Archive for November, 2010


Friday Notes – The True Trader

Posted by: Don Miller | Comments (5)

While I probably filled enough space for a week with yesterday’s “Pay it Forward” Thanksgiving post, one onlooker forwarded me the attached which – if you read between the lines of every single post since we began this public trek – sums up everything I’ve been trying to say.

My favorite part?  “God is glorified when we use our God-given passion and skills with excellence.”

Pursue excellence gang.

As you pay it forward.

I’ve added the video to the trader motivational video page.  And thanks to Jerry for providing the link.

Categories : Motivational
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Some Turkey Day trading “giblets” to munch on between meals and/or football games.

First, I’d like to share interactions from three different traders I had over the past week.

Paying It Forward - In last week’s Weekend Trader post, I mentioned a frustrated trader who seemed to be on his last rung – in trading and life – who reached out to me in severe desperation. 

Another part of the story is he’d just lost thousands paying some guru who’d taken off with his funds, and we’d actually spoken several months ago where he was very skeptical of me due to some blatant lies that some have spread in one small corner of the web that is often frequented by losing traders and kiddies typing in their mommie’s basement. (More on that in a bit.)

After spending an hour with him on the phone, I chose to gift him the first three Jellie webinars … telling him all the while that I didn’t want one penny from him.

Suffice it to say, that before, during, and after the conversation, I was as concerned as I’ve ever been for any trader I’ve ever encountered.  And that says a lot.

Fast forward to last night, when the following email floored me.

I wanted to follow up with you just as soon as I had some time think over everything we talked about last week.   First and foremost, Thank you!   Words can’t express just how much it meant to have you take time out of your day to help me pull through such a difficult time.   There are just a few times in my life where another human being has been pivital in turning a bad situation into a positive one.  You truly gave me hope, when I had lost sight of everything that was truly important. 
I studied your webinars non stop throughout the past week & they have already been invaluable in improving my trading.  In just a few days my trading has improved ten fold as a result of changing the way I approached  the market.  I have completely stopped overtrading, & stopped going for big point trades. Instead I’m now taking the extreme moves for just 1-3 points as we discussed.  It was as if I was missing a few critical pieces to the puzzle, but once you handed me those missing pieces, the picture became perfectly clear. I have gotten up every day with a renewed excitement for my career, & a renewed confidence in my trading.  
Thank you once more for extending your friendship to me.  I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for guidance these last 6 months I’ve been “self educating”.  There were times I started to wonder if God was hearing my prayers.  All this time, & it turns out he answered my prayers months ago when he brought us together.  I’ve found that God often answers our prayers but those answers come in a form we don’t always recognize.  If it weren’t for us meeting, I would not have had a single person to turn to for support.  God works  in mysterious ways doesn’t he.  Thank you for your friendship Don.  If ever there’s something I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Those who know me well know that not much leaves me speechless.

Yet after reading this, I had to take a long silent walk.

My role?  Well, as I mentioned in my October 1st post, it’s simply that of pointer.

I responded by simply asking him that if his trading indeed continues to turn around, that he should consider a donation to the effort.

I mention this for two reasons … neither of which has to do with self-promotion.

First, pay life forward gang.  ‘Nuff said.

Second, while I certainly don’t lose any sleep addressing the aforementioned kiddies, I WILL defend myself against blatant lies and misconceptions that a very small minority have with respect to my involvement in the educational side of this business, and will simply reference the 2009 Blue Wall posts (Part 1 and Part 2) and the recent public thank you post.

Another relevant perspective can be found on page 55 of one of the best trading books out there … Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella.

In this section, Rotella describes one of the blatant ills of golf  as the “golf coach” cottage industry grew many years ago:

“Practice ranges came along, and teachers found that they could make a living just standing on the lesson tee and talking about hand positions and body coils and swing planes.  They stopped walking the course with their pupils.  They stopped teaching rhythm and feel and scoring skills.  Gradually, teaching golf became a big business.  Teachers competed for a share of the market by claiming that they, and they alone, had discovered the secret, the mechanical key to the perfect swing.”

