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Altaria's Path

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Altaria's Path

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  #1 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

Ok, folks, 758 days of membership without a post, that's enough. And since 758 seems to be a magical number for me lately (today, it's my second contact with this number), I've decided to start my long-postponed journal.

I owe much to (formerly BMT). Thanks to this forum, I found some information which FINALLY makes sense for me in terms of the markets. I found FuturesTrader71 - don't think you can find another guy like him on the Internet, the extent to which he goes to in order to help traders prosper is fascinating. BigMike's work and support on this forum is also unmatched, bringing all those great guests to create webinars for us traders... Maybe this journal could balance my account at least a little.

At first, the content of this journal will probably look more like Gandalf's reminiscences than like a trading journal, but that's just because I want to sum up all of my findings in one place, so that I can always refer myself back. I want to be perfectly honest with you and, which is the main thing, with myself, so that I can't hide behind rationalizations and other crutches. Also, though it's not equal to carving rules in the stone, this is the best I can get when it comes to NOT changing my strategies and viewpoints more often than how often I change my underwear. I believe some of my findings might very well be useful to others when their time comes.

I believe that, one day, I will create a post for this thread saying something like "OK, guys, moving to Ecuador, all trading goals fulfilled, see ya later." Actually, it's probably going to be Barcelona, Spain, but all the same... Then, after reading my story, some of the readers might actually think "Well, if THIS GUY made it, there's no way I could fail!" By the way, thank you once again, BigMike, this time for your "transfer announcement", it is great to see someone who managed to reach what I would like to reach, that it's doable.

I'll try to create at least one post per day, hope you'll like it and that it might help you somehow, some day.

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  #3 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

Ok, not to be another anonymous nick on the forum, I'll give some basic "speed-dating" info. I believe it's good to know who is behind the words, especially if this thread is going to have a happy ending one day.

Name: Jerry (actually, it's Jaroslav, but that's how my name translates into English)

Age: 28

Trading style: Scalping/Intraday

Instrument: Forex/6E

Residence: Prague, Czech republic

Education: Bachelor's degree in Toxicology (so beware!)

Employment: None (I know, I know, this will be addressed later)

Places I love: Barcelona, Paris, Pescara

Places I'd love to visit: New Zealand, Himalayas, Florida, Los Angeles, Rocky Mountains

If I was to give three quotes that describe me the best, they would be:
Do not complain about the darkness in this world, light a torch instead.
Don't just do something, stand there!
Write your own legend...

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  #4 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Altaria View Post
PS: Wanted to upload a photo, not able to until post count = 5. Will upload later.

Anyone can attach an image with as few as 1 posts. You simply need to attach it on (formerly BMT), not some third party site linking.


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  #5 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

Big Mike View Post
Anyone can attach an image with as few as 1 posts. You simply need to attach it on (formerly BMT), not some third party site linking.


I had uploaded the picture via (formerly BMT), the problem was that I tried to embed the picture in the post, as I now can see. Added the picture as an attachment.

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  #6 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

Oh my, ten months since my last post... What a sad course of events. Last June, my girlfriend broke up with me and it took me this long to recuperate, not really coming any close to trading. That also says something about my psyche.

But enough of that, let's get back to business. I will describe my way through the obstacles of a beginning trader as I met them, since I think it's very good for a person to sort his or her thoughts this way and it might even help someone to overcome their troubles as well. Bear in mind that I'M NOT claiming to be a succesful trader now, I'm just trying to map my path, see the dead ends plainly and share something with a community that helped me in many ways. I will eventually get to posting my trading, but I believe that some areas need to be adressed first and I would like this "walkthrough" to be as complete as possible.

Every section will have three parts, first with a little theory that I've come up after going through the particular phase of my journey. It will also explain why I think it's important to do some of the steps I did and not to do some other steps I did, too. The second part will be the description of what I did and went through. And the third will feature some summary and tips to take from my experience. I'm not here to tutor anyone, I just strive to be a better trader... and person!

Well, let's not waste any more time!

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  #7 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

I think that it is extremely important for a trader (just as for a person in general) to look inside him- or herself and get to know the demons which lurk within. I believe that it’s these demons who are responsible for our „monkey“, as FT71 calls the state in which our rational trading behaviour is supressed by an emotional overload and a guy then trades... well, like a monkey. During my time on this world, I couldn’t help noticing how often this little monkey keeps popping up even in our everyday lives and relationships, capable of causing just as much damage as to our trading account, unfortunatelly without the margin call option.

