If you missed part 1, read it here!
The internet presents to the new trader a million and one different ways to look at the markets, and even more of service providers wanting to get you to follow their way and buy their software and indicators. I had no idea where to look, where to start or what to do. I was lost, and I actually didn’t know it. I realized that charts come with indicators, and surely indicators are used when deciding to buy or sell. So, I spent the next 6 months learning the minutia of every single indicator that I could get my hands on. None of them worked very well, and I lost almost every trade I put on. You would have thought that this was enough data for me to conclude that indicators were probably the wrong path. I had a chance and very brief encounter with someone who could have possibly shown me a better way, but I blew that. An internet trader asked me where the price chart was when I sent him over an annotated chart of a trade idea. “Are you blind?” I thought. “All I see is squiggly lines and shit. I may be having a fit right now from all of the colors” was his response. The subsequent transactions between us started with my fellow trader sending me a chart that had nothing on it, but price. “This guys a bozo” I thought. Speaking in terms of my personal trading career, this was one of those times when I wasn’t living consciously – I was lost in a set of paradigms and beliefs about the markets, and all of these misconceptions were the product of the material that is pushed onto retail traders every single day, day in, day out. I was slowly drowning in snake oil, and I missed my chance to save myself from it when I walked away from that internet trader shortly afterwards.
My journey continued. Someone must get this and be making money, I thought. I joined many trader forums and acted as lurker, sucking up trading strategy after trading strategy. It is probably no exaggeration that I spent months in all, back-testing each strategy until I hit the point with each were I concluded it was rubbish. I would perhaps take a loss once or twice while performing a hardright edge walk-forward on a strategy, and that was it – I didn’t want a losing strategy (!), I wanted one that took no losses…Again, I hadn’t realized that the snake oil was seeping into my subconscious, and had thus changed my very psychology. I was drugged up with the rest of my retail brothers and sisters, and I had joined the unwitting campaign to find the Holy Grail…
A lot of time unfolded in this stage, but it eventually felt like I was beginning to understand things better. Into the end of 2010 perhaps, I had uncovered the folly of the common retail indicators. I had realized that indicators may help, but there’s something else to the puzzle that I was not seeing. Yes, it took me quite a while to realize this. I had not at this stage spent money on a trading education service, because I believed I could work it out myself, and I found the prices often just way too high for me. I had parted with a good couple of thousand (if not more) trading with smaller bets, losing 99 times out of 100. After about 15 months of this, after the lost weeks spent away from my young growing family and wife, I was broken. Nothing fucking worked! I had a lot of anger. It was all bullshit. How can I hear so many people having these 95% winner systems, living the good life, and yet me, a clever guy (I thought), after 15 months, was probably further from reaching the goal than before I even started. Until I got hooked with trading, my professional career was going well – I was hugely successful, and I had a great future doing what I did. But, the discipline I am trained in requires hours of personal time, and I was using that time to study trading. My career was slipping through one hand, and the broken bits of crap I had in my other hand that I viewed as “trading” was also sliding away.
What followed was a dark process for me. I probably stayed away from trading for a solid few months. To cope with the emotions of failure, I got back into my career hard, and decided not to look back….But I didn’t need to look back. Every thought I had, from the intellectual to the mundane, was now weaved together by the very fibers of this reality I had consumed myself in for the past year and months. Trading was on my mind constantly. I couldn’t concentrate with life now, knowing that I was walking away from my ticket to the good life, resigning myself to the rat race till retirement. I spent some time coaching myself on the benefits of that rat race, a steady income, yadda yadda. Meh. I was hooked on trading, either because I had a genuine drive and passion to see this damned process through, or because I was addicted. I can’t say with surety which one it really was.
It’s a long story. Assuming that you are like me and didn’t go into finance or trading as a career, then I genuinely and sincerely hope that your journey was much better than mine. I hope that you experienced your “success” with trading. I hope that the path you have taken has already brought you to your destination in a way that’s quicker and less painful than the pursuit of mine has been. With that said, I must nod with respect to all of my other fellow journeymen and women who can hold their hand up and acknowledge themselves in my story. From what I know of people I have met (and people I still know), it seems that the essence of my story is their story too. I know enough people now who have given up. I also know people I have met on the internet in forums that looked like they were actually “getting it”, only to find out many months later that they still marched forward – the strategies of old had been cast aside, and the Holy Grail search endured. I do have a very good internet trader friend called Bruce who has begun to “get to the other side” as it were, but he would be the only one. In fact, he has been my savior more than once, and helped me get back up from some dark times and keep going. Thank you Bruce, I will never forget the support you have given me….
I remember reading on a forum that someone was asking if so-and-so was still around, the cadet who had started the thread with an idea that he wanted to share, only to hear he had given up and now sells death insurance. Such irony. I found on an almost daily basis that I was having to step over the virtual carcasses of those that had fallen – as long as I didn’t look at it, I could ignore it and keep going. But it nagged at me deeply. Would I fall like all the others?
I don’t want to drag this part of the story out, but I wanted to share enough so that if you are on this same journey, you could immediately connect with my words. I am coming back –as a personal campaign of mine of sorts- to help my fellow travelers (or warriors, or whatever metaphor works for you). But let me just bring up some other pieces first, because I think they are important…
(Image Crefit: Humphrey Bolton)
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