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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets
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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets

  #3691 (permalink)
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GaryD View Post
What is it exactly that causes trading full time to make you happier?

The important part, best I can figure out, is the feeling or sense of complete freedom. Even if you are small business owner, you have less freedom than you do with trading. There are employees to look after, there are maybe retail storefronts to manage, and then there are customers.

With trading you really cut those ties and are completely independent, aka freedom.

For me, it was just an enormous relief off my shoulders. Which is odd, since I replaced a steady paycheck with a questionable one. But man, I can't even put into words the way my life changed when I finally started down this path.

Of course you shouldn't for a moment think it is scott free, because obviously it isn't. But even with the pressure of success lying directly with you and no one else, I still found it immensely pleasant and rewarding.

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  #3692 (permalink)
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There is a part of me that does not know how to not be concerened with making money. I was not born with that feeling, and it did not appear in me until I turned 25, but I have traced it back to some significant psychological milestones.

As music student, hair to my waist, I was a bit of an outsider, eccentric, rebellious, creative. I supported myself by playing in bands and was happy. One day, age 25, after not having a paying gig for about a month, having walked the grounds of the apartment complex we lived in for hours, thinking...picking up coins in the parking lot as I went... I stood in the kitchen, counting what I made that day, opening the cabinets and seeing ramen noodles and soup cans, my to-be wife at work making maybe $6 an hour, and made a decision. More like a committment, or a promise to myself and Melissa. That we would never have to worry about money again.

I gave myself 10 years, during which time I would sacrifice any personal desires, whatever it took, to put away enough to guarantee our comfort...and then I would quit.

The first time I made $30k in a month, I was amazed. Infected even.

Money brought stuff, respect, my father was proud, we could live in nice places, take incredible vacations... while I was a slave to it...

I finally "quit", made it 2 years, but the infection had set in. making money becomes addictive, it feels good. Forget about any of the stuff, toys, houses... the feeling of "succeeding" is intoxicating to me at times.



Fast forward, post bankruptcy, new start, back in the groove of making good money... but not enjoying it. I don't want the same things today. I drove a $60k vehicle, not a big deal. I lived in three separate $1M+ homes, not a big deal. I am not willing to sell myself into slavery again for those things. They do not matter. The only part of having money that sticks with me today, is that I came and went as I pleased, did what I wanted.

So many times I have typed here about issues like, how to size up while not thinking about money, or, how to set a household budget with no guarantee of income, or, how to have trading as an occupation and still not care about the outcome... Meanwhile, if I truly did not care, if I approached it from the creative and artistic side that is still buried within, if what mattered was freedom and not money... I could walk away from my career today.

And yet, having ramped back up a new business so intensely, due to necessity, and finding myself in greater demand each month, making money, feeling a sense of accomplishment for making such a strong comeback from where I was not so long ago...

It may no longer be for the same motivating factors, but it feels good, and is weird to consider letting go of, even if I am not happy, even if I have no life because of it. All the while, clinging to the concept of letting go. But unless I am ready to do so, it would not work. And to find out I need a lapse in other work, almost hoping it will come, and thought it was about to happen starting this month. But now I see that there is no end to it, as long as I do a good job, deliver on business commitments, I have never had a hard time finding work. I have a harder time avoiding it.

@Big Mike made a leap of faith, and found what he was looking for. So far, much braver than I am.

@researcher247 carved out a life for himself that sounds like exactly what he wanted as well, possibly never had to leave something else to find out. If I could go back in time I would...

I have my wife's support, my friend's support, an account large enough... But cling to the known. And put in 80 hours a week doing it and trading at the same time. The emphasis on a certain amount is what holds me back, creates a mental barrier, brings on trading issues.



I had planned to stay in Colorado for a month or more, it seemed a good environment to push my head around some, but in the past 24 hours have been recruited to go to New Jersey for a special assignment. I would prefer to pass actually, but the company that requested it I consider more friends than business, and they are "counting on me".



My trading is way off this week. Net 56 after 3 days. I meant to go long at the triangle break today, but had to meet people and when I got back could not decide where to get in. Pulled off 31 ticks, but only after a lot of waiting and some back and forth trading. Running 47.76% wins, +56 for the week.

However, I cared less this week than normal, which for me I consider a good thing.


