and practice, we will lack the skills to survive such competition.
6. Successful traders possess rich mental maps – All successful trading boils down to pattern recognition and the development of mental maps that help us translate our perceptions of patterns into concrete trading behaviors. Without such mental maps, traders become lost in complexity.
7. Markets change – Patterns of volatility and trending are always shifting, and they change across multiple time frames. Because of this, no single trading method will be successful across the board for a given market. The successful trader not only masters markets, but masters the changes in those markets.
8. Even the best traders have periods of drawdown – As markets change, the best traders go through a process of relearning. The ones who succeed are the ones who save their money during the good times so that they can financially survive the lean periods.
9. The market you’re in counts as much toward performance as your trading method – Some markets are more volatile and trendy than others; some have more distinct patterns than others. Finding the right fit between trader, trading method, and market is key.
10. Execution and trade management count – A surprising degree of long-term trading success comes from getting good prices on entry and exit. The single best predictor of trading failure is when the average P/L of losing trades exceeds the average P/L of winners.
Well, I’ve already hit ten and I have at least ten more I could jot down. Number 11 would be that successful performance mentors have content expertise in their particular domain. What I mean by that is that teachers of concert musicians themselves have experience as musicians; basketball coaches invariably have played the sport themselves. You learn trading by seeing your mentor trade and by having your mentor observe your trading. The right mentorship goes a long way toward shortening learning curves.
Figure it out: what proportion of baseball players, golfers, actresses, chess players, singers, or bicyclists can make a consistent living from their performance activities? Is trading really so much easier than those activities? The stark reality is that expertise in any performance field is the exception, not the rule, requiring dedicated practice and training. If you are emotionally prepared for the learning curve—and excited by the challenge—you are well ahead of the game. Start with finding the Three M’s: right methods, markets, and mentors. Those are the foundation of success, upon which you build skills and experience. Enjoy the journey!
Develop your own forex trading plan..
Having a Forex trading plan is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of becoming a consistently profitable Forex trader. Yet for many traders, creating a Forex trading plan can seem like something of a mystery, or perhaps something that they “will do eventually”…
It is this lazy type of thinking that gets many traders into trouble and causes them to blow out trading accounts. Success in the markets is a function of discipline, and most people simply do not have enough self-discipline to determine if they are trading emotionally or objectively. This is where having a defined forex trading plan comes in; a trading plan will act as a guide which will keep you on the disciplined trading path.
Having a written out pre-defined trading plan means you are making an effort to hold yourself accountable to something, this is necessary toforex trading success because there is no one to be accountable to as a trader. You have only yourself to be accountable to when trading the markets and it can be extremely difficult to do the BEST THING FOR YOUR TRADING ACCOUNT when it goes against everything you FEEL like you want to do. This is the entire point of having a forex trading plan; to have a physical reminder of what the best thing for your trading account is at any given time…
The more you push and struggle by over-analyzing market variables the more your trading account is going to suffer, this is one of the biggest psychological paradoxes and hurdles that traders need to overcome before they can realize their full potential as market technicians. This fact is directly related to the concept that patience in Forex trading is rewarded by the market. Patience is one of the best and most important virtues that any forex trader can have. Being patient and waiting for only the “best” price action setups will greatly improve not only your win rate but also your confidence, because when you are trading with a high accuracy you are naturally going to boost your confidence.
This is all well and fine as long as you can manage to maintain your patience as your winning percentage improves. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive at first but it actually is one of the biggest reasons that many traders fail to make money consistently and end up repeating the same cycle of boom and bust in the market. The psychology behind this process revolves around the feeling of euphoria or over-confidence that often hits traders as they become more accurate in their trades, which is almost always a result of having patience long enough to wait for a string of high-quality setups.
Being able to recognize this feeling of euphoria or over-confidence and calmly and consciously over-ride it by walking away from your trade station for a period of time is the best medicine to fix this emotional trading mistake that so many traders make. There are a number of other strategies you can use to remain consciously aware of the potential of euphoria to sabotage all your trading success. If you need to make note cards and post them on your trading desk that say things like, “Be aware of euphoria after winning trades”, or “Don’t stop being patient just because I had a winning trade”, than by all means do it. The period right after a winning trade or a series of winning trades is the exact point in time that separates the amateur traders from the pros. Pro traders are always consciously aware of how they are feeling and whether or not their emotions are influencing their trading activities.
