Want to Succeed at Forex Trading? Learn to Avoid It First

by Justin Bennett  · 

August 23, 2017

by Justin Bennett  · 

August 23, 2017

by Justin Bennett  · 

August 23, 2017


Why do so few succeed at Forex trading?

The answer to this question is incredibly subjective. Some will say it’s because the market is rigged for us to fail, or that retail traders don’t have sufficient resources to compete.

There may be some truth to those, particularly the first. It’s no secret that the odds aren’t in our favor. Otherwise, there would be a lot more profitable retail traders out there.

But here’s the thing…

Those are just excuses. They may offer some insight into why success is so elusive, but they are not the real reason why so many fail.

Want to know the only reason so many Forex retail traders fail?

They give up!

That’s it. There’s no other logical explanation.

Sure, things like having the odds stacked against us and somewhat limited resources might make it more difficult, but they aren’t the reason why so many fail, they’re just challenges along the way.

This website is full of strategies, methods and helpful tips on how to stack the odds in your favor. I’ve shared my favorite candlestick patterns, chart patterns and just about everything else that has helped me over the years.

But there’s one secret to success that I haven’t shared until today: your ability (or perhaps inability) to avoid the Forex market.

Yes, you read that right. If you want to succeed as a Forex trader, you have to put some space between yourself and the market. Otherwise, you run the risk of overtrading or just getting burnt out.

Burnout is one reason so many people throw in the towel. They don’t know when to just back off and come back for a fresh start tomorrow.

This could be for a variety of reasons, which we’ll get to next. For now, just know that most Forex traders I’ve mentored started to find success only after distancing themselves from their charts and their desire to succeed.

In other words, they started to avoid trading.

I’m about to share with you a few reasons why you might need to distance yourself from the market. I’ll also give you five simple ways to get back on track and rid yourself of destructive habits like overtrading.

Ready to get started? Let’s do this.

A Few Reasons Why You Might Need Some Space

need_space I get emails all the time from traders who have been trying for years to become successful–with little to show for their time or effort.

In most cases, there are a few quick fixes that can help. But almost every single one of these individuals suffers from the same dilemma.

They want consistent profits so badly that they have become their own worst enemy.

Instead of taking a structured approach to their chart analysis, they’ve become obsessed. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that an almost obsessive passion is necessary to succeed at trading Forex.

However, there’s a big difference between an abundance of passion for something and obsessive unstructured actions.

The latter will get you in trouble–fast.

Passion is only useful when channeled through a logical approach. That means if there are no favorable setups today you should walk away and come back tomorrow, regardless of how badly you want to succeed.

Forcing your way through situations where the market is telling you to do nothing is a recipe for disaster.

But there are other reasons you might want to consider putting some space between yourself and the market.

Here are a couple of the most common reasons:

Immediately following a large profit or loss

You have probably heard someone say that it’s a good idea to take a break after a loss or a string of losses, and I wholeheartedly agree.

However, one thing you may not have heard is that it’s a good idea also to take a break following a large profit. The same holds true for a string of profitable trades.

You see, just like after a string of losses, your emotions begin to run wild after a series of wins. For one, your confidence grows. This can be a good thing, but all too often overconfidence creeps in, which can be disastrous.

In these moments, it’s a good idea to avoid trading altogether. Once you’ve had a day or two to collect your thoughts and reel in your emotions, feel free to get back in the driver’s seat.

Unfavorable market conditions

Consolidation and choppy price action usually go hand in hand. Not always, but the two tend to find each other more often than not.

Whenever you see consolidation take over after a trend, it’s a big red flag to avoid the markets for a while.

As a general rule, we want to catch the trends and avoid consolidation. The easiest way to do this is to identify your key levels and then wait patiently for a breakout in either direction.

One thing I see quite often are traders misjudging the end of consolidation. Usually, the fear of missing out causes them to jump in too early.

Always assume that a period of consolidation will last longer than you expect. By doing this, you reduce the fear of the market taking off without you. It will also help you avoid unnecessary losses by keeping you out of the choppy price action.