I have spent nearly every day out in Colorado doing something besides work and trade, spent far more time being social this week than the past few months. Played disc golf 3 days since Saturday, two of those just joining up with strangers on the course. Not typical for me. I had drinks with two couples I just met on a rooftop bar overlooking the mountains a few nights ago, also not my norm.

What is changing, is I am starting to see all of this in real time, starting to dissect the parts and pieces that cause me to think as I do, starting to unravel some psychological mysteries in myself. This journal has been instrumental in doing so. And the feeling of waking up, feeling captive to my own wiring, and making a plan to change it, appears to be underway. If I make a committment to do it, it is done. That is how my mind works, good or bad.

It would be better if I had a push, but it is not going to come. Or if it did, the shape it took would probably not be something I would choose anyway.


Last edited by GaryD; August 16th, 2012 at 01:40 AM.
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  #3693 (permalink)
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GaryD View Post
There is a part of me that does not know how to not be concerened with making money. I was not born with that feeling, and it did not appear in me until I turned 25, but I have traced it back to some significant psychological milestones.

As music student, hair to my waist, I was a bit of an outsider, eccentric, rebellious, creative. I supported myself by playing in bands and was happy. One day, age 25, after not having a paying gig for about a month, having walked the grounds of the apartment complex we lived in for hours, thinking...picking up coins in the parking lot as I went... I stood in the kitchen, counting what I made that day, opening the cabinets and seeing ramen noodles and soup cans, my to-be wife at work making maybe $6 an hour, and made a decision. More like a committment, or a promise to myself and Melissa. That we would never have to worry about money again.

I gave myself 10 years, during which time I would sacrifice any personal desires, whatever it took, to put away enough to guarantee our comfort...and then I would quit.

The first time I made $30k in a month, I was amazed. Infected even.

Money brought stuff, respect, my father was proud, we could libve in nice places, take incredible vacations... while I was a slave to it...

I finally "quit", made it 2 years, but the infection had set in. making money becomes addictive, it feels good. Forget about any of teh stuff, toys, houses... the feeling of "succeeding" is intoxicating to me at times.



Fast forward, post bankruptcy, new start, back in the groove of making good money... but not enjoying it. I don;t want the same things today. I drove a $60k vehicle, not a big deal. I lived in three separate $1M+ homes, not a big deal. I am not willing to sell myself into slavery again for those things. They do not matter. The only part of having money that sticks with me today, is that I came and went as I pleased, did what I wanted.

So many times I have typed here about issues like, how to size up while not thinking about money, or, how to set a household budget with no guarantee of income, or, how to have trading as an occupation and still not care about the outcome... Meanwhile, if I truly did not care, if I approached it from the creative and artistic side that is still buried within, if what mattered was freedom and not money... I could walk away from my career today.

And yet, having ramped back up a new business so intensely, due to necessity, and finding myself in greater demand each month, making money, feeling a sense of accomplishment for making such a strong comeback from where I was not so long ago...

It may no longer be for the same motivating factors, but it feels good, and is weird to consider letting go of, even if I am not happy, even if I have no life because of it. All the while, clinging to the concept of letting go. But unless I am ready to do so, it would not work. And to find out I need a lapse in other work, almost hoping it will come, and thought it was about to happen starting this month. But now I see that there is no end to it, as long as I do a good job, deliver on business commitments, I have never had a hard time finding work. I have a harder time avoiding it.

@Big Mike made a leap of faith, and found what he was looking for. So far, much braver than I am.

@researcher247 carved out a life for himself that sounds like exactly what he wanted as well, possibly never had to leave something else to find out. If I could go back in time I would...

I have my wife's support, my friend's support, an account large enough... But cling to the known. And put in 80 hours a week doing it and trading at the same time. The emphasis on a certain amount is what holds me back, creates a mental barrier, brings on trading issues.



I had planned to stay in Colorado for a month or more, it seemed a good environment to push my head around some, but in the past 24 hours have been recruited to go to New Jersey for a special assignment. I would prefer to pass actually, but the company that requested it I consider more friends than business, and they are "counting on me".



My trading is way off this week. Net 56 after 3 days. I meant to go long at the triangle break today, but had to meet people and when I got back could not decide where to get in. Pulled off 31 ticks, but only after a lot of waiting and some back and forth trading. Running 47.76% wins, +56 for the week.

