The Forex Trader’s Touchstone: Honesty, Promises, and the Power of Good Habits

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I. Are you honest?

Do you usually tell the truth? Do you have a habit of often exaggerating or fabricating facts? As a child, I learned the habit of exaggerating the truth from my father. He exaggerated almost everything he did, said, or experienced. When I challenged his tall tales, he always defended himself by saying, “It’s more interesting this way.”

Consequently, I followed in his footsteps. When I was dating my wife, she challenged my exaggerations just as I had challenged my father. She calmly said to me when we were alone, “Things are not as you say. You exaggerate and are outright lying. This is not a good habit.”

Telling the truth is important; it builds a solid partnership and earns you safety, trust, and respect in your daily interpersonal relationships, allowing others to know the real you. In trading, it also prevents you from going astray.

If you have a habit of exaggeration, then after you learn trading skills, you will tell yourself and others that you have been successful in trading. You will deceive yourself into thinking you are following the rules strictly, but in reality, you are trading based on emotions and feelings. If you proclaim false successes to others, when they want to see evidence, the lies will undoubtedly become a curse. Everyone will want to know the secret of your success, how calm you are inside. So, always stick to the facts!

II. Are you a person who keeps promises, or one who breaks them?

Honesty means your words and actions are consistent. If you do not act as you speak, you are a promise breaker. No one likes such a person. Unless you become a promise keeper, you will not attract the right people into your life.

When you make promises to yourself and others, you must keep them. If you are a promise breaker, you will bring this bad habit into forex trading, and you will not follow the rules when trading. You will make promises to yourself but not keep them. You should plan your forex trades and trade your plan in forex trading. Believe me, if you promise not to trade without setting protective stop-loss orders to prevent losing all your capital in a single trade, but then break this rule, your forex trading career will end quickly. To avoid this outcome, be sure to be a promise keeper.

III. Are you a rule maker or a rule breaker?

Freedom is a paradoxical thing; for freedom, people must follow a set of rules. Look at the traffic rules when driving, and you’ll understand. However, the more rules you follow, the safer you are when driving. Breaking the rules endangers your life and may cause you to lose your freedom.

Our lives are full of rules. We start learning everyday rules from our parents as children, then school, dating, work, marriage, parenting, and so on. These rules protect us and help us move forward faster and safer. Breaking these rules brings danger, problems, and ultimately frustration. These setbacks can completely derail you from the path to success, obviously delaying your achievement of goals.

To learn trading and to be successful in it, you must follow the rules. Ignoring the rules will bring trouble to your trading; you will be driven by emotions, get stuck in chasing highs and lows, constantly change your bias, and break the rules in the book. Don’t let yourself fall into this predicament.

IV. Are you good at listening?

Good listeners are rewarded, and the greatest reward is developing the ability to hear the unspoken.

I used to be a poor listener, always interrupting others, eager to finish their sentences for them. I assumed I knew what they were going to say, but I was usually wrong. To break this habit, I had to learn to keep my mouth shut until others had finished speaking.

Interrupting others can derail the topic of conversation and confuse everyone. Imagine the impact of this habit on forex trading. To be a successful forex trader, you must learn listening skills. You might ask, “What should I listen to?” You need to listen to the story the market tells.

The forex market operates like it’s telling a story. History repeats itself, and the positions the forex market has reached in the past can provide insights into future trends. If you interrupt the market’s story and try to guess what it’s going to say, you’ll find that your decisions are often wrong. Although candlestick charts don’t speak, they indeed communicate with good listeners. Listen carefully, and don’t interrupt.

V. Do you think before you speak, or do you speak impulsively?

Have you ever wished you could take back something you’ve said? Speaking is like ringing a bell; once it’s rung, don’t expect to pretend it hasn’t been. Your words are like the sound of the bell—they resonate. Those who speak without thinking are often labeled as ignorant or annoying and are rarely respected. In contrast, we respect and admire those who think before they speak. We value their conversations or opinions because they have been carefully considered.

