What attracted us to FX trading, why do we do it, how is it ‘working out’ for us, have we met our goals?
From time to time it’s worth taking a step back in order to take a ‘helicopter view’ on where we’re currently at in relation to the personal aims we originally set out when we first entered this industry.
The reason why it’s worth taking a snapshot of where we’re at is to see if the aims and goals we set early in our trading journey have been met, or are close to being met. And if not why not and whether some ‘fixes’ are required in order to put us back on the rails.
Some of the aims and goals we had when we took our first baby steps into this industry were quite obvious. For example, we may have wanted our independence and quite simply (and perhaps naively) wanted to “make a lot of money”. The independence can be obtained fairly easily, however, the making money, from a market we initially viewed as a one armed bandit tilted in our favour, is a far more difficult proposition.
Some other aims we may have set out will have been more subtle; we may have wanted a complete career change having recognised that above all else the FX and wider trading industry can in fact be an ideal home for the more creative amongst us.
So let’s look at many of the aspects that originally attracted us to the industry and perhaps we can make a mental note of where we are on our own personal development scale. For example, if independence was one of our principle aims how are we ranking it on, for example, a scale of between 1-10?
Why are we still trading?
We’re trading in order to make money, eventually being self-employed and independent from the shackles of being employed. We hope to build a good income, enjoy some of the luxuries in life and to build a long lasting and sustainable livelihood from an industry that we enjoy being part of. We’re still trading because probably, in the short to medium term, we’ve reached our goals. We’re enjoying our newly found challenge and we’re finding it rewarding financially, intellectually and emotionally. Our next question – are we on target to hit the long term ambitions we set for ourselves?
What did we hope to gain?
We hoped to gain our independence, we hoped to gain money, we hoped to gain an eventual lifestyle that we couldn’t have possibly achieved had we stayed in our nine to five job. We hoped to find a stimulating and challenging new industry and eventually be considered experts in our field. And as a consequence develop more self-respect, self-confidence and the respect amongst our peers in our peer group. Have we achieved the standards we’d set ourselves and the standing in our trading community we’d hoped for?
What separated us from other traders that confirmed our suitability for trading?
We were/are single minded, tenacious, had (and still have) the required mental and physical stamina to simply keep going through the many obstacles the industry can put in our way. We’re not the type of individual to be put off by something at the first signs of resistance. We’re adaptable, reasonable, and resourceful. We’ve developed various coping skills in order to cope with all the ups and downs and eventualities this industry can throw at us. Despite the ups and downs and the knocks the industry has hit us with; do we still have the right mentality and mental approach to our trading?
What were/are our weaknesses?
Many traders have difficulty applying introspection into their actions, often the simple issue of our ego gets in the way. Whilst acknowledging our strengths we often fail to recognise our weaknesses which require as much recognition and working on as our strengths. Are we still impetuous, do we rush at trades; do we fail to stick to our trading plan? Do we have problems cutting winners short and holding onto losers? In short, have we gained control of the obvious destructive elements that can often harm our trading future?
How much time have we devoted to trading and has it been worth it?
Months fly by in trading as do years, we require some form of metric in order to evaluate how worthwhile our time has been. Quite simply has the time we’ve spent and the energy we’ve input into learning our new skills been worth it? Are we consistently successful and profitable and if not can we visualize a point in the not too distant future when we can be? There is little point in devoting our time haphazardly to a venture without any reward, however, the good news is that it’s never too late to re-focus and set some short, medium and long term goals to our trading. Unless we set some milestones we’ll have very little to judge our overall levels of performance by.
Has our style of trading altered over the months and or years?
Did we start off as day traders and move up to trend/swing trading? Did we find an ECN/STP broker with low spreads and commissions that enabled us to effortlessly scalp trades working off the lower time frames? How has our view of where we believe we can take money out of the market changed over time? Overcoming obstacles and being adaptable are two of the characteristics many successful traders will point to. The ability to change something that isn’t working likewise. We may find that our trading style and choices adapt to our time constraints, we may find that the choices adapt to our strengths and weaknesses.
As can be clearly seen by the afore-mentioned questions many of the objectives we had and many of the views we previously held, change as we become more experienced as traders. Taking a fresh view of where we’re currently at can prove to be an extremely useful exercise. It’s similar to performing a full body scan as individuals in order to gauge our overall levels of trader health. Only our scan is more mental than physical.
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