The currency market is one of the toughest markets to trade for many reasons. One of those reasons is that it is an international market so it is literally open (in American) from Sunday at 5pm to Friday at 5pm.  This means that anything can happen at any moment and because of this it is key that you try to stay at least one step ahead of the market at all times.  My trading coach Jason Stapleton ( taught me an acronym that helps to do this: I.P.D.E. which stands for Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute.  However, even if you do this it is important that you are not just disciplined in your analysis but also just as disciplined in your scheduling.  And because I wasn't I have possibly missed out on a very good trading opportunity.

Over the past 6 months I have gotten into a great morning routine of how I attack the market. I wake up at the same time every day, read my trading plan, go through my analysis of the pairs I trade, get some breakfast, then proceed to start my trading day. I have also added a new section to my trading journal where I keep specific notes on what I'm looking at on each pair (along with having my charts marked of course). However, I noticed that after my trading day is over (12noon) I have no set pattern on when I check the charts for the rest of the day. I usually do so in the evening, but it's nothing set in stone. Yesterday was a busy day for me as far as coaching and running errands and even though I had my charts up when I came home, I never really went through my list of pairs to look for updates. I simply tracked the one trade that I was in at the moment. This morning when I checked my pairs I noticed a beautiful bat pattern complete and reverse that I had indentified about a week in advance.  All of the lines were there on the chart and I even had it under the label "Watching" in my trading journal. So I asked myself "How did I miss this?" (There were some other words missing but I'd like to keep this post family approved lol).  And the answer was because I didn't check my charts last night. Now I have to put in a specific rule on when to check my charts in the evening.

The point of this point is that discipline is more important that skill by itself.  this isn't the type of market where you can simply stroll in when you want and make money. You have to make sure you stay on top of things and do so on a consistent basis.  if I would have checked the pair last night I would have seen that it was on its way to completion and I would have set a limit order which would have been filled over night.  

I've been known to be a pretty even keeled individual. Due to certain events in my life I usually don't ever let my emotions get  too high or too low. This works well for me in trading because (as you know) we go through a lot of up's and down's every day, week, and month. However I wasn't always like this. When I first started trading I would get emotionally involved in every trade I took. If the trade was going in my direction I would be rowdy, jumping up and down, playing music, you name it. And if the trade was losing I would be depressed and immediately start searching the internet for new techniques. Seems silly now, but that was my reality. 

Fast forward two years and I have a completely new perspective on how things work. I now think of everything from a businessman's point of view, meaning that winners are expected and losses are simply looked at as being the cost of doing business. I have a friend who trades that has a problem taking losses. Emotionally it's hard for him to deal with a losing streak and when a winner becomes a loser.  Because of this he is focused on finding a system that has a 95% win rate.  When talking to him I tried to explain to him that if trading is truly his business then he needs to stop and ask himself this question. Is there any business out there that doesn't have operating costs? It just doesn't seem possible to have only income without with no expenses.  Anyway, the point is that losses don't bother me anymore because of how I look at them. I now both accept and expect them to happen, it's just business. However there is one thing that gets me heated, and that's missing opportunities.

So far this month I have indentified five trading opportunities that I missed. Three out of those five came from my day trading which I don't mind as much because of how fast the action is at that lower timeframe, but the other two really make me upset. In this particular case the two trades I missed both would have been winners but I honestly would have been just as upset if they weren't. My main goal is to take part in every trading opportunity that meets my requirement because I know that in the long run I will be profitable. I often relate this trading mindset to my days of doing sales.  My boss would always tell me that the most important thing was to actually go and talk to people. Whether they bought the product or not wasn't up to me, the point was to provide them with the opportunity. I compare it to trading in the way that, when we enter a trade we have no idea whether it's going to be a winner or a loser. We may have a hunch based on our analysis, but in all honesty we can't definitively say this trade is going to win. However if we don't even enter the trade then we take away any chance of winning at all.  Just as if we refuse to talk to a potential customer (not knowing if they're a buyer or not) then there is no way we can make the sale.  Obviously trading is a little different because you can lose money as well, so many people have the mindset that if they miss a trade then they simply avoid a chance of losing money. Which is true, but if you have faith in your abilities  then you shouldn't be entering trades thinking you're going to lose in the first place.  If that's the case then I suggest you go back to back-testing not only to gain confidence, but to also make sure that you have a system that proves to be profitable over time.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and comments are welcomed. 
Also if you haven't done so yet, here is the link to sign up for the FREE 2 Week FOREX Trader Boot Camp 2.0. There are plenty of free training videos that come with registering and if you can't make the actual sessions i was told that the 2 weeks will be recorded for future viewing on your own time.

Akil L. Stokes (@IambusinessTR)

Yesterday was another slow day in the market. Seems like this entire week has been slow to me, but that usually happens after an action packed week.  A good thing about a slow day is that it frees up time for me to get some back-testing done. (For those who are unfamiliar with back-testing, it's when a technical analysis trader takes his/her strategy or system and goes back through historical charts and tests it). My day trading strategy uses a 15min chart so I usually like to go back a year, but for those who use higher timeframes I would go as far back as you can. A few things I like to look for in my back-testing are  1)Profit  2) Draw-down and 3)

Win percentage.  Profit is important for obvious reasons; I want to see if the pair I'm testing is profitable or not. Next I look at draw-down. Not only do I want to see how much I average on a loss, to make sure I don't blow out my account, but I also want to make sure that a particular month doesn't clean out the earnings of another.  Personally I don't like to see more than 2 losing months in a row and if I more than four losing months throughout the year then I usually stop testing the pair and move on to another.  Lastly I look at my win percentage.  I like to look at this statistic in order to give me a confidence and calmness when I trade. If I know that my win percentage on the EUR/USD is 50%. Then I know that after a few winners, a loss is bound to come. That way when the loss does come I'm not in shock or upset, because it was expected.

Now for the lesson well learned.  It is important that you finish what you start. I recently back-tested a pair that looked very very promising through the first 9 months of testing it. I was honestly very excited and was seriously thinking about just adding the pair to my portfolio and trading it with real money. Then a little voice in my head (my trading mentor Jason Stapleton from told me to finish the entire year first. I did so and the last 3 months went horrible. My losses is those final months completely wiped out everything I had earned during the year. I'm not sure how the pair is doing now, but after seeing that, I knew it was something that I didn't want to get involved in.