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.
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:
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.
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