Hey traders, this past week has probably been the longest week I've had since I made the brilliant decision to wake up at 3am to run the Live Ratio Room during the London Session, while supervising 50 college kids on a spring break trip back in March. For those who don't know I'm also a College Track coach and this weekend was the Penn Relays which is the biggest track event on the East Coast of America. Between transporting athletes there and back over two days, returning home to help out at our own High School meet that we host and having to go coach my other athletes that competed on Saturday, I clocked in about 46 hours of work in the past 3 days. With that being said I returned home late Saturday to a very pleasant surprise.

For you 6 Figure Syndicate members out there and for those who watch the free Forex Market Preview video each week, you're well aware that a new advanced pattern has been discovered by the Triple Threat Trading (T2t) Team. Well this surprise that I'm talking about was finally finding out what this secret pattern was. Obviously I can't spill the beans on it (you're going to have to wait until the Ratio Master's Series next month to learn about it), but I wanted to bring it up because during the new pattern training, I heard a very interesting but 100% true quote. The last chapter of the training was on setting alternate targets and like with any pattern the presenter said that there were many different levels that could be used and for us to find out what fits us best when we do our back testing. He followed that up by saying that he often gets the question "Well how much back testing is enough? 100 trades? 365 days?" He then said "If you're not seeing this pattern in your sleep, then you probably haven't tested it enough... If your wife isn't angry at you at least once a night because your dozing off thinking about trading instead of listening to her, then you probably not testing enough."  I personally found this to be very funny because...well its true (to me at least). I don't know how many times I've went to sleep dreaming about patterns. Yeah I know it sounds extremely nerdy, but when you're in back testing mode running through chart after chart after chart, it seems to become the only thing on your mind. I've also felt guilty plenty of times for back testing while my fiancée was over. No I didn't want to be doing back testing while she was here, but on the other hand I couldn't stop. I wanted to get finished as quick as possible especially if I was back testing a profitable system/strategy. It was during those times when I realized that there is a certain line you must straddle between just enough time in the markets and too much time in the markets. This line is best described in a book titled The Winning Edge: How to use your personal psychological power to succeed in trading and investing by Jake Bernstein & Adrienne Laris Toghraie.  I won't get into all of the different chapters and scenarios discussed in this book but let's just say it gives many examples of traders that ruined their marriage, life and other relationships by being too "addicted" to the market.

Although I don't think I've ever had the market rule my life (probably because I read the book and knew what the warning signs were) I have been on the verge of it doing so.  When I first decided to get serious about trading I signed up for a course called the T2t Pro Trader Course. In this course I learned a lot about trading the markets, and like any new trader I was very eager to test my new knowledge out. This lead to me being a charting and back testing machine. Since it was during the summer and I wasn't really working at the time, I would literally sit in front of my computer about nine hours a day looking through charts and/or tracking data. Friends would ask if I wanted to hang out and I would say "no I'm busy." My girlfriend at the time would come over at night and I would basically ignore her. Obviously I didn't mean to do so purposely, but I was in the zone and wanted to stay there until I reached a good stopping point. After a while I started to realize how much time I was spending in the market and I forced myself to trim it down.  Not only was it having an effect on my personal relationships, but I also felt as if I was losing my sharpness to identify patterns and setups. Two years later I now run my trading like a business, because...well, trading is my business. I have set up strict, consistent trading hours and tend to think about it like this. If I was working a full time job would I stay there after my designated assuming I didn't have to, and on top not get paid overtime? I know that's a bad example because many of you are saying to yourself right now "well the more I analyze the markets, the more trades I will find which means more money in my pocket." First of all that statement isn't necessarily true, but that's a discussion for another day.  The point is trading should be a part of your life and not your entire life (at least that's how I feel).  Even if trading is your full time job that doesn't mean that you have to do it every second of the day. You still need time for hobbies, leisure activities, family and whatever else is needed to maintain a balanced life. I am a full-time trader and do you want to know how long I spend each day looking at charts.  A mere five hours.  One hour in the morning for my swing trading market analysis, three hours during the morning for my active day trading, and one more hour at night for my PM swing trading analysis.  Would I be better if I spent another three hours a day trading? Maybe, maybe not, who really knows. The point is I've found a balance that works for me.  

I know that we are all different and many of you may not agree with my stance on this topic but remember, this is something that works for me, with my schedule and with my personality. I have no problem with those who spend 15 hours a day in the markets, and I have no problem with those who spend 15 minutes a day looking at charts. After-all as long as you're consistently profitable, you're doing the right things. I simply wanted to provide an alternate example for those who feel like they NEED to be in the market every waking second in order to be successful.

Mark R-C
4/29/2012 03:43:47 am

great post Akil! THankyou for sharing!

4/29/2012 07:46:28 am

No problem Marc, thanks for taking the time to read

4/30/2012 05:55:01 am

Hey Akil, I'm in your camp. When I was first looking into trading, I thought that one would have to stare at the charts for 10-12 hours aday, with barely enough time to eat and sleep. But getting more educated in the markets realized that 2-5 a day or 10-25 hours a week to make as much as folks that do 40-50 a week isn't really that bad of a life style. I often think that the guilt of the Puritan work ethic plays into the idea that one has to put in hours and hours in the markets. Because if they don't they are "lazy". Trading isn't "trading hours for dollars" at all, that's why I love it! Now go bounce your grandkids on your knee, ha:)

4/30/2012 09:01:58 am

Very well said Dale. Thank you so much for the comment and I'm glad I'm not the only one to think this way.

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