Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Notes - It's Never Easy

As this journal evolves back into, well, a personal journal, I'm going to try to again bring to light many aspects of this business that those who don't trade continue to fail to address, and that those who do truly trade often refuse to acknowledge publicly.

Before proceeding, please again keep in mind this is a diary which -- since mid-2008 and for now -- remains open to the public.  And as I've often said, if you don't care for venting, beating up on myself, the rare celebration, etc., then simply change the channel.  I'm sure the thousands of fictional personal accounts and hyped services on the 'net will provide you the easy dreamy stories that you're likely seeking.

Yes, it's true I've made millions in the market and performed amidst the top of my industry peers during a recent stretch.  Yet don't think it's ever been easy ... or ever becomes easy even for those of us who have been fortunate to attain a certain level of success.

It's not.  We have to work at it every moment of every day.  And if we don't, we join the masses of trading population who donate their capital to those that do.

As I've often said, chart patterns can be learned in a day.  Maybe less.  Oh sure, reinforcement over time can help, yet -- to use a poker analogy -- does one really have to play months of poker to understand that a straight is a series of five cards in sequential order???? 

Oh I'm sure you can spend thousands upon thousands to learn about fancy names for the straight.  And perhaps more for someone to point out on a moment-by-moment basis that you're indeed holding a straight.  And if you're the type of person who needs someone to tell them the WALK sign at the intersection means they should cross the street, perhaps that's why the industry is full of "I can't walk but will tell you when to walk" sites and chatrooms.  But I digress.

Yet trading really is all about the other stuff.  The stuff that no one talks about.  The stuff that most will never understand.  The stuff that most are afraid to discuss, lest it show that they're ... gasp ... human.

Most seasoned blog onlookers and all Jellies know that I'm a venter.  When I'm not trading well or lacking motivation and/or focus, most know it instantly -- primarily because I wear my emotions on my sleeve and tend to be more public with my screw-ups than my successes.  There are two reasons for this: (1) I remain sick and tired of the lack of such transparency in this overly-hyped industry, and (2) it's personally very therapeutic for me.

btw, does that make me a saint or martyr?  Ummm, maybe I wasn't blatant enough, so let me try this.  At times, I simply suck.

I know my personal demons well.  And most are the same in both my poker and trading games: motivation, focus, and energy level.  For those are the ONLY three elements of both businesses (btw, yes I do view poker playing as a business ... albeit a fun one) that will ever prevent me from being successful hour by hour, day by day, and month by month.

I also have one weakness that is especially apparent in my trading game, and one that continues to eat at me and my capital at times.  And that's my Eurex DAX trading.  And wouldn't you know it, Don1's stupid sequence the other day before I fired him?  He was short 60 DAX contracts as the market was moving hard against him.

So why do I trade the DAX?  Mainly because I've gotten "bored" with ES.  At the risk of sounding cocky, I know I can make money off ES any hour of any day.  So I continue to be drawn to the DAX and its "jitterbug" rhythm and far less liquidity which continue to challenge me.  Yet trading the DAX requires tremendous focus and increased hand/eye coordination, and if the energy level and focus are even slightly off ... well, ask Don1 what the effect can be.  And it only takes one poor DAX sequence to undo weeks of inner rhythm with one's primary bread and butter ... in my case, ES.

So these are my own personal battles.  Battles that I must fight daily.

And speaking of battles, I was again angry this morning.  For I saw Don1 and Don2 having breakfast together ... and while I don't know what they were discussing, the end result was that Don2 was late to work this morning and left a $50K MATD trade on the table.  All he had to do was show up and pick up the check.

Sigh.

It never gets easy.

4 comments:

Ben and Janet Dutton Family said...

I'm new to your blog and I've found it unbelievably refreshing and honest. I have been trading off and on for the past 10 years and have begun to have quite a bit of success in the past year. However, just when I think I've got it down, I hammer myself with my stupidity. Thanks for sharing real life with me.
Ben

RoachApproach said...

Don,

very, very interesting. FDAX and ES are both equity futures, but for sure the FDAX is whippier cause of lower volume and only 30 underlying stocks. But you should be able to trade both of them successfully with your approach after a while. Why not?
I skipped trading the FGBL and focus only on the FESX after I made only half the profits in the FGBL compared to the FESX over 2 years and I analyzed why. The main reason is the FGBL as an interest future behaves itself quite differently to an equity future. The FGBL is great for break out and fade trades but not so good for pullback trades. So I focused on my strength. I think it is very interesting why a highly sucessful trader in one instrument is not able master another one. Would be a grat topoic for a blog post, imho.

Cheers,
Markus

Lee said...

I'm always entertained and inspired by your blog. I see myself in so many of your comments.

Thanks for sharing your life with us.

Scotte

E said...

Love your MATD trade... second only to the half gap trade in my book.

Finally getting around to the "Tao of Poker"; thanks for pointing this one out to us.

--------------

LOL I don't know why this scene from Network always comes to mind but it does... and it helps me with stress reduction.

I need to laugh more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJHdjtQGHuc&feature=related

Best to all Don