Picture this scenario:

Lucas has been studying binary options for a year now. He did a little trading at the beginning without a plan, and quickly realized he needed to come up with a working binary options trading strategy in order to succeed. He went back to the drawing board, and since then has been struggling to generate a working strategy. He has been testing the same technical analysis system for five months straight, without seeing significant improvement in his results. He refuses to give up on the system—because, after all, it takes determination to succeed.

Does Lucas’ situation sound familiar? Many binary options traders struggle for months or even years before they are able to trade live. It is not at all uncommon to get caught up in loops like this. One of the reasons that they are so hard to come out of is the simple fact that it is hard to analyze what is going wrong. Is the problem here that Lucas isn’t trying hard enough, as he surmises, or is it that he is trying too hard?

Dedication and intransigence can look very similar. Let’s have a look at their definitions to see if we can get to the bottom of Lucas’ situation and figure out what he is actually doing wrong.

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90% $10 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
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80% - 90% $250 $5
 
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  90% $10 $1
 
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  90% $10 $1
 
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200% $50 $10
 
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  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $250 $10
 
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  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
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  85% $50 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
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  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
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Dedicated vs. Obstinate

Dedicated: “The quality of being committed to a task or purpose.”

Obstinate: “The stubborn refusal to change one’s course of action despite attempts to persuade one to do so.”

The obstinate worker generally believes that he is merely being dedicated. Lucas probably would say that he is struggling with the system every day because he is utterly committed to his task of making it work. He may point toward other traders who have used the system successfully to explain why he is dedicated to his task. Logic is on his side—or so he thinks.

But Lucas is also ignoring five months of evidence, which is telling him again and again that his course of action is not working. In that respect, he is defying logic, and being quite unreasonable. In short, he is actually being obstinate by refusing to go out and try a new system which may suit him better.

Of course, the converse is possible too. There are situations where a trader really is on the right track, even though it may not appear so to anyone else watching. Really successful professional traders often have years-long journeys to reach that level, and struggles like Lucas’ are very common along the way.

Here are some questions Lucas could ask himself to try and figure out what to do next:

  • “Do I find this trading system intuitive, or do I struggle to understand why it works, even after all of this time?”
  • “Am I failing to achieve positive results with this system because it requires that I trade on a schedule that is not compatible with my real life?”
  • “Is this system failing for me because I am missing important context clues?”
  • “Is this system failing because I am ignoring system rules?”
  • “Am I trying to use this system because somebody else told me it is the best way to trade, or because I believe it is?”
  • “How many trading systems have I actually tried?”

There are a lot of reasons traders pick the systems they do. Some examples include:

  • It worked for somebody else.
  • They believe it is the “only” way to trade, or that it is the “holy grail.”
  • It looked easy to learn, and the simplicity was appealing.
  • It appeared complex, and appealed to the trader’s ego.
  • It seemed to work before, but the results were coincidental (or not).
  • The system works during particular market conditions or is ideal for a particular type of trade.

… And so on.

When Is It Time to Let Go?

When is it time to relinquish a system you have been testing and testing to no avail, or trading and losing money with? How do you know when it is time to abandon a strategy and return yet again to the drawing board?

It is important not to walk away from a trading method that is performing with reasonable consistency simply because it is not delivering perfect results. There is no Holy Grail of binary options trading and never will be. There are no perfect systems. There is only perfect discipline and execution of imperfect systems. That is not Lucas’ situation though in the story above. Lucas is clinging to a system that is not working for him at all.

Ask yourself why you chose the system you did. Did you choose it because it worked for someone else or appealed to somebody else? If so, you may very well want to try another system that appeals to you. You are the one who needs to use it! But make sure it is appealing to you for the right reasons. You should choose a system because you find it intuitive (and eventually reliable), and not because it would give your ego a boost to trade faster or use more indicators. You also may want to walk away from a system if it is not compatible with the hours you keep or the types of trades you want to try. These would all be legitimate reasons for Lucas to consider trying a new trading system.

Also consider how many trading systems you have actually tried out. If you have only tried one or two, and you are clinging desperately to one particular system, how can you possibly know that you are on the right track? If Lucas in our example above has only ever tried a handful of trading methods, he may not have discovered one that appeals to his personality as a trader yet. In that case, he may want to set the system aside and test some different methods. He may very well discover something else far more suitable.

Letting go is not always giving up. And trying hard is not always dedication; sometimes it is simple obstinance. The best thing you can do if you find yourself in a situation where you are not sure which is which is to examine your motivations, ask yourself what else you have or have not tried, and consider what steps you could take from here that could realistically bring you closer to success. It never hurts to talk to a trading coach or post your question on a binary options forum either. A little perspective can go a long ways!