Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Weekend Trader - Delayed Gratification

I mentioned the other day that I was having a hard time coming up with things to blog about lately.

And as we near the two-year mark on this 670th post of what began as a temporary experiment, I admit new words remain a bit of a struggle.

As most know, this journal has evolved a few times -- hopefully for the better, but that's not for me to decide -- since its mid-2008 inception.

Initially, the blog was a balance of (1) documenting & sharing new insights I'd learned when was off the grid in the mid-2000s, and (2) a blow-by-blow daily diary recap of my trading day.  The idea at that time was to present all of the aspects that comprise this trading business, including as I've often said, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And while there's been lots of all three -- which I'm always conscious of trying to balance before writing each day -- some will probably tell you that from time to time there's been too much of any one of them.

And they're probably right, for this reason.  For even as this journal has evolved into more of a motivational tool over time, the entries still reflect my ongoing thoughts, and in many cases my diary.  As such, the alternating periods of extended in-the-zone trading, pratfalls, burnout, sleepless nights, boredom, heath challenges, educational emphasis, and spiritual rebooting ... well, they simply are what they are -- life's cycles.

One underlying theme that I truly hope has come across in the blog, is emphasis on the long-term.  Three posts immediately come to mind, the recent Focusing on the Comma post, the most-referenced Chinese Bamboo post, and the 2008 Svithjod Rock post which was later syndicated in various places including the 2009 Trader Expo Directory.  And I do so because I believe such emphasis is one of the least discussed, yet most important aspects of one's trading career. 

And one's life.

Such is why even the live Jellie efforts are spread out over a month's time (and the first beta one on which the Webinars are based, two months).  For it's the non-technical & non-immediate aspects that have received the strongest feedback.

Like the market, trading and life go through cycles.  You see the ebbs and flows clearly in stock or futures charts, and I suspect if you were to graph your own trading performance -- and even your life -- you'd see similar patterns of plateaus, breakouts, consolidations, troughs, low volume (interest), etc.

Yet in a trading business where so much focus is placed on the "now" -- including both the immediate action and one's immediate performance -- it's all too easy to focus on laying the single brick vs. the 100-story building.  And most of what is discussed in this all-too-hyped & need-for-immediate-gratification industry seems to discussing the brick.

So I've tried to compensate just a bit.

Why do I feel this way?  Because I fall into the same trap at times.

And let's face it, immediate gratification has become entrenched in today's society.  Microwave ovens, fast food mega-empires, 800 channel cable TV packages, never-out-of contact Blackberries/Ipods/Ipads (& yes, my Sony Vaio), and everything linked to the Internet -- ranging from the wonderfully good to the terribly bad -- is all about both immediacy and speed.

At this end, it took me close to a decade of starts, restarts, tweaks, priority shifting, etc. to refine performance to a point where I was satisfied I'd begun tapping full potential, and it's still a constant daily battle.

And as this new month begins, I'll remind everyone -- including this trader with his hands on the keyboard -- that there will be 20 trading days this month, as well as in months to come.

Twenty days to carve out a monthly income -- which as the Jellies hopefully know by now, could very well come in the form of a single trade outlier with the rest of the time spent fishing or playing defense.

Twenty days.  One trade.

When you look at it that way, trading goals suddenly don't seem too daunting.

In fact if you approach every day or month with that perspective, you may just find yourself producing a year's worth of crop -- or see the Bamboo shoot up before your eyes -- in a single month as if by accident.

And isn't it highly ironic that by seeking to delay gratification, you may actually be accelerating it?

Have a great weekend.

4 comments:

E said...

This is one of your best.

Like our capital, life's experiences ebb and flow.

A paradox is that the sum of the whole is greater than the parts, but each part is also important.

Despite confronting "what can I say that hasn't already been said?", you have a gift with insights you continue to share.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

nursebee said...

I've thought of the same thing with my own trading as I read a Barbara Kingsolver book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". She talks about restraint equals indulgence. A good read.

Erwin said...

If you are running out of things to talk about.....how about talking about your best and worst trade each day?

BirdMan said...

Don
Great post. And the way the "Algos" dominate the market at times - makes waiting really tough!
thanks
Dave