Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Weekend Trader (Saturday Edition)

Some thoughts before I head to Foxwoods to sharpen the poker skills.

Weekend Video - Here were some thoughts from last night in case you missed it.

Continual Improvement - Yes, it was a good week -- which as I mentioned in last night's video, means squat heading into Monday. Yet there were enough cracks that will give me something to work on, including making sure I'm acutely alert when I start both the day and week. It's become blatantly obvious over the years that trading the day's initial trade and Monday in general are two of my weaknesses. Additionally, I need to work on taking every entry that presents itself, as I found myself hesitating a few times on some prime entries this past week.

Process of Elimination - I've found that if you eliminate everything that doesn't work, often all that's left is what works. It's the old "Edison didn't invent the light bulb ... he just found a zillion ways how not to" theory. The key can be making sure you survive learning what didn't work both mentally and financially.

Given my makeup, I had to learn for myself what didn't work and paid a lot of tuition. Such "investment" is of course now paying large dividends. Yes, I initially read books and tried to absorb some of the quality teachings out there, but as I've said before, experience is the only true teacher -- and there's no way around the fact that some of it will be costly. And while I'm hoping this blog can stimulate ideas for people looking over my shoulder that can cut down on the cost, nothing on this planet will eliminate it.

As I mentioned in Wednesday's PalTalk lounge, things I've eliminated over the years include scalping stocks (that game ended when decimals replaced fractions), paying excessive retail futures commissions that didn't match my style, trading currencies, not having a supplemental income to pay the bills, and not adding to a position upon confirmation of a strong initial entry.

And I still learn and pay tuition every day in the form of missed opportunity or less-than-optimal trading sequences. It's just that those costs are typically exceeded by the intraday successes.

Thanks Deb - This blog wouldn't be nearly complete without my mentioning the strong support of my wife Debra. For 23 years, she's stood by me in thick and thin, and kept me out of the funny farm when I went through my initial trading struggles. We had lunch together yesterday where for the first time this year, I shared some details as to the status of this year's race -- which isn't over yet. She's a gem, and will be largely responsible for whatever the final score is on December 31.

Persistence & Tenacity - If I had to mention the top attributes of a successful trader, it would clearly be a never-say-die persistence and tenacity -- in both the short and long run. I mentioned recently that if the market wants to really kill me -- and it's wounded me plenty at times -- it had better make damn sure the pulse is gone.

And the Rays had better make damn sure the ALCS doesn't go to a Game 7.

Q4 Bonus Update - I updated the Q4 bonus attainment score on the left to 74% ... 18 days into the quarter. I'm thinking that should I exceed 100%, the year-to-date earnings mark at that time will become a clear trailing stop on earnings for the year, and I'll have to come up with another carrot -- perhaps in the form of a second bonus -- to keep me focused for whatever time remains in the year. Yet I'm well aware it will only take one poor trade or day to drop the 74% back to zero or worse, and so I have to maintain both my focus and momentum.

Resetting the Focus - Yes, here we go again. At this end, Monday starts fresh, and I again find myself having to play from behind. The French guy is still winning in the swim lane to my right. (Will I ever catch him???)

I don't want the bronze or silver. Not this year. I'm too close and this opportunity may never present itself again. I have to dig deep for 74 more days. It's not about greed ... it's about reaching one's fullest potential. I want to make every ounce of sweat and preparation over the last decade worth their costs.

These are turbulent waters -- pun intended -- and I've got two days of R&R to recharge the batteries before resuming the race.

Enjoy the weekend and I'll open the PalTalk room Sunday night at 6:30pm ET for drinks at 7pm.


Hogboy13 said...


I have recently discovered your blog and find it very helpful and great insight thank you for providing this site for folks to learn from you..If one of your intents was to do this site to help others then that intent is being met every day...thanks again and I will keep reading and watching


Don Miller said...

Thanks Hogboy.

We'll keep the virtual ink flowing.