Feeding the slot machine all day

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by chessman, May 30, 2003.

  1. chessman

    chessman Guest

    Ed Seykota in the mkt wizards interview said watching the mkt during the day is like playing a slot machine, you end up feeding it all day long.

    This thread is primarily for swing and long term traders like myself, who make perhaps 1-2 trades a day, primarily adjusting the positions.

    This for me requires very little time, the question is what to do with the rest of 6-7 hours in a trading day?

    I have thought about this quite a bit, one issue that comes to mind and that still troubles me, is coming to terms with the fact that how can I spend perhaps just 2-3 hours a week trading, and making kind of money that most people make in a month. Most of us are taught that you succeed in life by working hard, when you put in 10 hour day you have earned your livelihood.

    However in trading I find that less is more, the harder I try the worse I do.

    The second issue is what to do with the free time, I have tried reading during the day with one eye on the quote machine, but I just have too much nervous energy during the day to focus on reading. One thing that has worked well for me is to play chess online, with other people that is, playing against a computer is just not the same. I find this tends to absorb a large portion of my nervous energy. (btw I play online at playchess.com - its a German site, run by the creators of Fritz. Most of the players are very strong, usually rated 1500+).

    So my questions to other ET members is:

    1) What do you do during the day to occupy you time, something that helps you prevent impulsive trading and keeps you focused on your system?

    2) How do you come to terms, that spending just a few hours a day a trading can make you a good living?

    <<please note: this thread is not an attack on people who day trade, and is not meant as a disrespect to people who activily watch the mkt all day. I just find in my case it is counterproduce. I hope you can appreciate the candor.>>

  2. chessman

    chessman Guest

    Sorry I left out a note: this thread "feeding the slot machine", is not an attack on people who day trade, or meant as disrespect to others who watch the mkt all day long.

    I just find, that in my case it is counterproductive. I hope you can appreciate the candor. Thanks
  3. minimi


    I agree.
  4. It's been tough for me too. Especially lately as my 'Pair Trading' has floundered for the 1st time in over a year. I've tried the day trading and trend following. I'm just not 'smart enough' to keep up with the technical side 'real-time' to consistently make money!

    But, as to my 'trading time' - I've found some of the same frustrations. Chess was one release, unfortunately I'm not that good at it either (too many years since I played semi-regularly) and that tact has been shelved.

    Tried reading too - mostly trading and self-improvement books. If I could expand my trading abilities that would make the time worthwhile and maybe even a little 'busier', if not more profitable, actually trading during these 'waiting days'.

    Even considered working at another job, but, couldn't find a way to incorporate both that still protected my trading 'stake'.

    I've thought about taking college courses in a subject or two not related to trading but for my 'own good'. Don't know if I want to make that commitment either. . . .

    Enough rambling, I'm looking for someone with ALL the answers!!
  5. maxpi


    College courses, evenings are the best thing to take your mind off the routine. You could do homework during the trading hours. Most of the evening students are women, young, intelligent, and many are attractive. That could be a problem or a good thing depending on where you are in your life.

    I remember the counselor's face when he asked me why I was taking college courses and I told him "it's better than the dollar theatre".


  6. Great reply on evening courses!!

    I crammed my "first 4" (B.S.- Acctg.) into 7 years of night school! The classes were good, the eye candy nice (especially in the summer) and daytime (trading time) would be a good time for homework!

    Married then, and still (over 25 years later)! Difference is the girls won't be smiling as much at a middle-age guy as easily as they did when I was in 'shape' in my early 20's!!

  7. ges


    You've hit on my worst bad habit. Impatience, nervous energy and the resulting desire to trade whether it makes sense of not.

    I try to automate my entries and exits as much as possible. Then, I still have the problem of not intervening and screwing things up.

    It's so hard to just leave things alone. :(

  8. Ummmmmmmm..... how about working on new
    trading systems?


  9. I use to daytrade eminis and needed complete concentration I could not have any noise in the house to the point living with someone else was a problem. What's more I was just feeding the slot machine ... Now I try to avoid trading intraday and keep my energy for EOD trades but I still can't come to terms with missing huge intraday moves and I am trying to develop strategies to get me on board intraday. On the other hand I lose most of the time when I daytrade even when I try to take a longer term position. It's also difficult to wait for the right trades to come and spend several days doing nothing. I try to do other things like having some other way to make money but trading still takes a lot of time since I try to do research during the day and keep an eye on the markets. I don't feel I could seriously do anything else. Trading is the only business I can think of. I can't even get a goddamn job if I wanted to.

    What kind of trades do you make chessman, which instruments do you trade?
  10. Though I am now strictly a day trader, I used to swing trade in the 90s, and I can relate to your feeling of uselessness when you are only making 2 or 3 position adjustments a day. What I used to do a lot was take naps during the middle of the day. I live on the West Coast, so the day starts early here (and I would get up every day at 5:00 AM to read the news and peruse my watchlist before the open), and by the time it got to 9:00 PST I would start to feel sleepy, so I often would take a nap and then set audio alerts on my positions so that I would be awakened if one of my positions needed immediate attention, or if a stock on my watchlist reached a specified price. Also, I would set an alarm clock to wake me up prior to the final hour of trading.

    As to what to do with your free time, look into volunteer work. I used to work evenings in the ER at my local hospital. This is the kind of volunteer work that validates your life regardless of how useless you may feel psychologically.

    P L J
    #10     May 30, 2003