Having removed all conflicting outside distractions and obligations by closing my company, my lifestyle and life schedule has changed considerably over the past few weeks. Most influential to my trading has been that I no longer have any other schedule to maintain. I can trade when I want, sleep when I want, shut my phone completely off if I want.
I now watch at least some part of the three major trading sessions 6 days a week, and often will watch without taking a trade. My observation skills are getting much better because of it, my feelings of any urgency in taking a trade fading to nothing. I do still look forward to the next session open, but for the past week or two, from a chair about 10' away from my keyboard and mouse. I set my alarm for the 2am on Friday, watched from the London Open to the US Open without taking a trade, then took one trade in the US session about an hour in. Done.
And having that luxury of time being on my side, after so many years of having practically zero free time, is bringing about some major shifts in my understanding, digestion of information, and desired approach to trading.
One example; I always read news articles before or/or after the trading day, thinking it necessary to stay in touch with what is going on, thinking it gave me an advantage. While occasionally it does, something that started to sink in recently, is that the "why" of market movement is not important. It is just head garbage.
What matters is the "when" and the "where".
A study I started a few weeks back on that theory has become more alluring to me than trading itself, and I spend I am guessing 10x more hours on reviewing it and refining it, honing my method, than I spend "trading".
So much that it became a phrase that was running through my head the other night as I took out the recycling. "Honing my method". And in that moment it hit me differently, I had been sleeping only a few hours at a time for a few days and getting loopy, and said it differently, "Method Honing", which instantly hit me as sounding like methadone, a replacement drug for heroin addicts trying to quit. And I saw that the analogy was very accurate.
Whatever it is about trading that can make it so addictive, so infatuating, is a very strong energy. In so many of the pages here, and countless other stories throughout the trading world, trading can be so powerful that even the traders themselves cannot overcome it's hypnosis. It causes the sense of risk versus reward to become skewed, causes traders to not hold winners, hold onto losers, over trade, lie to spouses... blow up an account and start jonesing so bad to get it funded again... (some trader just told me about their experience with that last month. Not that they said it to me from that perspective, but that was what I saw, because I have been there myself).
Trading is possibly as addictive as any other drug. But that energy, that obsession, can be re-directed down a more constructive path, Method Honing. It may not be the same thrill as the original drug, but it is a healthier direction, leads to clearer thoughts, a more peaceful life, and better trading.
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Deciding to close my business and become a full time trader was possibly the best move I have made since I first decided to play guitar. I am sinking into it. Very "survivalist" feeling, but also with doubt you can survive. I sleep less, work more, make less... but I am feeling calm, and solid, and happy, and looking forward to getting up tomorrow and doing it again better than today. aka, Living.
Feeling fulfilled by what I pursue.
Not having a guaranteed outcome, and thinking nothing about it.
It becomes where there is not much to think about. Where, you are where you are as a trader, and you eat. There are still days as a remora, cleaning up scraps after the "real" move. There are days I bag the elephant. There are still days I get bent over.
And then I sleep, eat, repeat... with no other place I want to be. Exhausted some times, and loving it.
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I spent a lot of the weekend working on computer-generated alerts that would email me, make a sound, or draw something on the screen. In the process, I converted some text to speech that would tell me specific setups and where it occurred, things like "Crude Oil Divergence, 5 minute chart". or, "Japanese Yen Testing Yesterday's High", and have assigned many of them to each chart. Today was my first test of it live, and so far I really loved it. From across the room it would tell me the market and the alert condition.
I am aware of the computer at specific times of day, I review charts for structure and choose markets I am interested in, I wait for the computer to say something pretty, and then, win or lose, I am done for that session.
It is very weird to think in those terms at first, but it is becoming less weird every week. Meanwhile, I have started a garden, re-landscaped the backyard, teaching a friend's son to play guitar, take my dogs to the dog park several times a week, starting to shop for a boat, riding my bike "seriously" again...
I moved a sleeper sofa to my trade area, this morning napped with Piglet from 6am until the "first signal", (which never came in the morning session, and at 10:30am I was awakened by my wife, not the market) then was done until the afternoon half.
Last edited by GaryD; November 18th, 2013 at 07:49 PM.
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"Scalability" is a topic I hope to get into sometime soon.
BTW, I keep posting here for a lot of reasons. Habit, is one. Human desire for contact and communication, is another. Knowing that I am far beyond where I was and that I have friends here that I might say be able something that helps them, is yet another reason. And, while I have become a lot more protective of specifics, for whatever reason, maybe a psychological advantage for me... The information about the mind and not the indicator is what I have come to cherish as the "holy grail", if there is such a thing. I actually think there is not.
There is trading correctly, and there is trading incorrectly. And while the indicator is no "magic", trading correctly does have a lot to do with indicators. Not any special ones necessarily, but that the mind, the belief, becomes obedient to them. Trusts them. And, trusts in oneself, that you have determined a good reason why to believe in them.
It is not about money, it is about choosing a direction, following through, and being open to a new direction. Without ego or requirement of outcome. Preferred outcome is obvious, and that is good, that drives the soul, to succeed, to improve, to live this life to our best ability, to enjoy this life... But the money is secondary, at least when I "trade correctly".
I have recently gotten to the point where I will set an alarm for the middle of the night, get up and move to the sofa that is 10' from my trade desk, and wait for the market to tell me to trade... with the objective being to make maybe $20? And, maybe my risk was $10. Maybe it was $5? $2... And even when I lose that $2, it does not discourage me from setting my alarm again the next night. Because I see progress, I see digestion, I see a shift occurring, so rapidly and so 180 degrees, and yet a calm place to be. A great place to be.
I will still go in and hit my best understood market hard, in the timeframe I know the best, but that is not the same as when I nail a $200 move in forex... (technically, not even that yet, I think $170ish.)
Last edited by GaryD; November 19th, 2013 at 09:07 PM.
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