Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Notes - Pointing the Finger

4:00pm It's been quite some time since I've had close to a five figure draw and have been really pi$$ed off with my trading, but I did and I am. Despite the overall larger range (breakout traders have been getting absolutely hammered), today's ES market was extremely tradable and yet I again for some ridiculous and unknown reason was pressing just enough to be out of tune enough on a day where precision was absolutely mandatory.

Sure, I'm not a great range trader, but bluntly, I sucked ... and I can't blame the market action that currently has little conviction/emotion and that's reacting to every on-again off-again bailout rumor. In fact the market action can never be blamed ... it's our job to adapt and the accusatory finger always points backward as this game is solely about competing against oneself. The only impact the current market rhythms have on my trading is that it simply requires more precision.

As I've preached for years and throughout this diary, trading is a mental sport ... period ... and I'm not sharp. Oh there were hints of strong performance, but it was spotty at best. And believe me, the -$9K draw doesn't bother me as the only number that matters is the one unveiled on December 31 ... it's the performance that does. I frankly don't care if I'm +$20K on the day ... if the performance isn't there, it would still be an atrocious day.

If there's any good news, it's that I've avoided significant damage and am in that mega-frustrated mode that often proceeds the next strong run.

Yet that will only happen if I quickly get my s*** together and right the ship.

4:45pm Postscript - Per, today was the first time since September that the Dow had two consecutive days with swings of less than 300 points.


YM-Trader said...

Sorry about the bad day. So it goes sometimes. Tough day for me in the YM too. Your post here was especially useful for me. Rookies like me (2 years) shouldn't assume we can study ourself to perfection. A pro like you having a bad day is proof of that (no offense intended). And yes, its a mental sport of only me against myself. Seeing the others I trade with make money is irrelevant so I shouldn't care nor think I'm missing out. The fact is, tomorrow could be a huge winner. You never know until you step in the ring and throw some punches. I'm PO'd too today. And because of that I will do the homework tonight and be better for it tomorrow.

Anonymous said...


Sory to hear about the tough day. Hang in there.

I know you said that you were off today, but I would score the moves today choppy at best. I, too, felt like I waited just a minute too long and watched profits evaporate as my breakeven stops got hit. I was able to catch the midday downdraft, which salvaged my day; otherwise, it was a pretty frustrating affair.

So, for what it's worth, it wasn't the easiest day in my humble opinion.


Anonymous said...

Some days you are the bug others you are the windshield


Don Miller said...

Chuck -

One thing I've found over the years is that when I show traders the true reality of this business (vs. the smoke and mirrors of chatrooms, snake oil "horse race" callers with no skin in the game, advisory services, etc. where no one has a losing trade), a huge light bulb goes off.

I'll earn much more than $1M this year, and I've had some extremely frustrating days and large draws.

Such is the reality of this business. Last I checked, no one on this planet was perfect :-).


Don Miller said...

Sean/Anon -

Thanks. Agree with both comments.

Still, as with athletes, I'll use anything I can find to try to motivate myself, and I'll need to leverage off of the last two days of pi$$ poor performance to try to elevate the focus.


Anonymous said...

After spending 15 years learning this business, I couldn't agree more with Don's comments about snake oil salesmen.

Some don't realize how transparent they are; the art of trading is being able to enter trades without being stopped out,and marking losses against wins. No skin, no emotions.

I've witnessed one such guru claiming 50 + points a day, never any losses. Ridiculous.

Fwiw, focus on taking it one trade at a time, rather than getting caught up in the January 1 target.

Read Sway for some great insights into self-sabotage, and T Harv Eker's Secrets of the Millionaire mind for the right mental blueprint.

Just do it.

Thanks for your honesty and integrity, as well as raising the bar for all of us.


Don Miller said...

Anonymnous (E) -

Agree on not getting overly focused on 1/1. Yet it's been the carrot since January so I'm still using it for personal motivation as I try to run "through" the tape.

Definitely one trade at a time ... every day :-)