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Trading Psychology

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Human beings are emotional creatures. We love, we hate, we adore, worship and despise, we can be enthusiastic, and we can be cautious. The canvass of our lives is colored by the palette of emotions, and indeed it’s impossible to define a human being without depicting his emotional reactions to life’s various occasions.

To the better or worse however, the canvass of profit is colorless. Neither the blush of euphoria, nor the blues of depression have any bearing on the landscape of forex. The successful trader should attempt to banish the shades of pride from his heart when he succeeds, because the market is fickle, and quick to punish those who foolishly feel that they have “cracked the code of forex”. But neither should the trader have any feelings of shame or sadness about his failures: failures pave the path of experience leading to success, and as long as he recognizes that he’s not ready to embark on big risks, he can survive any calamity that the forex market throws on him by simply risking little, and employing low leverage.

And yet an enormous number of speculators have been unable to act by these simple principles. Desperation and excitement, greed and fear delude many people even after experimentation and study, and success in trading can elude even a genius like Sir Isaac Newton, if he’s unwilling to fight his emotions, be deaf to the crowd, and follow the dictates of logic.

So we expect the trader to reason rather than feel, and to calculate rather than dream. We want to take emotions out of the deal, and we don’t just want to remove those such as fear, apprehension, worry, anxiety from our trading experience, but also excitement, courage, euphoria, and the other so-called positive emotions, in order that we don’t overestimate our skills and power and take more risk than we should take. How do we achieve that?

The only way of achieving this aim, and successfully managing our psychological responses during trading is understanding what we do, and doing what we understand.

Once the trader is aware that his success is not a gift from angels, and his failure is not bad luck, or karma, but the logical consequence of wrong choices and indiscipline, there will be little cause for any emotional ruin, or gratification. Success in the market should be as simple as a good meal enjoyed after hard work. And failure should be as harmless as the bite of a mosquito, because risking more in a highly leveraged trade will never grant anyone success: it is always possible to begin with small sums, gain confidence while scaling-in, and even those small sums will translate to great profits in time. And if they do not, what would make us think that adding to the account or changing leverage will change our fortunes?

And I’d like to repeat here once more in response to the many online get-rich-quick schemes that proliferate: success in the forex market, and in fact in all financial markets, is not dependent on knowledge of some secret formula, or some magic indicator, or a prodigious intellect: all that is needed is discipline and study. To study the causes of economical events, and understanding them, thereafter devising, or adopting a clear and uncomplicated technical method, and adhering to that with principle and discipline is all that is necessary for success. But it must be remembered that nothing more and nothing less will do either. And the trader should get rid of all dreams of overnight riches without labor: who knows, maybe overnight riches will be possible for some individuals, but even then not without hard work and reflection.

Let us examine two major problems that cause traders to lose their wits, and turn the forex market into some kind of Russian roulette where it is impossible to maintain calm during trade decisions: the problem of undercapitalization and overleveraging. For further reading, read our extensive guide on trading psychology.

Next >> Overleveraging – the risks of forex leverage >>

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Risk Statement: Trading Foreign Exchange on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. The possibility exists that you could lose more than your initial deposit. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you.


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