Friday, July 25, 2008

The Weekend Trader (Early Edition)

Some heartfelt thoughts heading into the weekend to anyone "looking over my shoulder".

Please remember this is my personal trading diary and a mechanism for me to think out loud, and as such may contain feelings and comments that must be put into perspective.

The main concept that comes to mind is my commenting on actual earnings/losses. For I've long held the perspective that personal earnings are just that, personal, and I'll go to my grave feeling that way. And during all my teaching and publishing years, I made it a point to never discuss my or other traders' tangible dollars in terms of income, losses, equity base, etc., keeping all comments to points, rates of return, etc.

Yet in my personal diary -- which I recognize is being shared with a growing group -- I must discuss them. First, I'm writing to myself. Second, actual earnings/losses are a reflection of the entire trading experience, including appropriate sizing and risk management aspects. What good is a 2 point gain if it's only on 10 contracts?? Third, I've already mentioned that I have a very specific $1M income objective this year trading an initial capital base of about $700K, and as a result I have to mark the scorecard reflecting progress toward that goal (notwithstanding the fact that I still won't view my actual equity except for June 30 and December 31). And I cannot -- and will not -- be deterred from this mission. I do like the idea of using a poker "chip count" analogy which I've recently begun and may stick with that which seems to depersonalize things in a healthy manner.

And this last point is critically important: If you're looking over my shoulder and sense ego, boasting, etc., then you're missing the true intent of this blog or weren't privy to my writings from earlier years. Simply put, chest-pumping -- which I loathe -- will kill my mental edge and swing the door wide open to invite complacency. Which of course does me no good at all unless I'm trying to sell products or services, which I'm not. I'm also hoping my open discussion of blunders puts that to rest. I can screw up with the best of them!! And lastely, I have to always trade as if I'm coming from behind -- without of course actually being behind -- for that is when I'm at my best.

Having said that, I think this blog can be a win-win. It will keep me on focus while perhaps triggering ideas and self-evaluation in the minds of onlookers that can't be triggered via other mechanisms. For I've always enjoyed discovering helpful tools that don't exist in the industry -- as was the case when I often traded live to teach -- and maybe this will join the list. All I know is I'm enjoying this!

So let the great journey and poker game continue.

3 comments:

Quarrel said...

Don,

Thanks for the blog. I'm really enjoying the candour - I trade in a not dissimilar style to you (at least in terms of time frames - I tend to trade the DAX/FTSE so todays DAX mention was great), and it is VERY refreshing seeing someone go through similar thoughts to my own. I really appreciate that you're mentioning real contracts, real trades, and as a result, real P&L. It's easy to sit in our own little world and wonder about what could be, so seeing someone else's approach is something I really appreciate.

Keep up the great work blogging, and the great work trading. I'm learning lots.

Lastly - I LOVE your chart of your P&L having just fallen, and the idea that you have to trade as if you're coming from behind. I've been visualising it myself lately after the trading day as the EASIEST way for me to lose lots of money is when I'm thinking about how great a trader I am, and how easy the trading has been - next thing I know I've given all my recent gains back. I'm always looking to reset my mentality and your little chart of P&L is a great mental picture.


--Q

Don Miller said...

Hi Q -

Thanks for the kind feedback. I'm especially glad the visualization has helped. It only took me close to a decade to find the cure for my personal Achilles Heel.

Maintaining a constant perspective of humility when ultimate performance is measured by raw dollars is a challenge. If only I'd figured this out years ago :-).

See you around the blog.

Steve said...

What good is a 2 point gain if it's only on 10 contracts??

I'll take 1K trades all day long :-)