Those that have worked with me know that trading, like golf, is indeed all about finding the market’s rhythm, and simply (yes, SIMPLY … remember that Kindergarten slide!) aligning with it.

As I’ve said recently, truth is … well, truth.

And the truth is that neither a doctor nor a pilot ever learned how to operate or fly in a chatroom or without cost.

Find a real trader to emulate gang.  And it does not need to be me … just “real”.

Of course, some simply are too lazy to do the due diligence required to find the truth. 

Or, in the words of Colonel Jessup, some simply can’t handle it.

Lunch in Boston – I also mentioned last week that I was going to have lunch with a longtime blog onlooker and his family who were visiting Boston.  We had a great time (Thanks Bob!) chatting about Boston, family, and just about everything but trading. 

And my review of Legal Seafood’s “Cape Cod” scallops?  Absolutely superb.

Trading Addiction?  – Another conversation I had this week was with a Jellie trader who asked me whether I thought his thinking about the market after market hours was bordering on addiction.

As I mentioned to him was that I believe there’s a fine line between (1) healthy and necessary fully-immersed passion and (2) addiction. 

And since the first is absolutely necessary for success in this business, while the second will lead to burn-out and ruin, we must carefully walk that razor-thin line.

Where that line gets drawn likely varies by individual.

2010 Personal Review – ‘Twas one of the more interesting years for this trader as we head into the home stretch of 2010.  And in many ways, I feel that this was year of significant personal measurement and spiritual testing.

Two months of Pleurisy.  The May 6th flash crash.  Chelsea’s continuing medical challenges and perseverance.  Family dynamic changes with the official beginning of the empty nest years.  Random bouts of lost focus and perspective.  Two Jellie training sessions.  Spiritual renewal.

Yet, by the grace of God, I’m still standing … and growing.

For me, I suppose 2010 was one of the truest examples that trading and life are indeed like a symphony concert.

For we need each other as much as we need a conductor.

Plus, we need an intermission to regenerate the strength and passion.

And as I witnessed last Saturday evening when Chelsea made the leap from high school soloist to the Tufts University Symphony Orchestra (middle front in pic), the resulting music is usually jaw-dropping and mind-blowing.

May God provide you the largest cornucopia today and in the coming months & years.

In trading and life.

For the next segment of the Concert begins shortly, and we’ll need to be ready.

(Ponder a moment over that last sentence … as there are three intended meanings!)

Categories : Motivational
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Some quick and random thoughts heading into a very busy weekend at this end, so my advance apologies to Webster for any grammatical errors.

Photon – Gearing up to begin my trial with the Photon platform for December 1st as I move one of my two trading accounts from TT.  Stay tuned.

Trading After Dark – Still progressing.  Stay tuned.

Trader Networking – Having lunch with a long-time blog onlooker and his family on Saturday in Boston as they visit Tufts and other colleges.  Legal Seafood here we come.  Just like the ’09 Bamboo picnic, I’ve never met them before in person. ’Tis a small fraternity of traders.  And a small world.

Trader Frustrations – Had a long conversation with a defeated trader (non-student) the other night that I’ll expand on some day.  ‘Twas a night of comforting, consoling, and sharing of thoughts, experiences, and suggestions.  A reminder that we all experience the tough part of this business from time to time.  Rule #1 when we go through those periods?  Don’t do anything stupid. 

Frankly, I can’t get on the phone quickly enough when I hear of someone sounding incredibly desperate. 

The market can “borrow” our funds gang … but don’t let it ever take your spirit.

Priorities - Began attending a 6am ET men’s bible study today, smack dab in the middle of Europe’s usually stellar midday sequences.  Yet I’d be lying if I said I was 100% OK with missing one of the highest probability & income producing periods in the current market, so apparently God has a lot more work to do with me.  A+ for the decision to attend … F- for the silly nagging feeling of regret.

Uganda Mission - The mission trip is official underway as the team departed the states yesterday for their 10 day mission.  Continued thanks to all who gave to the project as we raised close to $10K.

