Thursday, May 28, 2009

Special Post - The Missing Inches

3:45pm I need to step out of the moment and pause the life and trading DVD currently playing before all of us to do some serious reflection as we get ready to wrap up May and approach the one- year mark of this public diary and the 17-month mark of this incredible +$2.0M run. And in doing so, I'm going to follow up on yesterday's inspirational video (thanks again Barbara) and first hand the mike to Al Pacino for some words of wisdom.

You find out life is a game of inches.
And so is football.
Because in either game, life or football,
the margin for error is SO small,
I mean one half a step too late or too early, and you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow, too fast, you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are EVERYWHERE around us.
They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch.
On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our fingernails for that inch.
Because we KNOW when we add up all those inches, that's gonna make the *$%#& difference between WINNING and LOSING ...
between LIVING and DYING.
I'll tell ya this ... in any fight, it's the guy willing to die who's gonna win that inch.
And I know if I'm going to have any life any more,
it's because I'm still willing to FIGHT and DIE for that inch.
Because that's what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

-- Al Pacino, "Any Given Sunday"

After tomorrow, five months of this 2009 journey will be in the books. And it remains clear that in 2009 and my worst monthly performance in quite a while at only +$40K after today, I haven't been willing to fight for the inches. And if you read between the lines of yesterday's blog post, it was evident as there was money (inches) lying all over the place in the classic morning, and I was simply willing to settle for a very modest day after sleeping past the Europe open, and then leaving some money on the table early in the U.S. session before getting a bit sloppy in the afternoon. Today's trade also didn't go particularly well until the afternoon session, but as always, it's not about the day ... it's about the year and the overall monthly earnings curve that's beginning to flatten.

And without dwelling on the past, it's clear that in 2008 I fought for every inch. 365 days less the late December pause. Many nights with less than 4 hours sleep ... a few with none. Trading Europe and the U.S. sessions. Fighting not only for every inch, but every 1/16th.

There's a reason for the record run that seems to be losing steam. And that has been the living, sleeping, and breathing the market 24x7, journaling moment by moment thoughts, and essentially putting myself in a zombie-like zone for much of 2008 and parts of 2009 while riding the confidence and performance momentum and trading day after day, week after week, until it finally dried up.

Last year, I clawed for every inch. And at the end of the year, the fingernails were stubs and bleeding. That's simply what champions do. They do what others can't or won't. They do what I'm not doing this year (not by design certainly) -- and I won't list excuses - as many of my sequences have been off by an inch. Too many. And the missing inches have clearly added up.

In the big picture, despite a poor May, I shouldn't complain about sleepwalking to a Year-To-Date $400K+ income on top of last year's bounty. (btw, that's not a boast, rather a significant criticism). And regardless of what I decide to do from this point forward -- and it's all up for grabs including whether I simply bank the earnings and/or go back into seclusion to once again enjoy my private life after this one-year public diary experiment ends -- it's been one helluva run for this 48 year-old who wanted to find his true potential while trying to do something to help cut through the trading industry smoke & mirrors by openly sharing trading realities -- not myths or psycho-babble crap -- via the blog.

The real question is who's willing to go after the missing inches??

This year, I seem to be sitting on the yardstick. Now that's a great visual.

Take it away Al ...

And here's the daily Boston Bamboo picnic reminder. For those who have asked, spouses, family, and friends are indeed welcome. Just be sure to RSVP. I'm also open to ideas for Saturday morning for those in town for the weekend.

Poker night tonight ... and I plan on working on my patience.


bcecil said...

Don, if you do decide to pack in the daily blog.... and, before the new book comes out (hint, hint, again), would it be possible to leave the blog up (maybe even a hello from you from time to time)? It is an incredible reference tool, for those of us lacking your experience and insight.

Thanks for your consideration on this either way.
Bob Cecil

Sam said...

I agree with the previous poster. I have learnt SO MUCH through this blog and find myself re-reading some posts to understand what I missed earlier.

If you stop blogging, please don't pull your earlier posts. I look forward to your posts everyday. Of course the best case would be if you kept blogging, for your sake as well as your readers!

Trader Kevin said...

Don, your blog has been a joy and a blessing. I hope you continue, but I thank you for the past year in any case.

Moreover, I echo Bob's request that you leave the blog up even if you decide against updating it as frequently, if at all.

kleenup2 said...

Hey Don just dropping in to say hello and to show appreciation for your blog. I used to have a blog but as you now know they can be quite time consuming and exhausting when they are managed and updated faithfully. Since the twins have been born let's just say it leave little time and even less energy to maintain a blog...LOL. The thing that any trader should take from your blog is that there are an infinite number of ways to reach the destination known as success. Find a style that suits your personality and go get em. Keep up the good work and don't eat too much at the picnic.

Unknown said...

HI Don,
I want to make sure you know how much I learn from reading your blog each day. This is not about trading really, it is about becoming a better and more loving human being. I know you know that trading is not really about money but about the deeper lessons of life that come as a result of the process. Your approach to trading, as a path for evolving to a higher level as a human being, is a refreshing approach, and different from any other writer/trader out there. I selfishly hope you will continue your work in some form, in whatever form serves you best.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the richness you bring to my life each day.

Many blessings,


Anonymous said...

How many trades on avg. do you make a day? From the retail side, not from adding liquidity.

thank you

KN said...

Remedy/Prescription for Don Miller:

Take $20 000 go to a Thai Island called Koh Phi Phi, there you will find a place called Relax Beach resort, sit there for 10 days watching the Sun rise and set on a white sandy beach.

You will be amazed how the batteries will be charged for the second half of this year when you come back.....

Don Miller said...

JW2 -

No good number unfortunately, as some border on both styles and it completely depends on the market conditions (I know ... BIG help) and I do a lot of probing on speculative entries with tight scratches and re-entries.


Don Miller said...

Thanks all ... the comments are appreciated. I'm not sure where I'll go with this down the road as I consider the next path on life's road, yet the virtual friendships we've established have been valuable from this end as well.