Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Weekend Trader - Where It All Began

Today, I'm visiting my Mom & Dad and home "where it all began" for me ... a small town in southeastern Massachusetts a couple of hours from where I live now.

What's a bit surprising, is for a guy who hates to "look back" (again, you can't drive forward by looking at the rear view mirror), some interesting memories always accompany me when I return, including the garage door against which I hurled the tennis ball at the age of ten, pretending to pitch that perfect game of called strikes using the middle four panels of the door, before "starting over" after any ball or wild pitch with a clean slate and trying again. Hmmm ... where I have heard that "do over" concept before?

I seldom talk about trading with my parents or my close friends, after learning years ago that most people will never understand the concept due to mass media inaccuracies, personal opinion, and/or lack of full understanding of the topic. So I've instead purposely chosen to create a clear mental wall between my trading and personal lives. Frankly, aside from my wife, my family is unaware of the degree of my early heartaches and later success over the years, including the '08 CTA-besting performance. I simply don't talk about it, much like a plumber probably doesn't talk about the copper pipes he solders together hour after hour, day after day, or the bumps his knuckles receive by crawling around basements and managing around joists and rafters.

You see, for me, this is a job ... a serious one along with my other non-market business that also requires attention to provide that solid bill-paying foundation that frees the soul to dance with the market. And as I've preached to trader wannabes for years, if you can find that bill-paying income (spousal income, second job, another business, etc.), it's worth its weight in stress-reducing gold as trading profits become 100% incremental. And since we know how boring it is to hear about someone else's job, I don't talk about it.

Oh, except for this diary of course ... lol. Yet most of my family and friends don't even know this exists, which is ironic as it inadvertently continues to climb the ladder of top-visited trading websites while completely (and purposely) devoid of advertising, and linked only as the result of a handful of rare (again, purposely) interviews.

To my family, I'm like that plumber toiling away in a field they're not quite familiar with. So we instead talk about old times, grandkids (theirs, not mine), sports, home improvement, health, and other non-market topics. For me, it's a very healthy mental separation and helps keep me grounded.

Yet I am going to try to find a tennis ball today to throw one last pitch for old ... and new times sake. And if I miss, I'll chase it down and hurl it again. btw, that's the actual garage pic (new door of course after 40 years), along with my car Grace which many of you have heard about but likely never seen, which is a trading story in itself for new onlookers.

The next trading "do-over" will have to wait until Monday.

Have a restful and peaceful weekend.


traderboy said...


Another excellent post. I never stop looking forward to reading each & everyone one of your posts. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your personal life.

You truly are an inspiration.


Unknown said...

As usual, another nail hit on the head.

Your "second income" comment really is a huge, and often overlooked, psychological factor especially for new (or frustratingly unsuccessful!) traders.

Thanks for the insight and "trader support" you provide here.


Unknown said...

Hi Don,

I am a frequent reader of your site. For me, your site is where I can clear my mind and refocus. You generally don't cover explicit techniques but your commentary and the discussion of your approach to trading is very helpful. If I ever have a tough day with the markets, this site always helps me get back on the horse. Thanks for maintaining it.

nursebee said...

YOU had early heartaches? I'd love to read more about them and what changed.

I am very grateful for my dayjob.

Don Miller said...

nursebee -

Sure did and I've given many talks -- public speeches as well as intense private conversations -- over the years to propsective traders describing my early days from hell and being brought to my knees.

Establishing the darn Bamboo roots can be one helluva undertaking!


Hay Farmer said...

Hi Don, I am new to your blog and relatively new to trading (1yr) Last month I was trading very well and had almost made back my initial start up funds. Only to have lost almost all of it in one 5minute trade.(stupid mistake) My roots are still growing. Needless to say I've been struggling scince then, in a diffrent way than before the big drawdown. In the past couple of days I have read most of the "key posts" and watched many videos. I am very interested in the days your roots were growing. Do you have it published somewhere? If not, I am VERY curios to hear the stories. Your blog has helped me to see things in a diffrent perspective so that i can overcome my issues. I'm just HUNGRY for more. I am 1/4 of the way thru T&G Rich and starting those exersizes suggested & waiting for Psychology of Trading in the mail.


Don Miller said...

Hey Hay -

I'm actually looking for some of the old presentations, articles, etc., but think many of the files were trashed along with old PCs.

I'm still hunting for them and will post whatever I can find.

Perhaps some day, I'll do a video on it, yet for now my focus in on present-day as I'm sure you can understand.


E said...

I can sense that your trading success has had a lot to do with "getting your hands dirty" in a prior life.

Having built 30+ houses over the years, your reference to "joists and rafters and soldering copper pipes" has a ring of experience to it.

For most of us, me included,no other way I know of to to see the bamboo shoots without first planting the seeds and toiling in the dirt for a very long while.

Nice post as usual Mr Miller.

ps: You could probably strike out big Papi these days :(

Anonymous said...


I want to thank you for your daily comments. For this 10 yr. trade veteran you are one of two blogs I read on a daily basis. It takes guts to share your life with the world. My hat's off to you.

Your comment on having another income is vital. From time to time you make mention of a non-trade business you run. Could you share the nature of this business with us? Just curious to know. Keep up the good fight.

Remember: "To be viable, you need to vulnerable".



Unknown said...

that is a nasty shade of yellow - nothing personal

Don Miller said...

Never liked the color myself ... it's of course my parents' home and I had no say :-).