What about you? Do you habitually misspeak? Do you seriously consider your answers or opinions before expressing them? As a trader interacting with the market, you can appear either ignorant or wise. If you are strict with yourself and think twice before speaking, you are likely to succeed in forex trading. Conversely, if you stubbornly speak without thinking, the forex market will give you opportunities to prove your ignorance.

VI. Do you think before you act, or do you act without thinking?

Your conscious and subconscious mind are your most important assets, but also your most significant liabilities. Your conscious mind is responsible for analyzing, thinking, and categorizing what you see and hear.

When it’s time to act, the conscious mind considers how to execute. Once the action is taken, the subconscious records these thoughts and actions for future reference. In the future, whenever we have a certain thought, the subconscious automatically executes the action that matches that thought. This is how habits are formed.

One thought, one action, and you start to develop a habit. Three thoughts, three actions, and you automatically form a habit—good or bad. Habits make you act without thinking later on. This is both good news and bad news.

If you are inefficient and have turned it into a habit, you are in the ‘unconsciously incompetent’ stage, which operates on a pattern of self-destruction. You need to regain control to change. You must become sensitive to these bad habits again and admit they are detrimental to you. Recognizing your bad habits is the first step to learning a new skill or developing a good habit to change the old you—it’s the first step to success.

When learning a new skill, you usually think carefully about every step of the action. Thinking and executing successfully is called the ‘consciously competent’ stage. When the situation demands, you will discipline yourself to repeat the ‘think and execute successfully’ process consciously, and the subconscious will automatically replace the previous records, forming a new habit. The subconscious itself does not think; it only recalls and executes previously recorded thoughts. The more you repeat—good or bad—the more unconsciously automatic the habit becomes.

If you are mired in bad habits, you are in the ‘unconsciously incompetent’ stage; if you act unconsciously according to good habits, you are in the ‘unconsciously competent’ state. The path to success includes recognizing ‘unconscious incompetence,’ enduring ‘conscious incompetence,’ striving for ‘conscious competence,’ and achieving the ultimate state of ‘unconscious competence.’ For this, you must first replace bad habits with effective, automatic good habits, ultimately reaching a state where you can act successfully without thinking. This is similar to learning to drive.

Recall the first time you sat in the driver’s seat, thinking about what you needed to do to get on the road. This process might have taken 15 minutes because you were consciously considering everything, which is ‘consciously competent.’ If you start driving at this stage but receive a speeding ticket and have an accident, you become ‘unconsciously incompetent.’ Only when you control yourself not to speed anymore and pay attention to your surroundings to avoid accidents, do you become a ‘consciously competent’ driver.

Now, if you drive without receiving speeding tickets and rarely have accidents, you are an ‘unconsciously competent’ driver, indicating you have developed good driving habits. You only need three seconds to get the car on the road, and you might even drive with one hand holding coffee and the other holding a phone, using your knees for a while because you are more focused on talking than on individual driving skills. See, your brain is so powerful; it thinks so correctly and quickly before you act, which is crucial.

Let’s talk about forex trading. Before trading, you must think carefully. If you place orders without careful consideration and make trading mistakes, your subconscious will dominate the trading and record all ignorant actions, laying the groundwork for bad habits. At this point, losing begins, or at best, you break even. Successful forex traders will always think carefully before acting, and implementing correct forex trading habits.

Failure is like a malignant tumour. It’s not something that just goes away. If you’re forced to cut it out, it’s often too late. The best method is prevention, forming good habits from the beginning. This is also how you prevent failure. When learning to trade, you first need to get into the habit of thinking carefully about all the details and preparing a list that includes these details.

You also need to get into the habit of making a forex trading plan and adhering to the discipline of trading according to the plan. These habits make you think before you act, avoiding impulsive, emotional trades—often unsuccessful trades. The forex market has no pity for ignorance and no sympathy for impulsive actions. The ignorant will suffer losses. Therefore, think before you trade.

VII. Do you control your emotions, or do your emotions control you?

Most financially successful individuals do not let emotions dictate their business decisions. Believe it or not, successful business activities are nothing more than making and executing non-emotional decisions based on economic considerations, which is not much different from solving a math problem. 2×2=4, no matter how much you wish the result to be 5, it will always be 4.

