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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

  #4471 (permalink)
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Deucalion View Post
Greetings from a galaxy far far away,

Indulge me for a bit, I am neither as eloquent nor as comprehensive as others (i.e. - Lornz, Fat Tails, Tigertrader, Panda and of course Big Mike)

I wish I could portray how essential it is to give up expecting things to be easy when trading the market. A degree of fatality is essential. No matter how large my account, or how small my position - it is essentially to keep trading as if that trade will be my last. I may not blow my account with 20 losing trades this way, but I might certainly lose my way mentally - that is equally dangerous (if not more).

Last year, in my own trading, fall trading blew all my profit expectations. Made my year and then some. I could do not wrong.

This year, I have better tools, am more rounded and simplfied and yet can do little right. My win rate has dropped to about 40% (from 58%ish). My only weapon is my instinct to survive. That is all that matters - if I can't survive, I can't be around to see the sun come out. And smell the wet grass.

I have already had what I call a piss poor year, but I am here, I have my capital and I can't wait for every single day to trade when I am not taking time off.

Find a way Gary. I believe that way will involve backing off a bit, being less intense and not more, thinking less, and just letting it be.....but your ways maybe be different.

You are most certinaly not alone. The missing piece in trading, is in my humble opinion, NOT in trading. Maybe have a look at Kespert's words again...


Your comments are always appreciated. I did go through Kespert's comments a few times...

Cycles are normal, and I would expect your win rate to rise again.

My "cycle" is not my win % necessarily, my trading is actually not bad. Truthfully, my trading is about the same as I normally anticipate.

What has taken me over recently is that I shocked myself by learning I am not yet immune to some mental weakness that I thought was long gone. I took a hit from a high-leverage meltdown in my psychology, that I have no idea, really none yet, what triggered it. And the fact that I thought I had gained a level of mental control, that I have now learned I have not, is the most disturbing thing I think I have encountered since I first started trading. I found something in myself that I cannot explain. And until I can, have no idea how to address it.

I am still active daily. Just different.

 
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GaryD View Post
Your comments are always appreciated. I did go through Kespert's comments a few times...

Cycles are normal, and I would expect your win rate to rise again.

My "cycle" is not my win % necessarily, my trading is actually not bad. Truthfully, my trading is about the same as I normally anticipate.

What has taken me over recently is that I shocked myself by learning I am not yet immune to some mental weakness that I thought was long gone. I took a hit from a high-leverage meltdown in my psychology, that I have no idea, really none yet, what triggered it. And the fact that I thought I had gained a level of mental control, that I have now learned I have not, is the most disturbing thing I think I have encountered since I first started trading. I found something in myself that I cannot explain. And until I can, have no idea how to address it.

I am still active daily. Just different.

This reminds me of something I read in a trading book somewhere. (Maybe something by Elder?)... I'll give my best recollection of it for you:

It uses AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) as the analogy. If an alcoholic does good for a while, and then just thinks he is fine, he will slip. An alcoholic must wake up every day knowing that he is powerless over alcohol, he must admit that to himself.

We, traders, must approach each day the same way with big losses. I am powerless, myself, over big losses. If I think for a period of time that I'm immune to them, or too "mentally strong" to allow it, THAT is when it may creep back in; and, as you know, all it takes is one of those to mentally/emotionally/financially wipe us out.

We must face each day knowing that we, as humans, as emotional beings, are capable of a big loss. That mentality in itself is the armor needed to prevent it. Whenever I've "broken my discipline" and had horrible days, it's been because I wasn't in a spot where I could imagine myself doing such a thing. Trading is counter intuitive. It's our natural emotions (and ones that usually help us in worldly situations) that are our enemy.

Your thread is starting to get repetitive. You've got to man up and fix the problem. I'm sorry if that sounds rude. I wish you only but the very best. Things are as complicated as we make them out to be. With the right mentality/belief system, you have all the skills to achieve just what you want in trading and life.