One of the best ways to not let emotions influence your trading activities is to have a defined trading plan that describes in concrete terms what you will do in any given market scenario. Many traders do not attempt to have a trading plan because they aren’t really sure where to begin or how to write one. It really does not need to be extremely long or complicated to be effective. Essentially the point of a trading plan is to keep you honest with yourself because if you don’t do it no one else is going to. And this is exactly the problem most traders have in the markets, there is no one to be accountable too if you lose all your money, except yourself. You aren’t trading for your boss or someone else, unless you are a prop trader, but most traders don’t make it that far because they cannot even be accountable to themselves first.
So what exactly does a high quality trading plan need to contain? Well it doesn’t need to be super complicated, as stated previously, the MOST important aspect of an effective forex trading plan is that you can somehow force yourself to ACTUALLY USE IT. Tape it up somewhere that you will see it every time you trade, read it every day. I have personally written trading plans in a note book only to never open the note book again. Don’t do this, don’t write it down in a note book, type it up on your computer and print it out if you need to, then place it on your trading desk, hang it on your fridge, whatever it takes so that you READ IT EVERYDAY.
What are the critical elements of a trading plan?
1. Define your entry strategy.Whether you are entering the market off a reversal pin bar setup in the direction of the trend or off a bounce of a moving average, whatever you use to enter with make sure you can define it and that you know what constitutes a HIGHQUALITY or PERFECT A+ entry from one that is lesser in quality or perhaps a B or C entry.
2. Determine the risk to reward scenario on any potential trade setup before entering it. Also, make sure you have a thorough understanding of Forex position sizing.
3. Adjust the position sizeon the trade to meet the necessary stop-loss distance, NEVER adjust the stop-loss to meet a desired position size, this = GREED.
4. Know what your exit strategy is BEFORE entering the trade, if you are not exiting on a pre-set risk reward setup, than make certain you don’t tell yourself that you will just “figure it out” as the trade unfolds, this never works. You are never going to be more objective than when you are not in a trade, therefore this is the best time to plan out all trading parameters.
5. After the trade is over, make sure your trading plan includes an activity or some mandatory thing that you do after you have exited a trade, whether it was a winner or a loser. The period of time right after a trade is one of the most, if not the most, emotionally sensitive period for traders. Feelings of revenge, frustration, and disappointment can cause you to jump right back into the market on a whim, with no real setup present, obviously this is likely to cause you even further psychological harm because you will likely lose even more money, and the cycle will continue.
Winning trades also need a period of inactivity once they are closed out. It is very easy to feel over-confident or “in control” of the market after a string of winning trades. What happens next is that traders often enter a trade on a whim again (see the pattern here) but this time they are at even greater risk because they are feeling euphoric and they decide to risk more than usual, only to see all their recent profits evaporate in the blink of an eye.
This article has supplied you with the reasons WHY you need to have a Forex trading plan and some very good ideas about what you need to include in your trading plan. There is no concrete way to make a good trading plan, but the 5 concepts included in this article are a great starting point. Feel free to add any of your own ideas or concepts presented in my forex trading course to the outline presented here. Just remember that the whole point of a trading plan is to keep you accountable and to keep you on the track of objective thinking. You should NEVER make trading decisions while you have a trade open, as MOST of the time this will back-fire on you. The best time to make your trading decisions is when you are not in any trades, this is done by creating a logical Forex trading plan that acts as your guide to the market, and this is really the only effective way to consciously make an effort at eliminating emotional trading mistakes.
If you were stranded on a desert island and somehow had access to the internet, a computer, and electricity, and you could only have one Forex trading educational article to read, this would be the article you would want to have…
A simple fact of Forex trading is that it is a game of probabilities, those traders who learn to view and think about trade setups in terms of risk to reward, are the ones who usually end up making consistent money in the Forex market. There is something to be said for developing your discretionary trading skills, as having a sharpened sense for spotting well defined trade setups at the right place and time is definitely a necessary ingredient to successful trading. However, it is possible to make consistent money even if your discretionary trade setup identification skills are not fully matured yet. Risk to reward setups are what give all traders an equal chance at making consistent money, a thorough understanding of risk to rewardand how to view trade setups in terms of possible risk to possible reward, is the closest thing to the “holy grail” of trading, and is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to consistently profitable trading, second only to having the proper amount of self-discipline and emotional control.
• Drawing risk / reward levels
The first thing that all traders should do upon spotting a price action setup, or any trade setup, is calculate the risk they will have to take on in order to give the setup a realistic chance at working out. Traders often make one or two mistakes when it comes to determining risk; they either define the reward first, which is a mistake born out of greed, or they put a stop loss on the setup that is much too close to the entry to give the trade a chance at working out.
