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The road less taken

As the year heads quickly towards an end, it always leads me into an introspective state. I must not be alone, because over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve received an increase in emails from traders reflecting the same sentiments. 

Here’s what they’ve said…

The questions range from clarifications on trading plans, examination of losing trades, areas of best focus, and questions on where they should begin focusing into 2020. 

Trading is such an interesting and unique career path — and the reality of that’s even more clear to me after going home for Thanksgiving and catching up with my siblings on their various career paths. 

My parents did an awesome job encouraging each one of us, and instilling in us the importance of education and finding our own paths. And now, all four of us are grown and successful in our own ways, though our paths have been completely different.

My three siblings and I, and our dogs.

For example, my youngest brother’s career is in bio-engineering, and he’s studying chemistry. My sister’s a nurse in a medical surgical wing of a major Seattle hospital. When my sister went through her testing, and when my brother’s finals come around, there aren’t multiple choices that are all the right answer. While there may be a few different ways to get to the same result — there’s one right answer. When he makes his selections on his tests, he’s either going to be right or wrong — there is no grey area here. And, that’s the way he likes it.

As siblings, we’ve chosen unique paths — but neither better or worse, just two different life paths chosen by two completely different people. 

I think many career paths are this way — but for us, as traders, this isn’t the case. Trading’s unique because if you look at 10 different traders, they may trade 10 completely different setups and use a variety of strategies. One may prefer consolidation breakout moves traded with butterflies (like me) or prefer premium sucking, iron condors on a longer term time frame. 

Neither is right nor wrong. It’s all about the path you take, what you like, and the tools and strategies you use to get you to a point of satisfaction.

 What I do love (and I say this as someone who went to and graduated from university and now could use my degree as a paper weight) is that we reach our success by studying almost independently, and finding our own path. I know doing this for a living didn’t require a 4 year degree — though as an educator, I’ll always respect the institution that educates people in that function. 

This situation reminds me of one of my favorite poems. The only poem I think I can even reference. 

The Road Not Taken 

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

And so, as I reflect back on my own path, and look at those around me — and attempt to answer questions flooding my inbox, that all sound a little something like this:

“Hey Danielle, I love the Squeeze, and Fibonacci, but I want to add an additional setup next yea to my trading plan. What do you think I should add?”

“Hey Danielle, I’m using Phoenix Finder and the Trendstrength candles, along with the Squeeze Pro. What other indicators do you think would work for me?”

“Hi Danielle! This year, I’ve gotten much better at buying long calls and spreads, but I haven’t started using any additional strategies. Which strategy do you think I should try next?”

“Hi Danielle! I have been struggling to make a consistent income. I will do well some weeks, but then other weeks not so much. What can I do to improve?”

These questions may not seem the same… but in reality they are. They’re all about traders who are reaching for ‘the next area to conquer.’ They’re traders going down a previously unknown path, looking for the best turn.

So, what do I say? 

The answer to these questions is exactly what we’re here for. Please, use the Simpler community — our trading room, my newsletter, my mastery service, our forum, our classes, and more — to learn and bond from others. Reach out. More than likely, 95% of our traders have the same questions. 

It’s going through the education, classes, and putting a bit of time and effort in. That’s what will guide you on this path, and you’ll find your own way — you’re own path. I can help you through it, but ultimately, it’s what works for YOU that’ll be your guide. 

Pay attention to what works — and what doesn’t. Then work to hone the best parts while taking out the works. Stick around, and continue on with me — I know we’ll have a great 2020!

8 thoughts on “The road less taken”

  1. I like this article and the poem. I appreciate the way you make trading personal for all of us including your family photos. I’m looking forward to an awesome 2020 with you and my new Simpler family.

    Reply
  2. Nice poem, documentation is so important to give you the ability to back look along the path you have traveled. I believe that sometimes you have to look backward in order to go forward.
    I lookforward to all that you share with us In 2020.
    Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing your ideas.

    Reply
  3. Exactly, trading is very much about choosing paths. By the paths they choose, traders learn a lot about their tolerance for risk and their ability to handle stress, fear, greed, and joy often all in the same day. For me to enjoy the journey and stay on the path, I had to manage my risk.

    Unlike Frost, I do not wonder about the path not taken because over the last 13 years I stomped all over the woods. I tripped, stumbled, and fell off a cliff or two. You are right Danielle that the choice of the best path depends on the trader. We have to find a trading style that suits us. For me that means mostly trading directional spreads, flys, and an occasional condor. It means right sizing the trade. As John might say, it’s about embracing a probabilistic mind set and putting the odds in your favor. It means trading within the context of the market and your own personal trading style so you can stay on your journey. Good Trading To All.

    Reply

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