Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday Notes - Birdie Putt

5:30pm Continuing yesterday's golf theme, suffice it to say that I had the eagle putt lined up, but pulled up just a smidge and had to settle for a +$14K birdie on the day. Oh, the eagle was there for the taking all right, and I had the day's green read better than I have in a while, yet I hesitated just enough on two "backswings" (undersized a bit on the early gap range break and then got very sloppy on the gimmee short sequence around 2:08pm ET as I seemed to momentarily lose focus) to need the extra putt which capped the day's score.

In both cases, the ultimate move's gains were also capped by the cost of interim insurance scratches and reentries, which reflected a lack of confidence on my part which was likely unwarranted given the powerful high % setups. Sort of like implied odds when making a poker decision.

So overall, I'd grade my reads on the day an A, yet I'd mark my executions and trade management a B-, and would like to have that 2pm sequence back again (thus the yellow mark under "No Regrets").

Which brings me to an excellent dialogue in last night's comments. And while I don't normally repeat comments and responses in the main posts (no sense wasting virtual ink), I thought this particular question (thanks Sam) and my response might help reinforce how I try to approach this biz day in and day out.

Comment: Been reading your blog since early '09, so I know your trading style. Here's what I don't get: No matter how motivated you are, how do you expect to hit home runs when the market doesn't support your style of trading? You look for pullbacks and emotional extremes but we have quietened down since last year (look at the VIX!) and the market seems weird and sluggish and not at all conducive. So no matter how much you will yourself or berate your trading, the market doesn't seem to support it. Do you not see this? P.S All of the above was not meant to be criticism, just some feedback. I have nothing but respect for your trading.

My Response (excerpts): Great comments (you know me via the blog all too well) ... and yes, I undoubtedly see the changes you describe as was the case in many prior years. Yet while I don't expect home runs, I do expect doubles and an occasional triple regardless of action (we're traders and have to adapt), and feel the difference between the singles I'm hitting and the absent extra-base hits is largely a function of complacency.

Having said all that, a good part of the "berating" is frankly an intentional psychological ploy at this end to try to maintain an edge. It's simply who I am and my way of trying to stay driven to achieve peak performance. Great dialogue and it got me thinking.

It's the last paragraph I want to emphasize. For regardless of a day's outcome, I'll never be completely satisfied with my performance. Never. Ever. Accepting? At times, yes, which is why I often use the "acceptable gain" or "acceptable loss" reference. But satisfied? It simply ain't gonna happen, as there's always room for improvement and is what attracts me to this crazy business where imperfection will always reign.

Remember I attempt to trade every day as if yesterday was a horror show and I'm on the comeback trail. As I said last night, it's simply how I'm wired, is what drives me, and usually (not always) keeps me out of big trouble. Simply put, I play best when really pi$$ed off. And the better the day, the more I try to get really angry over one aspect that didn't go well.

As I've said before, most of my embedded memories of last year's bonanza are the missed shots, broken clubs, and shanks into the woods. And aside from two days (when we set the '08 trailing stop and then danced on 12/31), it was all and only about improving performance and completing the race.

Similarly, the two mistakes today were two too many and need to be corrected.

We're not playing tiddly winks out there, and we're not looking to be average -- or even above average.

We're after extraordinary. We're after what most won't or can't do.

We're after the Million.


Poker night tonight and I've moved up to second place in the Q2 tourney as the result of last week's win. Got more work to do there as well as I'm not after second.


steve said...

For what it's worth, I don't think there's any game such as trading that has such a "it could have been better" factor. Not skiing, climbing, tennis, not even cooking! Sure all of these have it but in trading it seems a days hindsight is so pointed and extreme, it's awful!

E said...

If you hit 18 greens in regulation, you are always putting for birdie. Keeping it in play is the name of the game.

Knocking in a 30 footer now and then doesn't hurt either.

Great post.

ps. Manny disappoints us again.

Proverbs3six said...

"...we're not looking to be average -- or even above average. We're after extraordinary. We're after what most won't or can't do."

Profound thoughts, and very much appreciated ... words that just scream out STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE.

Undoubtedly we all have some degree of initiative in us. But it is the tenacity and not complacency, it is the drive to press on and not hold on, but above all it is using our abilities to their fullest potential without dwelling on inabilities, weaknesses, and faults that will make or break us.

Indeed, that is what separates true winners from habitual losers.

Don, thank you for choosing to strive for excellence as a role model for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Don!!!

Looks like your starting to zero in on the sweet spot on the ball; the "little" 1.5% gains per day add up year end...

Always be thankful for your daily bread.. :)


ryan said...

Amen, Don.

Unknown said...

good post don - i know your a singular instrument trader, but w/ regards to the comment and your response on squashing vix/intraday ranges contracting and your lower pot rakes do you ever consider adding a secondary market to trade that is in high volatility mode vs. spooz?