Novice traders are constantly reminded that they need to be a “disciplined trader”, in order to succeed. But how do we define ourselves as disciplined traders, what characteristics, or habits do we need to have (or more likely develop), in order to become this mythical, all knowing disciplined trader? And what’s wrong with the undisciplined trader, can’t he or she also succeed? Is the aspect of trading discipline over-exaggerated, were trading is concerned?
The disciplined trader and the small disciplined business operator
As we take our initial steps on our trading journey we’ll quickly create a vision of who we want to be in the short to medium term; a confident, competent, profitable individual, who has very quickly adapted his or her lifestyle, to embrace the opportunity retail trading offers up. As part of that visualization, we’ll imagine that we’ll be applying ourselves in a disciplined manner; we trade at certain hours, we organize our life around trading opportunities and know the key hours when our trading opportunities probably appear. We’ll visualize a destination and arrival point at which we’ll become successful and profitable traders.
This projection is an extremely healthy and worthwhile mental exercise to engage in. To achieve success we need to set goals, we need to place milestones and goals in place, which we expect to reach and achieve in the future. These milestones and goals serve as navigation tools, to guide us to our destination and keep us on the right path, without distraction. As part of our overall disciplined approach we should also keep records. We very quickly realize that we need to have a plan, we accept that as individual retail traders, we’re running our own small micro business, what business operator wouldn’t have a plan, a roadmap, a vision?
Ask the legions of shopkeepers in, for example, the UK, and he or she will tell you that they have a plan. Sure, it’ll be unrecognizable from the plan that they used to get the business off the ground, but they’ll have days they do certain duties, days they expect deliveries, times they open, the times they go to the wholesalers to replenish stock. They’ll have built up an instinctive knowledge of what sells, what doesn’t, and be on top of their business 24/7. In short they’re highly disciplined operators. We may pop into our local newsagents, say hello, buy a newspaper and a pack of mints, but behind the scenes this small business operator is running their business like clockwork. It isn’t a seat of the pants, reactionary, undisciplined operation. The same discipline needs to apply to our trading from the outset, at the beginning of our trading career. It has to start with a plan, a trading plan, examples of which we’ve covered in our blog many times.
The undisciplined trader
So let’s use the example of our high street shop keeper again; let’s imagine there’s another local shop to us and it’s operating in the same sector as the previous general shop we mentioned. Its opening hours are unreliable, its stock levels are haphazard, it has a random, undisciplined feel to it, it’s often running out of the items we need, the staff are unhelpful, the service is poor. It’s obvious and in many ways it’s a rhetorical question, but which small shopkeeper is giving themselves the greatest chance of success?
The disciplined trader is the disciplined small business’s operator, they are one in the same. Whilst being a highly disciplined individual won’t guarantee success in our forex industry, we know that we’re operating in a business which is critically influenced by probabilities and percentages. Therefore we have to ensure we’re in a position whereby those probabilities and percentages have a greater chance of playing out in our favor. By being on our game, organized, always on message, constantly up to date, then as the ultimate disciplined trader, whilst respecting the industry we’ve joined, we’ll ensure that we’re giving ourselves every opportunity to experience success.