It has often been said that the journey towards becoming a currency trader is one of the most difficult aspirations one will ever undertake. This is not necessarily because of the technicality of trading so much as the extent to which each individual’s attitudes and character come into play in this arena. The fact is that many traders get into trading without being aware of how much impact one’s habits can potentially have on their trading. As a result, they are not prepared to handle the realities of trading as it pertains to the attitudinal changes that are often required for success. Bad habits are subconsciously applied in the market, and usually the results are devastating. It is therefore of critical importance that a currency trader be aware of, and strive towards acquiring positive habits and qualities, and shedding those that will only serve to make it more difficult to make it as a trader. Here is a list of attributes that are usually found in successful traders:
HONESTY: The fact that honesty appears at the top of the list does not imply its importance above the others, but I chose to place it here because it is easy to under-estimate its importance in keeping the currency trader grounded. Traders sometimes lie, or exaggerate in order to impress other with their performance. The risk of doing this is that, if they do it often enough, it might only be a matter of time before they start lying to themselves. This is the start of a downward spiral. It also requires honesty to follow a trading plan and strategy, as well as equity management rules, which is perhaps the most important component to a trader’s success.
SELF CONFIDENCE: Self-confidence is a must for trading success. It is self-confidence, or the lack of it, which often determines whether one will achieve success as a currency trader. Have you ever been in a trade and closed early because you began to doubt yourself, only to see the trade work out exactly as planned? Often errors are made as a result of inadequate self- confidence, but it is not difficult to improve upon this weakness. If you are trading position sizes that cause you to feel nervous, then it might be a good idea to reduce your risk. This will enable you to follow your plan and carry out your trades the way your strategy demands. After having done this consistently, your results are likely to improve, and you will gradually begin to realize self-trust and confidence.
DISCIPLINE: The lack of discipline is a major stumbling block for traders. This can be disastrous in the environment that we work in. The market offers us the chance to trade however, at whatever time of day we choose. There are virtually no constraints or controls, so the onus is on the trader to impose rules in order to control our own behavior, and, in essence, protect our own interests. When discipline breaks down, we are at the mercy of the market, which will ruthlessly ‘chew you up and spit you out’, so to speak. A disciplined trader arms himself with a strategy. He plans his trades, and he protects himself from unsustainable losses in the market.
PATIENCE: Becoming an expert currency trader can be time-consuming. It definitely does not happen over-night. It requires persistence and patience. The learning curve is different for everyone, but just the same, it is not a process that can be rushed. You can achieve some success in this manner, but if you wish to become a career trader, your approach will need to be adjusted for a more gradual, steady growth. Patience can be celebrated for the benefits it enables the trader to experience: waiting for one’s trade to set up before entering the market; waiting for profit targets to get hit; waiting to increase trading risk, etc.
The qualities stated above are just a few of the many qualities that contribute towards giving a currency trader his edge, and helping to protect him within the market environment. We as traders should always seek to know ourselves, including our varying weaknesses, as a means of improving, and giving us the best chance at being the type of trader we all want to be.
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