“Welcome, recruits! It’s a fine day, the first day of training. I’m going to work you harder than ever. You are going to discover things about yourself you never knew existed. In a nutshell, it’s going to get ugly….real ugly. Maybe, just maybe, if you pass all the tests, you will become what we all seek to be.” The drill sergeant says while pointing to the overhanging poster in the training barracks, which the new recruits stare in awe.
There sat a poster showing a balding middle-aged man sitting in front of his computer with a look of content on his face….a true image of excellence.
First Test – The Overload Stage
“Alright, recruits. Today’s objective is simple. Sit at the desk we have provided you and don’t get up. We will bombard you with everything under the sun. Take it all in, because there will be a test at the end of the week. Good luck!”
- What’s an option?
- How to trade an iron condor and how it’s like a good country music song (you love it, then leave it)
- Learn and discuss all the funny option trading names
- How to read charts? How to draw charts? How to color in general…inside the lines, of course.
- How to watch CNBC all day long without learning anything to help you trade better, but you must keep watching. No reason given.
- More and more, just learn it. Again, no reason given.
Second Test – Throw Your Money Away
- Take out your check book
- Write a check to your favorite charity for a large amount
- You’ll never see that money again, but at least it’s going to a good cause rather than a market maker, newsletter service, etc.
Third Test – Fill Up Your Email Inbox
- Go online and sign up on every trading website you can find. This way you will fill up your email inbox with a bunch of crap.
Fourth Test – Smash Your Head Against The Wall
- This is a very important phase in the training.
- The all important, oh “%&*!” moment will hit every trader at some point. We might as well get it out of the way.
Fifth Test – Obstacle Course
- Complete the obstacle course (climb the wall, swim through the mud pit, climb under the barbed wire, OptionVue, etc)
- Once completed, do it again, then again.
- If you finish it, congrats. Go hit your head against the wall one more time, the door works too. Why? Well, just because you work hard doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded.
Sixth Test – Backtest Your Arse Off (nothing “army like here”)
Seventh Test – Learn How To Communicate
- At dinner parties or other social outings, learn how to keep your mouth shut. It’s all classified. Pure and simple. You know nothing, you do nothing.
- Repeat: “I work in finance”. That’s it, move on.
- Never, I mean never do you say “I am a professional options trader”. If you do, you will be met with a glazed look of indifference. We don’t want that. They don’t want that. It’s just not good for anyone.
Last Test – The Final Test
- If you pass this stage you are ready.
- Place a prepared trade and follow your rules from start to finish.
- Rinse and repeat.
- What is the outcome? No, I am not talking about the trade. I am talking about you. Did you follow your rules? That’s it. Nothing more.
- Did you answer yes? Welcome, you can now truly say “I work in finance”!
- Did you answer no? Drop and give me 50!
Thanks to Kas Eccles who is a member of the Locke Options Community for sharing the words “Trading Is Boring” with me. These words are written on a board in his home office. Great advice.
For those who look at trading to fulfill a void, get a hobby or go to Vegas. For those who look at trading as a business as it’s an ever-changing challenge, I hear ya. It’s a beautiful game that can only be played with a mindset from the “boredom” camp. Why? You have a plan, follow it. It’s really that simple. Easy to say, hard to do. Yeah, I wish the answer had fireworks in the background filled with cotton candy and unicorns, but it doesn’t. What we have to do to become and maintain the status as a “successful trader” is just that…boring. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just keep that secret among us and don’t share it at those dinner parties.
Who’s that guy/gal in the poster the recruits were admiring? If you are reading this blog and see playing in the world’s most competitive game as “boring”, it’s probably you in the poster. Congrats!
Written and contributed by John Wilson