On the contrary, unsuccessful business activities are simply those that do not make and execute decisions based on economic considerations but rather on emotions. For example, keeping inefficient employees just because you like them is not considering the issue from an economic perspective; it is an erroneous business decision made on an emotional basis.

In life, there are beneficial emotions and detrimental emotions. The former enhances our quality of life, while the latter is fraught with disadvantages. In business, your decisions cannot be based on emotions. Your decision-making process should be based on education, logic, and non-emotional factors. Any financial decision made based on intense negative emotions is usually more harmful than beneficial.

When it comes to forex trading, the more you rely on emotions, the more you lose. The more you rely on education and logic, the more you get. Thinking non-emotionally will make you more focused on pursuing long-term happiness and success. Bad things happen to everyone, and often we cannot control them. In fact, we cannot control the cards we are dealt, only how we play them. That is, what we can control is how we handle various situations—emotionally or non-emotionally. Successful forex traders manage to control their emotions, while unsuccessful forex traders let emotions control them.

VIII. Are you proactive or reactive?

When things do not go as planned or as you envisioned, do you lose your temper or even have a mental breakdown? This is often the case with non-successful individuals. Successful and positive-thinking individuals tend to delve deep, advance step by step, and handle adverse situations appropriately. If emotions control you, you are reacting negatively rather than proactively, and your life is likely to be more filled with misfortune, poverty, and mediocrity.

Therefore, when bad things happen, they are either self-inflicted or due to insufficient attention to external factors, such as warning signals or other details. Taking responsibility for our actions is painful, so much so that we find it easier to blame others and lose our temper than to analyze in detail and create a system to prevent recurrence.

If you bring the bad habit of negative reactions into forex trading, the forex market will know exactly which buttons to push. Then, you become like a rabbit frantically running from a pack of hungry wolves. In panic, you will not calm down to think carefully about what to do next. Negative reactions reduce your ability to see the essence of problems clearly; you should think calmly and react positively. Remember, whatever the problem, whether in forex trading or elsewhere, you must respond logically and proactively, not emotionally. Negative reactions can cause you to lose all your capital, while positive reactions will make you think about the next move and take advantage of potential opportunities.

IX. Are you enterprising or self-destructive?

Are you humble or arrogant? Are your decisions based on honor and ego, or on logical thinking, regardless of the outcome for your ego? If your decisions and actions are based on a self-destructive ego, then you are like someone who buys a brand-new sailboat but ignores the user manual. The first rule of the sailing guide is: “Avoid storms at all costs. Do not chase storms when sailing; they will find you.” Self-destructive individuals are no different from sailors who chase one storm after another. Enterprising individuals, on the other hand, focus on all the necessary details to avoid the various storms in life’s journey.

Enterprising individuals believe that their consciousness is like a parachute; it only works when open. Self-destructive individuals, however, think they know everything. Unfortunately, the forex market will teach them humility during their trades. When faced with conflict, enterprising individuals become more humble and ultimately achieve happiness, rather than insisting on proving themselves right.

X. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Your answer to this question largely determines your sense of happiness. Faced with a half-full glass of water, do you value the “only half” or the “already half”? There is a law as effective as the law of universal gravitation: the Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction posits that whatever our thoughts are, they radiate from us and construct the environment and events, attracting people similar to our thoughts. If our thoughts are positive, this mindset will radiate, build a positive environment, lead to positive events, and thus attract positive people into our lives. The opposite is also true. If our thoughts are negative, this mindset will also radiate, create a negative environment, produce negative outcomes, and attract negative people into our lives.

The Law of Attraction plays an incredible role in determining success or failure in life. Positive people are more optimistic, while negative people are more pessimistic. Optimists believe that every problem has a solution, and every predicament has a way out, while pessimists think there are no answers to problems, and most predicaments have no solutions. The mindset of pessimists limits their potential, success, and sense of happiness. Optimists, however, create positive outcomes for themselves through the Law of Attraction.

Shifting from a negative to a positive mindset can change your entire world. Negative people constantly blame others and feel frustrated because they perceive life as unfair. They see themselves as victims. Those with a positive mindset bravely take responsibility for their environment and fully engage in finding solutions to adverse situations.

