Focus On Trading Success The Gentle Way

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Traders know the importance of correct focus for lasting trading success. However, most traders do not understand what focusing is really all about. Much time and effort is spent in the vain attempt to “focus properly” and this can lead to unnecessary frustration as the desired results fail to materialize.


In this article, which is has been adopted from my 8 week on line trading psychology course I will shed some light on the all important issue of focus. The insights you are about to receive will assist you to achieve consistent trading success with more ease and clarity of mind.

First I should like to debunk a big myth:

Concentration is not focus

In an attempt to focus, most traders will concentrate instead, placing undue strain on the brain. Focus is an effortless exercise while concentration requires the exertion of force.  Focus is soft, expansive and therefore effortless, it is akin to setting an intent of a desired outcome and then becoming aware of action prompts on the charts. This means you are not actively looking for a trading set up, but instead you are “receiving” the signal through your intention. This “inner knowing” knowing engenders confidence in your approach to the markets. Focus allows you to enter the creative, intuitive part of your mind that has a feel for the market action and knows when to stay away from the markets when they enter into a sloppy, sideways action.

Focus is about being in tune with yourself and your trading style

Focus is a natural by product of mindfulness. When you learn to focus with natural ease you will also be naturally in total alignment with yourself and what you observe on your screens. There is no effort involved, ever, just awareness.
I could also say that focus is inwardly directed and not outwardly directed.

The biggest challenge with proper focus is our conditioned mind

The untrained, conditioned mind will override natural focus through effort until you have learned to let go of the thoughts that compel you to work so hard on your intentions. The art of non-doing is alien to most westerns, yet it is the act of non doing in the physical sense, that brings you the greatest results most quickly. In that sense:

Focus is an act of non doing

The big question of course is how do we get to this point of effortless easy focus?

Our concept of time

Time is a much misunderstood concept. You need to understand the true nature of what we call time in order to understand focus. When you understand the reality of time you will begin to shift your perception of focus.

Consider the following: Time as you experience it does not exist

I know this is a big statement for many of you. Put simply: Time is the way in which we have chosen to experience the events in our lives. However, in the bigger scheme of things, time simply does not exist. All things exist at once and time is just a concept that helps us to experience events one at a time. This also means that every single event has already happened at some level. We might also call this infinity. If you can grasp and accept that time is but a concept and that everything already exists it therefore follows that all you need to do is to place your intention on the pursuit of excellence in whatever you do. Trading, investing, playing golf, reading or writing, the technique is always the same and above all: Nothing else is required.

Intention and focus are effortless. That is their power. True power arises from the knowledge and certainty that everything we desire is already in existence as a possibility. Inner knowledge creates certainty, not the external knowledge that is purely goal orientated and goal driven.

For most of us it is not enough to be told how to do something. Few people are able to accept an unfamiliar concept at face value. We need to understand intellectually why we should do something. With proof certainty grows. Yet at least initially you will have no proof of focus, other than your ability to set the intention to focus correctly.

Focus cannot be explained too well, it must be experienced.

Guided meditations are a great way to introduce our overly busy minds to experience the art of soft focus. Overriding the habit of forcing new behaviors is the real challenge, not the act of focusing itself. It requires letting go of a life long habit which is deeply engrained in our psychology. Letting go is so difficult again, because it requires intention, not hard work.

Your trading will improve in line with your ability to relax into soft focus in line with your intentions to allow your mind to flow in the moment and to let go of past memories.

Since focus can only ever be in the “now”, you will know when you are not in focus any moment you observe your mind revisiting past trading experiences. Meditation will train your mind to gently go back into the present moment free from past or future references.

With regular practice the mind will adopt the new practice and start bringing the experience into other areas of life, like trading.

Certainty produces clarity. Together certainty and clarity are the foundation of clear, sustainable, soft focus which happens with ease and grace. If you learn to master the art of soft focus, you will be much more relaxed, and have greater trading success too.

Mercedes Oestermann van Essen is an active trader, trading psychology coach and the author of “The Buddhist Trader” and other books on trading psychology.

She holds webinars and bespoke trading psychology seminars for traders, investors, and professional traders.


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