By Rob Colville on April 8, 2016 in
Here’s an honest question for traders: Would you rather put in hundreds of hours learning new technical analysis and trading skills, or spend only perhaps a fraction of that time learning visualization techniques that can help optimize performance of your current methods?
Now that seems like a simple choice, and yet so many traders have yet to really embrace the “mental game,” whether it’s out of skepticism, or because they aren’t sure what to do to develop these skills…and make no mistake, they are skills indeed!
Here’s how visualization techniques can help you develop more calmness and clarity throughout all stages of the trading process, and perhaps most of all, how small changes to your thought process—and virtually no changes whatsoever to your trading strategy—can improve your performance and help alleviate excess trading stress.
If ever you battle nerves while trading, or you struggle to get your trading day started, or if fear and outside “noise” creep in and cause doubts or indecision, then visualization techniques could be the right solution! Think about it: Your strategy and trading methods may be working just fine; problems such as those are internalized and largely caused by the range of emotions that traders feel throughout the process, and for many, some healthy visualization really helps!
In fact, many visualization techniques that are popular in the world of trading are also used by athletes, martial artists, and military personnel, and are even taught by leading psychology experts. Trade psychology is now a field all its own, too, and targeted education is being continually created to help traders promote clearer and more empowered thinking. Mindfulness and visualization techniques tend to lie at the center of these approaches, and there are plenty of traders who swear by them!
So, if you’d like to explore visualization techniques, start by coming in open minded. It’s strange, but traders are often quick to try new trade signals, set-ups, or indicators, but hesitant and skeptical when it comes to changing their thought process. Be diligent and committed; make the development of visualization skills one of your trading goals, and track your methods and progress in your trade journal. And lastly, become a student of the mental game, and continually refine the methods and thought processes that maximize your results, just the same way you do with your mechanics and trading strategy.
Let’s try a bit of visualization, shall we?
Close your eyes and calmly envision for a moment your best trade ever…
Now, switch over and envision a recent time(s) when you felt a high amount of stress while trading…
You can probably recall them both well, complete with where you were, your surroundings at the time, perhaps what you were trading, and how you felt right then. And while only one is a particularly fond memory that might help your trading, it will go to show that you have the ability to impart visualization techniques for your own learning and benefit…so here are a few scenarios to try:
“Safe Room” – Envision yourself trading in a top-secret, underground “safe room,” where there are thick, concrete walls separating you from the happenings outside. In there, you can’t see or hear anything beyond what’s there with you, and you’re free to focus on just you and your set-up, making decisions free from any worries or chaos that’s out there. Visualization techniques like this one can be helpful when trading high-volatility, news-driven conditions, amid big macro events, or anytime you sense that fear and outside influence is creeping in.
Hunter – The hunter is always prepared, patient, and calculating, and is willing to sit idle for as long as it takes until the desired target not only emerges, but until a worthwhile opportunity to shoot is presented. For those who overtrade or tend to become impatient or overanxious, practicing slow breathing and visualizing this hunting scenario can provide a useful reference for trading both safely and more effectively.
See related: 3 Hunting Analogies That Can Help Your Trading
Pre-Open Visualization – To help begin each trading day with a plan and purpose, take time before the open to envision price moving on the charts, picture your desired signals and price patterns appearing up close, and visualize yourself acting confidently and decisively to execute according to your strategy. Keep that vision close in your mind, and if (and only if) qualifying trades are presented that day, simply repeat the actions you’ve already executed seamlessly in your mind!
These are just a few examples of visualization techniques that can help traders achieve a range of objectives, from cleaner and more decisive execution, to reduced stress, more patient trading, and more! And, you can study visualization and other trade psychology skills in detail when you receive our newest trader psychology course, which is yours as a special bonus when you join the Lazy Trader member community. Click below to get started!