Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 26 January 2017

T-Model Trader Blog Post 7 - Beginner Blog Series

Hello Traders.
 I hope you've all had a great trading week. 
 T-Model Trader is back with his 7th blog post in our beginner trader series. As always, I hope you enjoy it and can take something from it that will help you on your own journey. 
 For me, I enjoyed this one simply for its reference to a WW2 experience. Sometimes we really do forget how lucky we are.

James Orr

DT Blog 7
I was out having a walk, watching the sunset on a cloudless clear evening when Bill came to mind. What followed was rather intriguing I thought. So, I would like to tell you all about him and the thought.
He was my neighbor some years ago and would have been in his early 80’s when I got to know him. Before the war, Bill was a tea blender, to which he continued once it was all over. So visits to his place were always accompanied by the most extraordinary pots of tea, flavors of which I can’t even begin to describe.
He was one of the kindest and most compassionate persons I have ever met. There was something so lovely and gentle about him. He also happened to be one of England’s most decorated and successful WW2 spies. If you spend time with him, this fact seems incredulous. It just doesn’t fit. Interestingly, it is one of those perception things again.
As I love reading true life stories and watching movies depicting actual events, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm to want to know what he actually did as a spy (wouldn’t anyone want too)? The great thing was that he had no problem about telling me his experiences.
Some of stories were just mind boggling and so hard to put it into a schema of reality. I was really interested to understand what makes a person want to be a spy and also to what personality types would be drawn to doing that sort of work. Then one day he explained about being recruited as a spy.
He told me that they didn’t really want the “alpha” male type persona. In fact they wanted the opposite. He said that they recruited him because when asked what he enjoyed doing, he flippantly replied “watching the clouds drift by”. Perfect and he got the job.
The thing about being a spy he explained was that you spend a truly large amount of time just waiting. The “alpha” types tend to blow their cover because they can’t sit still long enough. Being a spy is 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror he said.
As Bill explained to me, that they recruited people who could simply just dream away the day. Given that you may be in a coffin size room under the floor boards for long periods of time, being self -contained whilst staying mentally and emotionally calm was of prime importance.
One of Bill’s passions was poetry and he could recite long passages at will. He said he could just go into this inner world and recall verse when having to bunker down for long periods of time as the means to keep him occupied.
Considering he survived for nearly 3 years off and on behind enemy lines, then his self-management skills must have been excellent. He would tell me that after a while he just developed this ability to wait and wait till the right moment upon which to fulfill the orders.
I got thinking about Bill and all that he told me. I have often wondered about Bill’s life as a spy and to how I would have coped in those situations. He would have his orders, to which he has to follow. There was no question of doing otherwise. There was thou, his own discernment and judgment that he could apply. I thought that this sounded just like a trading plan, but taken to the max. It also occurred to me given Bill’s general disposition and great patience that he may have made a damn excellent trader.

One of the things that truly amazed me over this first year of trading is how intense the emotions can be regarding losses. Rationally, when I have entered a trade, I know that it is a probabilities game. This is pretty basic to comprehend. However, when losses occur, that notion of probability somehow gets swamped by the onset of feeling.
Bill would often say that carrying out his duties was a game of probabilities. What I found extraordinary is that from all that I told me, it appeared that he had accepted that there was every possibility of being caught and executed. The point here is that he didn’t just rationally “know” this to be the case, but had somehow fully accepted this reality at a much deeper level as a possible outcome. It also appeared to me that this acceptance allowed him to remain relatively calm and hence safe. By fully accepting the probabilities game, he then allowed himself the space (or freedom) to then survive.
With this in mind, he then stated it was his task to be as astute as possible to lessen those chances.  As he kept saying, “It was a very black and white world and somehow I traversed thru that by staying in the middle”.
I remember once saying to him in response to a particular engagement that he had undertaken (it was more like picking my jaw up off the floor)…. “How did you not just freak out”? He said that there was no place for the emotions to gain control. Absolutely none. That was just what you did. That is how you had to be. Allowing oneself to be emotional from what I had gathered seemed to equate to wanting to choose death in those situations.
Whilst pondering Bill’s wartime life, the thought occurred to me that maybe I’m not taking trading as seriously as I had led myself to believe. If “not” following the rules was a life and death situation, then I would surely do so. If becoming emotional was going to get me killed then surely those emotions would be jettisoned.
The thought that entered my head was that those who become truly successful at trading have in their own way crossed over into the zone, that place where commitment to achieving isn’t a question anymore. It is simply something that you have become, that has been fully embodied without question or deviation. It is as though it isn’t even thought about, as it is so much a part of the fabric of who you are. And like Bill, they will survive (trading) because of this engrained process.
This is what he was illustrating regarding the “alpha” types who seek to impose upon that reality. I feel that this is just another way of expressing what I was referring to in an earlier blog, about having spent the year “trying to not be a failure’ as opposed to “working to be a success”. In Bill’s case, he just waited calmly for the right set –up to fall into place. As for the “trying to not be a failure”, it would be correct to say that my more “alpha” side wants to make itself known through imposing that willfulness upon the chart, in order to prove something…to make a statement so to say.
In the “working to be a success” scenario, it is just the commitment to keep on doing what is necessary in order to achieve, beyond some sort of arbitrary timeframe. I see this in Bill’s past work of just waiting and waiting for that right moment. It was this skill of his that kept him alive for all those years. If I use Bill as a benchmark, then I have to admit that I have some way to go in my self- discipline regarding trading. I think I am only now beginning to see how immense and far ranging this truly is.
Just some thoughts…….
Till next time…

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