However, I cared less this week than normal, which for me I consider a good thing.


I have spent nearly every day out in Colorado doing something besides work and trade, spent far more time being social this week than the past few months. Played disc golf 3 days since Saturday, two of those just joining up with strangers on the course. Not typical for me. I had drinks with two couples I just met on a rooftop bar overlooking the mountains a few nights ago, also not my norm.

What is changing, is I am starting to see all of this in real time, starting to dissect the parts and pieces that cause me to think as I do, starting to unravel some psychological mysteries in myself. This journal has been instrumental in doing so. And the feeling of waking up, feeling captive to my own wiring, and making a plan to change it, appears to be underway. If I make a committment to do it, it is done. That is how my mind works, good or bad.

It would be better if I had a push, but it is not going to come. Or if it did, thae shape it took would probably not be something I would choose anyway.

I know your problem intimately...there is only one solution. In the end, you have to decide what is GREAT for you and your family and what your sense of destiny is, then sacrifice the GOOD to obtain it. At that point, there is a bridge to burn. Its a reality both in the physical but more importantly in the heart. Without burned bridges, there is no emotional commitment to making a thing work. You know this better than most. Success requires total buy in. You cannot leave anything on the table. And being torn between two competing ideas, two competing paths will only lead to stress and eventually burn out.

Somewhere along this journey, you'll reach the point at which you know you must commit to one or the other. The Good Book says that "a double minded man is unstable in everything he does".

I know you will make the correct decision, regardless if that decision is trading full time or not.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #3694 (permalink)
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I know you will make the correct decision, regardless if that decision is trading full time or not.

I agree with the sentiment. But I think that Gary is too much of a real trader to ever not be one anymore. I mean, can you see Gary sitting there watching the news and hearing "oil prices sharply up $5 a barrel today..." and thinking "hmm, interesting" and nothing else? Maybe, but I can't see it

I feel as if I am beyond the point of no return as well. I am too familiar with markets to ever be a "normal" citizen again. It's like if you found out that aliens did exist and were living among us... you'd never see the world the same way again. Likewise, I don't think I could ever see a chart of an index at the close of day and just view it as a squiggly line...

Awesome post about being committed btw Panda, I can appreciate that sentiment. I once left a career as a software developer to pursue a full time career in a field which gave me true passion. Since then, I have woken up with "the Mondays" like everyone else at some point or another, but I have never regretted my choice to do something that I LOVE. The money was not as good, and I basically stepped out of the nest and had to learn to fly quickly, but since making that shift 7 years ago, I have always been happy with my work, even on the tough days.

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  #3695 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
But even with the pressure of success lying directly with you and no one else, I still found it immensely pleasant and rewarding.

I could not agree more Mike. The truly sobering thing about trading the markets on your own is that no one makes you push that button. Win or lose, we are totally responsible in every way for our successes or failures. We can't even blame a bad market, as we alone make the choice to enter that bad market. On the one hand it's terrifying, because if I'm losing, well then I must look myself in the mirror and see the problem; but on the other hand, if I am successful (consistently anyway), then I can give no one else the credit. It is total freedom, and that freedom must not be abused, but it is a great feeling nonetheless. No employees, no bosses, no clients, no selling--none of it. Only us and the markets. What a job.

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  #3696 (permalink)
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PandaWarrior View Post
I know your problem intimately...there is only one solution. In the end, you have to decide what is GREAT for you and your family and what your sense of destiny is, then sacrifice the GOOD to obtain it. At that point, there is a bridge to burn. Its a reality both in the physical but more importantly in the heart. Without burned bridges, there is no emotional commitment to making a thing work. You know this better than most. Success requires total buy in. You cannot leave anything on the table. And being torn between two competing ideas, two competing paths will only lead to stress and eventually burn out.

Somewhere along this journey, you'll reach the point at which you know you must commit to one or the other. The Good Book says that "a double minded man is unstable in everything he does".

I know you will make the correct decision, regardless if that decision is trading full time or not.

My upbringing brought a simlilar quote. "One cannot serve two masters".

I just got off the phone with my wife, explaining how ridiculous it was, that with what I am making now, in something I have done for over 20 years, and am extremely good at (not going for ego, but for definition), but do not enjoy...

When I take a project today, I know 99% of the time what I will make the day I sign on. That is the biggest difference in belief.

