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And Life Goes By.... coping with reality

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And Life Goes By.... coping with reality

  #1 (permalink)
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And Life Goes By.... coping with reality

And Life Goes By.... coping with reality

We come to trading with great hopes, excitement. We expect initially this to be a short journey.

Trading has the powerful lure of taking you many notches above in the social ladder. No other job really has this reality this tangible in the equation.

Simply changing some numbers (lot size for example) can This is not very correct actually, but the point I am trying to put across is the trading profession allows fast money.

However once we come out of the arcade proposition and really begin to coherently understand risk and managing it we realize it is going to take much longer.

For some this discussion is moot, for example if you are trading OPM as a professional, are working for someone etc. but for the retail trader this is a long and hard journey.

This thread is about the managing the journey and the passage of time.

Trading is a difficult endeavor and life's journey can put insurmountable obstacles in the way.

This thread's aim is to answer how you overcame and are currently overcoming obstacles that block the trading journey.

This is to serve as a place of hope and a hotline wayfarers can at any point of the journey and call for help, advice or simply sharing.

I will start the thread with my situation.

When I moved into the trading world I was seeking escape from the corporate world. It was 2008, the time of uncertainty and the the noise of markets was deafening.

I had one daughter who had turned four and a was expecting a second child.

The lure was not really about money - more of earning loose change by playing what I thought was a video game.

Losses were chump change and profits... wait a minute, net there were no profits - only the thrill of windfall profits!

Any moment now, I thought!

Any winning trade would make me fantasize adding a multiplier (000s) and presto - I would have made what I couldn't have in the whole year. Seeking out brokers who offered the maximum leverage was a fond pastime.

The reality of the journey was that I made some, lost more.

The trading journey began.

I read hundreds, no, thousands of books. I am pretty well read now.

So much to do and so little time!

I became a recluse.

First went the social life.

Though I did not neglect my duties as a parent or employee I would mix trading into everything.

Trading in the children's play area.

Trading in the lunch hour.

Reading trading books on the Kindle while operating the kid's swings or merry-go-round etc.!

Every moment was a scrapful of time - I detested anytime that I could not spend upping my knowledge, getting up early to make a plan for the day and making notes for possible setups.

Trading losses would be huge however, and every loss would make me give up faith on some of the knowledge I had accumulated.

All the while the edge lay in myself - my attitude, my composure, my response to risk - today I realize that everything was inside me.

A person in our gated community had left his plush day job five years ago and was now educating people in the basics of trading. I wanted to go all the way myself all alone so I declined his offer. Had I not done that he might have been an accessible mentor - living so close by. Lives just across; I can see him in front of his computer, analysing stocks presumably.

Many things changed around me - people who spoke about trading left it altogether. I became a sort of a hermit surrounded by lively people - spouse and kids. My spouse is risk averse and had no one to narrate my day to. The withdrawal was suffocating, but I was making progress. Even today I believe that whenever I talk about my trading progress something inside flips and I do not perform well. Silence is golden to this very day.

However, the journey improved drastically once I started keeping a journal, which was in a contest Big Mike sponsored in Feb 2012.

The problem is that the label TRADING = HOBBY never really went away.

The kids were growing up, my spouse would have to remind me to pay bills on time - sometimes I would be in a trance. Only when I stopped being mesmerized by trading that I really began to see profits.

To cut the words short, I was engulfed by trading and life was slipping past. It was as if I would die soon and discover than I had not lived. (Not true - trading makes you live nine lives all a day's worth of trading. Trading, as @GaryD said recently is a journey in self-awareness).

Sometimes doing less is doing more.

I found that putting specific hours when the markets had most volume was a better way to live life.

However the problem is I still don't treat trading as a means to make money.

Once I discovered many things that made trading easier for me it became so boring that I avoided sitting in front of the terminal altogether.

A secret reason was that if I did not show up I could not be tense about trades that would have made me money.

The current problem is:

How do I INTEGRATE trading in my life?

One solution is to move from five minute charts to higher timeframes.

I am slowly moving to daily and weekly charts.

However there are times I need to forget I have positions on.

Do I keep four screens burning day and night chiseling charts 24x7 so that I can never miss trades?

Where has my sense of balance gone?

Why do I get up at dawn, work on my trading, work on my trading and then switch on my terminal and trade so hard (not overtrade, but stare at the screen and try to read every impulse, every wiggle).

Trading has become a huge university course for me.

I had hoped it would be a one night stand - a mere flick after which I would spend days... doing what?