Stop Caring So Much

stop_caring As if the topic of this article wasn’t controversial enough, now I’m suggesting that you stop caring so much about becoming a successful Forex trader.

You’re probably thinking, Great, what’s next?

Before my inbox fills with emails from disappointed readers, allow me to explain.

Since 2007, I’ve had ups and downs like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with more than 1,000 students and connecting with hundreds of thousands of visitors on this very website.

One thing almost everyone I’ve come across has in common is that they care too much. They want consistent profits yesterday. Not tomorrow, not next month and certainly not next year.

They want it now!

I get it. I was the same way when I started trading equities in 2002 and not much changed when I made the switch to currencies in 2007.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, though, is that there’s a big difference between being passionate about a goal and exhibiting the discipline to see it through.

It’s knowing when to take your foot off the gas pedal and hit the brake instead. That’s what separates the successful from the not-so-successful in this business.

So, by all means, continue to have the passion to make it as a Forex trader. Let that fire burn inside of you day and night.

Just remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, to the finish line. This means having the discipline to know when to avoid the markets altogether.

5 Simple Ways to Regain Control

Now that you know that one of the best ways to succeed at Forex trading is to avoid the market, let’s discuss a few ways to do just that.

The following tips and techniques will help you stay patient and adopt a low-frequency approach to the markets.

1. Use the daily time frame

This is by far the best way to learn to avoid the Forex market.

When you begin using the daily time frame everything slows down. You have more time to analyze your charts which results in better decision making.

Moreover, using the daily time frame to watch for price action setups simplifies the entire process. You’re no longer sitting in front of your computer for hours watching six indicators and five different time frames for signals.

And you know what? Simple is good!

I was just rereading my Market Wizards books the other day and was reminded of how many traders in those books endorse the idea of keeping things simple.

You don’t need multiple indicators and sophisticated algorithms to be successful in this business.

Nobody ever said a trading edge needs to be complicated. Look no further than the price action strategies I teach on this site.

If you want to get back to basics and learn to avoid the markets while conditions are unfavorable, switching to the daily time frame is a great place to start.

2. Find a hobby

It’s important to have activities you enjoy doing other than trading. The truth is, if you’re trading the daily time frame you may only get five to ten favorable setups each month.

That means you’re going to have quite a bit of time on your hands. This is where many Forex traders get burned.

Instead of finding something else to do with their time when conditions are unfavorable, they force trades. They spend hours staring at their charts hoping for something to do.

Don’t fall into this trap. If there’s nothing to do at the moment, find something else to occupy your time until favorable conditions return.

3. Stop searching for setups

A few weeks ago I wrote about the idea that if you look hard enough for something you will find it. After a while your mind convinces you that what you’re searching for is right in front of you, regardless of whether it is or not.

There’s an old saying that if you go looking for trouble, you’ll surely find it.

As a Forex trader, It’s far too easy to fall into this trap. After hours of staring at your charts, that one setup you didn’t like at first looks better by the second.

Before you know it you’ve convinced yourself that it’s an “A+” setup when it’s really more of a “B” or even “C” setup.

Why does that happen?

Most of the time, it’s because you were searching for a setup rather than scanning for one.

You see, once you have your levels drawn for each currency pair, scanning for setups each day should only take minutes. If nothing jumps out at you right away, it’s a sign that you should walk away and come back tomorrow.

The problem when you search for setups is that you develop a “must find” mentality. In other words, you need to find something to trade before you get up and walk away.

Think about the last time you lost your car keys or your phone. Did you give up searching when they didn’t turn up right away?

I bet not.

Scanning, on the other hand, is more of a casual browsing session where you spend no more than a minute or two on each chart.

If you find something, great. If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Keep your analysis sessions as brief as possible. The longer you sit in front of your computer scanning for a setup, the more likely it is that you will find one regardless of its quality.

4. Recalculate your expectations

How long does it take someone to become a successful Forex trader?

How much do most profitable Forex traders make each month?

These are two common questions you’ll find on just about any Forex-related forum on the internet.

The answer to both usually goes something like this–it depends.

Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with that answer. It’s a mistake to think that anyone can put a definitive timeline on how long it takes to become successful or how much a trader makes each month on average.