When learning to think in probabilities and to view the market in terms of risk to reward, it is necessary to calculate the risk on a trade setup first, then you can calculate the reward as a multiple of the amount you have at risk. By concentrating on the risk first, instead of the reward, you are making yourself more aware of the risk involved on each trade setup, instead of becoming fixated on how big of a reward you might make, as many traders do. This will also turn you into a “risk manager”, rather than a “trader”, the best traders in the world know that consistent trading profits come as a result of managing risk effectively, so consider yourself a manager of risk from now on.
The next thing to do after you have identified a high-quality trade setup and marked the risk level on your chart, is to mark the reward levels as multiples of your risk. You want to draw a line at 1 times your risk, 2 times your risk, and 3 times your risk. These are the reward levels you will mainly concern yourself with, should you choose to employ a trailing stop you can use these 1, 2, and 3 times risk levels to begin the trailing process, see the section on “trailing stops” below for more.
Examples of how to draw risk / reward levels:
First, we identify a high-quality price action trading setup, in the chart below we are looking at the 1hr chart of the EURUSD from this week. A quality 1hr pin bar sell signal formed at a confluent intra-day resistance level and in the direction of the bearish momentum on the daily chart.
Next, we mark our risk level for this setup, in this case the risk is the distance from the low to the high of the pin bar, so we place a stop loss at 1.3656, one pip above the high, the entry is a break of the low, so 1.3611 is our entry level, one pip below the low. The total risk distance for this setup is 45 pips, we will figure 1$ per pip for the examples in this article, so our risk is $45, not 45 pips. Since you can trade various numbers of lots per pip, your actual risk is not calculated in pips, but in dollars, many traders make this mistake. Remember; always calculate your risk and reward in dollars, not in pips, only use pips to mark the risk and reward levels on your charts. (we expanded on this in this in our forex money management article here )
Now we can use this measure of 45 pips to mark our 1, 2, and 3 times risk multiples. Since our risk (R) is $45, our 1R multiple is $45, or 2R multiple is $90, and our 3R multiple is $135. Since our stop loss distance is 45 pips, we subtract the 1, 2, and 3 multiples of 45 from our entry point of 1.3611; we then get the levels marked on the chart below. This setup obviously worked out quite nicely as all three risk multiples got hit, for a reward of 1 to 3. It is worth noting that trade setups on the smaller time frames are more likely to hit larger risk multiples since your stop loss will usually be tighter than it will be on a higher time frame. The trade is now set up, time to let the market get to work.
In the chart below we are looking the daily Silver market, we can see a quality pin bar fakey combo setup formed with the dominant bullish market momentum. We first marked our risk distance which was 1.13; we then multiply our risk (1.13) by 1, 2 and 3, to get our (R) risk multiple levels. We can see them drawn in on the chart below and also that this setup easily brought traders a risk / reward of 1 to 3 before forming another very nice pin bar strategy that sent prices lower. This example also figured 1$ per pip, or per smallest incremental price movement on silver, this results in $113 risked.
• Trailing stops
If you decide that you want to try and let a particular trade setup run, you might want to employ a trailing stop strategy with the aid of risk / reward levels. The best way to do this is to mark your risk and reward levels just as described above, but instead of actually entering an order for your reward levels, you leave the trade open, meaning you don’t have a set exit at your pre-defined reward levels. Instead, once the market moves in your favor, you use your pre-defined reward levels to trail your stop loss to, thus leaving the trade open and giving yourself a shot at greater profits, while still locking in some profit and lessening risk.
A common technique to use when trailing stops to risk / reward levels is to trail the stop up to your entry level when the trade is up 1 times or 2 times your risk. You can also trail your stop 50% closer to your entry once you are up 1 times risk if you want to leave the trade more “breathing” room. Many traders will simply keep their stop 1R multiple away, meaning if you are up 1 to 2, you trail your stop up to lock on 1 times your risk, if the market than moves 1 to 3 you trail your stop up to lock in 2 times your risk. This is a solid trailing technique because you are securing profits while at the same time leaving the trade open for a possibility at it running further in your favor. This technique is best used in strong trends. Many traders make the mistake when trailing stops of not properly locking in profits, there is nothing worse than letting a winning trade come all the way back to your entry point because you didn’t lock in 1 or 2 times your risk.