Symphony - We’ll be watching Chelsea perform in the Tufts orchestra on Saturday evening.  She may be gone from home, but her music still echoes thanks to technology.

Despite a less than stellar personal trading week at this end … life is full and good.

Enjoy the weekend.

Categories : The Weekend Trader
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Tonight’s first post discussed being out of the zone and off balance … big-time.

This one, however, is all about being in the zone … also big time.

Yes, you CAN occasionally be in these crazy, crazy fun zones.

P.S. I’ve added this video to the bottom of the trader motivational video page.  And if I recall, these carnival-type hoop rims are only about 1/2 inch wider than the ball!

EMBED-Basketball Rapid Fire – Watch more free videos

Categories : Motivational
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Note – After writing this, I wanted to emphasize that while Tiger had led a sorid hidden life before the public discovery of his infidelities, the discovery and subsequent events still served to upset what he had viewed as a psychological balance that had previously allowed for peak performance – even if such an inner balance had clearly been based on misguided principles.

Trading is a self-centered game, in ways good and bad.

So much depends on one’s own abilities.

But for me, that self-reliance made me think I could tackle the world by myself.

It made me think that if I was successful at trading, then I was invincible.

Now I know that, no matter how tough or strong we are, we all need to rely on others.

#   #   #

No, I didn’t write those words.

But like almost every trader who’s walked this planet, I could have at various times in my career.

You’ll of course immediately know the true author once you substitute the two italicized trading terms with “golf”.

For they were spoken by Tiger Woods in a first-person essay in today’s edition of Newsweek (and further described by where he talks about regaining life’s balance.

And if you’re looking any farther for evidence that any competitive endeavor is all about establishing a personal rhythm, look no farther than someone who was once the best golfer on the planet.

He was so far ahead of the rest of the field, he needed the Hubble telescope to even see second place.

This is the guy who not too long ago essentially won the U.S. Open on one leg.

Making cuts were as automatic as a night turning to day.

Now, he’s about as consistent as a Toyota Prius braking system.  Less even.

I’ve often said that the line that separates mediocrity from excellence is razor thin … for all of us.

I mentioned the other day that I trade best when my inner spiritual rhythm is fully aligned with that of the market.

When I trade well, it frankly seems as if I could walk 50 yards blindfolded with 20 books balanced on my head and a glass of wine on top for weeks and months … without spilling a drop.

And the record runs show it.

When I don’t trade well, it seems I couldn’t walk ten feet holding a single book in my hands without dropping it.

And the plateaus and draw periods also show that.

Rhythm and balance.

Guard, nurture, and maintain them.

And while we know that Tiger’s chosen spiritual road is unfortunately not one of Truth, there is indeed some wisdom in his written words.

Simply put, if the best golfer in the world … by far … can essentially lose all aspects of peak performance in a heartbeat once the balance is gone (even if such a personal balance was clearly based on misguided principles), so can every trader in this world.

Including you and me.

Categories : Motivational
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Tonight I discuss how closely aligned life - including the spiritual side – and trading are.

I also provide a Trading After Dark (TM) update, and remind new onlookers of the wealth of information stored in the initial blog which will remain accessible to all, and can help fill in the voids when I might be quiet at this end.

Categories : Motivational, Video Post
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The Weekend Trader – No P.C.

Posted by: Don Miller | Comments (6)

Today’s rather “unique” video discusses a number of current priorities on both the personal and trading fronts.

As I mention in the video, great personal thanks to (1) Barry Greenstein and (2) traders who have contributed to

At this end, I’ll be stepping up donations further including giving 50% of all webinar educational proceeds to their mission effort over the next few weeks.  Here’s the complete course syllabus if you’ve missed it in the past.

Most importantly, and as I reinforce in the video, please understand that in past, current, and future efforts, I will always be more concerned with industry and life truth vs. political correctness.

For life is not about believing that said by who screams the loudest.

Rather life will always be about truth.

Such will remain our mission in everything that we do.

P.S. Links referenced in the video include:
    Cherie Norquay’s music (Powerful!)
    Walk to Emmaus
    Alpha Course

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