When it gets tough, remember why you started in the first place.
If you are living in the same world I am, most of the things that are really worth it turn out to be a fair amount more difficult than initially thought.
Trading FOREX for me has been one of those things. I got started because I thought about WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE, to be able to earn money on my laptop, anywhere in the world I was connected to internet.
I thought to myself, ‘I would flip my screen open at a Starbucks in the northwest for an hour, gather up a few pips before heading out to the Mt.Hood Snowbowl for some fun ski runs.’ Or maybe I would grab up a couple hundred bucks while killing a few hours in the afternoon, visiting my dad in Colorado while we wait for friends to come over to dinner.
Nothing would be better than earning some money, while on a trip in some exotic location, sitting in my boardshorts, drinking cool water and waiting for the wind to die down at the surf spot.
This ladies and gentleman was the fuel. There is always fuel required to instigate action of any type. Something fueled you!
The games begin. We meet the markets with optimism and enthusiasm. Weeks go by, months go by. My performance didn’t match my expectation. No problem, just push the target date out a bit further of when the goal will be realized. More time passes. My skills improve some. I think I’ve got it. I bump up my lot size, after all, if I want to make any meaningful money I need to get into a bigger lot size.
I make some bad decisions, I get a slap on the wrist. Doubt sets in. The target no longer seems to be anywhere in the foreseeable future. I forget about what this opportunity can really provide. I start to focus on the fact that its ‘just another way to make money,’ ohhh bother.
SUDDENLY I snap out of it. NO, not this time. I have seen the power of the market. All of the evil doubts that take so many out of this game don’t have that affect on me. I start to concentrate. I remember all of what I have learned as a student, and stop focusing on all of the challenge that has also come with it.
I start to perform better. I trust myself with more & more money. I am now in a cabana in Nicaragua. I take one trade and it more than pays for the cost of my stay. My dream is realized.
If you haven’t made it past the point of no return, REMEMBER what it was about trading that you wanted badly enough to make you start. If you’re not yet there, you’re probably closer than you think!
What is passive trading?
When most people hear the word passive, they think of something that can be negative. For me, having a passive attitude in trading has been a really positive thing. Some of my best trading days and weeks have been during times when I have a passive attitude in how I enter trades. To better describe this, my thought going into a trading session with a passive attitude is “I might enter a trade, and I might not.” Some of the worst trading days for me are when I wake up thinking “Boy, I can’t wait to get into a trade and pull some pips!”
What I have found is quite fascinating, it is almost as if I take power away from the market, and the Market Makers when I trade passively. Truthfully, that is exactly what happens when you trade more passively and less emotionally. The market makers make their money by fooling retail traders into entering positions, so the more emotionally you trade, the more you become a puppet on a string. The more passively you trade, the less power and control they have over you. It’s a beautiful thing!
After I talked to Steve, and read his blog post, I started to see the bigger picture, and I started to understand what was going on with my trading. At this same time, there was a period of a couple of weeks where I was really busy. I had to travel to California for work, I had a busy schedule each day, and I was starting work at 6AM, so there was really no way for me to trade during session. I almost tried to, I even brought my laptop with me. But I decided that I would take the week off. I was pretty busy the following week also, so I went almost 2 weeks without trading. This turned out to be a really good thing for me.
Taking time off from trading, accompanied with new ideas and a fresh mindset really helped me to turn things around. Does this mean that I’m pulling hundreds of pips a week? Nope. In fact I think that I’m at 18 pips for the week so far, but I’m ok with that. Slow and steady wins the race. The tortoise wins, every time.
I had always heard Rob G. say that whenever he loses two trades in a row, he takes the rest of the week off (I’m pretty sure he said that). I always thought “Why would he take the rest of the week off? Can’t he just start fresh the next day?” I think I’ve learned a good lesson here. Time off can be a powerful thing. If you find yourself spun out in your trading, take a few days or a week off. I’d bet that you come back with a new perspective. Taking a few steps back is a great way to get a better view of whats really happening.
My recent trades
Since this transition I have been doing much better. Once again, I’m not rich, nor am I slaying hundreds of pips but I’m in control and my trading is relaxed. This is such a stark contrast to the cortisol-fueled, greedy, upset, hunched over, anxious, money losing trader that I was a few weeks ago, “gargoyled” over my laptop, hoping and wishing that the market makers would let me have just one little piece of profit. Recently my trading has been much more enjoyable. I am managing my account by keeping a reasonable lot size. I am calm. I sleep in until 5:30 if I want to. I realize that I don’t have to trade. I no longer have to fight myself and make up all sorts of rules because I see the big picture.
