Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Notes - Holiday Thoughts

First, please note the correction to the beginning of Sunday's post. And since the piece generated several responses and comments, I thought it would be helpful to further crystallize my thoughts for the record. While I realize some of the material is rehashing old thoughts, I thought the timing was appropriate.

- My decision a few years ago to rededicate myself to trading was just that ... a personal choice. There would have been no right or wrong had I continued to teach (assuming it was done correctly, promoted self-sufficiency, and with the right motives of course). Similarly, my decision to forgo the speaking and writing circuit in recent years was also a personal choice that allowed me to keep the market side of my mind 100% focused on the task of trading -- even during non-market hours -- as I felt driven to first pursue closing an incomplete chapter in my trading life that ultimately led to the 2008 journey.

- I believe quality trader education is a necessity. As I've said before, I come from a long family of teachers ... grandparents, parents, sister, etc. And while experience will always remain the best teacher and reinforcer, I believe good teachers in this or any other business are sorely lacking and that a solid foundation of market theory, technical analysis, and behavioral science is a must.

- I didn't mean at all to infer that expos and lectures are not a good thing. As Tim Bourquin pointed out in his comments yesterday, there are a number of benefits of being amongst fellow traders, and there are a few people in this business where I'd personally pay top dollar and beyond just to share a cup of coffee with.

- Yes, I've been very vocal about certain pockets of this industry that are primarily selling glitz, don't promote self-sufficiency or probability concepts, and aren't held accountable ... and will continue to speak out about it. 'Nuff said.

- Lastly, please always keep in mind as noted in the FAQ that this blog was never intended to teach. It's simply documenting my experiences and views, some of which is personal opinion. Indeed, one of the potential dangers of blogs in this age of the "new press" is that they could be viewed as the one and only end-all cure, or else morph into giving the author some sort of self-proclaimed expert status. And should I sense that is ever beginning to happen here, the virtual pen will be quickly laid to rest.

I'll likely post a video later today. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the long weekend.


Joe Miller said...

My guess is the lecture circuit would neither be as comfortable or as profitable as your 100K months.

It's your blog for your purposes yet you rant against the biz/guru/sheep shearers enough that it begs the questions: What defines a good one? What resources would you point a trader child towards?

Don Miller said...

Good question Joe, and I wish had an equally good answer.

I suppose like finding good doctors or dentists, references from trusted sources based on experience can help, as can "docs" that have a bona-fide and recent record of success that are willing to share it.

The hard part is they're sometimes the quiet ones who often show up in the least expected places.

Perhaps the best possible response is "if it sounds too good ..."


Winace said...


That is a question which almost has no answer. If you find someone with an AUTHENTIC track record, they may not have the time for newer traders (unless they are sufficiently capitalized). The ones that are eager to teach you are most likely the ones to steer clear of. I wish you the best on your search, god knows it would have benefited me to have found a teacher! Maybe some of my comments on the previous post will help.

Rangerdoc said...

Personally, I think this blog has gained it's popularity due to your "tell it like it is" approach. I find it very refreshing to hear the straightforward reality of trading from someone who's "been there, done that". The initial hype dealt by many left me jaded for a few years. Fortunately, I'm tenacious to the point of belligerence and after 5 years I'm beginning to see some real results in my trading. Had I known it would cost this much and take this long, I may not have undertaken this challenge. But, like the goldminer who doesn't know if tomorrow will I've only recently found your blog, and already I feel it would be a personal loss not to have it to read every evening. This blog definitely helps bring balance in the midst of all the hype.

traderboy said...

Excellent post Rangerdoc, I couldn't have said it any better. As I've mentioned in past posts, I truly look forward to everyone of Don's posts.


Get In Get Out said...

Don And all other insiteful traders,

When is one to come to the realization that they dont have what it takes to be a trader or better yet to put a closure to repititive losses. Would a good analogy be (The top 3% of families control 70% of the nations wealth through being born by genetics into the familys wealth As to being a trader 97% fail and only 3% make it if "those are the real statistics" & that is because they have the time for the learning experience, capital to keep the learning flow, & most importantly the genetic composition of the psychologic factor of being patient, disciplined, & able to multi-task technical information for trading set-ups) If a trader comes from a family with genetic characteristics of hyper active attention deficit disorder it would be said that one would not have the characteristics to be a trader as being impatient, hyper with no discipline would continue a pattern of losses and genetics is genetics they cant be unlearned habits...I hope that can sum up the high failure rate of traders. Don let me know if you have any thoughts & can put some closure on what I have explained.

Don Miller said...


Wow, I'm not sure my head can absorb all that :-).

In part, you describe the $1 bet in Trading Places where the Dukes bet over whether they can teach Valentine -- the guy from the streets played by Eddie Murphy -- how to trade while converting Winthrope -- Dan Aykroyd -- to a bum on the streets.

Not sure I have a better answer than the classic script :-).


Winace said...

You said a mouthfull! Ummm.... to an extent, yes, a very small portion of the society controls the mass majority of funds. The numbers, not sure the ratio. My wife states I am a little OCD, hence, I do not stop once I start something, that may have been what kept me focused. Also, paper-trading for 5 years without putting a dime in the market helped. If it was not for that fact, and being tired of always being broke, I most likely would have given up myself. There is no simple answer to "When is enough... enough?". That is up to the perspective of the one striving to succeed.