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Trading Education Posted by Team Topstep January 26, 2022

4 Ways To Help You Become a More Patient Trader

Shuttle Launch

We examined the metaphors of fishing and hunting as they apply to trading in a previous article. So, fishing or waiting for the right trade to bite our line is a much better approach for many of us than aggressively trying to locate trades. However, the problem, in part, is the battlefield within our minds, whereby we endure a variety of mental games that frequently throw us off track and sometimes even enable us to take an opposite approach to what we’ve intended.

In this follow-up article, I will deliver as promised to discuss some attributes and methods that will enhance your skills of fishing for trades, sitting back, and waiting for the right opportunities to come along. 

4 Ways To Become a More Patient Trader

Create a Launch Sequence

This first illustration is a bit more aggressive than my typical easy-going tone, encouraging you to kick back and be patient for trades. However, I watched a documentary on space shuttle launches and noticed the precise sequence in the days, hours, and minutes preceding take off. The idea is that every crucial element is inventoried and accounted for, so there should be few surprises.

Many traders tend to trade spontaneously, not knowing what positions they could be in. Having a launch sequence keeps you from surprising even yourself. In addition, when you have conscious steps to your approach, you are less likely to be thrown off by the mental games that attempt to harm you. 

Life is full of surprises, but you should anticipate fewer unexpected occurrences when your money is at stake. Therefore, if you’ve been thrown off course in the past and tempted to trade over aggressively, you might consider a checklist that you visit when processing every trade. It could be a variety of technical scenarios that you prefer, combined with the time of day, enhanced by your mental inventory of what you are experiencing emotionally when processing your trades.

The more combinations you employ, the more thorough a process you will have to determine your trades. While this does not guarantee you more success, it will likely keep you from significant blunders.

Listen to Yourself

The previous rule relies on this vital step; paying attention to your personal patterns. However, equally important to the trades you are taking is why you are selecting them, as well as your internal process. Inevitably, there will be many conscious thoughts were are aware of, as well as subconscious ideas that we can detect when we begin to pay attention to our heart rate, breathing patterns, emotions, and automatic thoughts.

For example, last week, I remarked on the mental game that tries to inform us that we will miss out if we don’t take this trade. The reality is that it could be an accurate assessment. However, that is not worthy of basing a trading decision on. The more we pay attention to these internal assessments, the easier they will be to recognize and correct.

For instance, if that is your motivation, not missing out, you’ll know it’s probably better to sit on the sidelines once you detect this. After all, the winning formula is not rooted in fear of missing out. But, on the other hand, if you cannot control these mental games, and few of us can, it’s much better to walk away and quit the game. 

Maybe not give up on the entire session, but to at least take a walk, get a drink, or whatever resets you. Otherwise, it is like driving a vehicle out of alignment; you try to steer center, but it keeps pulling to the left or the right. One additional benefit to listening to yourself is that it will enhance your trading career and assist you in every other facet of living. 

Broaden Your Perspective

If you tend to be eager about finding trades, it often means you are uncomfortable being on the sidelines. Rather than trying to change yourself, you may want to find a way to accommodate your needs. One answer is to watch multiple markets. This, of course, assumes that your analysis and risk management tend to be sound, and your glaring growing edge is the lack of discipline that makes you impatient. If this is the case for you, it may work to flip the script and turn your weakness into a potential strength by employing your methods across multiple markets. 

With various futures and forex markets and many stocks to choose from, you have plenty of markets to select from. Try two or more if one market doesn’t give you enough signals. Of course, as with anything, there must be some restraint and caution. But, again, this assumes you have some solid skills with trading. Otherwise, you are only likely to compound your problems with more markets or get overwhelmed. It’s also important to learn your market and not just jump into something new spontaneously. 

Here is an actual case study. I knew a guy with a nice system that produced about 80% winners in his market that he traded day. This system averaged about one signal per day. The problem was when he would grow impatient and take trades other than what his system produced, which resulted in him losing money. Eventually, he began to employ his system on four markets. While the winning percentage went down to about 70%, still, he went from having a single trade most days to about five per day, which was enough to keep him active enough that he didn’t grow impatient. 


For the most part, traders who have sound mechanics but struggle with market boredom and fishing for trades that come to them often avoid some of the simplest remedies. I think the most practical is engaging your mind with various things that prolong your patience. 

Let me be clear; you need to implement multitasking slowly. It does not work if you hurt your trading by losing your attention altogether. But, most trading platforms will enable you to create alerts that will signal you when your system is nearing a trigger, thus, permitting some mental breathing room that can be used on other things.

I know real-life examples of traders who do other things while letting the right trades come to them, including exercising. Beside their desks, they have exercise machines that they utilize to secure both a healthy physical and financial lifestyle. Another example is a trader who finished an academic degree while finding the time to read books and write papers while her trading platform gave her the alerts for the appropriate signals. Just think of what you could accomplish by responsibly multitasking!

It’s Up To You

In conclusion, these are just four ways you may consider using to become better at sitting and waiting for the right trades to come to you. There are no answers in life except the ones you make your own. Accordingly, it’s up to you to take any of these starter remedies and adapt them to fit your needs. Until next time, trade well!