Turning Losses into Gains

02/13/2014 9:00 am EST

Focus: FOREX

The cold hard fact about trading forex or any other instrument is that nobody can avoid losing trades, and the sooner you can accept this, the better it will be for you in the long run, notes Jeremy Poor of Don’t Let the Forex Drive You Up the Wall.

Can we avoid losing trades? The simple truth about trading the forex markets is that there is no way any trader can go without experiencing a losing trade. Getting to grips with this fact will hopefully mean we are able to learn to accept that trades can fail and in doing so should prevent them from having any adverse reaction on our trading. There is no magic formula out there to remove them from trading and so learning to let them become a part of our trading business is the first step we need to take.

The results a trader achieves in their career will never be as a result of any kind of luck, or having a lucky mascot sat on their desk. The forex markets must be viewed as an untamable beast and so trading boils down to a very simple game of probability and learning to find and take the high-probability trades is the aim of the game.

The Reasons for Losing Trades
Trying to trick ourselves into thinking losing trades don’t exist or are a bad habit we can remove from trading is not realistic. Yes, we want to remove the poorly chosen trades and focus our attentions on only taking the very best trades. However, removing them from trading completely is an impossible task and being able to accept losing trades is just a must if we want to move on.

Losing trades can be caused by many different reasons, sometimes they can be due to human error, like taking a trade from a weak level or using a weak price action signal, etc., but other times, the trades that look great, which tick all the boxes, still result in a failure. This can confuse traders because when they spot a great setup they automatically see a winning trade rather than a trade setup that yes may look great and have a high chance of working out but still understand that there is a chance although much lower, that it could fail.

The forex markets are all about playing the probability game and learning which trades have a high chance of being successful and which have a lower chance of being successful and then using this information to give us our edge. No trade should be looked at as a “certainty.”

How to Deal with Losing Trades
Understanding that losing trades are just another part of trading that we need to deal with, allows us to cope with the losses much more professionally. The reaction to a losing trade should be the same as for a winning trade, the only difference being the outcome. If we enter trades using strict rules and from key levels then the trades we take should be consistently very similar. Remember every trade we take is just another trade in a long list of trades and this should help to give us perspective and realize that we have to take the losing and winning trades equally as well.

NEXT PAGE: Learning to Live with the Losses

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The biggest hurdle is to de-personalize the forex markets and removing the emotion from trading, emotions can be very easily added to trading but this can cause a whole heap of bad habits.

If the losing trades leaves a bad taste in your mouth and the winning trades make you feel on top of the world. You are trading with emotion, its fine to feel proud of your achievements but letting the trade results impact on your trading is very unprofessional. We need to keep a cool head at all times.

The markets are not a tool to be used to make you feel good about yourself. If anything they have the power to do the opposite, any weaknesses we possess will be exposed I guarantee.

It’s impossible to know before entering any trade what the outcome of each trade will be and wasting our time on guessing how it will play out is pointless. The simple fact is that the markets are able to do what they like at any point, irrespective of what we think. Once we enter a trade, the markets are in control and all we can do is manage the trades to our best ability.

The biggest reason traders can find themselves riding a losing streak, is because they let the first losing trade affect their trading to a point where they start to trade with emotion, these emotions can cause problems like, a fear of trading or trading to get back the money lost are very destructive indeed and a habit we don’t want to get into.

A losing trade can do all kinds of detrimental things to a trader mind-set, for example, they can lose faith in their technique, or over analyze trades and simply end up just going round in circles. What’s scary is that this downward spiral of overthinking and trade paralysis can happen very quickly and be caused by just one losing trade.

If we experience the feelings that the markets are out to get us or against us in some way after a losing trade, we really need to reassess our mind-set for trading.

Learning to Live with the Losses
The fact is we have to learn how to deal with losing trades and accept them as part of being a trader. No single trader will trade without them and so letting the losers come and not allowing them to affect our overall trading style is the big challenge.

If you are unable to stomach the losses then trading is going to be an even bigger struggle. The ability of a losing trade to raise questions about our whole trading technique really highlights if a trader does truly believe in themselves or if they are not really that confident in their trading style of choice.

The best advice I can pass on, is to learn how to draw a line after each trade and start a fresh, trying not to dwell too much on the previous trade and let it affect our overall trading. Each trade is just a number in a long list of trades you will take.

By Jeremy Poor of Don’t Let the Forex Drive You Up the Wall

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