The daily AUDUSD chart below shows an inside bar setup that occurred back in mid-September of this year when the AUDUSD was in the midst of an uptrend. In this example you could have moved your stop to break-even once you were up $108 or 1 times your risk, once you got up 2 times risk you could have locked in 1 times your risk or $108. It looks like the market hit 0.9600 or 3R and then pulled back into 2R, however it came about 1 pip shy of 3R on its first attempt, so you would not have moved your stop up until it cleared 3R a couple days later. At this point you would have 2R or $216 locked in, at this point you could either let the trade run past 3R or move your stop up to lock in 3R or $324. If you moved up to lock in 3R right away you would have got stopped out at 3R by the pin bar on September 5th, had you not locked in 3R you could have eventually made 4 or 5R.
• How risk / reward can make you a consistently profitable forex trader
Ideally, we want to look for trade setups with a risk / reward of at least 1 to 2, by getting a risk / reward of 1 to 2 on every trade setup, we can lose on well over 50% of our trades and STILL make money. This is why risk / reward is the “holy grail” of trading; if you execute it properly you can make consistent money over a period of time. However, many traders mess it up or limit its power by meddling in their trades once they are live, usually this means they take less than a 1 to 2 profit, and then enter another trade that is lower-probability, and maybe take a loss. Once you start this game of meddling with your trades and interfering with the power of risk reward scenarios, you really put limits on what you can achieve as a forex trader.
To play with the numbers a bit let’s discuss a scenario where you lose on 65% of your trades, but your risk to reward on every trade is 1 to 2. So, out of 100 trades you lose on 65 of them and win on 35 of them, let’s say you risk $100 per trade. This means you lost 65 x $100 = $6500, but since you made 2 times your risk on your winners you made 35 x $200 = $7000. So, after 100 trades you have a profit of $500, this is even after you lost on 65% of your trades! This is an example of the power of risk / reward setups, the trick is that it takes time to play out, most traders do not have the discipline to execute 100 trades flawlessly with a risk / reward of 1 to 2 and suffer through 65 losses and only 35 winners.
The lesson to be learned from this article is that you can make still money in the forex markets even if you lose far more trades than you win, IF you understand and properly implement risk to reward scenarios on every single trade you take. You must combine this knowledge of risk to reward with a plethora of self discipline, you must understand that you cannot waver or second guess yourself, if you are trading a solid trading strategy like price action combined with risk reward knowledge and self-discipline, you have the potential to be an unstoppable trader. To learn more about price action trading and risk to reward, check out some of the other cool parts of my website and my price action trading course.
Forex traders are often tempted by the lure of lower time frame charts; they think they are somehow getting closer to the “real” action in the market and that they will find more trading opportunities on these fast moving charts. The reality of the situation is that the lower in time frame you go the less accurate any trade setup becomes, therefore, by trading lower time frame charts all you are doing is lowering the probability that any trade you take will be a winner by adding more variables to the equation of forex trading. Anyone who has been following my articles knows that I often talk about how dangerous it is to over-complicate your trading and that the keys to forex success are having the patience to wait for the best trade setup and thoroughly understanding forex risk to reward scenarios. Therefore, this article will discuss the advantages of trading the higher time frame charts and how they can help you become a patient and profitable trader
• Higher time frames act as filters of market noise
First off, by “higher time frames”, we are referring to the 4 hour time frame and above, any chart less than a 4 hour chart is considered a “lower time frame”, 1 hour charts can be useful to more experienced traders for refining their entry or exit, but they are still considered a lower time frame and should be avoided by beginning traders.
One of the biggest advantages of trading the higher time frame charts is that they act like filters of price movement. The forex market has such high daily trading volume, that the lower time frame charts contain what market technicians refer to as “noise”. The noise of the lower time frames is basically just price movement that is so erratic that it cannot be reliably used to make trading decisions; however, many traders get tempted by this erratic price movement because the human mind naturally tries to find patterns in nature and in the financial markets.
When you trade the higher time frames you get a clearer picture of what is really happening in the market because most of the erratic market noise of the lower time frames is eliminated. For example, if you see what looks like a large up move on a 30 minute chart, it might just be the beginning of a daily bearish pin bar, but if you were trading the 30 minute chart you might see this big move and then find a reason to jump on board only to have it come crashing down against you into the daily close. There are so many opportunities on the 4 hour and daily charts that concentrating your mental energy on lower time frames is simply an inefficient and ineffective use of time. Traders need to understand that the market will still be there tomorrow and the next day and for the rest of their lives, so missing out on a few good opportunities per week on the lower time frames is more than worth the sacrifice when you consider there will always be more accurate opportunities on the higher time frames.
