Lately I have been spending a lot of time crunching data on some of the forex price action algorithms my programmer and I created, that the data can at times become overwhelming to digest. In times like these, in needing a break, I often enjoy reading something completely unrelated to forex so I can engage other aspects of my brain. Recently, the subject and person which has consumed my attention is Benjamin Franklin who is an impressive man to say the least.
He had such a wisdom into getting things done, the process of tackling something, understanding oneself and what it takes to succeed, that it immediately made me think of trading – particularly the developmental process many of my students are going through. I felt inspired to write an article based on some of the many gems of wisdom Benjamin has been sharing with me as of late and how they can help one in trading.
So here are 5 mantras for the developing trader:
#1 “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
In trading, like all skill based endeavors we set out to learn, you need a plan to accomplish your goals of becoming a profitable trader. I hear stories all the time about traders reading a book or two, expecting to learn the markets in a weekend, and then jumping in, only to find out it’s more complicated and difficult then it appears.
You can start this process by first writing very clearly what your goals are, and have a reasonable timeline to get there (likely longer than you think). Then figure out what you need to do to get from here to there. You may need to find a mentor for this as most people who succeed in any skill or craft do. Then write down the steps and create a plan of attack to get from here to there.
At this point, it’s a question of starting with step one until you get to the end. One quote from Michael Jordan reminds me of this very point which was, “I never thought of the second step, only the first and worked to take that next step. Because of this, I never felt like I could not accomplish something because I had taken all the steps to get there.‘”
#2 “Never Leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” – B.F.
Author, painter, politician, scientist, musician, inventor, diplomat are just a few of the things which are credited to Benjamin Franklin. How did he get time to do all these things is amazing, but there is only one way to accomplish all these things, and that is taking massive action while not wasting one’s time.
I am often perplexed at how many people waste time in chat rooms, idle conversations, or writing about silly blog posts. Don’t get me wrong, having fun is always important, but your actions will be a part of the legacy you leave, and will be the difference between whether you become a successful trader or not.
Having clear measurable goals was the lesson in the first mantra, but working hard to make them a reality is the next step. Ask yourself what are you putting your energy into today, and is it helping you with your goal or not. Is it learning your price action or ichimoku trading system, or talking about something ridiculous which builds nothing of value? I’m pretty sure Benjamin spent the majority of his day constantly working on things which helped take his work and inventions to the next level. And this is what he is remembered for.
Ask yourself if what you are doing is what you want to be remembered for. This will help you gauge your time and whether you are using it effectively towards becoming a successful trader.
#3 “You will know failure so do not fear mistakes as you continue to reach out.” – B.F.
Oh how true this is for trading, whereby all great careers (trading and otherwise) will be littered with mistakes. If you fear making mistakes, you will become fearful to trade when the best opportunities come up. Has it ever happened to you that you were hesitant to make a trade because of a recent loss you just had?
Fear has rarely ever lead to greatness and taking risks is part of what we do as traders. Give yourself permission to make mistakes without making it mean anything about you as a person or a trader. By doing this, you free yourself to put all of your natural intelligence into the process and build the mindset of a successful trader.
#4 “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one’s self.” – B.F.
Understanding one’s self is probably the hardest thing we will ever do in our lifetimes, next to facing our death and loving someone completely. To embark on the trading process is to step in front of a mirror whether you realize it or not. The markets will constantly bring up the most unrefined parts of you, your self-image, your emotions, how you deal with uncertainty and how you deal with failure.
Knowing yourself is critical for the trading process and the best approach is to be brutally honest with yourself, particularly your weaknesses and limiting beliefs. Be brave to face them with understanding and acceptance. Once you do, you will begin to work on the areas which are most likely holding you back.
#5 “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – B.F.
Learning to become a successful trader, or maintain it once you have gotten there can be downright exhausting. There will be days where nothing goes right, where you want to give up, where it is easier to not follow the discipline (part of the pyramid of trading) or do the things necessary to succeed.
It is in these moments that it is most important not to quit, not to take the easy road. Every time you push forward in those challenging moments, you build a reservoir of strength which will give you a confidence and energy that becomes the backbone of your process. This will allow you to eventually break through any obstacle in the trading process and will be the main fixture on the altar of your success. When quitting is no longer an option, forward is the only path that awaits.
So there you have 5 mantras for the developing forex trader. Whether you trade forex price action, ichimoku, are a scalper or trade the 4hr charts, we all have to go through a similar learning process, and all face similar challenges.
I hope this article has been helpful for your trading process and that you found it of value.
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For those of you wanting to work with a mentor and help accelerate the learning process, feel free to check out my Price Action, Ichimoku Trading, or ProForex Course where every week, another trader turns the corner.