... the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned, but time and chance happen to them all. -- Ecclesiastes 9:12
I dedicate the following to:
My wife Debra and my family, who lived through my craziness over the past decade and whose faith in me never wavered;
Dr. Brett Steenbarger, who will never truly know how powerful his seeds of thought in his first book were;
To my broker Pat Lafferty and MF Global, who provide the best service in the industry and is the best lifeline I could have;
And most importantly, to God, who gave me strength when I was weak, patience when I was impatient, and was the true Gardener of this year's miraculous Bamboo Tree.
*** Please note if you haven't yet watched last night's important prefacing video, please view it before continuing. ***
And so it is time. Time to measure the Bamboo. Time to rest and reflect.
Time to lock in and protect $1,620,000 on the year with a tighter than tight trailing stop that only allows for a $8,000 loss between now and December 31.
My only disappointment has been the last two weeks of sub-par performance. Yet I clearly realize that's like saying the Celtics beat the Lakers in six games last year instead of four. Fatigue finally took its toll in December via lack of focus and interest, as if to keep my humility in check for the future.
At the same time, I can see how easily Archie Karas and poker amateurs (and even a few pros at times) can begin down a slippery slope of eventually giving back all one's gains from even dizzying heights. Recognizing my mental state and having the self-control to hit the brakes after modestly donating to the market over the last few weeks and not trying to "win it back" has by far been my most difficult task of the year. Such is why I must now implement the tight trailing earnings stop.
$1.62 Million. 97.5% of my chip stack high. +210% return in the most volatile year in market history. Ever. I'm told it will be near the top of 2008 industry performance. Back to our ongoing poker analogy, it's comparable to 7th place in this year's World Series of poker, and 4th place in the 2007 event. And there's no profit sharing as it's my own private fund. It's still just a blur and hasn't sunk in.
Right now, my only memories are those I mentioned in last night's video, as it's incredibly easy to remember the hurts and pains. For now, I don't remember the wins. None. Perhaps that's because the fictitious draw concept is so ingrained in my mind, I think they're always ahead of me.
I now know how Michael Phelps' mental state felt near the end -- emotionally drained and spent -- and understand why he didn't set foot in a pool for a few months after the Olympics. At the moment, I just want to lie on a warm beach for a month (although the market would have to be closed). In trading, there are no off-seasons ... just fast and slow seasons. We have to create our own off-season. That too, will be hard. Usually, the market or our performance dictates the off-season.
And so I present the following Bamboo whose 1-year moonshot was more than a decade in the making (click to enlarge):
Yes, it's real and 100% auditable. It's not like the Newhart show finale were Bob wakes up next to Emily after nine years at the Vermont Inn and realizes it's all a dream. At least I'd better not wake up in 1999 tomorrow ... that would be sick.
It's said a picture says a thousand words. That's good, because I may be out of them, other than to say I hope this provides inspiration for all who may doubt themselves -- regardless of their pursuit -- and all who are weary.
Many told me to write a book. I thought the blog would be better. But that will be true only if we someday see a forest of Bamboos.
May God richly bless you and your families during this Holiday season and into 2009.
Thanks to those who took the time to comment on last night's video. I'll take them to heart and will continue to post reflections over the weekend and coming weeks as 2008 draws to a close. Something tells me I'm not going away.
Also, Part 2 of my TradingMarkets interview with David Penn has now been posted.