Pabst question about execution

Discussion in 'Trading' started by jem, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. jem


    _pabst question/ response

    Jem, there is no denying that without an edge in trading, or innate athletic ability in sport, one cannot succeed. But what about those who have ability and don't make the grade. Is it not more about psychology and less about the drill. What about a John Daly? Under achieving talented headcase is a lexicon of the times. Why do top hitters go after so many bad pitches. Why do guys in sports and trading (all the same game) rotate from slump to streak to slump. You can't tell me it's random. My equity may look random but I know in my heart of hearts that virtually every mistake I make is less one of technique and more of mental. I only wish I could blame the markets, or the difficulty of the course, or that pitchers unhittable stuff, but when you've got the goods and you don't make it work you'd better look within.


    Tough question and I could let it slide even though I felt I should leave Publias' thread to Publias. So I thought your question deserved its own thread as I do not have the complete answer.

    I do know this. In a sport I attempted to play as a professional I was told by coaches (who had coached top pros and were not charging me) that I had the talent. However, I never really performed up to expectations. But I loved the competition.

    Then after a stint as a lawyer I started trading. I lost money the first few months then spent about a year of breakeven trading. I questioned myself about whether I had the goods for competition. Did I have the mental makeup. I had already studied all great deal of zen stuff as a young athlete and it did not matter then and did not matter as a break even trader.

    Then I went and trained for a week with guys who were making money and started making money from day two. Rarely having a losing week for the next 4 years. Last year I had losing months becasue that style was not working until about 5 weeks ago.

    Now during this time, my confidence went up and down with my success and getting married and other concerns certainly had impacts on my performance. But for me it is all about having the right tools for the right job and then executing with the proper risk reward parameters. I have watched people of every mental capcacity and makeup make a living in trading offices (of course some money losers as well) over the past five years and consequently, I feel it is succes is about small successes breeding larger successes.

    All this is obviously, one sided and not dualistic as publias would say but I choose to emphasize the tools for the job side and I welcome competing thoughts. I am in a rush as I went home allow the ant killers in my house and now they are here so I must end this post in the middle of other peoples trading day. (Mine ended at 8:30 pac time.)
  2. now THIS is a worthy topic of discussion worth expanding on.

    The more i progress- in trading specifically and life overall- the more firmly i believe that all the motivational stuff is worthless hype. Right attitude comes from right action. Strength comes from knowledge. Confidence is born of understanding.

    Faking it is a waste of time. Any attempt to create a mindset of peace or harmony that is not born of true knowledge or true understanding is destined to fall by the wayside, because it is not rooted in anything of substantial value. Peace and harmony are attainable in themselves, yes- but not as ends to themselves. They are only available as the fruits of deep knowledge. Some truths are so powerful they can inundate us with joy, but only if we grasp them on an intense level and it takes wisdom and LOGIC to do that, and thus no wise man ever rejects the value of understanding REALITY as it really is.

    If you say 'dammit, i am going to feel optimistic today just because,' then your feelings are only as strong as your willpower and that just isn't strong enough to get the job done.

    The subconscious mind is much stronger than the conscious mind. The subconscious stays consistent even when the conscious mind fools itself. Only true knowledge can integrate both. This is why truth makes you strong and lies make you weak. When you fake your attitude, it is like the conscious trying to feed the subconscious a line of bull. The subconscious takes it, sniffs it, says 'yeah right,' and then throws it in the trash can the first chance it gets.

    An iron will is not a BS attitude. It is not pretending that things are ok. It is walking through the pain when things suck and doing everything you can to figure out what is going on. Determination is not taking a frying pan in the face over and over. Determination is committing to take the pain until you get it right. Taking the pain for no reason is moronic. If you aren't making money and you aren't continuously learning, then what are you doing????

    If I have a bad trading day but I understand what happened, it doesn't bother me one bit. Why? Because I understand the markets, I understand my methodology, and I understand myself. I know that setbacks are temporary and essential. Do I have a peace and a confidence because I listen to deepak chopra tapes as some wiseguys have suggested? Heck no. I am confident because like a marine on reconnaissance, I know the situation, I am in control of the situation to the full extent reality allows, and I have my shizznit together, and what I am doing works.

    Do NOT fake it. Don't fake it in anything! Make believe is not worth a red cent. If you want to transcend, you don't focus on transcendence. It's a byproduct of knowledge and understanding. Inner peace is not something you strive for directly. It's one of the fruits of your labor after long hours and long years of hard work at gaining concrete truth.

