This article will explore the argument of whether or not a person can actually learn to trade Forex from a trading mentor or coach. So the question is…can an aspiring trader be taught to trade Forex successfully or is it something that is more innate?
There are a lot of theories and arguments in the Forex industry about the ability of a person to learn forex trading from a trading “coach” or mentor, and there’s a wide variety of responses. Based on my experience, here’s what I have to say about the matter:
First and foremost, I believe that it is very possible for aspiring traders to learn how to trade successfully if they are prepared to do what is necessary. When I say “what is necessary”, I am mainly talking about being realistic and learning an effective trading strategy. I will then add another layer which we could call “the psychology factor”, and this is the tricky part. I won’t delve into trader psychology too much in this lesson as I have other articles about that, but I will say that no matter how good a trading mentor is, the student’s mind and trading psychology play an important part in creating success or failure.
Nature or Nurture?
I do my best to teach traders the “psychology factors” and help them develop their thinking and discipline, but at the end of the day, it’s up to each individual trader to work on their mindset and develop necessary trading traits like discipline and patience. I will also add that most Forex traders fail because they simply over-trade and succumb to an addictive behavior with their trading, and this behavior quickly destroys trading accounts.
It’s true that trading does come more naturally for certain people, because some people have brain chemistry that is more in-line with what is required for trading success. Being disciplined, patient, having natural motivation to want to develop positive habits…these are all things that are heavily influenced by our brain chemistry, and some people just have more of the ‘right’ combination of brain chemicals for these things than others. So, whilst trading can be easier for some people, it certainly is not impossible for anyone. Indeed, with enough drive and passion, you can overcome any brain chemistry deficiency that you may have in regards to trading. So, the verdict on the “nature vs. nurture” debate in regards to trading is that nature can certainly help, but it’s nothing some solid “nurture” can’t over come…it just depends on how bad you want to be a successful trader and how committed you are to learning…
A trading experiment in nature versus nurture
The best example of how a good trading mentor can teach aspiring traders to trade successfully is Richard Dennis’s Turtles. The Turtles were a group of people who were taught to trade by Richard Dennis after a bet with his friend William Eckhart who said that trading could not be learned. They placed an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal and selected 21 men and 2 women of varied backgrounds. Some had a little trading experience, but most didn’t have any. Dennis’s requirements were a commitment to follow his trading psychology and the discipline to follow a trading system. After several weeks of training, each person started trading with amazing results and a second group was trained. Eckhart accepted that trading could successfully be taught if by an effective mentor and a willing and open-minded student.
Now, whilst the “Turtle Traders” system has no real world application in today’s markets, the idea that an aspiring trader can successfully learn to trade from a trading coach or mentor is still very true. Traders have been successfully educated in the past by mentors and coaches and that continues today. You have to ask yourself if you are going to go it alone or are you going to take some time and invest in yourself and your own trading education? To learn to trade, you have to be prepared to do what is necessary and develop an understanding of how the markets function and what is required to operate in them.
Successful VS. Unsuccessful traders
You can learn an effective trading method and all about trader psychology and money management, but there is always going to be the “gut feel” element that can heavily influence a student’s success or failure in the markets.
Successful traders do the things that unsuccessful traders are not prepared to do, or that they are maybe too lazy to do. The majority of traders want someone to give them a system that will make money for them when in reality it’s the trader that makes the money using a system or in my terms “a trading method”. A trader does this by learning his or her trading method inside and out…by really mastering it, that’s what the Turtle traders did with Richard Dennis’s system, and that’s what you’ll need to do with any strategy or system you choose to trade with.
Learning to trade successfully is like any profession, you have to spend the time to develop the skills required. No one is born a good trader (even if they have good brain chemistry for trading), just like no one is born a good pilot, doctor or anything else. We all have to spend the time and learn to be successful in our chosen profession.
The herds of educators and seminar companies in the Forex industry want you to believe that there are secrets and “Holy Grail” trading systems, but in the end, you just need to find an experienced and successful trader and learn as much as you can from them, and then develop your own abilities and trading style from what you’ve learned. To learn more about how to trade the markets, checkout my Forex trading course and members’ community.