A New Forex Trader - "I'm Like a Dog Chasing Cars"
What would a dog do if it actually caught a car? Lets paws for thought for a few moments and then look into this a little deeper and gain some understanding of how this can perhaps be cured in a Forex Trader or avoided altogether. Forex Traders are naturally wired to chase moving objects like price action and attempt virtually every pip throughout the trading session. Mainly due to lack off knowledge, training, experience and patience which as we know, are absolutely necessary to trade the markets successfully. When a trader repeatedly pursues new strategies in an eagerness to apply and get in front of the Forex herd, to me at least they are like Dogs chasing cars and apply no or very limited reasoning. When an FX Trader does not have the appropriate competence to get on the money, they will target anything on the horizon and whatever drops by into their orbit. When they do not have appropriate form, traders like dogs will target and start running down anything including other currency pairs and even other financial instruments. Chasing the markets will without a shadow of doubt, get a trader into trouble and have catastrophic consequences that affect the traders psyche, going on to build all sorts of bad habits but more over, will entirely blow up their account.
Why do Young Hounds Chase Pips?
Traders much like Dogs evolved as endurance specialists. Wild canines, like wolves and coyotes, much like humans using speed to run down prey. This trait begins from the new trader and puppy stages because despite evolution they are still but one paw-step or banana away from their wild cousins and deeply implanted is the drive to fulfil this retained the instinct.
The urge to pursue moving objects is hard wired into the brain hard drive. This is a natural hunting behavior that is demonstrated whenever the young pup chases a ball, cat or squirrel up a tree. The novice trader attempting to scalp the bones out of the market has this same instinct. Trying to run down every pip in every direction. Through selective breeding or natural selection in people, we have evolved to a certain degree and redirected some hunting instincts. For example some dog breeds retrieves the prey with a soft mouth while others bite down killing whatever gets in its jaws. Herding animals is another compelling instinct for other types of dog breeds which push cattle or sheep in one direction or another. In traders, there is a tendency to pick a favourite currency pair but with no parameter on what direction it should go and the best method to tackle it on a given day.
When the trader cannot find their natural trading style which enables them to pick off the pips in a suitable strategy, all their instinct over flows into other areas and trading chaos occurs. However, pip chasing inappropriate and badly timed currencies like the Yen or Cad, can become a problem that may have unfortunate or even dire consequences. The traders account will also suffer from over trading and chasing losses, leading to margin call.
All hunters enjoy the chase and particular types are developed or suited for specific types of situations and conditions. When working, some are typically or prone to be more obsessive than others but that is not necessarily a bad attribute. It just needs to be recognised then nurtured that's all.
In dogs for example, sighthounds much like Greyhounds and Whippets including terriers breeds are attracted to chasing and attacking small animals. These breeds pose a real danger to domesticated animals like small pets, cats, smaller dogs and even farm animals such as chickens and geese. Shepherd breeds are likely to chase much larger livestock, such as sheep, cattle or horses as well as people jogging, cycling and cars in a misguided instinct to round them up. Instincts in people are by far more complex though, some have the ability to be really focused but for only short spells of time as they need change to keep them interested, versus others who like things set up in a certain way as they can follow, almost in an automated fashion. Needless to say either type will not fit the others working environment and will have to go a long way to find someone who can fit the both. However, the good news is it can be learned but only after recognising where strengths and weakness sit in the grand scheme of a person and traders personality.
Does it really matter when trading?
Maybe you are not overly concerned about chasing and taming the Yen because the market is ranging nicely today and the stop loss can take care of the wins and losses. However what if a trader ups the stakes and markets whipsaw out of the yard of experience and eat away at any profits?
That trader chases inappropriately and is liable to blow another account as well as have a psychological set back. Confidence in the strategy is gone, new account reloaded and the chase is back on to recapture the previous losses. The chasing trader is also at risk from being dumped entirely out of the market along with all expectations of winning are crushed by the other traders and animals in the markets. The broker is well within their rights to make the margin call when funds are unavailable. Slow and steady is what is needed here, so look to the major currency pairs to trade and build off that.
So How to Stop the Trader from Chasing?
To teach what not to chase, well to begin, a strategy must be learned with strict parameters, similar to training a puppy to walk on a leash, the pup must understand the rules to commands like "sit" and "stay", for a new traders the rules are "sit on hands". Then expose your strategy in a demo to staged situations that prompt chasing behaviour, such as scalping the Yen or CAD pairs.
Provided the strategy does not get drawn into whipsaw and takes nice steady small returns then it can be said you have a safety precautionary style which is not over done with competing for every pip out there.
Distract your trading day with taking regular breaks, watch some news, join a Forum and appreciate that you are not chasing pips nor looking for a new shiny strategy, perhaps better than the last one you had. If the urge arises to find something new then just tell yourself there are no Gurus except for the one in the mirror. Remember, the best traders just walk away from a potential trade if conditions for the trading plan are not met entirely. There will be another trade just around the corner and likely the very next day so practice not being enticed in.
In time, gradually increase your portfolio of currency pairs but stick to the majors for some time before expanding. Drill with your own setups and repeat over and over again until you manage to simply walk away when you see a non compliant trade coming your way.
News and Data releases are notorious for enticing traders into chasing some pips but practise looking without the need to engage. That way the trader will begin to associate news data with lies and rumour with a careful minds eye to managing trades in a fruitful manner rather than a chaotic one.
Maybe its impossible to totally eliminate the chasing behaviour for a new pip hunter but it definitely can be redirected. Prevention is always better than cure here and inappropriate chasing habits from the beginning need to be cured by practising strict sets of Forex rules. For example start by learning not every day is a good trading day. Reduce trading opportunities for mistakes with strict boundaries. Also remember when demo trading for fun with limited rules or even live trading small amounts, a trader should still gain the relevant levels of competence to keep out of the danger zones within the financial market Arena.
Skill and knowledge go a long way to being a successful Forex trader but training plus experience deliver the competence to go further.
So the trader should set up some strict parameters and the practice will be in sticking to them.
The motto here could be, "Now don't you chase those pips, no, just relax... and let the pips come to you". - Sir Gissachance
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