Forex Trading Tips: Trading Focus

The Key to Trading Focus

About two years ago when we had just published our book Millionaire Traders I told Becky Quick (clip below) that the only unifying characteristic amongst these very different but successful people was an “athletic mindset”. Not every one of our interview subjects was star athlete -- far from it in fact -- it was simply that all the successful traders I’ve ever talked shared a trait common to all the great athletes -- complete and total focus on the task at hand.

The importance of focus did not fully strike me until a game of Wii tennis with my son last weekend. For those of you who haven’t played Wii, the video game creates a completely immersive experience for the user, by mimicking every gesture you make with teh Wii controller onto the screen, so that you truly feel like you are playing tennis on a court.

My son, like every thirteen year old boy never met a video game he couldn’t master and quickly ran his ranking up to pro level by playing against the characters on the screen. On the other hand, I as some one who actually played tennis on his high school team was left in the dust, getting whipped by the 12 inch trolls on my flat panel screen. When my son and I would play doubles against our virtual opponents, the matches would be brutal but the Wii characters won almost every time due to my weak play.

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Last weekend however, our fortunes changed. Suddenly I was returning the 140 mile an hour serves, I was chasing down the most difficult cross court volleys and I was playing the net with surgical precision of John Mcnroe. We beat the little virtual bastards twice -3 sets to 1 and 3 sets 2 and drenched with sweat, we celebrated wildly, much to the annoyance of my daughter who was woken up from her luxurious Saturday sleep.

What was the difference this time? Focus. I simply played in the moment, keeping my eye on the ball and my mind clear of any other thoughts. I realized that this was the exact same mental state that occurred when I traded well. When I focused on the screen, completely absorbed in price action, fully apprised of newsflow and utterly confident in my execution I inevitably traded well.

The athletic mindset isn’t about your innate physical ability. Its about focus and flow. Its about paying attention to the market so that you can enter the trade at the most opportune time. Trading after all is timing and timing is the fundamental unit of success in both sports and markets. Now the type of focus and timing I speak of applies primarily to the hyper fast screen jockeying world of scalping where a minute late usually means a trade lost.

For most of you who trade on a more casual positional basis this manic intensity and devotion to the screen is not necessary. But the idea of focus remains. Whether you trade on a 5 minute charts or on a weekly chart, you must still be aware, you must still be informed you must still be focused on the trade at hand.

Now for this week’s video.

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