Episode 302: Totus Porcus or: Going All In to Trade for a Living

by robbooker on October 29, 2014

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In this one for the ages, your host Rob Booker catches up with The Coach Scott Welsh to talk about going “all in” to trade for a living. Recently Scott sent Rob an e-mail about his surprising journey into peak-performance tennis coaching and used that story to parallel his thoughts about making the leap to trading for a living.

Rob talks about the benefits of inviting abundance into your life by consuming positive material. He also suggests that many traders are delusional about their fearfulness and the obstacles that stand in their way of success. Scott talks more specifically about the mindset that enables a person to commit to going all in, even in the face of discouraging circumstances or setbacks. All of this and so much more awaits you in Episode 302 of The Traders Podcast. Thanks for listening.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian F. October 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

I like the intensity and positive thinking of this cast, but I think the most important part of it was when Rob cautioned against self delusions. Unfortunately, this wise advice could get lost in the message, so I want to point out a thing or two. Trading is different from tennis in a number of ways, but the chief difference is in tennis you know what the rules are, and your path to greater expertise is relatively clear. On the other hand, in an outwardly simple game like trading, there’s a whole set of hidden rules, and the path to greater expertise is uncertain. You have to have patience. Going all in before you learn the rules is one way of learning this business, provided you are a kid and have nothing to lose, and of course, have a high tolerance for pain and disappointment. Not everybody can handle that path. There’s a real world example of people who go all in before they learn the rules, they open a restaurant, the industry with the highest failure rates.
So how do you know you are ready to go all in? Easy, trading is about making money and holding onto it, it’s about survival. If your journal shows a slowly compounding account, and your drawdowns are relatively small and smooth, you are ready. When you let go of juvenile ideas that you can read noise, and control your emotions when big money is on the line, when you care more about proficiency and process than being something more than just a homo sapien doing what homo sapiens do poorly, you are ready to take that drive, intensity, and determination and go all in. Just don’t take those emotions to the keyboard or you will get creamed.
I’m sorry if that sounds pessimistic, but it’s really not. I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t want to be a great trader. There are no great traders, just traders who learned how to make and hold onto money, and the rest, who still believe in the Easter Bunny and are just speeding towards a cliff. My proof of this is Rob. How many times have we heard Rob say, that despite his obvious expertise, he isn’t really all that great a trader? How many times has he empathized developing a process, sticking to your plan, and avoiding anything spontaneous? This isn’t just humility on Rob’s part. There’s a commonality among the winners, they all take themselves out of the process. There’s also a commonality among the losers, they all believe they can change their basic human nature and become some mythic beast that can follow the rules when thrust into impossible situations. Avoid those situations.

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Philipe Rubio October 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Eventhough I could’nt hit a barn with a tennis ball fired from a cannon at 3 feet, I found this episode very inspiring. It reminds me about my favorite trading movie that has absolutely nothing to do with trading, “The Fountain”. Not going to spoil the movie here, but it is worth a look.

And I do think that to be a “successful” trader, the most important trait you can have is the ability to never give up, even through years of hardship. If you just keep on gaining experience and knowledge, success will come.

I started trading in 2005, but the period 05-10 was a bumpy ride, even a ride through hell at times. I can’t even count the times I margin called the first two years, but I never gave up, eventhough at times I did’nt even have enough money for food or rent. Well, I had a small trading account, but I was willing to go hungry for a few days and getting close to being thrown out of my appartment instead of touching the money in that account. Then in 2010 I had my last margin call, the Flash Crash whiped me out. Did I give up, No way!!

I then had to get a new job, I had been working part time, but now I needed a full time job so I could build up a new trading stake. After only a short time I started to really dislike my new job, but I had to just keep on, I needed the paycheck. I knew I needed an account of some size to be able to quit my job, so what I did was to deposit about 15-20% of my paycheck into my trading account each month for the next two years. I was also reading a lot of trading books and watching webinars in my spare time during this period, and of course trading, very carefully. Then in 2012 I was finally able to quit my job and trade for a living.

This was the short version of my story from being a poor miserable cubicle zombie to trading for a living. I used to say to myself in Norwegian “Den trassige vinner”, which translates into something like “The Defiant Wins”. Never give up on your dream, no matter what it is.

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BrianF November 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

Not to beat a dead horse, but I found a good analogy about what I said regarding trading smaller makes you rich faster. In Episode # 80, Adrian related a story about a trader who was making $300 to $400 a day, but was wrung out because he was trading 8-10 hours a day. Her advice was to limit himself to just two hours a day. Soon after, he was making up to $10k a day. I know it’s counter intuitive, but if you trade smaller and trade less, you trade with more proficiency, and getting rich quick is about proficiency so that your account compounds relentlessly.

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