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NIAL FULLER
Professional Trader, Author & Trading Coach

What Lions Can Teach Us About Professional Trading

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By in Forex Trading Articles Last updated on | 30 Comments

tradelikealionAny professional trader, whether they realize it or not, shares many traits and behaviors with the ‘King of the jungle’. A lion in the wild provides us with an excellent metaphor to help us understand how to behave in the market.

Lions are known as the ‘Kings’ of the jungle for some very good reasons; they are strategic, confident yet patient, relentless yet intelligent and highly-skilled. Lions are finely tuned hunting machines that nature has perfected over millions of years.

Let’s find out how you can become the ‘King of the market’ by learning to ‘hunt’ trades like a lion…

Be relentless

Lions are relentless. They are determined to catch their prey and they don’t give up at the first hint of adversity.

As a trader, you need to be relentless in regards to your trading approach. You cannot get discouraged after a losing trade or two, that is not the mindset of a winning trader. Also, you cannot get discouraged because trading ‘seems hard’ or there’s ‘a lot to learn’. If you really want to free yourself from the ‘chains’ of the slavery that is modern-day society, i.e. jobs and ‘working’, then you have to have a relentless, unwavering commitment to learning to trade properly because successful trading is really the only way to free one’s self from those chains.

Be adaptable

Lions are adaptable. They will go after whatever prey is most available to them; gazelles, impala, zebras, even elephants and hippos (humans sometimes too). They will not starve to death just because the prey they are most accustomed to has moved out. Lions will find new prey or they will move to where there’s more prey.

As a trader, you need to be able to adapt to changing market conditions. Markets don’t always trend perfectly and they are constantly changing. If you are not using a trading strategy that allows you to find high-probability trade signals in any market condition (like price action), you are not going to survive very long.

Trade with strategy and skill

The strategy and skill with which a pride of lions’ hunt, is truly an amazing thing to watch. They learn hunting skills as cubs and they practice and perfect those skills and strategies over time. Lions do not take a random ‘gamblers’ approach to the way they hunt, because their survival depends on it.

Similarly, you cannot gamble your money in the market if you hope to become a profitable trader. A professional trader’s survival depends on his or her trading, so taking a strategic and skilled approach to their trading is essential. Lions and professional traders both have strategies that they execute consistently, and you need to do the same if you hope to make money trading.

Focus on the ‘easy’ trades

Part of a lion’s hunting strategy is to single out the easiest prey to secure. Lions go after the most obvious prey; the sick, old or very young (weakest). The most obvious prey is the highest-probability for a lion, just like the most obvious price action signals are the highest-probability for a trader.

As a price action trader, you can learn to find the ‘easy’ trades by mastering one trade pattern at a time and then recognizing when that pattern is present in the market. You obviously cannot go after the ‘easy’ trades if you don’t know what they look like and how they are different than random market ‘noise’, which is why you need to first LEARN how to spot those ‘easy’ trades.

Conserve your trading capital

Why do lions lay around and sleep so much? It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s because they are conserving their energy so that the next time they see an ‘easy’ prey come around, they have a good chance of catching it. Lions don’t run after every gazelle or zebra they see; they save their energy for the highest-probability catches.

Running after every potential prey a Lion sees would quickly yield nothing, and would probably have long since led to their extinction as a species. Lions have survived and thrived for so long, because they go after the easy prey, amongst other reasons.

As a trader, we can view the ‘strong prey’ as the low-probability trades that are not worth risking money, while the ‘weak prey’ are the high-probability / obvious trades you need to ‘run’ hard at.

A lion also will not waste energy unnecessarily; if they sense a prey is getting away they will let it go and regroup. Don’t take huge losses as a trader; plan out your exit beforehand and don’t get emotionally attached to any one trade, you need to accept that you will have losses and move on quickly after having one.

Lions make sure to secure their prey

Lions do not let their prey get away once they tackle it. They make sure to subdue the prey by jumping on it / biting its neck. They eat everything and vigorously defend it from scavengers like hyenas.

You must defend your profits from other traders and from the market. You can do this by making sure you take logical profits when they are available. For example, if you see a very solid / key level that is near a 2R profit on your trade, you should place your profit target just before that level. If you don’t, the market will probably bounce at that level and start moving against you…. you gave up that profit.

You can also secure profits by not over-trading or taking low-probability trades. Don’t give your profits back to the market right after you secure them. Keep them and then go back to waiting patiently for another ‘easy prey’ trade. Go take a nap and rest, like a lion, just don’t give your profits back to the market from a stupid trade.

Develop your sense of risk / reward

Lions have a built in sense of risk reward. They don’t go on a hunt unless they feel confident they will get a meal as a result of their efforts. They don’t take the risk of expending energy on the very hard to kill prey, instead they expend it on the easy prey, which may mean waiting for it to come along for longer than they may like (they’re hungry, but they know when to strike and when not to).

Similarly, you have to avoid taking unnecessary risks in the market by not going after non-signals, etc. Preserve your energy / money for obvious trade signals so that you can make the most out of them when they arise. Wait patiently for the easy and obvious trades and then go in hard when you spot them, like a pack of lions running after its chosen / easy prey.

Develop your trading instincts

Lions have excellent instincts and gut feel about whether to pursue a certain prey or not. This is something they were partially born with and partially learned as a cub, from their mothers mostly.

As humans, we are all born with slightly different abilities and talents that can contribute to our trading skill or work against it. Fortunately for us, we can learn from others and develop the ability to trade successfully even if we weren’t born with a natural knack for it.

For a trader, the lion is an excellent metaphor for how we should behave in the market. Like a lion, you need to be strategic in your trading approach, patient, disciplined, confident and protective of your trading capital.

