The fate of a trader

This is a discussion on The fate of a trader within the First Steps forums, part of the Reception category; It is a sad point to make but I believe that the best traders have given up a lot to ...

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 27, 2008, 11:12am   #1
 
trader_dante's Avatar
Joined Aug 2005
The fate of a trader

It is a sad point to make but I believe that the best traders have given up a lot to get where they are - much more so than many people realise.

In 1870, William Worthington Fowler wrote:

When once a man has fairly committed himself to speculation, his imagination soon grows to lend a hideous fascination to the objects of his pursuit. An evil genius seems to hold possession of him. He takes no note of time, save as an interval between his gains and losses; the thrill of the one and the pain of the other, grow duller as the years wear away, until at length he becomes the optimum eater of finance, living in a world peopled by phantoms which haunt his waking hours, and flit through his dreams. The unsubstantial pageant vanishes as the alarm bell of his ruin peals out, and he awakens to the desolation of reality.

The story of the whole shifting tribe of operators is little else than a dreary catalogue of losses - losses, not of money alone, but of health, character, heart and life.


When I read this passage I think of the bankrupt Livermore who ended up, after being unable to scare up a stake to make his lost fortune back, losing the will to go on and taking his own life.

Of Michael Marcus, who turned a $30,000 stake into an $80 million dollar fortune but as Thomas Bass noted in his book, "The Predictors": "His wife left him, but Marcus was too busy to notice."

I don't remember the name of the particular trader - but one from the Market Wizards trilogy that said his one wish in life was that he had spent more time with his children rather than isolating himself from then when they were in their formative years - being that untouchable father that never had any time for his children because of his obsession with the markets.

That's what it is for many of us and that is why I am writing this. When I am losing with big positions in the markets (I have been long indices for several days) I can think of nothing but where the market might open. When I am winning, I can think of nothing but the future. So I am never in the present.

And the life of a trader at times seems to be a life with a whole series of regrets: We regret what we lost. More often, we regret what we might have made but did not.

If we remove ourselves from our emotions than we are nothing more than a shell.

And yet still this is what we strive to do.

But when I do that, does it help or does the problem just manifest itself in other ways? With no fear and no greed, I am a money making machine but I am that because I work in isolation - studying charts all day, refusing to talk with or listen to others opinions - watching the markets in the dead of night when everyone is asleep and all I have to keep me company is a flashing price on a screen. And when loved ones talk to me it seems like my mind is never with them but always with the market.

I started my initial thread "Making Money Trading" to help people along the path faster and taught it on the TFS (Weekly, daily) that will ultimately give you that freedom to devote to the more important things in life.

But nothing is ever black and white and the spirit of the game can take you away from what is important in life.

I just wanted to write this because it is what I am feeling but also because I am sure that whether they reply to this post or not, there are others that do or have felt the same.

Tom
__________________
Lessons from successful traders: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/firs...l-traders.html

Increasing trader performance: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/firs...rformance.html

Advice for getting a job in trading: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/gene...b-trading.html

Last edited by trader_dante; Sep 27, 2008 at 12:45pm.
trader_dante is offline Coach/Trainer  
Thanks! The following members like this post: the blades , Market Wizard , rags2riches , Paul71 , peto , jiggly , fibonelli , Bladerunner , sinimini , Hoggums , MrGecko , mauzj , rogue8 , spy74 , alphaTh7 , natureboy
Old Sep 27, 2008, 11:37am   #2
 
new_trader's Avatar
Joined Jan 2006
A genius is the man in whom you are least likely to find the power of attending to anything insipid or distasteful in itself. He breaks his engagements, leaves his letters unanswered, neglects his family duties incorrigibly, because he is powerless to turn his attention down and back from those more interesting trains of imagery with which his genius constantly occupies his mind.

William James
__________________
"It always pays a man to be right at the right time." - Jesse Livermore | Less Marx, More Mises

CLICK - My Trading Journal
new_trader is offline  
Thanks! The following members like this post: Market Wizard , rawrschach , MrGecko
Old Sep 27, 2008, 12:38pm   #3
 
Jaydee's Avatar
Joined Sep 2005
Therefore, is it right that we lose our life and soul to a profession or, perhaps more suitable, a game which can only redestribute wealth and not create it?
Jaydee is offline  
Old Sep 27, 2008, 12:46pm   #4
 
trader_dante's Avatar
Joined Aug 2005
trader_dante started this thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by new_trader View Post
A genius is the man in whom you are least likely to find the power of attending to anything insipid or distasteful in itself. He breaks his engagements, leaves his letters unanswered, neglects his family duties incorrigibly, because he is powerless to turn his attention down and back from those more interesting trains of imagery with which his genius constantly occupies his mind.

William James

So the question is: What price are you willing to pay to try for genius?
__________________
Lessons from successful traders: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/firs...l-traders.html

Increasing trader performance: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/firs...rformance.html

Advice for getting a job in trading: http://www.trade2win.com/boards/gene...b-trading.html
trader_dante is offline Coach/Trainer  
Old Sep 27, 2008, 12:49pm   #5
Joined Jan 2003
An excellent very true post TD.