However, one thing I will say is that most people tend to be overly optimistic with their assumptions.

So how long does it take?

My answer: years. Not days, weeks or months.

How much, on average, do most successful traders make each month?

Probably less than 5% and certainly less than 10%.

Once you know these figures, that 2% gain you made last month starts to look a lot better.

And if you’ve been at it for two years with nothing to show for it, don’t worry. It may take you three, four or even five years to reach your goals. But as I said at the beginning of this post, giving up is the only way you can fail.

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no shortcuts or free rides, just hard work and perseverance.

5. Recondition your mind to see money saved as money earned

This is probably my favorite way to increase profitability as a Forex trader.

There seems to be this unspoken belief in the trading world that if you aren’t in a position you’re somehow missing out.

In other words, if you aren’t trading you’re losing.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that trading when there’s nothing to do just so you can claim to be trading is a surefire way to blow your account.

Think of it this way, it takes a 100% gain to recover from a 50% loss. So if you started with $10,000 and lost $5,000, you’d have to double your money just to get back to your starting balance.

The best way to overcome trading for the sake of trading is to learn to enjoy being on the sideline.

Convince yourself that protecting your capital is far more important than growing your account balance. That’s how you make it to the next level of your trading career.

Final Words

If you want to achieve consistent profits in the Forex market, you first have to learn to avoid it. Once you can do that without the temptation to risk money for the sake of excitement, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success.

Using the daily time frame is one of the best ways to avoid unfavorable market conditions. It’s easier to see the flow of supply and demand and it also slows things down so you can evaluate setups on your own time.

Another great way to stay patient is to stop searching for setups. Instead, let them come to you by scanning your charts one to three times each day. If nothing catches your attention right away, it’s probably best to do nothing and come back later.

Every dollar you save by avoiding losses is one you don’t have to earn back later. Remember that it takes a 100% gain to make back a 50% loss so staying on the sideline in the absence of something to do is a smart choice.

Your Turn

Have you been making any of the mistakes I outlined above? Did this post help?

Share your experience or ask a question below and I will get back to you shortly.

Continue Learning


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  1. This is the right mindset. Well phrased, pertinent and non-digressing too. Congratulations.

    I am yet to read the article in entiretly but your Bolds help and they are innovative in sending out the core ideas.

  2. Hey Justin

    Thank you so much for the wonderful work you’re doing with this website. This article is talking about me and I’m glad you wrote it because it immediately changed my perspective. I’ve blown my account more than I can remember because of constantly searching for signals but I’m not gonna give up. I love this blog wholeheartedly, it gives me strength.

  3. Good day.

    My name is Hector and I speak from Colombia.

    Very interesting his reflection, I have been in this forex for about 5 years and to date I have not achieved consistency, only losses despite having short moments of profit. What makes me think of your article is that I start my trading path in reverse, trying to do scalpin where the highest temporality was 1 hour.

    I have been watching the publications of your wed site for a while that I happened to find myself on Facebook and started to focus on the weekly, daily and 4 hour charts. I can not say that I am already consistent, but if I have achieved much peace, and without having read this article, just looking at their analysis published in DAILY PRICE ACTION, I do quick analysis and simply wait for price action, although I can not deny that There are times when I want to switch to one-hour charts.

    Thank you very much for your teachings, and above all for free.

    I ask a favor that the site wed has the possibility to read in Spanish, because everything I have to translate it.

    Again, thank you very much

  4. It is very good article and I am all agree what is written. Not quantity of trades it is the the quality( good set up) of trades makes us profitable. I have made the mistakes you have written in your article. I found this article eye opener, to show our mistakes. I believe will help us to be successful trader

  5. Thanks again Justin for the words of wisdom.
    I’m so obsessed to make it in this business that it, that it’s almost become unhealthy, ie sitting at charts way too long.
    As you say Justin, only need 1 good trade monthly, learn to avoid the market, and only use daily timeframe.
    Cheers Mike

    1. You’re not alone, Mike. We’ve all been there at one point or another. The key is to stick to the higher time frames and focus on finding just one quality trade setup each week. You do that, and I can all but guarantee that your trading will improve.

