Archive | September, 2015

What Makes a Trader Successful?

How would you answer this question?  What is it that makes a trader successful? Is there one special quality they need, one bit of knowledge they need to learn, one tool that they could use to make them successful?  Or maybe, it’s just luck.  They are lucky, and now they are successful!

Well, the truth is, there is no one simple thing that can be given to immediately make a trader successful.  Luck may help sometimes, but it’s not a reliable process that we can count on.  The only consistent and proven way that makes a trader successful is by the process of hard work.  Nothing will be given to you without you putting the time and effort into your trading, and even then it may still take a while.  Time and hard work will eventually place you in a position where you can be successful.  The question is – are you willing to put in the time and effort needed to become a successful trader?

Successful traders have spent the time to learn how to trade, and then used that knowledge to create a trading plan.  Most have written their rules down, so they know exactly what to do to enter a trade and to exit a trade.  If I asked everyone to send me their written trading plan (please don’t, I don’t have enough time to read them), most traders couldn’t because they either don’t have one or haven’t taken the time to make it real by putting it down on paper.  If you don’t have a well-defined and written trading plan, then you are not ready to become a successful trader.  This is something that takes time and hard work.  Again, I ask – are you willing to put the time and effort to become successful?

The development of a trading plan does not need to be complicated. In fact, it should be as simple as possible.  Let me suggest a few things that you should begin to develop your trading plan.

  1. Define the “why” for your trading.  I know you want to make money but the “why” is more than just money, it is the reason behind your need for money.
  2. Define your risk rules.  You need to identify your “sweet spot” for how much you are willing to risk.  If you risk too much you will become fearful and if you don’t risk enough you will feel unsatisfied.  This should include how much risk you want to take in each trade, as well as how to calculate your position size.
  3. Define your entry and exit rules.  I will put this into two categories.  Setups and triggers.  The setup is what you see on the chart to know a trade is about to happen while a trigger is what you see on the chart that tells you it’s time to buy or sell.
  4. Define your analysis process. This is what you are going to do to analyze your trades after they are done.  Do this on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make sure your trading plan is working the way you want.

Ok, so that’s it! (Well, at least some of it) If you want to be successful then create a well-defined and written trading plan.  Do not leave your success to luck or chance or anything else.  It’s up to you – now go and put the time and effort into your success!  Be that successful trader you want to be!

Happy Trading!

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Breaking the Trading Psychology Barrier: Fight or Flight

The Apiary Fund is helping people break the trading psychology barriers that are holding them back from success in the financial markets.  Each week we’re focusing on a different psychological barrier to help you better see it and beat it!

Today’s obstacle is the psychological phenomenon called fight or flight!

When faced with adversity, we all have an instinctive response:  some confront the challenge head-on while others run for hills. In psychology, it’s called fight or flight, and sometimes our instinctive response comes at odds with rational decision making in the financial markets.

Emotional traders will often allow their pre-programmed response to make the tough decisions.  Do you close the position?  Do you keep it open?  Do you double down?  Do you quit trading altogether?

The problem with emotional triggers is timing – the emotion does not always manifest itself at the right time.  So the instinctual response to the emotion of adversity is often ill-timed.

It would be nice if the emotional trigger and the right time to make a decision always correlated…  But they don’t, so the trick is to make buy and sell decisions when it’s a rational time to make the decision – not when the emotion is tugging you into a response.

One approach traders use to overcome the instinctive response of fight or flight is to identify when the emotions start tugging on the instincts.  You must learn to recognize it by documenting or making note of every situation where the emotion starts to express itself.

Once you recognize the emotion, then you can start looking for patterns.  At first you may only recognize the pattern as a losing trade, but you need to dig deeper if you can.  Is it a pattern to the size of the loss?  Or the duration of the loss?  Is it the opinion of another trader?  Is it CNBC?  Understanding the patterns that trigger the emotion will allow you to plan your trade better.

The final step is to make pre-defined decision points before you enter a trade.  In this way, you’ll know when to make a decision and when not to, irrespective of how you feel.  You’ll begin to develop confidence that these points work within boundaries of your natural instincts. It will save you from making a decision based on emotions and it will help you be more rational in your trading.

Stay tuned for the next trading psychology barrier:  Pleasure or Pain.

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Apiary Fund – Breaking the Trading Psychology Barriers

There are three obstacles Apiary Fund traders must overcome in order to get funded: trading knowledge, trading skill, and trading psychology. The toughest of these is trading psychology.

The next few Apiary Fund blog posts will focus on a different barrier we have in our trading psychology and present ways to break the barrier!

Trading Psychology Barrier:  Getting Something for Nothing

Most people like the idea of trading currencies because of the vast fortunes you can make with very little effort. Sadly, it’s not that easy. Trading currencies requires work – a lot it.  You must spend time learning and developing your skill. Like anything that requires skill, such as sports, music, or professional occupation, you should not expect to just walk in and experience instant success. The desire to make something from nothing leads to speculative behavior.  Speculative behavior leads to financial ruin.

Breaking the Trading Psychology Barrier:  Commitment.

Breaking the trading psychology barrier of getting something for nothing is as simple as making a commitment.

The usual excuse for the uncommitted is that:

–       “There’s something ‘better’ around the corner” – or –

–       “There’s no clear evidence of a win with what I’m doing.”

Modern psychology will tell you that ‘WHAT’ you commit to is secondary to ‘HOW’ you commit to it.  It is ‘how’ you commit to trading that will make you successful. Only the smallest part of committing is a passive process that evaluates whether or not something will work.  The #1 factor that will make the choice to trade currencies successful or not is what work you put into it.

Stay tuned for tips on the next trading psychology barrier:  Fight or Flight.

Happy Trading!

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