While the family life is endless and complete and harmonious, I am still a mildly profitable trader yearning to squeeze in even more hours into this.

Again I realize that it is just me - however I would like to read about other's situations and how they are 'coping'.

Last edited by iqgod; May 31st, 2013 at 05:36 AM. Reason: changed mediocre -> mildly profitable - I am NOT mediocre LOL (thanks @JimJones - for a past dose on positive thinking)
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  #3 (permalink)
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A similar thread by dante_trader

Just wanted to mention that I found a similar thread by dante_trader on Trade2Win titled "The Fate of a Trader".

Some quotable sentences about how trading consumes the trader:


When once a man has fairly committed himself to speculation, his imagination soon grows to lend a hideous fascination to the objects of his pursuit. An evil genius seems to hold possession of him. He takes no note of time, save as an interval between his gains and losses; the thrill of the one and the pain of the other, grow duller as the years wear away, until at length he becomes the optimum eater of finance, living in a world peopled by phantoms which haunt his waking hours, and flit through his dreams. The unsubstantial pageant vanishes as the alarm bell of his ruin peals out, and he awakens to the desolation of reality.

The story of the whole shifting tribe of operators is little else than a dreary catalogue of losses - losses, not of money alone, but of health, character, heart and life.

William Worthington Fowler, 1870

Another trader from Jack Schawger's book who said:

My wish in life was that I had spent more time with my children rather than ... the obsession with the markets.

Which boils down to:

You find a career you love and you get consumed by it, drowned by it. It takes the best years of your life.

I wanted to trade to be with my children during their formative years.

Where am I now?

I discovered that trading takes so much efforts that a 9 - 5 job seems a simpler alternative.

To quote trader_dante:

If we remove ourselves from our emotions than we are nothing more than a shell. And yet still this is what we strive to do. But when I do that, does it help or does the problem just manifest itself in other ways? With no fear and no greed, I am a money making machine but I am that because I work in isolation - studying charts all day, refusing to talk with or listen to others opinions - watching the markets in the dead of night when everyone is asleep and all I have to keep me company is a flashing price on a screen. And when loved ones talk to me it seems like my mind is never with them but always with the market.

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  #4 (permalink)
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It is never too late to be the champion you always wanted to be; but the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years, and before you know it...your dreams are gone with the wind.

- Tom Wiswell

The point I am discussing so many issues at once is that these are the things that FIRST need to be sorted out (like in a trading plan) otherwise sweeping these unresolved issues under the carpet only damages your trading... then you have years spent and nothing to show in your hands for them.

However mastering trading is becoming the ultimate wise man.

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."

- Henry David Thoreau

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  #5 (permalink)
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Al Brooks

The Grand Pope of Price Action, Al Brooks story:

Al I Brooks, MD is 56 years old and has been trading full-time for his personal account for about 20 years. After growing up in a working class family in New England and graduating with general honors and honors in math from Trinity College (Connecticut), he went to medical school at the University of Chicago where he also completed his ophthalmology residency. During his stay in Chicago, he always wondered if he should drop out and work on the floor of the Merc, but was too scared to take the chance.

Fifteen months after the birth of his first child in 1988, he had identical twin girls, and this gave him a great excuse to leave medicine (three girls under the age of 15 months). He sold his practice, moved to a small town outside of Sacramento, stayed home to raise his kids, and started trading. His girls are all in college now (two at Berkeley, one at Yale), and he is happy, living alone, and quietly trading his personal accounts.

He is close to his family and has a couple fly fishing and tennis buddies and a girlfriend, but he spends most of his time alone, either trading, evaluating charts, watching news and political talk shows, or playing or watching sports

For the first 10 years of trading, he spent 10,000 hours writing and testing indicators and systems, making trading far more complicated than what logic told him it should be. About 10 years ago, he decided to start over
again from the bottom up and trade off just price action, with the intention of adding indicators as needed over time. What he discovered was that simply reading price action alone off a single chart was all that was needed to
be a successful trader, and he therefore decided to eschew indicators and adopted a minimalist perspective on trading.

As a scalper, he needs to focus intensely on every tick, and he doesn't want distractions. His room is dimly lit, all of the shades are fully drawn, and he trades off a single notebook computer screen. He has another computer
on his desk with two 21" monitors, but he keeps it off during the trading day and never uses it for trading. He trades best when he has minimal distractions and only a single chart with no indicators (other than a 20-
bar EMA) and no additional monitors.