  6. I think its 1st and foremost got to do with mindset. The right mindset as far as your perception of the forex market risk management and trading capitol. The problem is most traders are way under funded in comparison to their goal targets..

    Trying to make a living off $1000 is just not sustainable. I have meet a few traders that are profitable. These traders have had 10 plus years experience and trade in a very mechanical way.. One trait of this is trading with well over $100k using no leverage and trading pairs with a positive swap..

    1. Hi Paul, I agree with you on all points, though depending on the circumstances the swap isn’t much of a factor. But I certainly agree with you on the misconception that $1,000 (or even $10,000) is enough to live on. There’s a common misconception that 20% or 30% monthly profits are realistic, which is far from the truth. If you do that in a year (not month), you’re doing something right.

  7. Great post ! The idea of investing time is not very appealing yet everything in life requires us to invest time before we can succeed. I think the NEED to make money drives some of us to be impatient. Looking forward to the next post.

  8. Your article is the most sensible thing I read about FX on the net. I have been trading for 18months and have lost 35% of my account. Been trying very hard since but profits seem hard to come by. Seems like a long way to go for me. Great tips in your webinar by the way. Thanks and wish me luck

    1. Thank you for the feedback. If you had no experience before starting 18 months ago and have only lost 35%, that’s quite the accomplishment. It probably doesn’t feel like it, but after 18 months most traders have blown at least one account.

  9. Brilliant. Absolute truth! You have summed up my experience and conclusions as a full time retail forex trader too. This is the key to success.

    Well done. I hope and wish all retail traders practice your advice! Thanks a lot

  10. Justin, I must be the one you are addressing with this hard truth. I am guilty as charged. With this truth ,I hoped to reshape my orientation about forex trading. Thank you so much for this thought-provoking article.

  11. Hi Justin
    I’m speechless, my mouth is zipped. You know this is the only honest truth I ever heard through all websites, I’ve been reading the books. I like when you say no fancy or sophisticated indicators can make you a succesaful trader. I’m convinced that only patience can. You killed it when you perfectly put point number 4. Recalculate Expectation. You’re real mentor, keep it up and stay healthy well. I love this blog very much, you know what? I’ve deleted all other blogs wasting my time reading it but not beneficial.

  12. Now this came to me at the right time. These facts you shared obviously reflects experience. I’ve just learnt right on time with your article. Thanks bro

  13. I appreciate this very much. I have been in this losing and winning streak because of over-trading, or taking trades at the wrong time. Failing to plan for entries and exits also messed me up. I think I will take this read far into my trading future and I appreciate it very much.

  14. Great!!! I have been reading your articles and really convinced. Sir I have just started trading with weekly charts after using 5 years of demo. I found that things work in cycles of 5-10-15-20 and 50 etc also I have decided to do 2-5 trade per year for each of my favorite pair. Please help me out to provide your expertise regarding this working hours like 4 hours weekly to scan good setups although it needs big stop loss but I remain away from market i.e I short gbpjpy at 1.44 and have closed at 140.4. also eurnzd weekly inside bar setup at 159. I bought and trade is still running for 169. Please help me to solidify my approach. Please email me some material regarding weekly time frames or monthly, I would really appreciate.

    Best regards,
    Rahim Aziz

    1. Hi Rahim, I would suggest taking what the market offers and no more. Trying to trade a specified number of times per year can get you in trouble. You’ll start forcing trades just to hit your numbers rather than taking only what the market offers.

  15. That’s a very good article Justin and it can’t be more accurate. Wait, set and forget approach has proven as the most consistent.

  16. I really like this.My emotions was driving me when I started losing , I was stuck on my PC for hours searching for a right time to trade but it was against me. Like what you mentioned above just take a break when you losing or make a profit.

    Many Thanks

  17. I read his article. Very true give up is failure, trying to make a profit to make up for losses is more failure. I just set a small goal. 50pips. Thank you

  18. Excellent article as always.

    I always go back and read “waiting on the sidelines” article.