The success and longevity of lions, as well as their place as the ‘king of the jungle’, is the result of their superior hunting abilities based on all of the points discussed above. Similarly, if you want to be a consistently profitable trader, you must have a strategy and an approach to your ‘hunting’ in the market. You can learn about the strategies and the approach that I use to ‘hunt’ for high-probability price action trades by taking my trading course and joining my members’ area.

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About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 20,000+ students since 2008. Checkout Nial's Professional Forex Course here.
  1. Lotto Avater February 6, 2017 at 12:20 am

    You can’t get this elsewhere except from the une numerous himself, Nial Keep it flowing

    Reply
  2. Trader August 14, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Excellent. You are describing one of my problems exactly. It is now up to me to continually remind myself not to interfere. One of the more noticeable things that I see during my weekly review is that my original reasons for entering a trade remain valid. I need to remind myself to “stop Micro-Managing”.

    Reply
  3. B. Indo May 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Dear Nial Fuller

    I write this with so full emotions in my heart makes my tear flows my cheek.
    This whole week I’ve read almost all your articles and I realized these are what I’ve been searching for years

    I have enlightened by you Nial… through your articles. The way you wrote them so full of kindness and I can feel the love you have for all the struggle trader out there ( like me )

    You brought hope to my life back again, thank you… So much

    With Love,

    B. Indonesia

    Reply
  4. Robert card April 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Lo ing and sharing your other articles like this with other traders I know!! Thank ks a million as always! Very good teacher!

    Reply
  5. omas April 21, 2016 at 4:03 am

    thanks

    Reply
  6. Tashinga April 20, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Hi Nial thanks for the lesson it just came at a critical moment within my trading career. To be frank this just made a big difference to me becoming a successful trader or not. It’s something I had missed and you just pointed it out and turned a light bulb on in my head. Please join the members area you will learn a lot especially my guys from Africa and everyone else not there, I’m from South Africa, I’m not being paid to say this but LTTTM is the real deal.. Thumbs Up Nial

    Reply
  7. Yalcin April 19, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Guys, let the articles from nial downloaded in the brains. Im reading his brilliant articles for months and make still stupid mistakes. I made 15000 euro pure planned price actions trades and one emotional disaster wipped all wins out.
    The only enemy in the market is our mindset.

    Reply
  8. Elias April 18, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Good teachin, even more for a beginner like me.

    Reply
  9. Khesiwe April 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks it’s a wonderful article.

    Reply
  10. Godwin April 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Yet another good trading insight ,displine is always a big part in daily decision.
    Thanks .

    Reply
  11. Aleks April 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    The lion and the crocodile. How they look like in their hunting habits!

    Reply
  12. ALI BABA April 17, 2016 at 7:16 am

    thank you for this highly wise comparison.

    Reply
  13. Victoria April 17, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Thanks. I am encouraged.

    Reply
  14. egah amedu April 17, 2016 at 4:27 am

    wonderful piece

    Reply
  15. Thabang Madondo April 17, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Simply the best. Thank you so much Nial

    Reply
  16. Argha April 17, 2016 at 1:52 am

    What an eye opening article ! Very hard to loose if one has keep your this great analogy and some sort of strategy always in his mind while trading in the market each and every time. Thanks Nail.

    Reply
  17. phumlile April 17, 2016 at 12:28 am

    brilliant ideas Niel,how i wish i was just near you,just to grab everything you say

    Reply
  18. Colin April 17, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for taking the time to pen this amazing comparison. Many parallels, a great way to approach trading and the market. Method – Mindset = Money

    Reply
  19. Caroline April 16, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Fantastic comparison Nial ,we can all imagine being lions hunting down the easy prey . Never thought of it like that before . Will now imprint that into my brain so next time I am hunting for a trade I will remember that I am a lion or lioness as they are the ones that do the hunting!! Many thanks for you inspiration.

    Reply
  20. Paul April 16, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Brilliant

    Reply
  21. Kingsley April 16, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Excellent piece. Beautifully delivered. Thank you immensely Nial.

    Reply
  22. Darren April 16, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Fantastic piece of writing and as someone who has long believed there are too many indicators I’m looking forward to learning Nial’s approach on trading.

    Reply
  23. Lule D. April 16, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    very illustrative Nial..
    Always following your posts and setups.

    Reply
  24. Abdul April 16, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Thanks Nial. Very inspiring. Excelent artical as usual.

    Reply
  25. Yogarajah April 16, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Hi Nial
    Very interesting article. Enjoyed it. Would you please contact me about the course.

    Kind Regards

    Yogarajah.

    Reply
  26. KRISTOFA OKENTA April 16, 2016 at 6:04 am

    It is always as fresh as a cake from the oven. Every lesson is worth more than we can estimate.
    I envy those that are members of your course. They will definitely get more mentoring.
    Thank you, Nial.

    Reply
  27. Euan Naude April 16, 2016 at 4:51 am

    I am from Africa and have read into this a lot of what i understand that goes down in the bushveld where i spent a lot of time in my formative years

    Yes one or two things I missed and will apply to my trading plan

    Cheers

    Reply
  28. Lazarous April 16, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Very helpful topic, Nial. I was very emotional in my trade a few months ago and lost quite abit of my capital. Luckily after reading from your article on being patient looking for a trade setup and walking away after a trade entry, I have managed to steadily grow back my capital. Thanks

    Reply
  29. Gary April 16, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Best damn analogy I have ever read regarding trading! You Da Man Nial!

    Reply
  30. Morobza April 15, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Traits of a successful trading career. Beautifully and clearly illustrated. I really think you should write a book on experiences that have shaped you to be the boss trader that you are. Just a thought. Thanks Nial

    Reply

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