Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Weekend Trader (Saturday Edition)

It's been almost five months since this great blog experiment began, and while I'll do a full evaluation of its effect when the 2008 race is over, there's certainly enough data to take a preliminary look at its impacts.

For those new to the blog, I started the blog for two primary reasons. First, I wanted to use it as an effective means to document my personal trade journal. And second, I wanted to freely share my observations and new found revelations with those who were interested in following along. So let's take a look at each.

Personal Trading Journal - I have no doubt that documenting my thoughts, observations, and feelings has greatly benefited my results ... although in a manner in which I didn't expect. For what I didn't realize is that as the blog viewership grew (more on that later), I felt a growing sense of accountability not only to myself, but to the growing many that were now following along on a daily basis.

It's one thing to be accountable to yourself or a higher Power, yet it's far different being accountable to literally hundreds of traders with whom you are sharing every pimple, wart, and blemish. For while it's easy to deceive oneself -- even if done unintentionally or subconsciously -- it's impossible to deceive the savvy public over the long run. And as I've said before, every comment and figure quoted is 100% accurate and auditable, and I'll continue to stake my industry reputation and CME membership on it.

Further, I've found the growing interaction via comments has also strengthened my trading. Between having completely objective observers comment on what I may not be seeing about myself and the pick-me-ups during those occasional times I get down on myself, it's not too unlike the Verizon commercial where the guy has the large network following him around.

And yes, doing the blog in the manner I've chosen has been a lot of work, especially as it's evolved well past the initial version with weekend updates, videos, and more. Yet it really hasn't been "work" as I've had a great time doing it, and have found some oddball ways to have some fun with it via the countdown clock and trading analogies to poker, sports, and movies. And it's those silly analogies that have helped me stay motivated during this year-long battle where focus can so easily slip. My favorite remains the Rocky IV posts where I accidentally slipped into Ivan Drago mode before resetting the roles the next day.

So to use a Mythbusters phrase, the myth of using a personal journal to improve one's results is "plausible".

Blog Sharing - "Freely you have received, freely give." While it's taken a lot of work, toil, and self-paid tuition as my trading has evolved throughout the last decade, I still consider myself richly blessed with the results over the years, and especially this year's bumper crop. And as I've said before, while several associates recommended I follow the the more "typical" industry road of writing a book at the end of the journey or selling some kind of subscription service, I instead purposely chose a different path -- one that would allow people to freely walk alongside me on the journey if they so chose.

And while the results of the last few months may be due in part to the market's increased volatility, I believe more than a small part of it proves the more we give without motive or expecting anything in return, the more we ultimately receive. I frankly didn't expect September's results -- which came out of nowhere. I certainly didn't expect October's.

I'm also fortunate that many now following -- and the web count shows hundreds daily -- who found there way here simply through word of mouth, the good Doctor (Brett Steenbarger), or Google searches, were familiar with me from past efforts at TradingMarkets, teaching schools, or the various magazine interviews and articles from years past. For that's rekindled many friendships and relationships that had lied dormant for a while.

I've said before that in the long run, this blog isn't about me. Yes, it's my personal trading journal and has helped me in that aspect. Yet I hope when the last word is typed -- whenever that is -- that its true value will be in the seeds it may have planted elsewhere ... even if just one takes root or takes years to sprout.

Never underestimate what we can't see, touch, or feel. In a world focused on immediate gratification and the once-almighty American dollar, perhaps if we shift our focus elsewhere, the rewards will come at a time and in a quantity that we never expected.

Enjoy the weekend.

2 comments:

Adam said...

Reading this recent article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/nov/15/malcolm-gladwell-outliers-extract) made me think of your trading experience Don. I thought it might interest you. There are some striking similarities (especially the time length you've put in).

I'm currently only two years into "planting" my trading career and am extremely grateful for your blog because it gives me a possible glimpse of what can happen through hard work and dedication. I just desperately pray I can keep my account (and my psyche) solvent until I can realize some sustained success.

Best of luck and thank you again Don.

Don Miller said...

Great, great link Adam ... thanks and I'll likely reference it (and your finding it) in a future post, perhaps as early as Sunday.

It's interesting that 10,000 hours equals about six years of full-time live trading (7 hours x 250 trading days x 6 years), and a tiny few ever make it that far. And given time away from the market for lunches, vacations, personal commitments, etc., the ten year timeframe seems eerily accurate.

The concept also correlates closely with the Bamboo concept in terms of it taking years to develop the necessary root structure to eventually soar above the rest of the forest.

Great stuff ... thanks.

Don