I can make money almost every day trading, IF, (and if it were not just silly that word would be huge) 1) I do not care, and 2) the trade size is relatively small.

And at that level, what I know I can do, is about $50k a year. 1-2 contracts. Sounds absurd, I know. Sounds so easy also, to just multiply. But it does not feel easy, and for me, as crazy as it sounds, when the feeling is gone, I do not make money.

So, yes, I can burn the bridge, and I am considering it more each week. Thought I was there; my jobs were ending and my main account went to another PM. Have enough to eat for a few years, a wife who supports me, friends here that encourage me...

And then another offer comes up.

I have not missed a delivery schedule since 1996? I am opening franchises for various businesses across the country, and that one attribute makes what I offer attractive. They need to deliver on schedule, I am almost like an insurance policy. I do not fail. And because of that, it takes a few jobs and I have a new loyal client. Easy. But relentless, unforgiving, in a constant race, time of day means nothing.

Trading works on it's own schedule. Some trades are quick, and those are the best, but most, the overwhelming majority, work on their own schedule, and give plenty of chances to decide they are not going to work out. I know that, and with one contract, it is almost a game. Price can move against me, ok I give. Not that it matters.

But I know, with almost absolute authority, I will find the trade, and I can maintain profitability even at a 50% win rate, because of the way I trade... with one or two contracts. I could be net DD $1k, so what? And hit the next opportunity with zero baggage, 100% belief.

I could survive trading, there is no doubt in my mind.

But in the depths, somewhere there was this positive reward system in what I have done in the past, more psychological than financial, that has a deep knowing of what I produce on an annual basis, and yet that math will not transistion into trading, for some reason that I do not completely understand.

My solution; be willing to accept less. And yes, that works. And so many times recently I find myself thinking, make more, for what? Stuff? Toys? Ego? Proof that I can? And having already been there, none of that seems to matter.

I bought a disc golf set this week, on sale for $19.99, and have smiled more, laughed more, because of that, over the past week than maybe the prior month, maybe two.

I went into making money with a goal, and with that promise I made to myself came the acceptance that I had in some ways sold my soul, temporarily, or that was the initial deal.

I was a slave to my own cause. So, whether I enjoyed what I was doing had nothing to do with it. And that direction brought me shitloads of money. But even that was not the source of happiness, it only brought with it the craving to keep going. How far can this go? Had it not been for the real estate collapse, who knows?

But was I lucky to get thrown off that horse? I often think I was. But when trying to fill the void, the vacuum, that is created by a fast removal of mass, and seeing a way that I know but despise, and needing to gain some sense of credibility with, with myself...

I may eventually run out of things to say here, or of people to talk with about it. We have never met, though I know your name, and I hope like hell some day we do meet. Same with Big Mike, and others that may prefer anononimity (for whatever reason traders do). But what I am trying to get out, what seems to be fighting it's way to the surface inside of me, is that trading is not about money. Which seems fucking preposterous.

But it isn't about money.

And yet, it is.

If I seem to be losing my sanity, which when I read my posts sometimes I am sure it does, what I feel is happening is I am actualy gaining it. Discovering that life and money have nothing to do with each other.

Breaking the cycle is difficult, and what is so incredibly ironic, is if the cycle is broken, for good, there is an unlimited stream of money available for the taking. And by not wanting it, it comes easier. But at that point, it does not matter.

And then, life takes over.


Last edited by GaryD; August 16th, 2012 at 01:18 AM. Reason: typos
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  #3697 (permalink)
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josh View Post
The money was not as good, and I basically stepped out of the nest and had to learn to fly quickly, but since making that shift 7 years ago, I have always been happy with my work, even on the tough days.

Yes, that is almost the pure draw.

 
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josh View Post
On the one hand it's terrifying, because if I'm losing, well then I must look myself in the mirror and see the problem;


And that my friend, is what brings trading closer to "spirituality" (having grown up in a "new age" environment).

Whatever that means, and not I am convinced any of us will ever know, but the older we get, and the more experiences we have, the more important that becomes.

What is money, other than a lure? But face yourself, and feel content...

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The overhead "zone" started at 94.96. Price retreated today at 94.90 after breaking the triangle (removed from the chart now).

I missed the move, had 5 meetings today.

 
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Trading is seen as something it is not, and that illusion is the number one cause of failure.

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