As I momentarily break the recent silence and continue to close in on my sixth decade, the history and perspective of this man’s journey becomes clearer.
For the childhood and adolescent years in hospitals, an unrelenting two-year high school virus, the embarrassment of a concert failure, the crushing diagnosis of my youngest daughter, the broken ankles, my dad’s passing, almost losing my spouse to death twice, the early 1990s flat-on-your-face trading failure before I understood the business, the MF Global theft, and the occasional mocking from a tiny uninformed minority … in retrospect, I am so very thankful for all of these instances for harnessing strength and perseverance.
For the gifts and blessings of two children, a stronger-than-ever marriage closing in on 30 years, the continued opening of my eyes to the perspectives for priorities of business and life, the tremendous support of family and true friends, and the modest successes I’ve been afforded … I too am thankful for these glimpses of wonderment that simply dwarf the ultimate yet-to-be seen gift.
One of my greatest lessons in life has been that all of these challenges and accomplishments share one thing in common … they’re all temporary and last no longer than the blink of an eye compared to the true timeline of eternity.
Some stumble on these pages and the Chronicles book and only see success … yet it’s the necessary scars that have made all of it possible. (Please let that one sink in a bit.)
Some only see the immediate trading or life moment … without the necessary perspectives of the past or future.
Some only see what’s visual … yet it’s that which can’t be seen (99+% of the universe) where the true answers lie … in trading, life, and beyond.
Those that pursue and grasp these concepts will find the keys that open the lock … to every door.
As for me, as I continue to challenge myself beyond anything I’ve ever known, and as this current period of silence and personal metamorphosis resumes for the time being, I’ll let Colton Dixon close the post in words that ring so true as a trader and human being:
Yet it’s been powerful.
The last few months away from the masses reflect my largest “break” from the public since the mid 2000s … which was pre-career light bulb, pre-MF Global, pre-book, and pre-a host of other elements including another decade of life, mistakes, course corrections, empty nest transitions, and general observation of the masses. And unfortunately, pre-yet another troublesome reminder that we live in a fallen world.
And yet this current public respite seems like a blink of the eye, as when I went about thinking about documenting my current thoughts, I couldn’t really add much to my last post as it retains my continued growing awareness of a renewed centering of sorts. Boiling it down to a few simple math equations: Less talk + more quiet = improved focus, perspective, and performance … Smaller = larger … Standing apart from the masses = clarity of mind and purpose. Paraphrasing the words stated in the closing words of “Chronicles …”, I’ll let you decide whether these words refers to trading, life, or both.
In the coming summer months, I’ll likely remain on the quieter side of blogging and tweeting and let this and April’s post stand. And while this is a marked departure from years past, I feel it’s necessary to let those April words continue to ring to all who happen along these trails. For those who have asked, someday I suspect we’ll publish a special excerpt of significant size trading recordings. Yet as with all previous efforts, such has to be done correctly, carefully, and with proper wisdom and intent so as not to mislead or to raise the author above anyone else.
So for now, I’ll remind myself, my grown children, and anyone else who cares to look over my shoulder of Mother Teresa’s thoughts on this day where we celebrate Father’s Day to our earthly and heavenly father.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
May love and peace dominate all of our lives.
At some point in the future, I’ll post substantially more detail on my current journey that is easily dwarfing any previous personal or professional journey I’ve known in my lifetime. Yet in the meantime, and as we approach the most important weekend of the world’s history that puts everything in full and real perspective, I’ll share these initial observations and findings from space that I was only able to fully comprehend last evening.
Finding 1: It’s very quiet here. No, quiet doesn’t quite describe it … it’s more of a vacuum. A vacuum away from other people, traders, the blog, Twitter … you name it. It’s utter and complete silence that seems – ironically – ear popping.
Finding 2: While I chose the space shuttle analogy to describe this journey into the vast worlds of significant trading size, this has instead – and ironically – become a journey deep into one’s self and soul. Yet, in a very real way, as I’ve dived deeper into inner self, I’m beginning to see myself so much clearer … as if I’m viewing myself from space. I find this juxtaposition to be completely unexpected – as if I’ve been planning to turn right at the fork, and instead am finding left is actually the correct route. This becomes clearer in Finding #3.
Finding 3: While I began this journey as thinking that by substantially increasing size, I had to be in more control than ever, what I’ve found is that I actually need to be in less control than ever. In other words, I’m having to fully surrender all control of things that reach farther and deeper than trading itself. Said another way, and using our jellyfish trader analogy, at some time and place, this jellyfish tried to become a hunting shark. From video posts in the blog, to tweets frustrated with the “fish” swimming around me, to my non-market businesses, to teaching, and to my own trading … this jellyfish looked far more than something other than a creature that had to give up all control in order to be successful. Said yet another way, in order to become large, I’ve had to make myself smaller … as in a speck seen from space. This leads to my final Finding.
