7 Myths Traders Have About Systems
If professional traders tend to underscore any one thing, it is that you must have a trading system. Despite this, many binary options traders seem to resist getting one and taking it seriously.
Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Finding, learning, testing, and adapting a trading system is a lot of work. It requires research, discipline, and ingenuity. Not everyone is up for that kind of journey.
But what about traders who potentially are up for that kind of hard work, but still refuse to do it?
There are a lot of reasons why otherwise smart, disciplined people resist trading systems. Sometimes I think these myths and misconceptions really are justifications for avoiding hard work, but other times, I think that traders really believe them. Here are 7 common reasons traders give for why they are still placing their trades arbitrarily. All of them may sound reasonable on the surface, but they are all mistaken beliefs.
“I do not have time to find a system.”
All too often, newbies who rush into trading are rushing because they are already in trouble. They need cash, and they need it fast. They see binary options as a quick fix to their financial problems. But that means they do not have time to research and test and train. They need to get started trading right away. They cannot spend years slowly accumulating a small bankroll into a big one.
This is not entirely their fault. You can blame the questionable marketing tactics that are so rampant in the binary options world. Even good brokers sometimes market this way. This is understandable—they need the customers, and they know that if they do not snag them, someone else will.
But this does not mean this is the right way to trade. If you are in financial distress, binary options are not an overnight solution. You must look for an alternative in the meantime. You need a day job. And while you may not like it, you need to be prepared to do it for years.
The truth is, you do not have time not to find a system. Any time you spend trading without one is time wasted.
Remember that every dollar that goes down the drain (as is inevitable, if you are trading with your gut) is one you have to recover before you can make another dollar. You have to work twice as hard and twice as long to get ahead.
That is what you do not have time for!
“Systems are too rigid for trading.”
This is a complaint I have read from some pretty intelligent people—many of whom actually do trade with systems. Only they usually choose not to call them that. Instead, they generally refer to them by some other name such as “methods.”
I actually prefer the word “method” as well. It is true: sometimes systems do get too rigid and restricting. If you have no wiggle room for innovation, intuition, or discretion, you might as well be a trading robot.
Trading robots are useful, but they will all eventually fail if a human does not eventually tweak them as needed. The market changes over time, and as a trader you are taking advantage of some of those fluctuations—your system is designed for that purpose. But when the character of the market changes, not just price, systems stop working.
So even if you are a mechanical trader and you follow your rules exactly most of the time and try to keep your discretion out of trading as much as possible, now and again it will come into play.
None of this is a reason not to use a system.
It just means you need to broaden your definition of what a system is, and figure out the best way to manage yours. For some traders, that may mean a little discretion. For others, it may mean a lot. Either way, a rigid definition of a word is not an excuse. A trading system (or method) is your tool for weeding out chaos and bringing order, predictability, and profit to your trading.
“A system will restrict my creativity.”
This complaint is very much like the one above. You may worry not only that using a system will restrict your ability to make decisive calls about your trading, but that it will also suppress your creativity as well.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It actually takes a great deal of creativity to create a system to begin with. And even if you choose to use a system created by somebody else, you probably will not end up using it exactly as that person did. You are not the same person, and you will need to adjust the system to fit your trading style. That also takes creativity.
On top of that, on an ongoing basis, most successful traders are constantly striving to research and develop new trading techniques. Once more, if you are not creative, you will have a very hard time doing this.
So will a system restrict your creativity? Definitely not. You need creativity to work with systems to begin with. And of course a legit broker to trade with.
“Trading with a system will be too boring.”
This complaint does not have a rational basis at its root. Its basis is emotional. There are many people who get into trading because they believe it is an exciting, fast-paced, action-packed adventure, that they will be riding the rollercoaster of asset prices on the super speedway to success.
In real life, trading does not look like that at all. That really should not discourage you. Think about other occupations, like doctor, lawyer, or advertiser. It is not as if you will be living out the drama of House, Law & Order, or Mad Men. If you have one of these occupations, your own life will be a lot more sedate. Arguably all careers are “boring” when you are doing them right.
Ask yourself instead: “Is making money really boring?” True, your day-to-day life may involve a lot of sitting, waiting, staring at charts, and predictability according to your system, but you will make far more money doing this than riding a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows.
