This is year #8 of yours truly maintaining a blog. And that's about all I have been doing, quite frankly. Maintaining.
I wasn't sure how to start writing this post today because I realize the audience actually reading this is so vast, the question of “how do you direct this” just gets convoluted in a sea of other people's emotions.
So here it goes:
This site took me down a path I never thought imaginable 8 years ago. I have certainly learned a lot. But a surefire way to confuse me is to ask the question “has it been rewarding?”. Honestly, I have no clear answer to that.
So I am going to start this with what I know:
Half of my social media followers are peddling 1-3 rated products on a scale of 1-10. Seriously, like half. And about half of those are out of business.
Are these “bad” people? Of course not. This is just the way life has more or less set them up and they way they see as a means of a solution, to something they got involved with.
So what can I learn from this? There is a very skewed ratio of marketing efforts to consumers in this business. Overwhelming. So how does it all effect the end consumer (trader)?
Quite alarmingly, I think. Frankly, there is a problem out there that doesn't nearly get the attention it deserves. The language used on many of these sites fits the bill of any other advertising: intended to strike a nerve and get the consumer to take action. Today I wanted to talk about it in a new light.
I didn't work, or really even have exposure to the retail trading world until I started this site. And back then, I probably shouldn't have even been posting what I was, because there were so many educational gaps to fill.
Last week, I received an email that shook me pretty hard. I have seen countless examples of the online marketing that goes on in this business, and realize how much of it changes the way people approach sites like this one.
I can point you in the direction of hundreds of sites that are riddled with them. The “honest” guys, with the charity links and all this other stuff, lie. The chest puffers still living 15 years ago, lie. Politicians lie. Journalists lie. Tons of people lie, most times for the purpose of suiting their own motives.
They key, of course, is to perform better mentally than most others out there, and be extremely grateful for what you already have.
The email I received was riddled with skepticism.
I “know” this email type by now and don't feel the need to get into details. But the bottom line was that this person had an image of me based on another image created by all these other people on the internet, which was basically the complete opposite of who I was.
I looked around myself and saw a half eaten bag of tortilla chips to my left, fluorescent lights above my head, empty water cups, a stack of papers riddled with notes in front of me, oh, and six monitors, and asked “what the hell do these people think I am?”. My eyes are always bloodshot from staring at monitors all day. Put an image of me on a beach, with bikini clad women all around me like this and most of you would be laughing your butts off.
I googled the email address and immediate became quite sad. I'm definitely not sharing details but I read something that told me a lot about this person's struggles and got me working on my own personal journey, thinking “what am I going to do about all of this?” Obviously, it was the motivation for everything you're reading right now.
The underlying problem with a site like this are the primary means of attraction to it. I am not the one that will ever tell you that trading is a “way out” of damn near anything. In fact, it is a very easy way IN to further complications and stresses.
But what work isn't?
The difference with active daytrading is that the risk/reward (of the activity) is very poor for beginners. Obviously this is the complete opposite of everything we are consistently fed and told. But its the truth.
I can't concede to this because its just not in my DNA. You will never hear me telling anyone otherwise: my personal journey of failure and how I reached up to the sky and grabbed the bull by horns like I'm some kind of messiah, or some other ridiculous story that is written like a movie script. Its ^%$*ing hard. Period.
And you should only be doing it if you can actually afford to. This is written in the standard CFTC disclaimer found at the bottom of all registered offerings (that nobody reads). I'm here to tell you there is a reason its there, and thensome.
The Even Bigger Problem
People love a quick fix. I don't think there is any such thing as a quick, permanent fix, for anything in life, however.
The bigger problem here is that many people are drawn to this business for the absolute wrong reasons. Not everyone, but many.
There is this illusion that trading is a “way out” of something. Obviously finances are the primary motive here.
Money troubles are some of the worst troubles, and I will tell you that your odds of handsomely donating your hard earned cash to a market maker are extremely high if you think this way.
So why do the rich get richer? One of the main reasons is because they have excess capital to invest in riskier ventures, some of which produce a very high ROI, but not all. They have the means to the opportunity. They can take the risk, while still maintaining their current, cushy lifestyle.
Daytrading is, unequivocally and without question, classified as a risky venture. And unless you “hit it” right from the beginning (some, but very few, do), your path is going to be rough. The learning curve in this business is very high, partly because we fight against everything society tells us is the “right” thing to do, the way its set up.
So there is a deeper root that we need to take care of. Stability. Acceptance. Long-term growth. Everyone has ego, drive, fear, disappointment, etc. We're a bunch of basket cases…….I get it.
Yet some people just handle these situations much easier than others, and they're usually the ones NOT taking on risky ventures. Funny how that works, right?
There are people that sacrifice extremely important things (education, long-term career, marriage, children) and so forth, for risky ventures. And a lot of these people don't even like what they're doing, but do it anyway.