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  #4473 (permalink)
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indextrader7 View Post
Your thread is starting to get repetitive. You've got to man up and fix the problem. I'm sorry if that sounds rude. I wish you only but the very best. Things are as complicated as we make them out to be. With the right mentality/belief system, you have all the skills to achieve just what you want in trading and life.

If one more person this month tells me to "man up" I am going to have to give serious consideration to a sex change...

I was riding dirt bikes this weekend with a very good friend of mine, close to 30 years we have known each other. We stopped on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere WV, and after I went on for 15 minutes, he said the same thing to me. And another friend last week. And my sister. And my wife...

I agree with you, and I see what I am doing. That is even more frustrating to me, to know what needs to change and not be able to feel the way I need to to do it. My issues are not necessarilty trading related. I chose a way of life 20 years ago, and had 15 years where it was great and 5 where it was not. But those 5 took a lot of beliefs and turned them against me, and reconfiguring the wiring now has become more complex than it should. But, that is where I am.

I had lunch with my sister yesterday, after spending two days talking with her about some of my deepest issues. It was a Chinese buffet, and when the bill came with a plate of four fortune cookies, I thought to myself, "maybe there is the answer". Who knows how the magic of understanding really occurs, but for that moment I was willing to bet the farm on a cookie. Here's what I pulled;

"Impossible standards just make life difficult".

For a guy who went from broke to millions in less than 10 years, my "reality" was not exactly normal. And my adjustment to having it unwind so ferociously isn't either.

But I see it, I communicate about it, I explore it, question it, work on it...




indextrader7 View Post
If an alcoholic does good for a while, and then just thinks he is fine, he will slip. An alcoholic must wake up every day knowing that he is powerless over alcohol, he must admit that to himself.

We, traders, must approach each day the same way with big losses. I am powerless, myself, over big losses. If I think for a period of time that I'm immune to them, or too "mentally strong" to allow it, THAT is when it may creep back in; and, as you know, all it takes is one of those to mentally/emotionally/financially wipe us out.

We must face each day knowing that we, as humans, as emotional beings, are capable of a big loss. That mentality in itself is the armor needed to prevent it. Whenever I've "broken my discipline" and had horrible days, it's been because I wasn't in a spot where I could imagine myself doing such a thing. Trading is counter intuitive. It's our natural emotions (and ones that usually help us in worldly situations) that are our enemy.


You may be dead on; the feeling of having conquered gave a false feeling of control, which only allowed a deeper motivation to break free. I wanted to trade to right wrongs, put myself back to not feeling defeated, all kinds of wrong motivations that I am sure are typed out in greater detail somewhere in these hundreds of pages. After all the study, the practice, the lessons, deep in there is the reason I became a trader to start with. And it was not the right reason.

@researcher247 (wherever he may be) made a comment to me once in a private email about being "like a addict", taking my laptop to bed with me. Perhaps there was a bit of foresight in that comment that I allowed to slip by me.

My current approach is to trade less, post less, study less.

I did trade today, but allowed at least 3 trades to run up 15-25 ticks, and then stop me at breakeven. I was not interested in 25 ticks today. Had I been, I would have finished up close to 120 ticks on the day, on a single contract. But I concentrated on risk, wave structure, and alllowing my trade to go. I finally got my trade going into the close. And enjoyed watching it run more than I did making the money. I was down 50 ticks, 8-12 at a time. I saw the support, but just could not find the right place that also offered confirmation. No add ins, no average ins, either it went or not. I did not care. To me, that is a version of "manning up". Letting my stop get taken out small, over and over, or breakeven, over and over.

One trade turned it around. Finished up 39. As weird as it may sound, I prefered that today. My biggest issue is fear of loss, and fear of having profits disappear on me, and what I did today addressed both of those. Screw the money, "address the fears" was my mantra du jour.