    I say, if your attitude as a trader is wrong or bad, then it's a sign that either a) you are not yet a good trader, or b) you are not cut out to be a trader. If it's a), then just keep working and let peace flow from eventual understanding, don't try to force it. If it's b), then quit trading.

    Ignorance is not bliss. What you don't know can kill you. 'Enlightenment' is achieved by tramping the long hard road of toil and study, not blissing out on opium or pretending that pain doesn't really hurt.

  3. oops, looks like my last post completely missed the actual question posed by the thread. LOL sorry about that, feel free to rip on me for going off on a completely separate subject.

    I think this 'can't execute' question is kind of like the cliche, 'close only counts in horseshoes and nuclear war.'

    I once heard of a guy a few years ago who had five out of the six numbers for a big lotto drawing, and he was so pissed that he didn't win, that he almost had it!!!! But he didn't almost have it, he just had a useless string of numbers, because he didn't have the last one. he was almost there but not there. he couldn't execute.

    In some sense, being a successful trader is a binary event. 1 or 0. Either the puzzle is complete or it is not. Either a player is pro quality or they are not. If a player is pro in every respect except that he has no discipline or can't execute, well, gee, he's not pro.

    It also seems to me though that psychology gets WAAAY too much blame. I think a lot of the time its holes in the method or lack of true viability or some other hidden thing that is seriously hard to fix, but we tell ourselves its mental because that gives us a shot at fixing it instead of trying to hunt down a thorny problem that might simply end up being...lack of ability (ouch, gulp).

    If it really is mental, if that's the last mile, then get a trading partner and pay him to watch you. Or go to a therapist and work out whether you have psychological issues with money or success or showing up your father or something like that.

    I've always been skeptical of the mental crutch because it is just too easy to fix. 'If only I'd held to my discipline, I would be making six figures a year.' I just can't buy that because the incentive vs the cost just doesn't add up. If a guy knocked on your door and said 'we will pay you $100,000 a year and all you have to do is resist temptation for six hours a day,' could most people do it? Of course they could, because the reward is so powerful that even basket cases could get their act together. If you really and truly knew that you could turn a stake into millions once you got the size together, would you have trouble getting that stake? Heck no. You'd do triple shifts at Denny's and KFC if necessary, and whistle while you worked too.

    Its cynical, but I think 90% of the mental blame thing is actually a lack of understanding or a lack of trading ability in disguise but dressed up as something lighter and fixable for a host of reasons. Those who have genuine hangups can get fixed up in therapy. Trading is a lot harder than most people think and even if a few do have mental hangups, I have no doubt the vast majority just thought they were almost there because it was so 'close,' but they don't realize that the last few steps can be the hardest to take, and that if a method is 99% viable but not 100% viable that method is still useless no matter how good it looks. Its a mental illusion- success looks like its in front of your face when it is still a year or two away- but you thought it was so close! And so you tell yourself you have a mental glitch. But in reality it's a knowledge problem or an ability problem or a just don't have the tools problem. A Lack of Genuine Understanding or Lack of Necessary Means problem. Not a coaching thing.
  4. stu


    darkhorse, your words are like a symphony, music to the ears. Such simple and straightforward concepts woven into a fine intricate web of verbal poetry.

    To sum up then (adding just a little), some can simply walk up to the plate and just do it. Others have to work at it.? All the questions are generated by the latter as the former can just do it.

    Level One: Max Joy
    Like sport, trading calls your bluff. You can't fake or you blow up.
    How do you know if your good enough? Try it.

    Level 2. Harder
    Can't do it ? try harder understand more about what you are doing what the markets are doing.

    Level 3 Signs of Frustration
    Still can't do it ? Try a different angle one you haven't thought of before.
    Can't find one. Ask others, those who do trade, read Elite board.

    Level 3: Starting to hurt
    Still can't do it? Try again anyway you must have missed somthing your subconcious knows but it hasn't let on about yet.
    (also this might be a good place to quit if you can't count properly)

    Level 5: Burn sets in
    Still can't do it? Sell what you don't know to others
    If you can't do it? - teach it.
    If you can't teach it ?- create a fee based chat room

    Level 5: Total despondencey - Lost the race
    Can't do that? Can't lose? Get a proper job.