• Trading higher time frames is part of the K.I.S.S. forex trading strategy
Simplicity is one of the keys to forex trading success, it is very important to keep your technical trading strategy simple in design and implementation, because over-complicating your trading is a sure-fire way to begin committing emotional trading mistakes. When traders begin trading on lower time frame charts they start over-complicating the trading process by trying to read the inherent noise that is a part of these fast moving charts, this inevitably causes them to over-trade which is one of the main causes of failure in the forex market. Remember, keep it simple stupid.
Higher time frame charts provide a much more useful and accurate depiction of price movement, this will enable you to be more confident in your trading decisions which will begin reinforcing a series of positive forex trading habits. Many traders struggle for years trying to trade lower time frame charts, eventually they either give up all together because they have lost too much money to bear, or they figure out that trading the higher time frames is a necessary component to consistent trading success. By understanding this fact now, hopefully before you have lost much money in the market, you can begin to focus your time and energy on the higher time frames and avoid the struggle and frustration that comes with trying to analyze the noise of lower time frame forex charts.
• Patience is key, higher time frames foster patience
It is no big surprise that traders who take a longer-term view of the market and trade higher time frames make more money, on average, than day traders. The reason why is because higher time frame traders naturally take far fewer trades than day traders or traders who mainly trade lower time frame charts. One of the most lucrative trading traits you can possess is patience; it is often overlooked by traders because so many of them erroneously believe that more is better in every aspect as it relates to forex trading. You will naturally take fewer trades when you stick to the higher time frames, assuming that you know what to look for and have the patience to wait for the trade setup you are looking for. Learn to think about this time in-between trades as a period of self-discipline and self-mastery, the very fact that you are not trading when there are no obvious signals means that you are not losing money, and not losing money is the same as making money when you consider the fact that you would be trying to make back what you lost, but since you didn’t lose any money you have nothing to try and make back.
By focusing on the higher time frames you also work to influence and develop the proper trading mindset. By trading less frequently you will naturally become a more objective trader because you will not be over-analyzing the market, trying to manifest trading signals on every time frame. Being an objective trader is different from being a fearful trader, objective traders know what they are looking for and when they see it they pounce on it like a tiger stalking its prey, fearful traders cannot act even when they see what they are looking for in the market. So, make sure you do not become a fearful trader, master your trading strategy first, this way you know what to look for, then wait patiently as the market plays out and the amateurs lose money on the lower time frames, when you spot your higher time frame trade setup you execute the trade with confidence and serenity.
• Price action signals are stronger on higher time frames
Finally, perhaps the most important reason you should stick to the higher time frames when trading the forex market is because they add weight to your trading strategy. As a price action trader, I know that a daily pin bar setup is much stronger than a 30 minute pin bar setup; therefore, because I have this knowledge I simply prefer to wait patiently for the perfect daily pin bar setup rather than frazzle my nerves and lose money trying to catch a rare high-quality 30 minute bar setup. Furthermore, I have better things to do with my time than sit around all day and night staring at a 30 minute chart, and I assume you do too.
Price action trading is especially impactful on the higher time frames because price action is naturally the clearest and purist reflection of aggregate market sentiment. When you combine the inherent clarity and effectiveness of price action trading with the power of trading higher time frames in forex, you have a very accurate forex trading strategy.
If You want to learn more about Trading Higher Time Frames and Learn More about How I Trade with Price Action, visit my forex course page here:> Forex Trading Course – Good trading as always – Nial Fuller
You may also be interested in the following 2 articles
A sniper in the military has an edge over his or her enemy; their edge is unwavering patience, mastery of their weapon, and the ability to remain consciously in control of their mind and body for long periods of time in high-stress situations. We can apply these same concepts to Forex trading…
Forex trading is very similar…you need a trading edge (weapon), you have to master this edge, you need to develop and maintain rigid self-discipline and control, and you have to execute your edge flawlessly in the face of constant temptation to over-trade and over-leverage. Now, trading is nowhere near as stressful as war, but it still requires conscious control of mind and body.
Those traders who learn to pick and choose their trades wisely, trading like a Forex “sniper”, are typically the ones who succeed long-term, whereas those traders who act like machine-gun traders by shooting at everything they see (trading too much), tend to run out of ammo (money) very quickly and fail to accomplish their goals in the market. Let’s discuss how you can learn to trade like a sniper instead of shooting at everything (taking every trade) that comes your way…
• Accept that less is more in Forex trading
One of the things that we traders can learn from a sniper in the military is that in certain situations less is indeed more. Forex trading is definitely a “situation” where less is more. However, it is very common for beginning traders to feel that more is better; more Forex indicators, more trades, more analyzing, more money on useless trading robots, etc.