If our demons are not under conscious control, they live happily ever after within us and it’s quite possible that, most of the time, they’re just harmlessly sitting on a couch watching cartoons. Unfortunatelly, there are impulses which make the demons turn off the TV and rise to the surface. And each of the different demons brings pain to our mind. That’s the reason why many many people are very very afraid to even think about their demons, leave alone dealing with them. I know one person who is so scared of being alone with her ghosts that she will participate in literally any pretext just to escape them. One evening, I found her re-folding her hankerchiefs. Good.

The worst demons are the ones connected to our self-conscience, or rather the perception of our worth in life and the world. If something makes us feel worthless, good-for-nothing, makes us see ourselves as loosers, this something carries an exceptionally intense pain to us. Notwithstanding, at the moment, whether the impulse really diminishes our worth, or whether we just THINK that it does (as is almost always the case). He insulted me, she doesn’t want to sleep with me, he goes to a drink with buddies instead of staying home with me, her parrot gave me a weird look... You name it, it would seem that there is no limit to the fantasies when it comes to reasons for humiliating ourselves.

In everyday life, we have come up with compensatory mechanisms which seemingly help us to fix the percieved loss of worth. The word „seemingly“ is important here. We can turn ourselves into the poorest thing in the world, crying and pitying ourselves to receive sympathy. We can get mad, start shouting and thrashing things around us. Already reminds you of something, doesn’t it? We can even insult a person, beat him, or kill him.

In life, we may seemingly get away with using these tricks, although how our relationships will be affected by such treatment remains a question. (Un)fortunatelly, people around us also carry many demons within and/or, surprisingly, might even love us and our hullabaloo might make them soothe us, soothe our pain. Nevertheless, what works with a neighbour who hasn’t invited you to his grill party, doesn’t work with the market. The market doesn’t give a damn about our little games and all our insults and tears won’t make it move a tick. What’s more, the fact that we’re trying our reliable gimmicks to diminish our pain from loss or turn off our fear (or anger) of being incapable of trading for a living and IT DOESN’T WORK will blow our temper through the chimney and the monkey with the demons will wreak havoc all the more happily. Such situation requires only very little to turn our trading accounts into a state in which we seem to hear a flushing sound every time we think about them.

The market is by far the best tool for getting to know ourselves, in my opinion. Unfortunatelly, since self-understanding is not green and you can’t buy a Lambo with it, it’s not what traders are looking for in the markets. And the costs for meeting our monkey this way may be debilitating.

Eliminating our demons and sending our monkey to Madagascar is not easy, let’s face it. That which controls us today has been sprouting and thriving within our mind for as long as decades and we can hardly expect to get rid of it during a commercial break in the middle of a hockey game. Well, near-death experiences usually enable a person to see that his or her demons are just a heap of nonsense, but I don’t know any psychologist who would offer such kind of therapy, at least not for long.

But it’s worth the toil. If we trace our demons back in time, we often reach a point when, for example, in our early childhood, something happened to us. Something we might even laugh at today. But at that particular time, we didn’t have today’s perspective and we perceived that event as a psychical wound and a source of pain. That very same event subconsciously changed our behaviour in the next similar situation and this change led to another failure. Let’s say you asked a girl for a date and got refused – that made you nervous for another date request and you looked weird to the girl so she gave you that popular sweet answer which includes a rather improbable event of hell freezing over. Next thing you know, the following snowball efect resulted in you today not being able to approach a girl without fainting in the process. And all of this just because Stacy Cooper was a b*tch!

The realisation that your current demons might have been concieved in some trivial stupidity long ago is very freeing in itself and I think it’s the best first step possible in getting rid of your monkey. Not all childhood events are that trivial and not all events originate from childhood, but I think that tracing your fears is a good start anyway. I won’t go into meditation and fear-managing strategies here, but I strongly recommend everyone to explore this area.

What I think is most important for both trading and life is that you can find out how your demons work and what sets them into motion. You will eventually be able to sense the monkey coming and take a break to think about what’s happening – right before opening an incredibly stupid position or right before uttering an insult which will make a certain person leave your life forever, a person who loved you and wanted nothing but happiness for you.

The look inside might enable us not to succumb to behaviour we might regret later on, be it in trading our in our relationships. That would make us a slightly better trader and a much better person.

But enough theory, in the next post, we will take a leap to the dark and inhospitable abyss of... me!

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  #8 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

I think I am – considering all circumstances – a very lucky person. I was born in a country which is troubled neither by war nor famine or poverty. I was born to an era of freedom, scientific discoveries and almost unlimited access to information. My parents were not rich, but neither were they poor, so we could enjoy some pleasant sides of life. I’m a healthy person without physical limitations, some people even dare to go as far as to call me good-looking and sexy when I buy them drinks. Also, I think I am intelligent and capable of problem-solving and imagination, as my life so far proves.