My intention in saying all of this is not to boast or sound like I have it all figured out, but to just point out that we often make things a lot harder than they need to be. Sometimes all it takes is a slight change in attitude, or a simple shift in how we view trading to turn things around. I had taken something fun and made it stressful by focusing in the wrong things in my trading, then adding rules and more stress to correct it. That all went away (for now) when I started focusing on taking things slow and keeping things simple.
I encourage anyone who is having a hard time to remember that you have plenty of time to learn to trade (that’s another thing Steve said). Take it easy. It can be challenging but it should also be fun. If you find yourself stressed out, chill. Take a break. (Side note: taking a break helped me a lot, but I think that it is important to note that it wouldn’t have been such a powerful time if it wasn’t for the fact that I got some good advice). With that being said, ask someone for help! Get some advice. Participate and ask questions on the webinar. Read books. Use all of the tools at your disposal. Don’t be greedy. Keep the dangers of the market in perspective. Keep it simple and relaxed. The reason we learn to trade is to take stress out of life, not to add it.
Okay, okay, I know, I’ve heard it too – all the modern pseudo pop-psychology of ‘The Power of Positive Thought’, ‘Attitude is Everything’, the ‘Law of Attraction’, etc. Aren’t we all getting just a little bit tired of all the clichés? I mean, it can’t all be true, can it?
Well what if it is? All of it. And what if it’s the one thing that is keeping you from where you want to be; maybe in your trading, personal small business, career, personal finance – you name it.
As it turns out, more winning athletes, entrepreneurs, political figures, and other notorious characters that I can shake a stick at, have at one time or another referenced their mindset as a key attribute in the success that they have accomplished.
If all of these people who have at least financially achieved a status that most of us would aspire to reach, were to openly suggest that this may be a key part of their success, why oh why, must we roll our eyes at the idea of doing such a thing ourselves?
I read that Muhammed Ali once said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
Admittedly, I’ve always had mixed feelings about affirmations. Part of me felt like there was obvious truth to it, and the other part of me felt that it was redundant and dishonest.
However, I trained in a gym with high level athletes for years. During that time, even though I personally had a fairly high level of fitness, I had generally plateaued. Now it’s not what you are thinking, one of these stories where I was actually reading Vogue on the treadmill and texting on the weight bench and calling it hard work. No, this was something else. One day I thought about the type of (affirmation) dialogue I was having with myself repeatedly: “This is going to suck’”, “Ahh this workout is so gnarly”, “I’m about to get wrecked”.
There wasn’t much positivity in my dialogue. In February of 2015 I decided that I had to change the voices in my head (fun, huh?). I decided then and there that the outcome of every workout was going to be deemed awesome no matter what. Anytime I was going to do, or was doing, a very large effort in the gym, I repeated to myself, “this is going to be so good”, “I’m about to gain so much fitness”, “I love working out”.
So what happened? In the next 6 months I PR’d every movement we focused on in the gym. Seriously—all of them! Max pull-ups, deadlift, bench press, pushups, 2K row, bw in calories for time, 10min air-dyne test. Was there a correlation? Undeniably so.
So what does my fitness have to do with your trading you ask? Well, once you’ve been around the FOREX market for a while, the price action of the market itself is relatively simple. It either goes up, or down, and always for good reason. So why is it that some people interact so well with it and get rich, and others can’t seem to figure out up from down and blow up their accounts?
If you saying things like, “I got into this trade, so of course it went the other way”, “I suck at this”, “You’re such an idiot”, “This whole thing is a hoax”, “Is this ever going to be viable?”, “I’m not very good at this”… well you are, as Muhammed Ali would say, one of those people who are repeatedly affirming their thoughts into a belief, which is ultimately becoming a deep conviction and will inevitably happen.
Let me ask you this, how long would you hang out with somebody that was telling you all of those things? Not very long, I would hope. So instead, try this on for size.
‘I’m becoming a world class trader.’ ‘I’m getting it more and more every day.’ ‘I’m a great learner.’ ‘My account is starting to grow exponentially.’ ‘Trading is the hottest thing since sliced bread.’
Now of course, saying all of the right things probably won’t do much for you if you are already doing the right things like showing up consistently with a great attitude, continuously studying your fx365i virtual classroom, keeping accurate and thorough records of every trade you make, taking screenshots of your own trades and reviewing them weekly. However, if you aren’t doing all of those things, this might be the missing link.
Lastly, what is it that you are visualizing? How often are you imagining what it’s going to feel like to open up your trading station and have a six-figure account balance? How often are you imagining what your perfect trade setup would look like, and what it would be like to be in that trade? How often are you visualizing what it’s going to be like to close out a trade for five figures in profit? How often are you visualizing what your monthly account draw from your trading account to your bank account is going to look like?