I doubt there is a successful trader out here who has not gone through what you have just posted. Once the market gets its claws into you, it is very difficult to set yourself free.

This applies to most people, myself included, because their is no clear direction in the beginning. Though there are some that come in for a taste and leave before the market takes grip.
The constant emotional bouncing from wins to losses becomes comfortable and soon we hide these emotions under a different name, that of persistency, that we will crack this, no matter what. We always seem very close to the answer but it always eludes us. WE go through many stage of development, sometimes kidding ourselves that we know what we are doing. Occasionally we get more satisfaction from being right and for that moment the money stops being an issue, until we go back to live trading again and find that we are still at square one.

There is no clear definition as to when we come through the other side, I expect there are thousand of different reasons as each trader finds his own answer. Unfortunately many never do and I wonder what affect the whole experience has had on them at a deeper level.

Mastering trading is like mastering life itself. Once you have found your answer so have you also managed to control and conquer your emotions, perceptions, reactions. There is a different outlook and a very satisfying freedom as you free yourself from chasing money. In fact just being free from the chase is worth more money, than the money itself.
__________________
"I do not believe that the same God who has endowed us with
sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei
Market Wizard is offline  
Thanks! The following members like this post: options , trader_dante , MrGecko , jiggly , fibonelli , rags2riches
Old Sep 27, 2008, 12:54pm   #6
 
new_trader's Avatar
Joined Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by trader_dante View Post
So the question is: What price are you willing to pay to try for genius?
It isn't a choice. That is the point.
__________________
"It always pays a man to be right at the right time." - Jesse Livermore | Less Marx, More Mises

CLICK - My Trading Journal
new_trader is offline  
Thanks! The following members like this post: Paul71 , rawrschach
Old Sep 27, 2008, 1:21pm   #7
Joined Mar 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by trader_dante View Post
It is a sad point to make but I believe that the best traders have given up a lot to get where they are - much more so than many people realise.

In 1870, William Worthington Fowler wrote:

When once a man has fairly committed himself to speculation, his imagination soon grows to lend a hideous fascination to the objects of his pursuit. An evil genius seems to hold possession of him. He takes no note of time, save as an interval between his gains and losses; the thrill of the one and the pain of the other, grow duller as the years wear away, until at length he becomes the optimum eater of finance, living in a world peopled by phantoms which haunt his waking hours, and flit through his dreams. The unsubstantial pageant vanishes as the alarm bell of his ruin peals out, and he awakens to the desolation of reality.

The story of the whole shifting tribe of operators is little else than a dreary catalogue of losses - losses, not of money alone, but of health, character, heart and life.


When I read this passage I think of the bankrupt Livermore who ended up, after being unable to scare up a stake to make his lost fortune back, losing the will to go on and taking his own life.

Of Michael Marcus, who turned a $30,000 stake into an $80 million dollar fortune but as Thomas Bass noted in his book, "The Predictors": "His wife left him, but Marcus was too busy to notice."

I don't remember the name of the particular trader - but one from the Market Wizards trilogy that said his one wish in life was that he had spent more time with his children rather than isolating himself from then when they were in their formative years - being that untouchable father that never had any time for his children because of his obsession with the markets.

That's what it is for many of us and that is why I am writing this. When I am losing with big positions in the markets (I have been long indices for several days) I can think of nothing but where the market might open. When I am winning, I can think of nothing but the future. So I am never in the present.

And the life of a trader at times seems to be a life with a whole series of regrets: We regret what we lost. More often, we regret what we might have made but did not.

If we remove ourselves from our emotions than we are nothing more than a shell.

And yet still this is what we strive to do.

But when I do that, does it help or does the problem just manifest itself in other ways? With no fear and no greed, I am a money making machine but I am that because I work in isolation - studying charts all day, refusing to talk with or listen to others opinions - watching the markets in the dead of night when everyone is asleep and all I have to keep me company is a flashing price on a screen. And when loved ones talk to me it seems like my mind is never with them but always with the market.

I started my initial thread "Making Money Trading" to help people along the path faster and taught it on the TFS (Weekly, daily) that will ultimately give you that freedom to devote to the more important things in life.

But nothing is ever black and white and the spirit of the game can take you away from what is important in life.

I just wanted to write this because it is what I am feeling but also because I am sure that whether they reply to this post or not, there are others that do or have felt the same.

Tom
TD,

Possibly some of the hallmarks of addiction there. This is an interesting read:

Guardian Unlimited | Archive Search

Joey
Joey25 is offline  
Old Sep 27, 2008, 1:24pm   #8
 
rols's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by trader_dante View Post
So the question is: What price are you willing to pay to try for genius?
I agree with New Trader that the genius probably has little choice but to pursue his obsession.

However it doesn't take a genius to have success in trading BUT to have success in trading and life is a tough call and I think trader_Dante's post opens up the way for an important discussion.

By way of coincidence I see that the credit crunch has forced many pros to cease trading and some are looking for more 'fulfilling ' careers such as teaching.

BBC NEWS | Education | Finance workers head for teaching
rols is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)