Special Thanksgiving Day Post – Pay It Forward

By Don Miller

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


  1. Terry Prindiville says:

    Thank you for your posts. I have also been much like the frustrated trader you have just mentioned. I too have been on my knees many times. Your posts have done much to encourage me and to keep me putting one foot in front of the other. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

  2. chalupa says:

    thankyou Don and to you and your family also

  3. Scotte says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Don,

    Your messages are truly inspired.

    Thanks for your ministry.

  4. matt says:


    Before I got to your blog post today a thought came to my mind about living healthy in terms of getting enough sleep to be able to be fully focused when trading ES’s continuously trading contract. The question at heart was if a trader had to set his alarm clock for 2-3 times during the night, What times do you feel are the most important as to keep feel and Rythm while being able to catch wholesale entries? Or is an alarm synched to your phone when key support/resistance areas are hit overnight? I am trying to balance a routine of sleep and getting up when my alarm goes off at key times to check overnight prices.