What is the result of such misinformed beliefs? The result is almost always over-trading; indeed, most beginning Forex traders are like machine-gunners; spraying bullets (money) at everything they deem to be a trade and likely causing more damage to their trading accounts than good. The first step that you need to make if you want to trade more like a sniper and less like a machine-gunner, is to truly accept that less is more in Forex trading.
Just like a sniper waits patiently for his or her pre-determined target to come into view; you need to learn how to wait patiently for your pre-defined trading edge to show itself in the market. As price action traders we have a very effective trading edge that allows us great opportunity to trade the market with sniper-like precision, and the daily charts provide the best “battleground” for us to execute our edge on.
• Higher time frames
As I mentioned previously, the daily chart should be your “battleground” for developing your ability to become a Forex sniper. Why, you ask? Because it is the daily chart that gives us the “highest value” or highest-probability targets when compared to any time frame below it. Weekly charts are also accurate, but they don’t give us enough targets each month and they are less practical to trade than the daily chart.
These targets are price action setups, and you should think of them as higher-value on the higher time frames, because in reality the higher the time frame the higher-probability the setup becomes. This is the primary reason that trading higher time frames drastically increases trading success. Think about it this way; a sniper is on a pre-planned mission to take out high-value targets that can change the course of a war, and in Forex trading you should be looking for the highest-probability trade setups that can have the greatest positive impact on your track record.
Machine-gun trading the lower time frames is not going to do anything but cause you to lose all your ammo or money a lot faster than you think. There is really no sense in ever trading any time frame below the 1hr chart since the value or probability of the targets or setups decreases dramatically as you move lower in time frame. You want to stick to the high-value or high-probability setups of the daily chart as much as possible, and especially while you are still learning to trade.
If there is one thing that a sniper in the military definitely IS, it’s patient. Patience is like the “magic” ingredient that makes everything work for a sniper in the military, and it is also the “magic” ingredient that you will need to use if you want to become a Forex sniper. Most beginning traders lose money in the markets, and most beginning traders are also anything BUT patient. See the connection here?
There is a tendency for traders to want to “force” the issue of trading by manifesting signals that aren’t really there or by jumping into a signal that has not closed out yet. When it comes to money it is human nature to be impatient, this is otherwise known as greed, but if you don’t learn to become a patient Forex trader, you will never forge the type of overall self-control that it takes to succeed as a Forex trader and become a Forex sniper.
• Mastery of strategy
A sniper will train for years to sharpen and perfect his or her shooting skills, and a sniper knows exactly what their target looks like and pulls the trigger without hesitation. Similarly, you will need to “train” with the particular Forex trading strategy you choose to employ in the markets so that you know EXACTLY what you are looking for every time you open your charts. However, you will need to do more than that; you will need to truly MASTER the Forex trading strategy that you choose, because if you don’t master it, you will never achieve your full potential as a Forex sniper.
Mastering a trading strategy begins with education. If you choose to employ high-probability price action trading strategies, I can provide you with the Forex trading training you will need. However, you must put in the time and effort to learn and master it; I cannot do this for you. You need to be realistic about this, it will take time; it takes time to become a master at anything, and Forex trading is no different. But, if you put in the necessary time and take advantage of the insights discussed in this article, you will begin trading like a sniper sooner than you might think.
• Developing a sniper-like Forex trading mindset
Sniper-like Forex trading breeds confidence and discipline. The more you strive to trade like a sniper and less like a machine-gunner, the more your Forex trading confidence and discipline will improve. This is because you will be rewarded for patience, and as you start to see your patience pay off over time, you will want to maintain it.
It is the initial stages of developing a sniper-like Forex trading mindset that most traders fail it, usually because they do not understand the power of patience and discipline. It tends to feel better to be a machine-gun trader because you feel powerful and “in control”. The problem with this mindset is that you can never control the market, in fact, the more you try to control the Forex market the more it will actually control you. The only thing you CAN control is yourself by learning to trade like a sniper, and if you do this you will significantly increase your chances of success as a Forex trader.
Trading Like A Sniper is part of my ‘core trading philosophy’ that I teach my students. If you want to learn more about becoming a disciplined price action Forex “sniper”, check out my forex trading course and traders community here.