You Will Never Trade Again.

“If only I had…”

Finality produces a certain kind of clarity, of re-evaluating what has gone by.

Trading activity does not allow for much meaningful reflection. The space in which one can reflect has to be muscled around everything else; usually to take care of something — crap! The dog!  

Routine enabled reflection — usually on weekends — is one thing, yet your mind is still labouring over the other day’s mishap or that data print to come on Tuesday. You are still in the game and the minutiae of daily life clouds it over. And these are just the details. We do not care about the details. Why?

Because tomorrow you will never trade again. None of it matters. You are finished. What then?

Blind optimism — perhaps, fanatical faith — in making it in your trading career is not merely a good idea, but a minimum competitive trait. As a certain Alex Haywood once said it — how else will you keep going while you climb the mountain of bones belonging to those who once sat next to you?

You can paper over fanatical optimism and tag it as passion, yet this obscures the most important question to ask: What if I never make it?

To the passionately boisterous this sounds heretical. Watchumean — fail? Get this loser out of my face! To the constant moaners — note: secret optimists — they say this to cope. They may repeat these words but not really believe it. There! I survived saying it!

They all have a second chance, and a third, fourth and a fifth… Hope takes the shape of any container it needs to. The hope that your future self will figure it out; no big deal if the present does not. But if you cannot start figure it out now, how can you do so in the future? By having no finality on your trading, you will never have to cut the bullshit and get real.

Hope, then, will prevent you to ask the most important question, to really consider: What if I never make it? And what if the end comes tomorrow?

To really ask would be a liberating experience; liberating to cut through whatever daily life minutiae and to truly reflect. Because you accepted there really is an end, and it is a beautiful thing. Because you had the courage to ask before you actually die. If I never made it — then why?

Why was I unable to hold a routine… control myself… apply myself … learn from others — why….?

The best positively skewed trade I can take right now is to say: I bet you know exactly why you cannot make it. Why you cannot push past whatever in your trading career — to take home a few dollars; to grow your account or to re-invent yourself and make a comeback. The few that truly do not know are likely too wet behind the ears.

To answer that question is to write your trading obituary, and it is powerful since there is a finale and no further hope. The guy is dead! And to write it like an old-school newspaper obituary, since this should not be an apologist ten-page, essay-ramble. That is disguised hope. Instead, the tiny rectangular newspaper column forces brevity; just one or two main accomplishments, or infamous acts and now…. he’s dead.

And I really mean write. Reflecting while walking around is better than most, but to write is a whole other world. Even better — write with pencil; slow yourself down. Then re-type it via computer.

So, once you really convince yourself that you may never trade again, sit down and write why you failed. Ask — what killed my career? Write 200 words, then immediately scrap the first one hundred words as this will be half-hearted apologetic fluff — the real stuff comes at the end of the word limit.

See? Finality. It is a great bullshit filter.

Keep it to yourself and read it frequently. Or I would love to read your ‘trading obituary’ if you email me at [email protected]. With your permission I think it would be great to anonymously discuss this in our community.  


Axia Futures
4 Endsleigh Street London GB WC1H 0DS
+44 20 3880 8500

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Demetris Mavrommatis — Co-Founder, Head of Trading
Alex Haywood — Co-Founder Head of Strategy

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Written by Bogdan Stoichescu

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