    Imho one of your finest written. It’s so hard to resist temptation to look at smaller time frames but I know daily slows things down so you don’t rush and get stressed.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Roy. It is difficult to avoid peeking at the lower time frames, even after you’ve had some success on the 4-hour and daily charts. It does get easier with experience, though.

  19. I get where you’re coming from, but aren’t there traders who succeed at day trading? What about scalping? Some very successful traders do just that. I wish there was someone teaching those methods as well as position trading.

    1. Linda, I’m sure there are. In my defense, I’ve never said that scalping is wrong or that you can’t succeed as a scalper. I’ll be the first one to tell you that there is no “best” style of trading, only the one that works best for you.

  20. Hi justin
    i love this post and it comes just in time i stopped trading for more then a week now looking for an other way to do it because i’m no more convinced with the way i did til now even if i was able to make safe my capital. in that week i read about some famous traders like Jesse livrmore, ed sekota, paul tudor joins, dan zanger and others and ican see that in your article you resumed there tips.
    and more important than that is your methode fits on my personality.
    so thank you so much justin i know that the knowledge in this post costs you money and time and to give it for free like that make me to re-trust in humanbeeing future .
    you are the best

  21. I am the exact trader you listed above. I have been trading for 3 years unsuccessfully. Getting up at 3am everyday to trade the London market. Very recently I have adopted a new strategy using support and resistance on the daily chart. This has made things much better. I am not there yet. As you stated, I am still wondering to my desk in the morning and ‘jumping” into bad trades. I have worked out a progressive risk strategy that will allow me to use a portion of the profits I take out of the market to use on each successive trade. My goal is to get to a net up 5 wins per month. Is this possible?

  22. Good ideas. I am sharing my 2 cents, short version. First pick 1 or 2 pairs and learn everything that makes them move. Chart EVERY loss..what made you pick that pair. I mean as much information as you can find. Down the road this information will be useful. I have records going back 4/5 years. Set your stops and loss AND DON”T CHANGE THEM. I’m not giving advice on a certain pair. Example of a trade-Positive..all the above. Example of a L:OSS. I checked info placed S/L. HOWEVER the trade went 12 pips opposite. I had my stop set but I got out and changed directions. Well the trade went 2 pips from my previous stop and turned and went 70 pips in the direction of my cancelled trade. IF I had walked away, trusted my S/L I would have made 70 pips. Get this, I was so pissed I extended my stop to 230.LOL..well I did break even but it took over 4 weeks for the trade to return to opening of old trade. My point even after 16 years, once in awhile, I still think I know more than the numbers and change S/L. LOL Happens rarely.

    1. Hi Jack, thanks for sharing. Personally, I don’t believe in focusing on one or two pairs. It’s too easy to overtrade when you do that.

      I’ve found it’s usually better to master one strategy at a time rather than focusing on one currency pair.

  23. Hi Justin, my compliments, very interesting article. But I work with
    pending orders on pullbacks. So sometimes I have to set a lot of positions
    in order the order (1 or 2) will be opened. Do you think is this correct or not ? which is your opinion? Thank you and best regards

  24. Very good article. The most vital characteristic is to be detached and not emotionally attached to the charts or your trade. Always write down the reasons/criteria for entering the trade. With longer terms trades, I leave them to run, going back to it a couple of times a day. If it is going away from the target, I check my reasons and the charts and walk away (unless the market has changed for an unexpected reason, like Draghi’s announcement last month which made many professionals jump). Also need to be realistic about target, as several have said, you shouldn’t expect to make £100k profit in a year on an £5k account. You do need the larger account balance to make the bigger profit. Some traders are unaware of major news releases which do make the market volatile; some don’t even understand what NFP/Fed is. They really should do a lot of homework before putting a risk on.

  25. Bueno gracias por la información me ha sido de utilidad, y comprender que estar enfrente de tu pc te consume, te fustra, es mejor resumirlo en diario. Saludos

  26. Thank you so much Justin, i learn a lot from your lessons and tips, this is exactly what i’m doing. i’ll make sure that i follow all these simple steps, anyway we learn from the best.