Nothing to worry about, huh? Well, that’s where the head comes in.

My mum has always been a sort of a bad cop – it’s not that she didn’t love me, she just thought that there can never be too much discipline for a person to abide by. My dad, the good cop, was an entrepreneur with many business responsibilities and demands. Although his work brought us the money, it didn’t bring us that much of the father. He used to leave for the office when I was still asleep and came home when I was asleep already. The moments spent with him very extremely rare and precious.

Although mum’s bad-copishness and dad’s lack of time may be understood to have nothing to do with me as a person, I couldn’t see it from this perspective at that time. I began to think that I’m not worthy of their love, attention and care. So I resorted to a well-known scheme of the wonder child to „deserve“ their love. I behaved, both in school and life. I had all-A’s up to the end of my university days. I played the piano.

Didn’t work. What’s worse, another well-known scheme followed – that in which when you’re perfect, it’s considered pretty much the norm and nothing to talk about, but the moment you slip a little, a hell will break loose. My parents never used physical punishments nor dire restrictions and I think they wouldn’t think any less of me because of my grades, but they made a fuss. I did the self-humiliation part for them.

I began to be afraid of not being able to keep my wonder kid status. After all, if I didn’t receive enough love and attention with all-A’s, what would I receive had I started bringing home some bad news? Suddenly, I was nervous before the tests, I chastised myself for the mistakes I made, and I also caught the popular disease of diminishing my successes from my parents. This went so far that I had a time in which I was vomiting every morning out of stress. To sum up, I was now mortally afraid to make mistakes.

Then my father died. Aged 53. Suicide. His workaholism finally caught up with him. He started to have sleeping disorders, depressions, concentration lapses. He took it into his head that he was a bad father and husband for not spending time with us and so on, and, unfortunatelly, instead of taking steps to improve the situation, he went to a cellar one morning and hanged himself on a scarf.

It was a disaster for both my mum and me. We both loved him and couldn’t understand why he left us this way. Up to this day, my mum blames herself for this. Dad’s company gradually went out of business, which was made even worse by the fact that mum was an employee of the company. And, we were living with our grandma who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

I’m amazed how my mum went through all this (I was 17 at that time) without getting mad. An immensely remarkable woman. Unfortunatelly, all this trouble made her fix herself on the only precious thing that was left for her in this world: me. I can never describe what I have come through because of this, how restrictive and binding the situation was. I couldn’t go skiing, I couldn’t go for a weekend trip, I couldn’t drive a car without hours (!!!) of shouting arguments. I know that mum never ceased to love me, but in her fear and desperation, she went for the weapons of the last resort – insults, attacks on my self-confidence and qualities as a person, and psychical black-mailing. Sentences like „Why do I have to have such a bastard for a son?!“ (I wanted to go to a garden party) stabbed both my heart and mind. All this joined the self-doubts I had already grown in my head and made me perceive myself as a total looser who can never achieve anything worth talking about.

To make things worse, I found myself a girlfriend. Just when I thought I would be alone for the rest of my life – I was 19. The world was suddenly a wonderful place again. For a while. The demons already active in my mind made me see my partner as a source of love and our relationship as a source of self-confidence. When the smallest problems arrived, I felt those sources to be threatened and went for the compensatory mechanisms I already knew from my former life and the world around me: jealousy, anger, psychical black-mailing.

And then, one day, I discovered something that would bring me so much pain that I want to warn everyone who cares to read this.

It started quite innocently. I was really sad that evening, on the verge of depression. My girlfriend had never seen me so sad and did everything she could to make me feel better. I liked the attention. I enjoyed being the center of the world. Next time I was sad, the whole process repeated itself. I tried the same thing with my mum – with the same results. That moment, I was doomed.

Depression became my ticket to so-desired love and attention and I used it as often as I could. Needless to say, people around me eventually became fed up with my charades and started to keep their distance. Just as a drug addict who’s built up a tolerance to the chemical, I went for stronger stuff, being hysterical and talking about suicide.

It took me many, many years to get rid of this modus operandi and cost me four beautiful relationships. Up to this day, I sometimes feel the urge to fall back to this tempting abyss. But it happens about twice a year, not twice a day.

This compensatory nonsense has caused fatal damage to my self-confidence in many ways. It’s not exactly good for your perception of value to indulge almost every day in extensive talks about what a looser you are and how everything falls apart around you. But it gets worse. As this was my one and only known mechanism for getting that which I craved for so much, I would go to extreme measures to preserve this stupid mechanism, both consciously and unconsciously – even though it was not working!!!

Now, a question for you: What is the most dangerous thing that could happen to a person who has built his or her happiness around being the poorest thing in the world?