You need to ask yourself what is really important to you. If emotional excess is more important to you than making money, then maybe trading would be a tedious career. But if you are serious about making bank, you will not mind when trading is “boring.”
“I perform my best when I am under stress.”
For a lot of us, this starts in high school and never really ends. Your teacher gives you three months to get ready for the science fair. For three months you are clueless what to do for your experiment. Then, in the last week before the due date, you suddenly get dazzling insights and spontaneous bursts of creativity. You run your experiment, turn in your project, and walk away with an A.
From that moment on, you conclude that there is something about pressure which leads to results. Maybe it is the old bromide that necessity is the mother of invention.
If you take this thinking and try to apply it to trading, you might come up with the idea that you will get the best results while trading if you likewise toss responsibility and planning to the roadside.
The big difference here is that you did not actually have to get your science fair project done or get an A on it to survive. At the time it might have felt that way, but it simply wasn’t the case.
You do have to make every trade an “A” trade if you want to trade for a living. This is real life, and that is a very different kind of pressure. It is not something you want to mess around with. If you get it wrong, you get it disastrously wrong.
To some degree that pressure is always there in the background of your life (or the foreground, depending on how broke and/or anxious you are). If you are aware of it, you realize you already have enough motivation in the form of stress to stoke the fires of your creativity and fuel your will to succeed.
If you pour gasoline on that fire, you will not perform better, you will simply explode. Trading without planning is just asking to blow your account.
“A system just isn’t my style—or rather, my un-system is my system!”
Like the “trading with a system is boring” myth, this is another one that has an emotional basis and not a rational one. It may sound logical to you if you believe it, but it all comes down to your self-perception. For whatever reason, you have tied your ego to your system-free trading.
It is fine to have a personal style as a trader—in fact, the more you know about your personal trading style, the better.
But something that does not actually generate profits cannot be your style. Why? Ask yourself what your goal is. Your goal is to make money, right? If so, then any truly valid personal style will be something that supports your goal. A style that does not help you achieve your goal is linked to something else, like an urge to self-sabotage. That has nothing to do with your true self.
If you do not trade with a method of some kind, even a highly discretionary one, you are doing nothing to bring reliability and focus to your trading. There is already enough chaos in the market. If you choose to add to the chaos instead of subtract from it, you will just blow trade after trade.
Whatever it is that is really holding you back, try to identify it and let it go. Maybe for some reason you are sabotaging your own success. It is an incredibly common thing, but it is something you can move past. Making the decision to discover your true trading style and finding a method which supports it—however discretionary—is a big part of that.
“A system is not going to save my trading. I have too many other problems.”
There may be something to this, depending on your situation. A system alone will not be enough to save a lot of traders’ accounts. But that does not mean that it is not a huge step in the right direction. And while you are finally taking the time and effort to get a system, test it, and make it work for you, you could end up addressing some of those other issues along the way.
For example, it could be that what is standing in your way is a lack of discipline and follow-through. You might set out with the best of intentions, and repeatedly blow you chances by giving up before you really get the ball rolling.
It is true that simply finding a system will not cure this problem, since you can have a system and apply it inconsistently and still lose money.
But trading without a system altogether is probably the most undisciplined thing you can do. So getting a system at least is one big positive step. There may be many other steps you need to take to save your account, but that just makes you a typical trader. We are all on a long journey with many obstacles and challenges facing us.
Once you have a trading method, you will be empowering yourself to succeed. The right system is like a roadmap, steering you around obstacles, helping you avoid pitfalls, and giving you enhanced vision of where you are, where you were, and where you are going. Without it, you are stumbling around blind in the dark.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of free trading systems online. Join a popular trading forum and you will get access to more systems than you know what to do with. Just pick several and try them out (always demo test before trading live!). If you do not like any of them, pick several more, and so on. When you find one that calls to you, run more extensive tests.
Eventually, when you start seeing your win percentage climb—when your 46% becomes 64%, when your 64% becomes 79%, you will see that all of the hard work was worth it. Many people believe that systems are too restrictive, but look at the ways in which you are currently restricting yourself. The right system will not dampen your creativity or cramp your style—it will liberate both to soar.