“All of a sudden, I was nailing every trade on the board perfectly, selling one pip from the high or buying just 2 or 3 pips off the low. I covered at just the right spots. It was like I could feel the market turns coming, before they happened. I had a clarity that gave me 100% confidence in my trade choices. It was like…magic.”
Everything we talk about from here on is really going to be talking about THIS, what we’re talking about right-here-now today, so pay attention. We’re going to cover a lot of topics and talk about a lot of things, but in the end all of it will circle back round to this: “Trading in the Zone”.
- When we talk about discipline, we’ll be talking about the discipline that keeps you in the zone
- When we talk about emotions, we’ll be talking about them in relation to staying in the zone
- When we talk about maximizing profits and minimizing losses, we’ll be talking about how that naturally happens when we’re trading in the zone
Ultimately, trading in the zone is what successful trading is all about. That’s what successful trading looks like; that’s what successful, massively profitable trading IS – trading in the zone. In fact, it’s so much all about “trading in the zone” that two entire trading books have been written with that exact title.
(Of course, neither one of those books is going to be nearly as helpful or entertaining as this series of articles I’m scribbling down for you, so just start printing these out each week, and when we’re done, you’ll have your own “trading in the zone” book – and you’ll have gotten it for FREE! Is this a great forex web site or what? 🙂
All right, let’s get to it. What is “trading in the zone”, and how do we get there, how do we learn to stay there, how do we learn to do it? (And not just do it, but easily, reliably, consistently perform at that level.)
I’m glad you asked. 🙂
So, what does being in the zone mean when you’re trading? Well, it’s pretty much the same as being in the zone doing anything else. Like playing basketball, for instance. When asked to explain how he managed to score 55 points, or make 6 3-point shots in a row, the incomparable Michael Jordan would often just refer to “being in that zone”. Now, you may or may not be a basketball player or fan, but I’m pretty sure that, in any event, you understand the essence of what he’s talking about. Many other professional athletes have also referred to “being in the zone” as the explanation for especially superior or outstanding play. (And I’m not the only person to ever compare the performance of master traders to that of master athletes.)
Everybody’s always looking for some obscure, esoteric “secret” – the “Holy Grail” that will magically make one a master trader. Well, the secret is – there is no secret. It’s simple, not complicated. That’s part of our edge here at Winners Edge – realizing that trading doesn’t need to be complicated, and, in fact, works better when it’s kept simple.
And in that way of thinking, we’re in the company of the great Zen masters, who taught that enlightenment is “nothing special” – there’s no great trick to it. Jesus’ teachings, too, were profound, yet simple – the overly intellectual missed and tripped over them, while those who approached the kingdom of God “as a little child” easily found their way. God didn’t design life, or trading, or anything else so that only people with an I.Q. over 200 can get it right. No, he designed it so that the “regular guy” can easily follow the path of Life. And I, personally, have always taught that forex trading is the regular guy’s road to riches, and that about the only prerequisite is the ability to do simple addition and subtraction.
Real quick, here’s how it works: You do have to take the time and make the necessary effort to learn, and become proficient in using, the nuts and bolts of trading – order entry, stops, trend lines, moving averages, pivots, etc. (just as a basketball player needs to master the fundamental skills of playing basketball). But once you’ve done that part, the key to successful trading is to get your mind out of the way and just let the trading flow naturally (in the same way that Michael Jordan lets a shot naturally flow from his fingertips – If you start thinking too much about making that 3-point shot, it throws your rhythm off, you become self-conscious, and, sure enough, you miss.). We’re focused, our attention concentrated on the flow of market action, but we’re not over-thinking or over-analyzing it. Rather, we are letting our disciplined focus draw us into the center of the market’s flow and rhythm, so that we’re able to sense, to feel as closely as possible, the natural flow of the market action – kind of like the way that a spider can sense the slightest tremor of movement that occurs anywhere on its web. (Not that I’m calling you a spider or anything. But you could kind of think of it as being like SpiderMAN. Although we can’t, like, shoot webs out or swing from skyscraper to skyscraper…but don’t worry about that, we don’t need to do that to be great traders.)
To succeed in entering the zone of “unconscious” excellent performance, and staying there, two elements are critical:
- You have to genuinely enjoy what you’re doing. Master traders enjoy trading – the line between work and play becomes blurred, reflecting the truth of the statement, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life”. They’re not trading to prove themselves in some way; they’re not even doing it primarily for the money – they’re doing it because it’s what they genuinely enjoy doing. It’s this enjoyment, this “love of the game” that enables a trader to be maximally focused (often to the point of losing track of time – “time flies when you’re having fun”) and to allow their market intuition to function freely and effectively.
- Confidence; a positive mental attitude. Successful traders believe in themselves – even when they’re in the middle of a losing streak. They have an underlying confidence in their ability to trade well, to turn a profit. This confidence comes from having done the work of developing/learning a good, solid training system that one reasonably believes in, and also from the mental exercise and discipline of practicing things like positive affirmations – “I am a winning trader”; “I have a solid trading edge that enables me to maximize profits”.
What are the enemies of being in the zone? – Well, what are the usual enemies of focus and concentration? Physical or mental fatigue, outside distractions, personal issues, worry, stress, and strong emotions (such as fear or greed). Focus is essential – you’ve got to really be in the present moment – “be here now” – in order to trade at peak performance levels. Good trading comes from clear market perception and analysis. Strong emotions can cloud one’s market vision.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll examine each of these elements in detail – focus, discipline, distractions, emotions, confidence, the effectiveness of neuro-linguistic programming exercises (self-talk, affirmations). But for right now, just try to get it clear that our goal is to learn to consistently be “trading in the zone”, at our highest performance levels. It all circles back round to that – to learning to trade easily, naturally, in harmony with the flow and rhythm of the market.
I’d be really interested in hearing your personal experiences of being “in the zone” while trading. Please share them in the comments below – thanks. Hey, have a great week!
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