Finding 4: What I seem to have rediscovered is this business – and life – is about surrendering full control. Control of the markets, other traders, and my very being. And it took conceptually shoving this man – who hates being on airplanes because he’s not in the cockpit and thus not “in control” – into the cockpit of a virtual space shuttle for that fact to be bone-rattling.
Yes, my discovery has been one of relinquishing all control … call it full surrender. And it’s a journey that remains very much in progress.
The greatest irony?
That this discovery times itself with the very day that the son of God surrendered his will fully and completely.
I share these few observations with the hope that you too may join me on this unique and unexpected journey into the world of full surrender. And that by doing so, you too can perhaps find your true self and unlock your full potential.
Have a blessed Easter weekend.
Following up on yesterday’s video, today was a day of preparation on many fronts as – for the first time in this man’s two decade trading journey – I came to grips with the preparation truly required to move from trading’s equivalent of routinely flying airplanes to piloting the space shuttle.
Most of today’s pre-launch training was spent attending an incredibly inspiring men’s event hosted by a group called “Guywire”, which was a timely reinforcing event in terms of reminding ourselves of our true mission and purpose, which is to show and reflect God’s grace and glory … something that I fear had diminished a bit in recent times as I once again become more active in the politically “correct” (or more accurately stated, “incorrect”) world of Twitter and social media.
Without belaboring that point, I’ll say at the time of this writing that I honestly don’t know if I’m supposed to pursue or succeed this endeavor. This is because it’s become clearer to me every year that God has opened and closed various windows and doors of opportunity based on His design … not mine.
I certainly don’t need the money given my non-market related income, nor do I seek or want any more recognition other than to show what God can do when we simply surrender our will to His.
So why am I pursuing entering trading’s equivalent of the space shuttle launch pad? Frankly, it’s because I feel that there’s a deeper element of fear that I’ve never been able to fully eradicate from my trading and life, and one that despite painful setbacks and perceived successes on multiple fronts, has held me back from completely surrendering my will, capital, and everything else for which we are all simply temporary stewards. And it’s time to fully eradicate this fear.
This element of fear became painfully evident to me on Friday morning, when this multi-million dollar trader traded a woefully minuscule 15 contracts on the tight initial balance break, which is one of my top 5 trade setups. And while it had been some time since we had seen such a tight opening range, I chose to play it safe … which in the long run is ironically the more risky choice.
Anyway, here’s my pre-launch checklist as I get ready to close the cockpit door and begin the launch sequence.
- Acknowledge where this endeavor stands in life’s priority, which is far behind God, family, and pay-the-bills income. (For non-book readers or newer blog readers, please remember that I trade to grow assets and NOT to put food on the table.)
- Engage simplest dashboard scenario; DOM, 2 chart timeframes, F6.
- Initial sequences will reflect an extreme Sniper mode with a target of 1-2 high-probability points. We’ll build on that after lift-off.
- Trade extremely infrequently and only when able, passing on most opportunities to ensure the recognition of higher-priority non-market commitments and the strongest level of focus and execution when able.
- Don’t rush or force things … if the first trade is an hour or day from now given circumstances, so be it.
- Stay on high alert level at all times.
- Maximize focus by eliminating all involvement in intraday social media, all social drinking, and sex during the work week.
- Tithe 10% … no exceptions.
- Remember that just as dark and light can’t co-exist, neither can fear and love. For fear will always be defeated by love.
- Love everyone and everything and let go all grudges and judges.
- And yes, once and for all, forgive Jon Corzine.
So there it is as I see the shuttle door closing.
I guess the outcome is no longer in my hands.
In fact, it never was.
Fire up the engines.
I could and may fail (1).
But I have to try.
This weekend will be about getting in shape … physically, mentally, and spiritually. For opportunity will only favor the prepared.
Another journey. Another unknown destination. Am I too old at 54?
We’re about to find out.
(1) Failure is not an option.
This weekend’s edition follows up on recent discussions on Twitter, including a discussion on MATD, why I’m tweeting (hint: personal journaling!), and acknowledging our weaknesses.
Key Thursday & Friday tweets are also shown below.
Have a peaceful and fun-filled weekend.
In today’s video, I follow up on Friday’s trade sequence tweets with emphasis on KISS and developing an “acquired instinct” (using our NFL quarterback’s example from the beta Jellie team!) to maximize trading success.
I also continue to discuss my thoughts on maximizing the use and context of social media, including a stellar post today by Peter Reznicek of Shadow Trader style describing how he traded the exact same sequence. Maybe we can get him on a Trading After Dark episode!
Key Friday tweets and a chart reference are also listed below.
Today’s video reminds us of the need to manage our finite amount of human capital (as much or more so than our trading capital!), as well as the need to optimize our trading results and how social media and our ego can help or detract from this effort.
Enjoy and have a restful weekend.