He runs several days a week, lifts weights, plays tennis, and enjoys bike riding. He also likes to fly fish, hike, and ski, which is why he chose to live only 90 miles from Lake Tahoe (and he likes being only 75 miles from Napa
and 100 miles from San Francisco).

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  #6 (permalink)
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Al Brooks again

The goal for most traders is to maximize trading profits through a style that is compatible with their personalities. Without that compatibility, I believe that it is virtually impossible to trade profitably long term. Many traders wonder how long it will take them to be successful and are willing to lose money for some period of time, even a few years. However, it took me over 10 years to be able to trade successfully. Each of us has many considerations and distractions, so the time will vary, but a trader has to work though most obstacles before becoming consistently profitable. I had several major problems that had to be corrected, including raising three wonderful daughters who always filled my mind with thoughts of them and what I needed to be doing as their father. That was solved as they got older and more independent. Then it took me a long time to accept many personality traits as real and unchangeable (or at least I concluded that I was unwilling to change them). And finally there was the issue of confidence. I have always been confident to the point of arrogant in so many things that those who know me would be surprised that this was difficult for me. However, deep inside I believed that I really would never come up with a consistently profitable approach that I would enjoy employing for many years.

Instead, I bought many systems, wrote and tested countless indicators and systems, read many books and magazines, went to seminars, hired tutors, joined chat rooms, and talked with people who presented themselves as successful traders, but I never saw their account statements and suspect that most could teach but few if any could trade. Usually in trading, those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know.

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  #7 (permalink)
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Great thread idea and great like most stories I read on (formerly BMT) I feel like I'm reading my own story. We should call it Trader's Anonymous lol.

It's almost too painful to keep re-regurgitating my story over and over. When I get the inclination I'll re-write it again on this thread.

iqgod View Post
And Life Goes By.... coping with reality

Last edited by TrendTraderBH; May 31st, 2013 at 10:12 AM.
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  #8 (permalink)
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Just adding my 2c

I read 100's of books working very hard to learn everything, all the indicators etc. I even had a trading buddy and we d discuss ideas about day trading. About 4 years after I had supposedly learnt everything I started seeing things that were working and what wasnt working. The next 2 years were spent trying to unlearn the first 4 years LOL no kidding-true story.

I developed my own style and results improved.

Trading imho is a journey yet most come looking for a destination. When people are advised that you should have at least 6 months expenses saved up, you should more like expect 2 years if you are doing it on your own. Most books that were written hardly contain anything tradeable. Price action is everything. When you are starting , since you studied and learnt everything how can you be wrong ?

You learn more from blogs and websites nowadays than you learn from books.

But trading does teach you more about yourself than any other profession. Even others cant understand since they are more content to wake up monday morning, don their suit and head to work-slog 8 hours, stuck in commute for 2 hours a day and then have dinner watch TV and sleep and do that 5 days a week. Come weekend , watch some sports, drink and party and after doing that for 30-40 years retire wondering who you truly are and what life is about while you do that everyday. Everyday you live your entire life. The greed, fear, anarchy, peace, solace, thrill,happiness, sadness trying to control your emotions in every moment.

Trading is only for those who truly enjoy it. Kinda like sports or any other profession.

Ever wonder why most of the great inventors and discoverers were all single men ? Unless their significant other appreciated their work or was as passionate about it they were mostly recluse involved with their work. Obsessed.
I might not sound very politically correct but women are risk averse. They will always appreciate the money and everything it can buy but not the effort that goes into earning it. That's why they want to find a guy who is financially secure rather than one who truly loves them and then they go writing books "He's not that into you"

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  #9 (permalink)
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Gratitude towards the profession that gave me so much

I was bound to discover trading, not so much for the money, but the incredible improvements it has made in me.

To trading I will forever be grateful.

I cannot imagine a world devoid of trading anymore.

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  #10 (permalink)
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I recall hearing these stated opinions from Al Brooks during my few months in his live trading room. I thought these are interesting additions to the Brook's trading story mentioned above:

"I even paid $10,000 to a trading guru who could mentor me one-on-one. It turned out to be bunk too. I think it's all bunk. " - when commenting about his search for trading education and vendors for 10 years where he said he eventually ended up ditching all indicators and did his own research bar by bar finally becoming profitable.

"I know a friend who just trades for 1 tick each day. Once he gets it he's done for the day"

"I feel like I'm with the flow of the market, bouncing around like a river raft. " - when asked how is he so
confident and optimistic in his trading.

I might not have gotten the exact word by word right, but these memories stood out clearly in remembrance for me
from the live room.

Last edited by Cloudy; August 4th, 2013 at 03:26 AM.
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