Updated from its original posting on 2012-08-03
As I have often emphasized in my trading psychology articles, good trading habits can be developed through deliberate practice and repetition. It enables you to work on your trading flaws and determine what works and what doesn’t in your trades. Ultimately, it can lead you to consistently profitable trades.
But once you are comfortable on a tried and tested strategy, you might want to consider trading outside your comfort zone. I’m not saying that you should quadruple the position size in your next trades, ditch your old trading plan, or even trade in your underwear outside your house! I’m also not saying that Big Pippin does that from time to time! *wink wink*
Trading outside your comfort zone can be as simple as taking the next valid trade despite a string of losses or trading during a different trading session. Like an Olympic swimmer who is knowledgeable in various types of strokes, you, as a forex trader, must also be familiar with different kinds of trading methods. The point of the exercise is to expand your knowledge and challenge your existing trading skills.
Aside from increasing your knowledge of the industry, trading outside your comfort zone also exposes you to more opportunities (and possibly more money). And if done successfully, the exercise can even increase your fulfillment, confidence, and emotional resilience.
But be careful, young padawans! Stepping outside your comfort zone also inevitably exposes you to emotional stress, which increases the possibility of making mistakes. Here are some tips to help you manage that stress.
1. Instead of “breaking out” of your comfort zone, try easing into new thin go slowly.
The change does not need to be grand. It could be as simple as increasing your position sizes 5% at a time. Or if you’re trading a new currency pair, place a small and insignificant position at first.
2. If you’re trying out new trading systems, you can do it on demo accounts.
That way, you have absolutely zero risk and the only investment you’d have to make is time. If time investment is still an issue for you, then you can head on over to our Free Forex Trading Systems forum or check out the winning systems of the Best Trading System of the Month contest. These are systems recommended by both newbie and experienced traders that usually have good track records.
Most experienced traders routinely go outside their comfort zones. They often have test accounts where they experiment new trading strategies and methods. Sometimes they’re profitable, sometimes they aren’t, but profitability doesn’t really matter to them. What’s important is that they’re learning.
Remember, when you take on any new action–whether it’s just testing a trading method or finding a different way of analyzing the market–your values and ideas will be challenged. If you remain humble and open, you may see things you didn’t see before, new ideas may pop-up, and you will be forced to grow.
Truth be told, going outside your comfort zone is not easy. You’ll most likely be unsuccessful at first due to the emotional stress or lack of knowledge, but given enough time, you’ll be able to learn, so don’t just try it once or twice. Consistently challenge yourself to try new things.