So if you're going down this path, its time to become a realist. You can resume risky ventures anytime you want, but just make sure your priorities are set straight. The worst thing you can do is fail the loved ones around you, or letting yourself down because you deep-down knew better the entire time.
If you fit the above profile, I would say STOP WORRYING about what you're going to do 1 month from now and worry about what you're going to do 15 years from now. Because trust me, the older you get, the faster the time goes by. Your “lens on the world” changes, and with it, time skips by.
You just have to realize what you're capable of accomplishing outside of your regular comfort zone.
Like anything else, there is a right way to trade, and a very wrong way. Once again, deep down, you know what this entails. Here is a list of cliches I wrote 2 weeks ago that answer this obvious question in case you're not entirely sure what I mean by that.
Most people completely avoid that little noise their head at all costs. Your conscious (taught by society) is trained to override your instinct. Formalities are a pain the butt sometimes.
That's 200,000 years of human evolution you shove down the shaft every day, if you're trading against your instincts.
And that's just one of the reasons trading can be so challenge. And yes, we all want to prove to the world what we can do, but it has to be done properly.
Many people are simply not prepared for this. And the people that should be telling you, typically are not, because they have their own motives. They want your cash. Duh.
I teach strategy. Tons of it. I could hand people a winning strategy, explain it to the best of my abilities, but they won't apply it properly because something else is wrong. Usually, I find, its because old habits hang around like chronic disease. And these habits are reinforced by societal instincts. Getting rid of them is extremely challenging.
There is no greater upset than to be spending so much time on something with little or no sense of accomplishment. We absolutely need accomplishment to feel fulfilled in life. We need to know that we're doing something right. In this business, it means focusing on the data and doing what makes sense, not any other way. The numbers are your truth, here.
This isn't to say you can't pursue this as a hobby, by taking no risk at all, in the meantime. I mean really, who's watching you? Who cares? But don't let it consume you or misrepresent what it really is at the end of the day.
I am here because I'm experienced. Other people are “here” because they have access to the right tools and resources, money, etc. Think of me as a pilot with a lot of time in the air. Nothing else.
The name “NoBrainerTrades” is going away. Why, you ask? Because its terrible, plain and simple. I have never, ever liked it, and it completely (if you can't tell by the tone of this post) completely misrepresents everything I am as a person. I came up with it in about 2 minutes, late one night, as the name of a forum thread.
So the new name? StrategyRoot.com. It's fine, generic, and fits perfectly in the world of “who cares”. I don't mind being a fly on the wall because there is more than enough noise out there already. But please come back if you're looking for a voice of reason.
I plan on changing a few things, but not too much. For starters, I want to open up the doors to 3rd parties. So if you have some stuff that isn't bottom shelf quality, please send it my way. Let's collaborate. No cheap sales pitches, that's my only rule. I will banish you faster than a lighting bolt if there's no true value.
FXSAnalytics is going to hang, but I definitely need to make some changes there as well. My time gets easily vacuumed away and I've been unable to progress on growing the depth of materials as much as I want to due to the way it is currently set up.
If you fit any of the above, I definitely want to hear from you. Tell me your story, and I'll see if we can't get something accomplished. But I'm not a shrink.
I'm a trader. I stare and numbers and charts and get stressed out and euphoric like a living seesaw on steroids. Its interesting to me and I like it that way. But its not for everybody. And I always have a backstop just in case.
There is far, far too much human energy wasted on negativity. Google any of our current presidential candidates and chuck every article you read into a positive and negative column. There is zero question it will be like comparing a mouse to an elephant in terms of size.
It is almost like we are taught to feel guilt, inadequate or assume the worst about other people. Most of the time we have no idea what's actually happening on the other end of the line and so it spawns a world of assumptions in our heads based on the way MOST other people think.
Open Twitter or Facebook right now. Count the positive to negative things being said. Everybody thinks they're a comedian at someone else's expense. No wonder we end up like we do :).
Naturally you need to dismiss all of that and focus on the truth when you're doing something like trading. But “hope” and “aspiration” is not enough to succeed in any venture. Obviously, you have to know the mechanics and be a staunch realist.
So use that energy to learn them, no matter what it is. Trading or anything else.
If it doesn't feel right, it is because something is off. Really, its your job and no one else's to figure it out.
There is no conclusion. Let's keep going but be smart about what we're doing. I feel like Tony Robbins today, but whatever. And for the record, I'm not going to say I am any kind of Mahatma Gandhi when it comes to all this, either. I am just as susceptible as anyone else. But some things just need to be said. If there is one thing that bugs me, its putting on a facade as if I'm on a Broadway stage. Trust me, I am no Billy Crystal, either.
Thank you as usual for the continued support, and catch you soon.