Thank you for the comments

Genuine thanks to everyone for their helpful comments and to Brett Steenbarger for linking to my blog from Trader Performance. Brett  speaks with many years of direct experience in the industry:

‘I would estimate that, since moving to Chicago in 2004, 80-90% of traders I’ve known at various firms are no longer in the trading business. Think about what that means in terms of lost money, accumulated debt, dashed dreams, and disappointed family members.  Why do no trading coaches talk about those personal tragedies and losses?  Why don’t the stories of the vast majority of traders ever grace the pages of trading magazines and trading books?’

There must be so many people like me out there but they are not proportionally represented on the net or in any other media. Our voice is not loud (most people sing when they are winning), many of us don’t want to be heard as we are in the midst of failure, and I imagine many of us just want to leave this chapter behind and get on with our lives. And then there is the question of whether an audience will want to listen to a story of complete failure without a turnaround. Yet we are the majority. Perhaps, after many traders blow up their accounts, they don’t want to go anywhere near trading again, much in the same way that a recovering alcoholic may not want to step back in to a pub. It must trigger feelings of depression and anxiety for many traders. Also, a blog about a trader that blows up isn’t going to update all that often. My position is that I am near failure, and if I do blow up completely, there will be nothing left to post.

On his site, Brett provides a link to a song titled ‘Needle and the Damage Done’. I listened to it for the first time. It is an excellent but very sad, haunting song about addiction.

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6 responses to “Thank you for the comments

  1. http://tradermike.net/2006/10/taming_of_the_traders_gremlins/

    This is a nice link about all our gremlins – I like the Marianne Faithful approach….

    And here is a link for someone who knows what blowing up really means:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2002/2002_04_29_a_blowingup.htm

    It sounds like you need to turn off the computer, take a deep breath and connect with some ‘real life’ before the consequences of your behavior get worse, which can happen.

    Good luck, life is long, take a break, the trading blogs are full of ppl in your situation, poke around and learn from others, the cheap method of a lesson.

  2. One idea I have is to turn off dsl, and just go back and use phone modem to ‘slow me down’

  3. Caravaggio,

    My latent addictive personality surfaced during the first years of my trading career. Nobody talked about trading can be addictive at that time, but I was able to identify the pattern after a while. I stopped trading for three months (I had my husband change the password to our account). Then I read two books on recovering from addiction (combined into one book): Addictive Thinking by Abraham J. Twerski, and The Addictive Personality by Craig Nakken. When I resumed trading, I was still an addict, but a recovered one. That was when I started to really let the market teach me how to trade–I still churned for a while, but it was productive churning in the sense that while I learned important stuff, my account stayed flat.

    Positive aspects of your prsent state as gleaned from your previous posts: recognition that you are a trading addict, recognition that you cannot stop trading, recognition that there is negative downward spiral. If you think those things are easy for an addict to recognize, think again! So, that is great. However, you need help. Start with written material, and keep this online journal going.

  4. Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Addictive-Thinking-Personality-Craig-Nakken/dp/1567313310

    Used copies are available for a few bucks, and the reviews pretty much sum up my opinions of the combined books. Being an atheist, I thought that the Rabbi’s approach may be a problem, but it was not. He mentions that God can be substituted for something else (which I easily did!)

  5. BTW, I tried to stopped trading on my own, but could not. I wanted to, said I would, and then I would put on a trade. Hence, my asking my husband to change the password. When I resumed trading, I kept the book nearby, and would read passages from it on a daily basis.

  6. nonadams, thanks for links. Gladwell is a good writer and even though I have read the Niederhoffer/Taleb piece before, it is an interesting re-read it. One man bets on extreme events, the other pretty much bets against them.

    It is true that I do need to connect with ‘real life’ more often. Having my computer just a few feet from my bed, the first thing I do in the morning is turn on the PC, you know, just to check up on things. The reality is that this quick check is never quick and, before I know it, hours have flown by. I have to make the effort to add some variety to my life.

    Also, the post on gremlins is great, along with all the comments. I hope to one day fight my demons with as strong an armour of rationality as Michelle B seems able to do. I think I have the rationale, but it just seems to ‘disconnect’ at certain times. Michelle, thanks for your comments and for the Gremlins article. And congratulations on making it through your own addictive phase; I think you were very smart to find someone else to create a physical boundary between you and the trading screens.

    I have added the recommended book to my wish-list. I vowed never to go back in to world of ‘self-help’ books, but this one looks like it really hits home.

    Also, writing this blog is indeed proving helpful, partly because it keeps me from trading at all the wrong times. But my attention span and memory are short, so if I am to really benefit from the wise words of advise that have been kindly offered, I am going to have to incorporate everything I have learned so far into a plan and keep it posted above my computer.

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