    Level 6:
    Hell.... been away from the training for a bit maybe it is possible....... return to Level One.
  5. Right on Stu, that's the progression. Learn and burn until you break through or the process breaks you. Massive gain requires massive pain.

    p.s. i'm also reminded of the old salesman mantra: the easiest job in the world if you work it hard, the hardest job in the world if you work it easy.
  6. well well, seems darkhorse is no one trick pony; he's just as clueless in pyschology as in philosophy.

    let's see what he's trying to tell us here. firstly, let's eliminate the possibility of "b", since not only do I vehemently disagree that there's such a thing as being "cut out" for something, but because it's a dead end anyway. (and is there really a way to determine if you fall in "a" or "b"??)

    Dark's saying that if your attitude is bad, then it's because you're not a good trader. If that's the case, then keep working at being a good trader until you develop a good attitude...

    er....i think you have it the wrong way around dude.. you develop a "good" attitude in order to be a good/better trader...
  7. That shows just how empty your knowledge of psychological change really is - the fact that you expect such a change to take a lifetime. Yet, here you are telling us all about it..

    perhaps you would do well to take the advice, "better to keep your mouth shut and let people (like me, faster, stu et al) think you're an imbecile, rather than speak and prove it".
  8. I admit being arrogant, yet you deny being bitter? even as you cut and paste from one thread to another and follow me around?
    Dan can I say you are potentially the most emotionally immature person I have ever met. Or at least you are in the running. Is that a clue as to why you've had the crap kicked out of you in the past? Are you one of those guys who doesn't have a stopgap between your brain and your mouth?

    if you deny that some people are naturally fit to be traders and some aren't, then you have no grasp of things like mindsets, personal reward to risk profiles, and natural skill sets in general.

    Confidence comes from knowledge and experience.

    Knowledge and experience come from practice and study.

    Show me a newbie who thinks his attitude will get him by and I'll show you someone who is about to get his spirit crushed.

    So I think you have it wrong, 'dude'- attitude and will are two separate things entirely. Will means fighting when you are happy, fighting when you are sad, fighting when you want to laugh, fighting when you want to puke, fighting when you want to cry.

    So yes, the attitude comes later. You get by on your sheer determination at first. If you have confidence starting out, you are a jackass. You have nothing but guts and determination starting out and you pick up your tools as you go. You don't have the right to be confident until you earn it with blood and sweat and tears.

    I'll keep on moving exactly to where I want to go. You just keep convincing yourself that I'm clueless while I keep walking.

  9. LOL

    So my knowledge of psychology is 'empty' because i foresee struggles within myself down the road and don't see myself solving pride issues with a finger snap?

    Let me tell you a little secret...people who are very good at what they do and understand things most people don't can struggle with arrogance issues sometimes. Crazy to think but it's true. If I ever hit a hundred million under management, which I probably will within the next ten or fifteen years, or make a million bucks on a single trade, which is a real possibility someday, will I have issues of pride to deal with at that time?

    Oh no, according to you I'll just be able to pop in a Tony Robbins tape and the prideful feelings will vanish instantly.

    You follow me from another thread with a stupid argument accusing me of knowing nothing about psychology, and indavertently expose the fact that YOU are shallow and pestering and you know nothing about psychology. Not to mention that you think nothing of making mt everest out of a mole hill.

    Amazing. You couldn't be more backwards or shallow if you tried!

    Why don't you go get yourself beat up again.
  10. Beautiful darkhorse, just what I'd expect from you.. totally ignore the point I made and go off on some rant..

    It is so patently obvious to me that you know fuck all about the process of change (from a human perspective) and yet come here giving us your gospel; with no reasoning behind it all.

    The attitude DOES NOT come later...either you are a complete idiot or we are using the word attitude differently. (although I don't see how that's possible). I use attitude to mean "state of mind or feeling", "disposition".
    Therefore, if I approach a task with positive attitude, a positive disposition, it means I expect to succeed in that task, i expect to do well, i accept responsibility for my results. Do you disagree with that?
    Or am I to just approach a task with any attitude - any state of mind i might be feeling at the time - and "see how it goes"? - as you seem to suggest.

    I'll say it again. The fact that you expect changing your arrogant disposition to take a lifetime to accomplish tells me that you have no idea at all about how pyschological change occurs. So why the fuck are you telling us about it??????

    You speak as though "mindsets" are something that are inherent and immutable. Perhaps you think we are "created" the way we are (which wouldn't surprise me at all). I am here to tell you, unequivocally, that MY mindset has undergone a complete transformation over that past several years. Would that have been possible if I didn't intentionally set out to do it? If i didn't have CONFINDENCE that I COULD (somehow) improve my life?? No freakin way.

    Get a clue before you post.
    #10     Aug 16, 2002