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Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Trader

Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Trader

Tyler Yell, CMT, Currency Strategist

Talking Points:

-Why Emotions Get Shunned By Traders

-A Better Way to Look at Emotions

-Applying Your Emotions to FX Trading Appropriately

Instead of hoping he must fear and instead of fearing he must hope.He must fear that his loss may develop into a much bigger loss, and hope that his profit may become a big profit.

-Jesse Livermore

We’re only in it for the money. That key trading concept is obvious but shouldn’t be forgotten. The reason why this mantra is key is because we’re not into trading for the following reasons:

-To Beat the Market

-To Show People How Smart You Are

-To Feel Excitement through use of Aggressive Leverage

If you’re interested in learning what else, besides emotions, it takes to trade like a professional trader, register for our free course here.

Why Emotions Get Shunned By Traders

Some traders opt for an Automated Trading or Black Box strategy. The purpose of a black-box system is to have your preferred trading rules or edge programmed so as to put you into a trade and exit you from a trade when the edge is gone or the profit target is achieved. The argument of this approach is that your emotions can’t get in the way of you entering or exiting a trade. However, a trading career is made up of more than just on trade and if you do not have the emotional strength to stick with your edge, programmer or discretionary, then your emotions are still getting the best of you.

Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Trader

Either way, your emotions are at play. If you’re deciding when to enter the trade yourself, known as discretionary trading, your emotions are obviously at play. The way emotions effect newer traders is that new traders hope their losses will come back so they let them run in order to avoid booking a loss. They fear that their profits will turn into losses so they cut them short. However, this fear and hope tug-of-war doesn’t work out in the traders favor in the long term.

Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Trader

A Better Way to Look at Emotions

Emotions aren’t bad if you know how to steer them towards your benefit. By default, you likely don’t like being wrong or losing money, who would? However, taking a big picture view, being wrong sometimes and losing a little money when deciding if the market is going to move in the direction you believe it will, these two things aren’t that bad and are in fact, inevitable.

So a better way to look at emotions is to flip how you’re using hope and fear and most specifically fear. If you can switch your fear from a place of fearing a losing to trade to fearing a losing trade getting out of control, you’ll discover a key emotional truth to trading well, regardless of your balance.

As the opening quote mentions, instead of hoping that your loss will turn into a profit so you don’t look like a failure, you should hope that your profits grow larger while always fearing a large relative loss. By flipping these from there default function, you’re no longer holding onto a losing trading waiting for it to come back while closing out your good trades at a minimal profit afraid that the profit will slip through your fingers. As Michael Martin put it, that’s like pulling your flowers and letting your weeds flourish in hoping they change.

Applying Your Emotions to FX Trading Appropriately

So now that you know that your emotions are not your enemy when appropriately adjusted, what’s the best way to apply this information? This may come as a shock, but you need to start from the premise that you don’t know FOR SURE if your next trade will hit its protective stop or profit target. Of course, you’d prefer that every trade hit its profit target but by now, you know that’s not always the case.

However, like the picture from above, you’re not sure if the next trade will take you off the road you were planning on driving down (read: the trend bends or ends to get you out of your trade). Therefore, when you’re in a trade based on your edge or indicators, it’s best to keep an eye for trades that go against you from the start and see that it’s best to fear these trades and get out there or just accept that your profit target most likely will not get hit but whatever you do, don’t remove your stop and hope for a trade that goes sour right away. These are the trades you should rightly fear draining your equity.

On the flip side, if you’re entering at the right time and price (unbeknownst to you or not), and the trade goes in your favor right away, then it’s best to keep the hope in play that this could be a big move that makes your day, week, month, or year and move your stop up to break even when your system sees it appropriate.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Michael Martin that’s been helpful for me and I hope it does the same for you. “Winners never quit, but quitters have more equity in their accounts when they admit defeat and return tomorrow with a fresh start and a clear head.” This world of trading is a paradox, the trading paradox involves embracing losing trades early and often while allowing those few golden trades make your year.

Now that you're familiar with a new way of handling emotions while trading, feel free to try this information out on a FREE Forex Demo Account with access to multiple markets.

Happy Trading!

---Written by Tyler Yell, Trading Instructor

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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.