Do you know what your biases are? Where are your trading weak spots? Where do you let the pips slip from your grasp?
Trading is like any other skill. Profitable trading, like bowling, cooking, planting a tree or driving a motorcycle, can be learned – by anyone. That means you too.
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If you would like to become a profitable forex trader, or simply make more pips trading, find out what your weak spots are, and then work on them.
Some common weak spots are:
How many times have you had a profitable week, only to give it all back at the end of the week on a few silly trades? (You wouldn’t believe how profitable most traders could be if they simply learned to wait for the ideal trade setups.)
The other common problem with frequent trading is that many traders get into revenge mode. Many traders may try to “get their money back” from a market that handed them their most recent loss. Sometimes a little perspective is all that is needed to see the markets more clearly. By sitting in the bushes until the “free money” is lying there you force yourself to become a more disciplined trader.
Recall the last time you took a trade that was an ideal setup. Remember the feeling you had – knowing that the trade had an unbelievable success rate. You probably had very little doubt that it would work out. Now, consider this: what if EVERY trade you took felt like that. This is what patience can do for you. If you learn to sit and wait for the very best trades, not only can trading become very fun, but it can become extremely profitable.
If you find that you are often stopped out on a trade, but the trade eventually goes in the expected direction without you, you may want to work on this skill. Learning to re-enter is tricky because it may lead to overtrading, but it is invaluable in making sure that you eventually collect your profits – especially for traders who trade lower timeframe (5 minute, 10 minute, etc) charts.
Deciding to re-enter a trade is a difficult decision because you are admitting that you were wrong. By re-entering the trade you have decided that the original timing of the trade was off, and that now is the better time to get into the market.
Note that this is very different from pyramiding, or scaling into a position. A re-entry is a trade that is taken after the first trade did not go well and you have exited this original position.When pyramiding, or scaling into a position you are still holding on to your original position.
If you vary your risk from trade to trade, then you may get some value from learning a risk management “trading ritual.” What I mean by this is that you go through specific steps (for example, with a spreadsheet or calculator) to determine what % of your account is at risk on the next trade. If your money management strategy is to vary the risk on each trade, that is fine, but this ritual will really help you because you will know precisely how much is at risk on each trade. This way you are more likely to stick to your plan and exit the trade if the trade goes against you. This will also help you to avoid the painful exit from the trade simply because the trade has gone against you too much – by defining your risk beforehand you are more likely to be able to sleep (if you trade longer term charts) and less likely to exit before your stop is hit because you cannot handle the excessive drawdown.
Trading is simply like learning to ride a bike or drive a car, it is a skill that anyone can learn. Some people will tell you otherwise, that only talented people who are “born to trade” can extract profits from the markets. Trading doesn’t take extreme intelligence or any superhuman gifts, it simply is hard work, just like learning to drive a car.
Walter Peters, PhD is a professional forex trader and money manager for a private forex fund. In addition, Walter is the co-founder of Fxjake.com, a resource for forex traders. Walter loves to hear from other traders, he can be reached by email at email@example.com.