If you are thinking, wow that sounds like a lot to do, I ask you this: How much thought do you think Muhammed Ali gave boxing? And if that’s not enough motivation for you, remember, Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team.
It’s that time of year again! Gyms will be over-run with temporarily zealous fit freaks, and life-changing resolutions are declared around the world. With the New Year upon us, it is, in my opinion, important to cast some direction and intention over the year ahead, as well as use the natural tide of change that rises upon humanity this time of year to our favor. Having said that, whether you are a new student with the fx365i, or one of our more seasoned students who wants to write a new chapter in their own history book this year, there are a handful of thoughts that I have had reflecting on the first 7 months of my trading career.
As the great Jim Rohn famously said, “any two years you can change your life forever. 18-20, 30-32, 68-70… Any two years.” To go along with these words he added, “for things to change, you have to change [and] for things to get better, you have to get better.”
I start with that thought because each of us arrived at the fx365institute with the belief that every successful entrepreneur has…
-a better future than their present
-has the absolute power to make it so
And with that, here are 7 things that will help you reach your goals:
Before you start on your journey, take the time to have a clear and defined written explanation as to why you have chosen to take the time and energy to learn to successfully trade the forex. Of course the obvious answer is to make money, but the reason why is what is going to pull you through the frustrating times you will have. The stronger and clearer this reason is, the easier it will be to work through your inevitable shortcomings as a trader and remain solution oriented rather than obstacle focused.
#2) Do not measure your progress in pips.
The immediate trading cliché that didn’t take me long to realize is that in Forex trading “You either win or learn.” As much as I would’ve liked to be a trading prodigy and had an alarming win rate from the beginning, the reality is that I learned almost nothing from a winning trade. At no point that I can remember did I take a positive trade and dissect my own screen shot to figure out where I went wrong. You can practice bad behavior and in the short term you can be up, however the market will expose your mistakes, and it’s ok. Instead measure yourself by the activities you are doing. Study the Virtual Classroom, read the Forex book, engage daily in fxlive, take and archive your screen shots, your trading journal, learn what all of the basic signals are on your charts, and measure your progress off of how well you are doing those things.
#3) Have a realistic expectation for how long this is going to take
One of the immediate shortcomings that I had was that I felt like I had uncovered Pandora ’s Box when I learned about the way that the market works and how we trade alongside the market makers. This caused me to believe this would insulate me from losing and that I would be well on my way right up the lot ladder fast. Here’s what I would tell myself now. Look at the lot ladder, get excited about the lot ladder. It’s real, and it’s not out of reach…however, before you get to start up it, you have to learn how to trade, so give yourself time. Cutty told me in our first conversation that he anticipated taking a year to learn to trade and a year to build up his trading account, which I promptly dismissed because admittedly, I’m young and overconfident. Turns out, from where I sit now, that’s not a bad business plan. Can it be done faster? Of course, but let’s get serious, there’s a reason Jim Rohn says, ‘any two years can change your life.’
#4) Be a good student.
#5) You will probably ask yourself all of these questions…
#6) Play to Win
There is a saying that says ‘if you mess up once it’s a mistake, if you mess up the same thing a second time, it’s a decision.’
While it’s likely in your trading you will make the same mistake more than once, make the commitment to yourself to understand the mistakes your making, take a pro-active approach to each step of your trading. Analyze, discuss, review, try again and dig in… Anything that can deliver the leverage and exponential returns the way that successfully trading the forex can is going to be a challenge, and of course is going to be worth it.
#7) Have Faith
‘The difference between belief and faith’
Years ago there were two friends. One day one of the friends decided he wanted to do something exciting, so he took up tight rope walking. After practicing for months and months walking carefully back and forth on a line strung feet above the ground, he began to feel the urge to accomplish something spectacular. He began to craft an exhibition where he would walk a stretched cable between two rooftops, high enough that if he fell it would result in death. To make his feat all the more impressive, he decided that he would not only walk the tight rope, but he would push a wheelbarrow across it with him.
He practiced and practiced while his friend watched on, impressed with his determination and relentlessness. After perfecting the stunt over and over again and arranging for the big day and exhibition, the time had finally come.
The two friends stood atop the skyscraper eyeing the cable stretched tight between the rooftops. Time seemed to stand still. The sound of chatter amongst the crowd standing below, although constant, faded away to the ears of the two men.
In the final moment as the tight rope walker draped his feet over the cable and steadied his grip on the wheelbarrow handles, the friend was faced with the choice of belief, or faith. His belief led him to have the utmost confidence that his friend would complete the exhibition, but it was his faith, that caused him to get in the wheelbarrow.
In closing, have faith in the journey, the frustrations you will face, the institute, and yourself. Have fun, and in a few years when you are living your ‘Why’, look back on this time as a distinct moment where you went for it 100%…