Thursday, September 24, 2015

I suck at trading and lost some money recently.

I'm posting this short little note to try to make sure I actually follow through in finishign a new post today.

Long story short
I'm bleeding money like a dum-dum the past 3 trading days--a total loss of 9% of my year's net profits so far and the largest drawdown my personal account has ever endured. 

It sucks.

A big sum of the loss was from 2 weeks ago before I went on vacation. Then I came back and spewed some more 2 days ago. That was the "breakout day" for me, a new personal record for  "largest drawdown" point. I shut all my platforms off and decided to write to occupy the time and take my mind away from all the losing. I have a 5 paragraph draft in my folder just sitting there that I decided not to post because it's too angsty and melodramatic--I get uncomfortable when the tone of my writing gets too emotional.*
*We all feel like shit at one point or another when we trade. It's not that interesting in and of itself. Fucking a, even in a placeholder note that I'm going to delete anyway has a fucking footnote, I'm gonna stop

After I taking Wednesday off, I decided to donate more today. Apparently, I've forgotten how to trade and lost the ability to make to money or something like that. 

It really sucks. This is me right now.

Okay, now I have to attend a non-profit event for the next couple hours, smile, turn on the charm, and pretend I'm a professional in the field of finance who keeps his calm and knows what he's doing. Will finish the post when I'm back.


I don't know what to think. Trading is not cutting for me at the moment... wasn't "one that got away from me" but millions of small mistakes magnified by trading size.

If I have one key trait, it's that I can cut loose quickly. Not a trait honed out of any greater discipline, but mostly born out of my neurotic personality that dislikes pain. But the past few days, I couldn't give up trading my worst tickers and I couldn't give up trading size in an effort to make back the prior loss. Heck, I still haven't learned my lesson. I'm overnighting a position on a losing ticker with a lot more size than I usually take.

I haven't reached that "this isn't worth it and I'm not ready for this" moment yet--that yearning for relief and subsequent unbundling of stress. That moment where I decide to scale down, re-dedicate to consistency, avoid tilt, and grind.

In the heat of battle, sometimes I do get away with it. I'd be up 2k, suddenly fuck up and be down 2k in minutes, then "guide it back" to 1-2k. Whew no more of that... That's probably why these impulsive trading moments keep happening.

I ask myself, right now, what I'm trying to do

Profits and Losses
So remember I wrote this post

I started increasing position size since that post even though I went on this long spiel about how much I hate looking at the other traders' pnl and how I sometimes respond to it by ramping up my risk across the board. Every play, every lot executed--more size. This is such an intense topic for me that I'm actually jealous of those "dreamer" types who feel inspired by looking at the profits of others. It's given me so many negative experiences.... yet I did it again.

Well, here we are, more than a month later... and I'm trading worse than ever. Maybe it's related, maybe it's not.

The Edge
Sometimes I feel like I'm on the edge after losing. I still believe I'm a profitable trader but at *that moment*, I don't feel can't trust myself to access that part of myself... which will lead to a lot of broken promises and broken trading plans. So I contemplate taking a break.

Take a hiatus. 
Stop for the rest of the week/month/year. 
Why keep doing this thing that causes so much pain and discomfort?

Not that it necessarily helps, because I took a 10 day vacation in Vietnam and donated $8k on Tuesday...

I want to and I don't want to take breaks. There's 2 reasons why I feel so much reluctance.

1) Losing an essential part of my life: I'm not doing my job. I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be good at. I'm not fulfilling my destiny. I might lose my self-respect. What will I do to fill the void? Yeah I could write more, work out more, read more, but do I have the discipline? Or will I just wallow in self-pity, sit on the couch, and watch TV all day like a loser? That has happened all too often.

2) Financial worries: This one is kinda silly. 

At the beginning of the year, I was plush with excess cash--cash I didn't need to maintain sufficient trading capital. So I decided to expand my horizons and find alternative investments--like angel investing and VC. I invested some seed capital in a couple startups. Then an unforseen opportunity come along. I got to invest in AirBnB through employee stock sale at a 15b valuation (now valued at 25b on its latest round). That deserves its own post. I poured so much money into it that I actually needed to ask someone for a loan to cover my taxes so I didn't have a shortfall in trading capital. I haven't been the best trader since that point though. I got bills, next year's taxes, and that loan to cover. So I'm worried I'll only make X amount which would leave me with Y trading capital and I don't know if that's enough for me to take max positions in all 3 of my accounts...

