Monday, February 6, 2012

View of life and trading

I had very limited trading last week of perhaps several hours of actual trading in the morning sessions only over 3 days due to other duties (ended with gross +5.75 ES for the week), and then last weekend was a hectic weekend of travel. 

It's those times when you're traveling and out of your usual routine, that thoughts you usually don't have begin to make their way into your consciousness.  And what really came to realization was how much more challenging trading can be, especially when you have to factor in the realities of life outside of trading. 

Catching a bug from my young kids and getting sick right as the traveling started made the trip even more "interesting."  Nothing else like having your ears plugged up in a airplane.  So staying healthy becomes something of bigger concern.  I haven't done as well as I could have recently to keep myself in good physical condition, and this will be a higher priority in the weeks ahead.

In addition to temporary illness, having to deal with terminal illness in the immediate family is also something that drains you emotionally.  Regardless of how you try and compartmentalize your thoughts between work and life, if you have any sense of humanity and empathy, there is a considerable cost on your mental well being.  If you truly love that person, there's no way around those costs.

And the everyday management of family life, especially young children, is never ending and relentless.  Morning, afternoon, evening, nighttime, you're always on call.  Spending at least 6-7 hours a day on family tasks takes a considerable amount of time and energy, as well as time away from trading. 

Then factor in the nighttime duties that impact your sleep, those rough sleepless nights will take a toll on the following day.  But I take pride in being a great dad and will not sacrifice that, even if it means that my eventual growth in trading will be limited.  Some things are just non-negotiable.

So what does all of the above have to do with trading?

I'm fully aware that for most, this is a fairly typical scenario.  And it's nowhere as bad as some others have it, so I consider myself very lucky to be in the situation I'm in.  And if push came to shove and I had to choose between trading or my family, there's no contest that family would win.  But as I work on succeeding in one of the most mentally brutal and challenging occupations they call futures trading, I need to learn to better balance my time and expectations appropriately, so that I don't burn myself out.

In my current life scenario, I realize that I can't spend the 14-16 hours a day for investing/trading that I could years before my family came into existence.  So achieving my 10,000 hours of experience to mastery will just need to take a longer duration than I had initially hoped.  There have been multiple times I've considered trading fulltime over the years, and when the timing or the results weren't quite right, I've always taken comfort knowing that the markets will always be there.

Adversity, challenges, difficulties...I respond with relentlessness, tenacity, and dogged determination.  It was just about 6 months ago when I wrote about "The Moment" and more than ever, I feel like my window of opportunity to capture this moment has not only remained open, but is getting bigger.  My goal will now be to continue to maintain the high intensity but to also balance my near term trading expectations so that my targets are very challenging, but yet achievable.  And most importantly, balanced within my overall life.

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