Recently did a review, and I see I ended up down around 40 ES points at one time, recovered around 40 points, back down around 40 points, and back up a bit, for now, on mostly one contract trading. Quite a roller coaster ride that I'm not proud of. Ugh.
Why did this happen? I admit, I'm still chasing success.
Taking the last week of August off for our family vacation helped to slow and settle my mind to reflect back and understand what (and why) I'm doing what I'm doing, which can often feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I'm still looking for something that works for my style over the long term.
Although I usually feel that I'm getting closer to that elusive consistent profitability, I often step back and realize how long I have been thinking that way. I'm going through various stages of development such as the lingering "Trough of Sorrow", then there's the "Crash of Ineptitude" which happens too frequently, all the while getting faked out by the "Wiggles of False Hope."
I know there are more disciplined and effective ways of learning and improving. But for me, based on my past paths to success in other endeavors, the not-the-most-efficient-
Turning over stones
I will need to turn over as many rocks as I can, until I get to the stage where I feel I've done all that I can. It reminds me back to my much much younger days of visiting the local 7-11 convenience store after school. I would see so many different kinds of candy for sale and would spend an inordinate amount of time looking at each one, trying to figure out which one to buy.
Now days, if I even want to eat some candy, it only takes a few seconds to select it, and I'm done. Unlike my trading, I've already turned over many stones over the years, and I'm done searching.
I also used to spend hours in the record store every week, endlessly looking at both current and old albums from all various genres, learning about the various artists, figuring out how to best spend the money I made from my paper route.
Now days, my desire for music is much more muted, although my taste in music is better focused. So with sites like Pandora, it no longer takes me a very long time to select something to play and just move on. Although there will always be some new stones to turn in the world of music, gone are those days when I would obsessively spend many hours a day/week focused on turning over those musical stones.
And my biggest "chasing success, success story" is that it took many many years of turning over many stones before I met my wife. But that journey is thankfully over and has resulted in a family with 2 great young children (as long as they are behaving!), for which I am very lucky and thankful.
Now days, the amount of work and effort to maintain my relationship with my family is greater than ever before, and continues to grow at a breathtaking rate. So although I'm done searching, the real though work has only just started, and seeing the positive return from my efforts, watching my children grow, is something beyond measurement.
So back to trading -- I often see many people who are very successful in other fields say trading has been one of their most difficult challenges to master. Taking my current path of experimenting/chasing success/turning over as many rocks as I can to become successful with trading is an expensive way to learn, both from a financial and psychological capital perspective. But I'm not sure if there's any other way, based on how I operate.
On a good note, I do think the rate of "turning over stones" is starting to decrease. So maybe I'm starting to settle down. Maybe I'll stop searching so hard and settle down with a specific trading method. And maybe I'll finally start putting in much more effort to maintaining a successful trading process. This will be a key "tell" that I'm moving in the right direction.
The importance of environment
But here's one missing piece I've recently overlooked. I have discovered that my trading environment is a big factor in my ability to remain disciplined in successful. When I was doing some random trading over the past couple months, I was pretty much on my own, operating with minimal structure, exhibiting a lack of self discipline. Recipe for disaster.
I now realize that I've done better in the past when I'm a part of a group all trading a similar methodology. So for now, I need to be a part of a team again. The best environment for me would to be physically on a trading floor with other like minded traders. But since that's not realistic at this time, the next best thing is to be a part of a chatroom.
So here's my new plan based over the next few months:
continue daytrading the ES, I've joined a chatroom which has a live
streaming audio and video feed of the charts. Most importantly, there
is a full time moderator using a methodology that I've recently evolved
towards and have been exposed to quite a bit since earlier this year.
Based on attending for only about a week, this seems to have instilled a
new sense of confidence and discipline.
- I've also joined a swing trading service for stocks, just to see if this timeframe might be better suited for my personality. I've opened up a new equity account just for this purpose and will slowly ease back into stocks after taking a break from equities for nearly a year.
- I will also continue to monitor the forex markets for swing trade opportunities.
We shall see. I still believe. The journey resumes.