Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Notes - Letting Go

4:00pm If much of the last 18 months was about not letting up, the next few months may very well be about letting go. Not letting go of trading, but simply letting go of a few of life's attributes to see if I can regain my balance in both trading and life. I'll get back to that shortly.

First, it seems I made a good decision by driving to Boston last night and incurring the cost of a hotel room for my 10am appointment so that I'd be able to monitor the markets in the morning and take advantage of any opportunity without having to fight traffic or do the old eyes-on-the-Vaio-while-driving routine. (Oops, I just realized my daughter is now reading this -- which is apparently now hard to avoid when Googling "Don Miller" now points you here unless you're looking to buy a book or car. Never mind, I never trade while driving.)

So the $200 or so investment returned about 2000% for the morning, even though I missed the 10am pullback wholesale long. I primarily caught the earlier DAX and ES range oscillations after the initial overnight run-up, along with catching the 8:15am ADP spike down for a decent wholesale long.

So the month and quarter start off with a good decision and a fourth consecutive solid & tight day . Yea, I know it's not the 58-3 Jan-Mar Win/Loss, but you have to start somewhere. I'm also seriously considering restarting the daily scorecard concept which I've sort of done mentally over the last week.

I also did well not to trade the rest of the day except for one probe bear trap entry around 1:30pm (see attached chart; click to enlarge) that I scratched after two minutes after it seemed clear the market had no mojo. Yes, that's an autoplotted sequence; blue triangles reflect the opening and closing of a long sequence, and I'm still working with MF Global and TT on fine-tuning as it works about half the time right now. If it works, I'll do more of these.

Now to the topic of letting go. Today's news on my back pretty much confirms earlier findings that I have a narrowing of the spinal canal ("stenosis") in the neck area that's not easy to treat, and can't be fixed with a new chair, stretching, pill, etc. btw, it's not that I'm in pain ... rather it's a pins and needles sensation in the hands and a few other places. So while I'm not giving up, I am letting it go from a spiritual perspective, while promising to work hard at reducing stress, eating better, doing some light exercise, and regaining a blend of body-mind-spiritual focus that has sorely been lacking in this man's life over the last few months.

I'm sure you've heard "You are what you eat".

How about "Your trading results (or any performance-based results) reflect the state of your mind and soul"? Corny? Perhaps. True? Oh yes ... with May and June prominently displayed as Exhibits A and B.

Finally, a reminder to scroll back through recent posts if you're interested in what is typically fairly informative follow-up discussion to my initial daily ramble. In the case of last night's post, someone asked me about my writing style, and there was also some good back-and-forth dialogue on increasing size (or not).


Charles said...

Donnie(haven't brought that one up in awhile),

I know this is completely off the subject of trading, but as a person who is somewhat of a political activist(I come from a "libertarian-ish/conservative" position), I was just wondering if you've ever considered the idea of running for some type of elected office. Could be anything from city council to state rep. to, well, anything you feel well-equipped and ready for.

I ask this only because I strongly feel government(be it local or national) could use alot more high quality individuals like yourself.

You are looking for a new "challenge" are you not?

Go for it my man! :-)


PS- re: your back...the successful resolution of your health issues are in my prayers my friend

Unknown said...

Don- How does one get in touch with you privately? I may have a helpful medical contact down the road related to your back condition.


Vince Fulco

Don Miller said...

vfluco -

Just post a comment indicating you want to keep it private or email me at

The email stuff I want to keep to strictly private matters so all can benefit from trading conversations on the blog.

Thanks :-).


Max Ghello said...

scorecard Don! yes! :)

Jay said...

Don, I have been following your blog for a while now. Do you not attribute your struggles recently to more of the market having low volatility than anything else. During the times of high volatility like most day traders we thrive but during the low volatilty we seem to do poorly and we look for reasons why we keep skrewing up? Like last year where the volatilit was so high that you could go in the morning and have a massive loss but by the afternoon you would be in the red. I seem to struggle very much during times like this when volatility dries up.

Don Miller said...

Jay -

Only in part. Please see Tuesday's post for my allocation of personal factors.


beantown trader said...

Don, I don't know if anyone has purposed this, but have you seen a acupuncturist?

I have an uncle who had back pain due to dislocated disk in vertebral and a specialist in acupuncture and healed him. In fact the doctor was able to re-align the vertebral disk too.

best wishes,


Ken M.

P.S.- love reading your blog.

TheNovice said...

I have come across your blog a few weeks ago and was so impressed that I’ve purchased your course “How I Make A Living Trading The E-Minis”.
The course is quite old (2003). Are you still using the same patterns? In the chart you have posted the 15SMA is present but all others are missing and I could not work out the pattern you have used.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on your blog. It is such an inspiration to see a master trader at work.
Kind Regards,
A Noori

Don Miller said...

mawit - It's on my list :-).

TheNovice - Well, I'm not sure about "Master Trader" ... that's for sure. In terms of older educational material, the techniques are similar. Keep in mind the chart posted yesterday is not my main chart ... rather a order entry platform chart that is very simple to capture the prints.


Trader Kevin said...

"I just realized my daughter is now reading this..."

Don, how old are your children and how do you approach the subject of your trading income with them?

Most kids don't know how much money dad makes. Your outlier second quarter is still a good year's wages for most people.

How do you keep them grounded and realistic about what money means, what it doesn't mean, and how, for traders, it's just how we keep score?

Trader Kevin said...

Charles Upton: "Have you ever considered the idea of running for some type of elected office?"

Don can't afford that kind of pay cut!

Politics is a bunch of glad-handing and ass-kissing. It's not about what you know or how you perform, it's about who you know and who you can manipulate. It's a lot of pancake breakfasts and rubber chicken dinners. It's continual self-promotion. It's constantly being "on call" to meet the needs of your constituents and being beholden to your financial backers.

In short, it's pretty much the opposite of what most traders aspire to.

I speak from experience in this, as my mother is on the council in her town and she's running for a seat on the county legislature this fall.

Charles, you'll be happy to know she's pretty far right on the political spectrum.


Don Miller said...

Kevin -

I have two daughters ... one who will be a junior in college, and one heading into her senior year at High School.

I rarely discuss my income with my kids, and even more rarely discuss trading, although as we worked through the college financial aid process, it obviously became a topic of discussion with my older daughter.

In general, they're aware of my various business struggles and successes over time, and are likely more aware of my other bill-paying effort. Yet to them, things are pretty constant from year to year as we don't alter our fairly modest lifestyle as income fluctuates, and they both hold part-time jobs and fund much of their own activities.

Interestingly enough, my older daughter's eyes have just recently been opened to the wide trading exposure I've had over the years as the result of my earlier teachings, interviews, etc. [she thought it was "cool" that Dad's face was on a DVD cover], and now of course in current times via this public diary.

And oh by the way, her major?