What you wish you knew about trading when you started out

Sep 27 • Forex Trading Articles • 2719 Views • Comments Off on What you wish you knew about trading when you started out

It’s inevitable that once you evolve into a highly proficient trader, you’ll look back at your trading history and regret some of the decisions you’ve taken. But as the phrase in the title suggests, you should try to have no regrets, instead concentrate on the lessons you’ve learned during your trading journey. Your meandering route through life, the course you’ve either plotted, or been randomly blown in the direction of, has made you who you are. Would we rather have a life of “oh wells”, or a life of “what ifs”?

You are the sum parts of: the decisions you’ve made, the events you’ve made happen and the events that have happened; over which you have very little control. And we have far less control over events than we imagine, as the largest decisions we make will be ultimately determined by luck, or through high level government policy.


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Now many might disagree with that last sentence, instead believing they’re completely in control of their own destiny, but consider it this way; if you’re lucky to be born into European parents you’re already in the top one percent of wealthy individuals on the planet. If you’re in the top 40% of U.K. earners you’re approximately in the top 0.1% of earners on the planet. And your job choices and careers can be influenced and immediately altered by a change in government policy, or an economic crisis, just ask those who lost their jobs in the ensuing financial crises caused by the subprime mortgage lending meltdown.

Luck and circumstance has far more effect on our ultimate success, than our personal choices and even the most successful entrepreneurs will always testify how random chance accelerated their opportunities; “we’re all winging it on a daily basis”. That last phrase will resonate with experienced traders who have learned that irrespective of how tight their money management is and however well-honed their business plan is, we can’t control the markets, we can only control our decision making, based on market movements.

After taking soundings from traders of various levels of experience, here’s some feedback as to what they wish they knew at the outset, that they now know.

How long it takes to understand the whole process.

Many of us come into this industry seduced by the promises of riches, we’re impatient and easily influenced by claims of unrealistic achievement in a short period of time. You can’t rush your learning, you have to put in that handed down folklore of “10,000 hours”, to become competent, let alone be considered an expert.

How long it’d take to become consistently profitable.

It can take years of experimentation before we become consistently profitable, there’s many myths and miss truths peddled about the forex retail trading industry, but ultimately you have to take responsibility for your performance, your gains and your losses. There appears to be more individuals trying to sell you a profitable trading system, than there are profitable traders, you have to ignore the fantasy claims and get ready to put in years of commitment.

A trading plan is essential to success.

It can’t be emphasized how this single step elevates novice traders, and encourages discipline, including strong money management and risk credentials. We all work to plans in our lives, why do we think operating our own small business would be any different? “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.

That risk and money management are the true holy grail of trading.

It’s been discussed many times but it’s worth repeating that the holy grail of trading doesn’t involve developing (or discovering), a magic technical pattern, providing a permanent elixir of success, it involves understanding that risk and money management hold the ultimate key to our trading success.

You should let the market come to you, never chase it.

Develop an overall technique that works for your trading style, which fits in with your lifestyle and commitments. Then, like a patient, wise, quiet angler casting his line, set out your bait and let the markets come to you. Perhaps fully automate by using market entry and exit orders and stops at crucial levels. Consider only trading one currency pair each trading day, based on a pre-determined ROI (return on investment) you can be satisfied with aiming for.

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