Yeah that's my worry. Silly.

I mean, I guess I need to be grateful that that is what drives me to worry financially. Not kids, not making rent... but making sure I meet this arbitrary (probably conservatively high) threshold of cash for my business at a future date.

I have all these silly anxieties that get in the way of appreciating the fortunate life I've been given. I know it too and I don't know how to fix this defunct part of my brain. This is why spend so much money on a therapist.

He tells me the antidote to all the jealousy and anxiety is gratitude. I made a list of the most important things to be grateful for, like friends and family. I also try to find a small thing to be grateful for each day; it can be as minor as nice weather in a winter month. It kinda helps...

German words

The compulsive act of calculating how much deeper you're in the hole if you take the next stop out
That desire to not take any profit until you reach a break even (or some other key PnL point in your head)
That feeling of getting back into a trade at a much worse price and not knowing whether it's a good instinct call or overtrading...
That feeling of withdrawing money from an account to to pay for life but not having made anything recently to cover the debit.

I can't take much more of this. I'm too tired to even edit my all-over-the-place writing, I'll do it tomorrow...


  1. You haven't forgotten how to trade, you just forgotten how to win. Keep your head up high; Tomorrow is another day.

  2. Failure is not an option. You need to get back to where you were without being around other traders. You get a lot of confidence from others, but now you have to do it on your own.

    Think about all the other times you were down, and you hunkered down and just worried about making the best trade and your account went back up.

    Trade your account, do not let your account trade you.

  3. You know for yourself, what is wrong with you. Just work on it and you will be back in the business in no time.

    And never ever neeeever be complacent or feel like this work is drudgery.
    The market will bring you down on your knees, on two occasions,
    1. when you are over confident
    2. and when you have no confidence at all.

    You know it but this is just a reminder.

    And the first thing you gota do, go get a girl ! ( i am assuming you dont have a girlfriend or any fuckbuddy) .

    PS: You say, " Apparently, I've forgotten how to trade and lost the ability to make to money or something like that. "

    dont be a drama queen ! just be disciplined and feel like everything is normal like last year.
    Just write down what all you have to do, and just be disciplined enough to follow it. And yes, stop looking at others' PnL if it is making you frustrated.
    dont put pressure on yourself.
    Start it slow and low,and gradually build up. Consistency is the king.

    and apologies for speaking like your mentor, but this is what you need, a kick on the ass, not a vacation !

    All the best mate.

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  5. Oh if only you could realize how blessed you really are. You have passed the hump that many traders fail at, becoming profitable after losing so much of your capital in the beginning. At least that is my case.

    I'm down -18k this year, this might not seem like a lot to you, but it means EVERYTHING to me. This money has my dreams, my future and my intentions. I have been trading for two years and I am at a breaking point, down to my last 27k. Close to not being able to trade, and today I had one of my worst days ever -1.8k.

    The feeling feels horrible, I can't bear it. I'm not mad at the market, I'm mad and sad at myself. I am mad because I keep breaking my rules after I repeatedly tell myself not to. I feel like shit, and now I'm at work doing something I don't want to do. Being somewhere I don't want to be.

    I don't know if to keep going and lose more, or if I need to get it together and let this be the breaking point and actually follow my rules. I wish you could know how happy I would be if I got to be profitable. It would be my dream come true. That's a huge milestone for me in my life. And you did it, you have it.. You went through it. Through all your struggles, you made it.

    And now you worry about making sure you have enough capital in 3 of your accounts. How silly but a great worry to have.

    I just wanna say congratulations on your success and I am sure you are going to continue to be successful.

    As for myself, I do not want to give up, but I am thinking to myself, how much is enough?? Maybe I am not cut out for it. (Although something tells me I am) but I do not want to lose anymore. The pain is too much.

    Well.. Hopefully you can provide me with some knowledge. Looking forward to hearing from you.



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  7. I really like the book "The New Trading for a Living" due to the first chapter being completely devoted to how your individual psychology gets in the way of being a good trader. One of the biggest indicators of problems is when you get super emotional after losing. It means you are treating trading like gambling rather than as a professional activity. You might want to read that chapter before it gets worse...

  8. Just read..nice writing P. More plz.

    What do us Californians like to say?.."cause over and above all it's just another day" ;)

  9. Interesting post. I found you in
    Hello!!! You made almost half a million!!! Mind you!? And you still say you do not know how to trade!??!?!?!

    Maybe... you need to see a trading psychology. I think they may help you in some way.

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