…continued from Tonys Story Part 2
Reframing The Problem
With money and my relationship with it having been identified as a major problem for me, what was I going to do about it?
Right after the Ah Ha that I was no better trader 7 years into it than I was the very first day, and that I was likely so controlled by my unhealthy relationship with money that it was unlikely I was ever going to live the dream of a more simple, lower stress life, I knew SOMETHING had to change. I simply couldn’t do this any longer for both financial and emotional reasons. So, I decided that since I was so close to blowing out my trading account anyway, I’d just start trading wildly until it was all gone, and then I’d quit forever. At the time, it made perfect sense to me. I could just end it. By blowing out the last of the money in my account, I’d confirm, for the last time, that trading just was not for me and I was done with it. In fact, I had such a messed-up relationship with the money, I figured gambling it away on the markets was the ONLY way it was going to happen. I could have just stopped and taken what little money was left out of the account. But that would have been a choice. That was QUITTING. I needed to be forced out. I needed the trading gods to end it FOR ME. But it was going to be a relief to finally be done with it all. It was going to be like rolling into a casino and spinning the roulette wheel that one last time. I knew for sure I wasn’t going to win. But the thought of the possibility still had me somewhat excited. What if I did? What if I won, and continued to win? What if I win so much I get a lot of my money back? What if this is NOT the end, but the beginning of something new?… “OH GOD, I’m doing it again!”
Fortunately, this all happened over a weekend. I had a little time to think before the markets opened on Monday. Even though I had consciously decided to just blow up my account, my subconscious was still working on the issue I had discovered that I had with money and how money was the root of all of my trading related emotional issues. A simple question popped into my head. “What if I could remove money from trading?” “What if trading was about something else?” I know that doesn’t seem to make sense since money seems to be at the core of trading, but it occurred to me that I managed to run some successful businesses because my daily activity did not revolve around money. Money was the result of having been particularly good at my profession. But the focus of my daily routine was NOT money. In a typical day, I thought about
- Customer satisfaction
- Construction project plans
- Project efficiencies
- Employee safety
- Insurances and Payroll
- Job costing
- Advertising and Marketing
- Vehicle maintenance
- Etc etc
If I did a good job at everything it takes to run a business, at the end of the month, I’ll make money. My focus was on the parts of the business, NOT on how much money each part of the business made me minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. In business, some days were good days and some days were bad days. It’s just an accepted part of running a business. You know that in the long run if you just stick to your business plan, history says everything is going to work out fine.
I mentioned that sports and business where 2 areas in my life that I found some nice success. But NOT in trading. Then the next Ah Ha hit me… “I’m not seeing success in trading that I’ve seen in other areas of my life because I don’t trade the same way I run my businesses or train for an athletic event.” I convinced myself for 7 years that I was still trying to learn day trading. Shouldn’t 7 years be long enough to at least see a small amount of success? But no, 7 years of learning had gotten me exactly nowhere.
So, what if I changed my approach? Instead of quitting trading and going out in a blaze of glory, what if I tried something? Surely this couldn’t hurt since I was planning to quit anyway. I’d probably lose it all just as fast anyway. Instead of throwing it away randomly, I figured I’d just throw it away trying one last thing.
I decided to do an experiment. The experiment was based on one of the questions I was asking myself over this weekend of introspection…
What if I stopped trying to learn trading and instead committed myself to trading as if my livelihood depended on it? And instead of it being about money, what if I could just focus on my trading as if it was my job that I received a paycheck for?
What would trading be like if it was like any other job. For this job, I would be given a job description, some training, some time to practice and gain experience, and then given access to the companies trading account to trade for company profits? My job was only trading. The trade analysis team would come up with the setups and tune them as necessary. The bookkeeper would keep up with profits and losses. The training department would schedule and monitor training sessions. The boss would just make sure everybody was doing their jobs correctly and efficiently.
Would I be able to do it? Or would I get fired from this job because I refused to work within my job description? The job description does not say “Win X% of your trades”. The job description says, trade these trade setups, as defined in your job description… by the way, you’ll notice here that I’ve been saying job description. You can use this interchangeably with Trade Plan.
For example, the job description could be written like this… When the conditions in the market match the conditions of a trade setup, you take the trade. You will only manage the trade as it relates directly to the trade plan. You only exit a trade when the conditions for exit in the trade plan have been met.
So the big question to myself for this experiment was, “Would I be able to stand in front of my boss each day and show him on his trade plan the justification for each and every trade entry, trade management, and trade exit decision, and at the end of the day get to keep my job and come back tomorrow to do it again?”
Well I had never been fired from a job before. But I felt that under my current mindset, there’s no way I could do this. But at least now I could frame the problem I had with trading in such a way that I felt for sure there was something I could do about it. This was going to take some time and effort, but for the first time in a long time, I had a direction. It wasn’t about adding more technical trading indicators or reading more blog posts or watching more videos on YouTube. It was about me and getting my head in a totally different place than it had been for the last 7 years.
Continued in “Tonys Story Part 4” to be posted soon