If you want to be a forex successful trader, you must clear away those negative views and adopt a positive mindset and perspective. When trading, a negative mindset only creates a negative environment, negative results, and financial losses.

XI. Are you afraid of making mistakes, or can you embrace errors and learn from them?

Everyone makes mistakes, but only the wise learn from them. The real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Our mistakes tell us what needs to be improved; without making mistakes, how would we know what to improve?

Being afraid of making mistakes might be the biggest mistake. If you dare to make a decision against all odds, right or wrong, you must risk making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, both the strong and the weak, but the difference is that the strong admit their mistakes, laugh at themselves optimistically, and learn from their errors, becoming stronger. The weak make mistakes, and when problems surface, they are filled with fear and anxiety.

Pessimists fear making mistakes because errors lead to problems, and as mentioned before, they believe problems are unsolvable. Optimists make just as many mistakes, but when problems arise, they respond positively because they believe problems can be solved, and once they realize there is a way to handle them, their fear and anxiety disappear.

When life gives you lemons, do you complain about their sourness, or do you learn to make lemonade? Making mistakes is human nature, and the most important lessons in life are hard-earned, often through mistakes. As long as you believe there is a solution, mistakes can be resolved or corrected. Therefore, when you make a mistake, face it bravely, and the solution will naturally appear.

By doing this consistently, instead of handling problems emotionally, you will develop the ability to solve problems effectively. Remember, failure is not the problem; the real issue is if you waste time wallowing in self-pity instead of focusing on finding solutions. Falling is not failing; failing to get up after falling is.

Learning from mistakes is crucial for success. In forex trading, when mistakes occur, choosing to avoid them rather than learning from them will make you habitually repeat the same error. Your subconscious will lead you and form bad habits, resulting in losses. You must take mistakes seriously and embrace them with a positive attitude.

XII. Do you care about what you have or what you’ve lost?

The mistakes you make in life will inevitably cause you to lose something, intimate relationships, personal assets, etc. However, how much time do you spend fixating on these mistakes, and how much time do you spend calculating your losses, hoping to regain them? The longer you dwell on past failures and losses, the longer you remain in that state of failure. You must shed the burden of past failures and focus on the path ahead.

Have you ever considered why the rearview mirror in a vehicle is 50 times smaller than the windshield? The windshield is so large to help you focus on what’s ahead, not behind. Licking your wounds for too long and dwelling on past losses only block your path to success in trading. Every trader will lose and gain in individual trades, but successful traders ensure that their gains outweigh their losses. Successful traders do not waste time worrying or calculating losses; they continuously focus on the next opportunity.

The poor and mediocre are busy looking back, so much so that they miss future opportunities. This is a painful mindset. If you trade with the painful emotions of a wounded person, you will carry all the emotional baggage of the past, which has previously hindered your success in any endeavor, and it will also hinder your success as a forex trader. To achieve success in forex trading, you must focus on what you’ve gained, not what you’ve lost.

XIII. Are you a long-term goal setter or a frequent goal setter?

When you decide to do something, do you persist until it’s done, or do you easily get discouraged and give up? One of the most important habits we need to develop is to finish what we start.

Most people in life are rainbow chasers. They set goals almost every day, but the new goals have nothing to do with those of the previous day, week, or even month. As a result, they never take a step in any direction. Believe that at the end of every road you take, there will be a reward, and at the end of every rainbow, there is a pot of shining gold. If you give up before reaching the end, you will never achieve your goal.

Setting goals is like drawing a map of your life, plotting your direction. Without a map, you may easily go off track without realizing it and not find your way back. If you do not set goals for your trading, you will not have any identifiable milestones of success.

The completion of any achievement comes with setbacks, but if you set a clear goal in your mind from the beginning, you will stay on the path to achieving that goal, even if the road takes detours. Those forex traders who set goals and stick to them ultimately find the shining gold at the end of the rainbow. That gold is executing your trades 100% correctly—not that you win 100% of the time, but that you consistently make more in profits than losses. Persisting to reach achievable goals is a discipline.

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