July 14


Forex and Visualization, The Way to Peak Performance in Forex

Forex and Visualization

Most traders discount the need to focus on the psychological aspects of trading. This dismissive attitude stems from an underestimating of the difficulty involved in trading consistently. Apart from money management, the mental aspect plays the most critical part in trading success or failure. In other competitive fields such as tennis, hockey, and football, top athletes use visualization as the key to being prepared in advance of a practice or game.

What I believe is a problem in many visualization techniques is the emphasis on developing detail during visualization exercises. Although this may be part of a method in developing useful visualization, I believe there is a more important aspect to visualization.

The Need for Visualization in Trading

Forex and visualization go hand in hand in the sense that forex trading leads to losses that result in the sense of failure. By practicing imagery, you can change this feeling of loss to one of optimism by bringing to mind the experience of successful trades and trading techniques. This practice can reinvigorate you and create a new sense of purpose and drive.

Without a means of interrupting a foreboding sense of doom and gloom, you risk a repeating cycle: failure, which leads to negative feelings, which leads to continued failure, etc. This cycle can form an ingrained habit that’s hard to break without the introduction of a new successful experience.

Positive experiences have a profound effect on incentive, and these experiences can be developed just as much as they can be experienced in real time. If a positive experience is ingrained in the trader, he will more likely stick to his plan and system in order to wait out a certain losing period in favor of a winning streak.

In short, he will more likely succeed in reaching his goal. A positive experience and expectation will also open the trader up to new ideas and learning experiences. And the more one learns in this business, again, the more chance of success.

You should include in your imagery all the steps that you need to execute a high probability trade. You should also include the steps involved in researching a trade in the first place. These are the positive steps to be taken.

However, what is neglected in many cases is the consideration of trades gone wrong. You should also include visualization of trades not working out plus the actions you'll take to respond to these situations.

This visualization could consist of you doing further study, not reacting to FOMO, taking only high probability trades, waiting patiently for high probability trades, not acting impulsively to news or information. All this can be exercised in your visualization process.

forex and visualization

Proper Visualization

There is evidence that process orientated visualization works, but outcome-oriented visualization does not. What does this mean? Some studies have suggested that even acknowledging your obstacles to obtaining a goal is more effective in you reaching them than fantasizing over a final achievement. The truth is believing you are presently attaining a goal includes process, overcoming obstacles and a final outcome.

If you neglect the visualizing about the process, and problems involved, and overcoming those obstacles, then you will never fully experience the certainty that a goal is presently being achieved. It is this full sense of confidence in present achievement that is most important.

Believing that you are presently achieving a goal means that you have confidence that you have gone through all the steps and problems associated with a goal and are able to execute them successfully. Are, present tense. You believe that you are living through it. It is presently being experienced. Visualization helps you "live" through these steps. 

Proper visualization can also be a reality check. By including possible negative obstacles in the forex and visualization process, you challenge yourself to consider the real possibility of failure. This consideration could lead to alternative decision-making. By finding alternatives we mean that you imagine other methods of trading that could compliment your present style and result in more robust results.

You should visualize that which is attainable to give you as much a sense of certainty as possible. One cannot gain an insight into a skill being presently achieved, such as trading, unless one considers what mistakes could be made and how to respond constructively to them.

The outcome of being a successful trader can also be included in visualization exercises but not in a euphoric sense. Focus on attaining a sense of being a successful trader, now in the present. Picture the steps you would be doing as a successful trader, the people with whom you would be associating, the environment you would be trading in and tools you would be using as a succesful trader.

Evidence that Visualization Works

The visualization process I'm advocating is implemented under a similar form in the academic world. It combines both mental contrasting and implementation intentions and is referred to as WOOP. Although not identical to the process highlighted above, it does contain some key features which lead to a sense of certainty that one is achieving a particular result.

WOOP, or wish, outcome, obstacle, plan, has been shown to:

  • increase the attendance and course grades of disadvantaged school children. — Duckworth, Kirby, A. Gollwitzer, & Oettingen
  • improve the homework of children at risk for ADHD. — Gawrilow, Morgenroth, Schultz, Oettingen, & Gollwitzer
  • increase high school students’ efforts to prepare for standardized tests by 60%. — Duckworth, Grant, Loew, Oettingen, & Gollwitzer
  • help study participants double the amount of regular physical exercise they performed over a four-month period and helped study participants increase fruit and vegetable intake by 30% over a two-year period. — Stadler, Oettingen, & Gollwitzer, 2009, 2010 

Forex and Visualization the Right Way

Not all forms of visualization work, as is demonstrated in studies that suggest merely fantasizing about an outcome leads to less action, not more.  Less action leads to a lesser likelihood of attaining a goal. You need to include all the means that lead to a sense that you are becoming an accomplished trader, in the present tense.

Finally, although this may seem unrelated, you need to be grateful for attaining your excellent trading skills. The act of gratitude reinforces the sense of certainty that the goal is being accomplished. It also instills a sense of humility which leads to a more flexible and adaptable attitude towards improvement in the future.

