Archive for July, 2010
And Rule #1 is “Above all, do no harm”.
And while the concept is self-explanatory when it comes to my teaching efforts, I’ve also learned to realize over the years that it equally applies to my trading.
For example, today is Friday, which is the last day of both the week and month – timeframes that are both critical to me in terms of evaluating performance and continuing to grow one’s capital. Days really don’t matter much to me, and monitoring anything less than a week is asking for trouble.
And while I sub-optimized profitability at times this week, Friday afternoon is no time to play catch-up.
So now that the morning poker game - where it was pretty evident as to who the sucker was at the morning’s opening “table” – is over, I’m closing up shop early after having banked a rather uninspiring week of gains.
Yet one step forward is always better than two steps back, and soon it will be time to once again press the action and enter light speed … or as Dark Helmet said in Spaceballs (great movie), “Ludicrous Speed”.
And so the slow summer capital ascent and consistency goal attainment as noted in the ticker to the right continues on.
Sometimes in steps, other times in leaps.
But in the big picture, forever forward.
Have a great weekend.
Yet I’m frankly not sure how I feel about it.
I had an extremely low energy level and this hot, summer Thursday, I missed the prime expected overnight bull setup by sleeping in and instead tried to catch a repeat in the U.S. session which didn’t occur, and I was generally out of sorts due in part to a few non-market distractions.
And while I’ve found that outside days (higher high & lower low than prior day) are among the most difficult to trade and establish a strong rhythm, I should have traded better … especially pressing size during one of our favorite midday setups HARD. Sort of like bunting a pitch in your wheelhouse.
Yet one thing kept me from potential early disaster and still kept me positive for the week: (1) There was never a confirming 3LB signal on the early retracement to do anything on the long side other than probe a partial position.
In the large scheme of things, today’s nick wouldn’t even show if you squinted at my financial statements with a magnifying glass.
But it was the tale of two grades: A for not worsening early long probes, and D for not pressing the midday setup.
Kind of like kissing your sister.
Well, so far today has been a major league TMAR (Take Your Money & Run) day in the Tank as the lesser timeframe “salmon” trends have battled it out with the “whale” of an hourly uptrend.
In the meantime, if you haven’t caught this wonderful bluegrass rendition of “The Whipsaw Song” by trader and musician Ed Seykota, it’s worth a listen.
Some heartfelt thoughts tonight addressing the difficult topic of trader failure.
And since trading remains one of those rare businesses that tests EVERY element of human nature – often simultaneously — let’s keep doing what we can to collectively strengthen and support each other.
Lastly, and above all, please remember if you fail at trading after giving it your all, that YOU are not a failure.
For you likely have other gifts to share that are desparately needed in this world.
Specifically, this change often evolves from the “four steps forward, ten steps backward” cycle which afflicts many beginning traders (as the result of those blowout days before discipline truly takes root), through the “four steps forward, four steps backward” cycle, and ending with an ongoing “four steps forward, one — or zero – steps backward” phase.
I include “zero” because it reflects a curve during cycles that is typified by steady climbs, followed by pauses — or plateaus — before further climbs.
In terms of my own equity curve, I hated plateaus as recently as the spring of 2009 when I hit that interim burnout phase. You see, to me, plateaus represented a “doing nothing”, “spinning wheels”, or “banging your head against a wall” phase.
Yet while the journey to reach one’s fullest personal potential as a trader never ends until either choice, circumstance, or death, I feel my trading has evolved in a manner I never quite expected over the last year or so, which is to both accept and embrace interim plateaus.
As both my wife and a decade of babbling will tell you, I don’t do “rest” very well. For I’m Type A all the way.
Yet there’s indeed something to be said for plateaus. For they allow one to pause, enjoy the fruits of the earlier climbs, and rest before beginning the next ascent at the time and place of one’s choosing.
And since the only other option after tiring capital ascents is to retreat (nothing goes straight up … never has and never will), becoming comfortable with plateaus may very well reflect another maturing step in your trading evolution.
After all, and as Warren Buffet would remind us, Rule No.1 is to never lose money. Rule No.2 of course is never to forget rule No.1.
And given the occasional option of resting or falling back, perhaps that’s in part what Mr. Buffet was trying to tell us.
It’s only taken me a decade to figure that out.
Here’s a brief video tonight, which was delayed due to a family medical emergency.
Topics include discussion of a possible New England Trader Clambake in September if we have similar interest to last year’s Boston Bamboo cookout.
So please let me know your level of interest via post response (preferred) or email.
During last year’s Boston Bamboo Trader picnic in my backyard, one of my students from the early 2000′s told me he still hears my voice echoing in his brain during certain market patterns.
And while I’m not sure that’s a good thing (!), I appreciated the comment and understood what he meant since I tend to be a bit of a drill sergeant in terms of getting traders to learn how to read the tape. As I’ve told the incoming September Jellies, they’re going to be soooooo sick of my voice by the end of the 4 weeks!
Such was the focus of this morning’s transcript.
And in terms of responding to a few emails asking why I’ve been able to anticipate irrelevant wiggles or probes in many of the recent transcripts, it’s called trading a single market, and living, breathing, and sleeping it minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.
Anything less and you’re apt to be dancing with the wrong partner … and with two left feet.