You got it. It’s success.

Had I actually succedded in anything, I wouldn’t have been able to wear the shirt shouting „looser“ to others. So I sabotaged every venture I took, again both consciously and (mostly) unconsciously, and diminished the value of every action of mine which actually dared to end up in success. This is a death-blow to anyone’s self-consiousness. And, it made me come to the markets subcounsciously programmed for failure – trying to avoid all possible mistakes at the same time. Man, am I good at messing things up or what?

The final demon rose to it’s throne when I first entered the previously uncharted seas of making money. I’ve never been too excited about the prospect of being an employee. Also, after what happened to my dad, I decided not to share the same fate – having some money but no time for my family and myself. So when a friend of mine invited me to a presentation of a MLM company (they’re not all hoaxes, you know, but this one was, hurray!), I was the perfect victim. I went through four such companies, then became a financial advisor. These were the darkest days of my life.

I hated the job, I was scared as hell to talk to clients for my fear of failure, I despised even the act of opening the doors of my office. What’s worse, I let myself believe that to succeed in anything, be it business or relationships, I had to become a wolf devouring other wolves. Any person in this world had no value beyond the money that could be milked, often stabbing him or her in the back in the process. At that time, I seduced my best friend’s girlfriend when I was in a relationship myself. Nothing was forbidden.

It took me about three years to finally fail for the last time. This era cost me about $ 60,000 of my inheritance with all the hoaxes and such. The girl I seduced cheated on me and left me for another.

By trying to avoid the fate of my father, I took a path which was leading me EXACTLY to the same place. I had no time for the things I loved, hated the things I was doing, I’d gained weight and had become a mean and jealous person who didn’t care about anyone. After all the failures, I gradually began to believe that I would never be able to financially secure my family and fullfil my dreams. Sharing newspapers for blankets when sleeping under a cosy bridge seemed more probable.

So, the moment I met the markets, which I will talk about in the next section, the following demons were already at home and comfy in my head:

- I was mortally afraid of mistakes and failure
- I percieved myself as a lifetime looser incapable of succeeding in anything
- I was subconsciuosly programmed to failure
- I feared I would never be able to reach my dreams and financial security
- My self-conscience and self-confidence were both below zero. The absolute one. (Don’t trust the physicists who say it can't be reached.)

You can already see the fun coming, can’t ya? And fun it was, dying Schrödinger’s death a thousand times (I’ll get to this later), blowing chunks of my account, loosing all hope and finding it again.

I started dissecting my demons only many years later, I didn’t have this knowledge at the beginning of my trading „career“. But it was only after I had discovered these wraiths and the strings they held to my mind that I finally managed to stop behaving like an idiot, both in markets and life. I was acting out of fear, many fears. And when you’re acting out of fear, everything you do is bound to be crappy. No exceptions.

I can’t recommend finding your inner demons enough. The freedom is exhilarating. The world is suddenly a much happier and friendlier place. We can truly become better persons in all aspects. And when we look around us, we can see that such persons are very needed.

And, as a side effect, you might actually make some money in the markets!

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  #9 (permalink)
Prague, Czech republic
Posts: 7 since May 2012
Thanks: 8 given, 4 received

To sum things up, I’d like to stress some points from my experience and thoughts about the world:

- During our lives, we might’ve accumulated certain fears and wounds that make us feel pain if these fears are brought to a surface by some initiator
- If this is the case, we’ve probably also created some compensation mechanisms for soothing the pain and mending the bleeding self-confidence. These mechanisms often include anger, violence, self-pity, indifference etc.
- We grow very dependent of these mechanisms, even if they’re not working or are actually destroying our lives (and accounts)
- The market is an extreme initiator of the demons within. At the same time, it is absolutely immune to our compenstation games. The mixture of fear, pain and anger from both loss of money and the fact that our gimmicks are not working boils a very dangerous concoction in our minds. We loose control, the monkey takes our place
- If we can dissolve these demons within or at least break the link between the initiators and our destructive behaviour, we could live a much happier life and become much better person and a trader

Given my own life’s path, I came to the markets with these demons in my head which affected almost everything I did in markets and life:

- I was mortally afraid of mistakes and failure
- I percieved myself as a lifetime looser incapable of succeeding in anything
- I was subconsciuosly programmed to failure
- I feared I would never be able to reach my dreams and financial security
- My self-conscience and self-confidence were both below zero.

If you have any ideas or comments, please feel free to share them. It was (and remains) very difficult for me to uncover the vampires within, so any tips would be much welcome. Also, maybe this will bring a message to all traders who bear the same fears in mind: you’re not alone!

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