Thanks for your insight and support. I did check out your thread, keep it up.

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indextrader7 View Post
Trading is counter intuitive. It's our natural emotions (and ones that usually help us in worldly situations) that are our enemy.

That one deserved repeating.

 
  #4475 (permalink)
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A moment of clarity happened upon me today. Not something to get into on a cell phone connection. Which is where I am, in a restaurant with my wife. But, soon I hope to post some of the most beneficial realizations I have had to date. Simple, elusive, freeing.

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  #4476 (permalink)
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@GaryD

I wanted to be the first to suggest you might want to start preparing to HUNKER DOWN for the weekend you might be in for quite a blow the next couple of days. Plenty of stiff wind and rain heading your way.

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  #4477 (permalink)
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Cashish View Post
@GaryD

I wanted to be the first to suggest you might want to start preparing to HUNKER DOWN for the weekend you might be in for quite a blow the next couple of days. Plenty of stiff wind and rain heading your way.

In Florida, when a storm comes, "hunker down" is a phrase we get 24 hours a day from the "talking-head" news reporters. This is going back several years, but we had a quasi dirinking game of each time someone used the phrase "hunker down".

I have lived through maybe 6, 7, hurricanes? In Orlando at 100' +/- above sea level, it only gets so bad.

We had a stoplight in our front yard, a tree on our house, another tree total my vehicle, the streeet was blocked, there was not power, or gasoline... that was Charile. 5 people in my center bathroom, 2 dining room chairs in the bathtub to make it more comfortable...

Hunker shmunker, as in all things, it's going to do what it is going to do. Find me absolute probability...

 
  #4478 (permalink)
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GaryD View Post
A moment of clarity happened upon me today. Not something to get into on a cell phone connection. Which is where I am, in a restaurant with my wife. But, soon I hope to post some of the most beneficial realizations I have had to date. Simple, elusive, freeing.

First, if you really want to play this game... post "why I trade" as it relates to yourself. Be prepared for me to not accept your first answer.

 
  #4479 (permalink)
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A hopefully correct, possibly pseudo-quote from Paul Tudor Jones, one that I know I typed about previously;

"I am more afraid now than I have ever been"



Why do we have fear?

If your answer is, "we shouldn't", that is instinctually incorrect. We are born with the instinct we refer to as "fear". Fear is what we have named a mental, or physical, or both... process that causes us to feel a certain way.

Also, instinctually, we have evolved, in part at least, the concept that by ignoring fear we gain "courage", and that feeling instills a likelihood of success....

Does it in trading? Yes, and no.

We must have belief in whatever it is that causes us to feel we have an adge. In that manner, "ignore fear" is correct.

But, we must also maintain a fear related to the fact that, we will NEVER know anything. "80% odds", can we define that as anything that gives certainty as the risk we are taking?

In a true survival of the fittest, not one animal, is without risk. Even if it is the largest, being taken out by the smallest (bacteria, disease, etc.)

For survival of any species, minimizing risk is what creates longevity.

Ask any insurance underwriter.

We, as a society, are willing to pay hefty sums for someone else to assume the "risk" in things. Home, car, health, life, "things".

For example, I have paid $4k a year on average, 20+ years, and only claimed $30k in a hurricane. That company's "trade" on me, is nearly a 3:1.

And back in the day when I worked for a lot of REITS, insurance companies held a lot of the money available.

Risk vs reward. Make it a good ratio, always fear risk.


Last edited by GaryD; October 25th, 2012 at 07:03 PM.
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  #4480 (permalink)
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GaryD View Post
A moment of clarity happened upon me today. Not something to get into on a cell phone connection. Which is where I am, in a restaurant with my wife. But, soon I hope to post some of the most beneficial realizations I have had to date. Simple, elusive, freeing.

Holding that thought. Still not time, but it's an electronic journal, I want to see this when I open it.

The post above this one (risk) is an ingredient, but far from the whole.


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