strengthTrading binary options is an art form, just as much as painting or playing a musical instrument, or writing a computer program. It is something with which you have to be willing to pour yourself into and give your all in order to succeed. If you have any experience with computer programming, you have heard the saying “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” which basically means that the quality you get out of a program is exactly proportional to the quality you put into it as a programmer.   That is the case with trading as well. And where does quality come from?

It comes from you, the trader.

Ultimately, all of your trading comes down to you. You are the one who chooses a trading system or method to work with. You are the one who must learn how to read the charts and recognize market context. It is you who must apply your system in real time and conduct your trades, manage your money, and stay the course when the going gets tough. That is why having the right attitude is essential, and why it is so important to hone your strengths and curb your weaknesses.

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What Makes a Strength or Weakness?

It is a great idea as a binary options trader to sit down and do some serious self-analysis at some point and actually come up with a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Before you do that, though, it is wise to put things into perspective. We often talk about strengths and weaknesses like they are completely separate things. But what makes something a strength or a weakness? Are definitions really so cut and dry?

I would post that many personality traits can become either strengths or weaknesses depending on how those traits are balanced and directed within the trader. Depending on whether a trait is in or out of balance, it may have a different name, denoting it as a strength or weakness.

For example:

  • Confidence is a strength. Overconfidence is a weakness.
  • Authority is a strength. Conceit is a weakness.
  • Trust is a strength. Blind faith is a weakness.
  • Perseverance is a strength. Intransigence is a weakness.
  • Diligence is a strength. Addiction to work is a weakness.
  • Good habits are a strength. Unwillingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone is a weakness.
  • Caution is a strength. Fear is a weakness.
  • Independence is a strength. Isolation is a weakness.
  • Courage is a strength. Excessive risk exposure is a weakness.
  • Ambition is a strength. Greed is a weakness.
  • Responsibility is a strength. Excessive self-reproach is a weakness.
  • Realism is a strength. Pessimism is a weakness.
  • Optimism is a strength. Rose-tinted glasses are a weakness.
  • Curiosity is a strength. Lack of focus is a weakness.
  • Focus is a strength. A narrow mindset is a weakness.
  • Discretion is a strength. Arbitrary decision making is a weakness.

As you can see, this list can go on and on. Maybe while reading through it, you recognized some of these traits as ones you possess. Quite often, people who possess a strength on this list also possess the corresponding weakness to some extent. Strengths, misapplied, are our temptations toward weakness.

How Strengths Can Become Weaknesses

Here are several examples of how some of the strengths from the list above, applied incorrectly or out of balance, can turn into detrimental weaknesses.

Caution and Fear

John is a cautious trader who always waits for the very best trade setups. In his testing, this allowed him to achieve excellent results. When he starts trading live, though, he finds his caution turning into fear. He lets many great setups slip by him while he waits for even better ones, and refuses to pull the trading trigger. He trades sporadically as a result, and loses money.

In this example, John has the makings of a great trader. His caution was his friend while testing. When it becomes imbalanced, however, it becomes irrational, turning into fear. The solution? John needs to learn to recognize when he is being cautious and when he is acting on fear—and to put trust in his system and testing results.

Ambition and Greed

Cathy is an ambitious trader with her eyes on the skies. She works very hard to push her trading to the next level so she can make more and more money. Soon, though, all she thinks about is money, and in her desperation to get more of it, she starts losing track of everything else. Her greed drives her away from the people in her life and causes her to forget to appreciate what she has.

Having aspirations is a wonderful thing. But in Cathy’s case, those aspirations turned into greed, an unhealthy fixation on profit. Cathy was also a diligent, hard worker who turned into a workaholic. She put work first in her life, instead of learning how to balance it with family, friends, and other forms of fulfillment.

Perseverance and Intransigence

Bob is a very determined binary options trader. He has been wrestling with the same trading system for months now, trying to make it work for him, because others have gotten great results from it. He believes if he stays the course, eventually he will get the same results—even when months of effort results in nothing.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The quote is attributed alternately to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and a slew of others. Regardless of who said it, they were describing intransigence, the tendency to behave in an unyielding, stubborn, unmovable way, even in the face of evidence.

Bob’s perseverance above is to be praised, but when he refuses to accept the evidence that the trading system isn’t the right one for him, he becomes intransigent. Instead of spending the next three to six months still trying to get that same system to work for him, he could be looking into other systems and finding one he understands better, or which better fits his trading personality.

Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

None of us likes to think that our strengths could be our undoing. It is upsetting to believe that the qualities we respect in ourselves could ultimately cause us to lose money. There is a plus side to all of this, however, and that is that our weaknesses often conceal hidden strengths we didn’t even realize we had! When you stop viewing your weaknesses as entirely separate from your strengths, and realize how they can transform from one to the other, you may start to discover some of these hidden strengths.

Here are a few examples of how weaknesses could be turned into strengths.

Excessive Risk Exposure and Courage

Jim has never had a problem taking a risk. He’s done a lot of gambling in the casinos. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. He’s played the stock market to varying results. He’s tried and failed to start several businesses. Sometimes he’s had successful periods where he has done well for years—until another risk wipes out his success. Diving into binary options seemed only natural, but Jim has never been able to hold onto his profits for long.

Jim is a risktaker, which by itself is not a bad thing. The only problem he has is excessive exposure to risk without any caution or discipline to keep it in check. The willingness to take risks actually points toward courage. Courage is a great asset for any binary options trader. Jim will never have trouble pulling the trading trigger, and he is unlikely to let a great opportunity pass him by. All he needs to do to succeed is fit his risk-taking nature into a framework of discipline, and trade using a system. His risktaking behavior should then take on a new form and be recognizable as courage.

Trust and Blind Faith

Susan has never had problems following instructions. Her whole life, she has had an easy time trusting others, and believing things will work out for the best. Susan has been using a mechanical trading system, and has no problem following the system rules to the letter and expecting the best. One day, though, her system stops performing as it used to. Susan continues blindly placing trades, and wonders why the money is draining from her account.

Susan’s flaw as a trader is not in trusting her trading system or following her own rules; it is simply in doing so even when the evidence points towards a change in the conditions. Something in the market has changed, or something in Susan herself. While she has been trading on blind faith to this point, her blind faith is the flip side of the trust she rightly places in her system. All she needs to do to turn her weakness into a strength is stop, investigate, and figure out what is going on, making changes as necessary. She needs to develop a stronger understanding of why her system works. Then she will understand why her system deserves her trust.

Take an inventory of your own personal strengths and weaknesses as a trader. Think beyond your trading as well, to how you organize the rest of your life. The same strengths and weaknesses which come into play at your day job or in your personal relationships will probably have an impact on your trading. Talk to friends and family members and ask their opinions. Consult with your trading coach. The better you know yourself, the more you empower yourself to turn your weaknesses into strengths and succeed as a binary options trader!