Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Weekend Trader - Reflections from the Mountaintop

Dear Diary.

5:30AM - I thought I would have slept in this morning.  For after a week of intense trading, training, and on the heels of a five-hour drive from the ocean to the mountains -- including an extra hour to get through Boston's Friday rush hour traffic (next time, take 495 around the city Don) -- I thought I'd be lying down for what might be a record sleep for me.

But I didn't.  I didn't because last night I felt like a ten-year old on Christmas Eve, and now that morning has begun to break in these early hours, today indeed feels like December 25th.

The gift? Think Currier & Ives in HD on a infinitely-sized Plasma screen.  And the above sunrise pic I snapped this morning -- from the deck! -- doesn't come remotely close to capturing the incredible view.

In a way it's a bit ironic.  For if I'd slept in, I would have missed an hour of one of the greatest sights I've ever seen ... watching the mountains come to light second by second as the sun opened its eyes and slowly revealed Mount Washington.  And every minute I thought it couldn't get prettier, the gift got even more beautiful.

So why am I here?  And what "road" -- aside from the obvious paved mountain road -- brought me here?

Those were the questions I was asking as I drove the twisting mountain roads in the dark last night.

All I can say is that there are times when you're simply "moved" to do something, despite obstacles ... obstacles which are likely more perceived than real.  It happens at times in all of our lives, and I can look back at several episodes of my life in the last 20 years when "something" just told me to stop thinking and do it.  Sort of like trading.  For as I told the team this week, there's nothing worse than a smart trader.

And last night I got that feeling to just throw some clothes in a duffle bag and escape for a few days.  And I mean really escape.  Yea I know, despite the blogging.  But after 8am today, you won't hear from me again until Monday.

There's only one nagging feeling I have.  And it's a feeling very similar to that I had a few years ago as I explained in the 2008 "Story of Grace" post. And yes, that's "Grace" in the lower pic.  It's the feeling that I simply don't deserve this gift.  For despite being literally at the top of the mountain this morning, the overwhelming feeling I have is one of humility as I use these days in private to recharge the body and soul.

You see, despite the early days of this private-gone-public diary where I literally chronicled every trading day's wins, losses, highs, lows -- or as I've said before, the 100% non-fiction good, bad, and ugly -- it's been difficult at best to publicly discuss the "good".  And you should have seen the horrified look on my face in NY when MF Global introduced me to a packed house as the best non-institutional trader they'd ever seen.  I truly thought my trading was over right then and there.

I of course don't publicly discuss my personal trading much these days as this trek has evolved into more of a motvational tool, although I continue sprinkling it in from time to time.  btw, for a microscopic minority, it's a no-win scenario.  Discuss the good and you're chest pumping.  Discuss the bad and you're whining.  Stop discussing anything and the assumption is your trading has tanked (believe me, it hasn't!).  Yet I suppose such is the case with non-fiction personal diaries.

The only comment I'll make with respect to recent performance is that I'm trading as consistently as I ever have been -- including 2008 and early '09. Yet as any decent trader knows, future wins will ONLY be possible if remaining on bended knee while surrending both ego and will ... so I choose not to discuss it.

And current peformance has been further strenghthened in part by a continuing experiment-turning-permanent I'm having with another trader (a recent student actually) where we're connected moment by moment and are pushing each other ... hard.  This is in addition to the larger trading team and the current evolving Jellies who are 50% through their month-long journey.

And I suppose therein lies one of the truths of life ... that people are indeed stronger as two versus one ... whether it be two like-minded traders without ego who aren't afraid to push each other, or a father-son bond that is literally performing daily miracles.

Or one trader who without ever having physically met the other, opens up his house from across the country, and has his neighbor unlock the door, put the key on the desk, and turn on all the outside lights so a tired traveler can spot the welcoming beacon late at night in the pitch black wilderness.

And that's the best part about this business.  The people.

The hardest part?

Going home on Sunday.

Oh, and the trader offering the shirt (house) off his back?  It's indeed Bob.

Have a very pleasant and relaxing weekend.


nqtraderjay said...

Pretty Cool, Don. I met people from an online forum. We are all musicians and the forum is regarding the technical side of recording. It started in 2000 when a few guys got together without ever meeting before. I went in 2004, 5, 6 & 7! It grew in numbers over the years and these awesome people let us camp on their lot in CT, for the whole weekend. We all jammed and it was amazing. It's changed location a few times. Some people travel a long way, even overseas a few times.

steve said...

Have a great relaxing weekend, you're sure in the right spot for it! One of the most peaceful places I remember was my mothers house in the New Hampshire woods about 50 miles south of where you are. It's hard not to relax in places like that.