Please Share this article and Check out this excellent Trading Psychology course linked below(I do receive commissions for it)!

Trading Psychology Course:

Trader’s Routine – Visualizing the Trade

Aug 3, 2012 … before the race. Learn how to visualize your trade before taking the trade. … by Jeremy Wagner, CEWA-M , Head Forex Trading Instructor.


forex and visualization

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  • Hi, John.
    Thanks for sharing the information on visualization and the ways to increase the performance of Forex
    I have always been an avid advocate of visualisation but never thought to use it for enhancing the performance of Forex. So this part of the coin is quite interesting.
    I am definitely going to use your methods.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

  • Well, that is an interesting twist. I practice visualization with many things and goals in my life. Never considered doing it in trading. But when I think about it, there is no real reason why not to do so. I think that our mind and words have an amazing impact on the world.

    Dedicated work + vizualization make a perfect formula. Thank you for sharing the real life examples.


    • The visualization forex has to be specific. You can become more confident in your rule-based trading by reviewing your winning trading and rehearsing them in your mind. Again, be detailed in your visualization including entry and exit points that follow your rules.

      This will help add confidence and consistency to your decision making.

  • Hey John, this is a really great article! I am so big on visualisation in all aspects of my life, something I am always preaching to others to get on board with. It’s the best technique to applying to any kind of plan in life wouldn’t you agree?

    Although I am not into trading myself, my partner and some of our friends are huge on it. They are always getting their hopes up, putting all their eggs in one basket so to speak and because they’re not fully thinking about the process and potential outcomes along the way… they are always finding themselves disappointed. 

    I totally agree with you that proper visualisation can be the perfect reality check. It is so important to consider all potential obstacles. Even if you come to the realisation that that particular idea/path isn’t the way to go, it will open your eyes to other opportunities and moves. 

    Keep up the great writing!

    • It’s important to get your subconscious confident in the trading rules that you use in your trading. This includes entries, exits, and the process involved in avoiding bad trades. Visualization is a great way to rehearse this for your subconscious freedom. What’s also important is to avoid any feeling of doubt in the process. Work towards a sense of certainty in the outcome. If you focus on the fear of losing, you tend to get what you focus on.

  • I found this really interesting and useful, thank you! I think the ability to connect with an imagined future is so powerful. It must be conceived in the mind before it can become a reality. I think your advice to consider what you would do if a trade didn’t go according to plan is really good advice. It’s good to expect the best, but also plan for the worst, that way you are prepared for anything that happens. I also think your advice to wait patiently is critical – patience is the key isn’t it?

  • Hi, Jordan
    I have always won to try trading, but I gave up looking for a good trading platform. All I found was a scam, and that’s why I give up, but I try and try for many months, do you know a good one to try out?
    Your article is so great I read every word excited and it did I want to try again.
    Thank you so much.
    Best regards

    • I usually don’t respond this quickly, but I wanted to let you know that the only thing that seems to work for me is a combination of visualization, meditation ( I merely mean deep focused breathing), fundamentals based on news, and a little bit of technical analysis. I am presently writing an article on Meditation and Forex and will post the link soon. Thank you for your comments.

  • Hello.
    I have been trading forex for 8 years and still have not found a way to make it consistently profitable. Before reading your post I had a misunderstanding of “visualization”. I thought it was just seeing an image in your mind of your trade making money. What this article highlights is not just imagining a good trade but visualizing if it goes agains you, which in turn would influence HOW you place the trade to begin with. Thanks for the clarification 🙂

    • Too many people simply visualize the positive outcome or steps needed to trade successfully. There’s too much that can go wrong and when that happens we’re not prepared unless we’ve rehearsed it ahead time.

  • I had always heard that trading was such a stressful and dangerous form of employment. However, using the visualization along with the trading would be much more successful. Guided Imagery is equally as strong, just a bit different. In guided imagery you put yourself in a safe place and pray, enjoy the smells and views, etc. Which do you think would be more valuable for this instance? Visualization or guided imagery? Why would you make which ever decision you made and please be direct. I’m really curious.

  • Great point! There’s such a huge psychological aspect to trading. Not just your own, but the psychology of other traders.

    I’ve only dabbled in penny stocks, but I’ve had some success by sensing an attitude shift towards a certain stock and jumping in even if I didn’t think it was actually a good buy. I would ride the surge for a few days, 25%-65% gains, and then sell fast.

    Have you found this kind of strategy can work often? I haven’t set aside enough time to master it myself.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I haven’t tried that method out, but it’s similar to how I trade forex news events. The key is to know what’s causing the move in the first place. This cause will help you determine the potential longevity of the trade along with resistance and support. Penny stocks may be hard to discern.

  • What a great read! Thank you for posting that. What great content, thanks for the info!
    Such a fresh perspect to focus on the psychology of trading. It’s been a bear year for me and morale is down.
    That’s just my opinion. Thanks again for the great read! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your future articles!

    • Thank you.I’m finding the more I prepare by reading up on news and comparing it to price action on the charts, the better I do. When I haven’t read enough and am ill prepared , that’s when I make mistakes. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.

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