A history In just a few months, it'll be 12 years since I've made my first cash trade in financial markets. It's way past that five year mark where everyone says you either make it or you don't. But to be fair these 12 years have also had a lot of breaks in between, it hasn't exactly been the Gladwell 10,000 hrs. I'd give things a go for a few months, have some success, then inevitably something would go amiss and I'd take a “sabbatical”, anywhere from three months to a year in length. But I never threw in the towel for good. My money sat in my account in this or that brokerage, being chomped at by minimum platform fees, because I wanted to give it another shot. My path I've traded it all: stocks, futures, FX, options. I've done intraday and swing. I've read many books/web courses, read this and other forums regularly, been a part of a trading group (the latter was by far the most rewarding). I was foolish enough to try a “trader tryout” a few times. I've been to a Trader's Expo, the main value of which is great dramatic material if I ever wanted to write a play about trading. Fortunately I was never stupid enough to pay someone to "train me" how to trade or go to the deposit shops for stocks. I never plunged and blew my last savings. My key expense has been time, not money. Since I've started at this, markets have gotten cheaper and easier to access. Micro futures are awesome. Some stock brokerages offer commission free trading if you have enough for a PDT account. No more wickedly expensive platform fees. But some things have never changed: the desperados, gamblers, and socially challenged who expect trading to be their panacea. The snake oil peddlers and gurus who profit off the former. The brokerages who want to take a slice in the middle regardless of who is making or losing money (the most respectable of the lot). And the big government bosses who are always looking for a way to "protect the investor" by coming up with stupid rules like PDT that enable shysters like deposit shops to exist. When to give up? Had plenty of time to ask myself if I wanted to keep doing this or spend my time more profitably elsewhere. I guess it is how it is with many other activities in life: if the opportunity cost isn't too high and you want to succeed at it badly enough, why not. Right now that's the case with me. It may not be tomorrow or a year from now. So while it's there, I'm doing it. Goals I've tempered my expectations. I'm gone fantasizing about Larry Williams' style feats of turning $10K into $1MM in a year. It's all about having a positive edge in markets and leveraging up intelligently. If I can do that over the course of time and endure the drawdowns while managing my emotions and keeping focused on how to solve the problem, I've succeeded. Money comes and goes. Market edges come and go. With this pandemic, enough people are lucky to simply be alive, and I'm lucky to be here to play another day. The point of this journal is to share my thoughts and give myself some accountability. Having been on and off these forums for many years, I know how many arrogant people post stupid things. I know how many vendors try to offer me the missing link to it all. I know there's a lot of 'blind leading the blind', and the latter I've even done myself at times. I expect all these things, but if it gets too much to handle I'm moving elsewhere. I'll engage with anyone who is intelligent and respectful (and profitable is not something I can figure out, nor does it matter). I know those people exist here. I'm not going to immediately start posting trades or market analysis. Right now my goal is to start getting back into the swing of things. It's been a few months since I've looked at an intraday chart, so I want to start with a discussion of markets and approaches. Markets and Strategy Intraday, stock index futures/ETFs. We'll take it from there.