  27. Congratulations, I would’t change any word of this article!

    I’ve been trading in the Forex market for two years approximately with oscillating (sometimes disastrous) results in the beginning and much more consistent in the last year. The reason of it was the mentality transition to the exactly mindset described in this article.

    Hope the new traders understand the importance of “avoid the market” sometimes and put it in practice before throw the towel.

  28. I have experienced almost every thing you speak about in the article. Thank you very much.
    I got in a mindset that says iIhave to be trading all the time so I can grow my account, but iIrealise that that’s not the best way to get to trading success.

  29. On the spot as usual,I’m still battling to control my emotions FEAR of missing out end up taking a position premature get knocked out several times before the real breakout,Im learning with every mistake,especially with the lessons you share here I make sure I read and everyone cos it helps me pinpoint the mistakes I make,that helps a lot cos there’s nothing painful like losing and fail to diagnose the reason behind that failure

  30. This is better than every other secret you’ve shared on this blog. And you published it on a day my account was wiped for the reasons shared on the post. When I saw the title I decided to also AVOID reading the post until now.
    For me, this is better than all the trade setups you’ve share since this January. Please give us more of this kind evermore. Thanks and God bless you, Justin.

  31. As a trader i just want to travel and trade and improve. If i’m not making much it’s okay as long as i’m learning so i can make more when i’m older. Really appreciate the work you put into the site Justin!

  32. Good evening Justin it’s like you are God sent… Am a first time trader and using a demo account… But I have been doing almost all the donts you have highlighted and am more than gratefuli came across your website… It’s equally important for all traders to be mentally mentored as well… God bless you for your kind heart n good job… May you prosper in all that you do… You one in a million… Thanks..!!!

  33. I have never done forex trading before, and I don’t have any experience on how to about it, yet am interested in forex trading. What will you advice I do.

  34. Great Advises, even so i am a begining and a little afraid of this risky market, i still want to learn all the possible, what i am looking for is not a get rich quick, but to earn some extra cash income leaning to minimize or avoid risk of losing my investment. Thank so much for sharing your knowledge.

  35. Hello Justin. You are like a mind reader, talking directly to me. I seriously consider the daily trades but have 2 questions. When you look at the next candle after the 5 pm EST close (for deciding which direction to take) which time candle do you use? and 2nd when do you place the trade? directly after that or when? Please excuse my ignorance but this education in the trading business is going to take the rest of my life left. Thanks for your honesty and clear insight.

  36. Thank you sir I am about to join a forecast seminar in Hong Kong 2 days later you’ve shared very valuable information with me very detail thank you.

  37. I’ve been working on the daily for months now and its far profitable then any other TF. When I move lower, I make 60% profits. My odds are really bad.

    There is just too Mich traffic on lower TFs and because I work a 9-5 I cannot keep my eye on lower TF price action.

  38. hello….I purchased your online course for 24h already, but untill now my membership account is still not sent to me. Why?????

  39. This is a wonderful grounding article Justin. I joined DPA last year after I came across you via searching daily price action in general. My head had been very dazzled and frazzled from all the information, courses etc out there. More so, became frazzled due to hubby wanting to learn to trade too….but became all too strained when it’s very apparent we have totally different personas to trading. He has now stepped back from learning to trade [phew!] as my conservative approach and personal growth around trading psychology was worlds apart from him and it’s happy days ahead with my learning and your mentoring through your videos and analysis. I had personally stepped away from trading altogether for nearly three months end of last year. 2020 i’m back and all the noise of other trading groups, signals etc deleted and chats muted & archived. Best thing anyone can do especially when starting out is to minimise the noise, finding yourself as the type of trader you want to be and connect with like minded mentor and people that fit your style of learning and trading ethics. Less is certainly more and I’m looking forward to my growth in my learning, knowledge and skills within DPA. I’m all about the skill and less about the money. Needless to say…you can guess which way my hubby was! 🙂

  40. Great post ! Forex trading is most volatile and comes with high leverage. Therefore, traders can trade much bigger lot sizes with their capital. It depends on the brokers as different brokers offer different leverage levels; some of them provide high leverage up to 1:50, which multiplies the profit of traders.

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