Saturation

I don’t wish to add to my repertoire.

It has reached some kind of saturation. 

There’s no limit to how far I can go within my repertoire.

However, it is not comfortable with strategy addition. 

Fine. 

Did you just have this dialogue?

With yourself?

It’s good you did. 

While you start out in a field, you’re developing it. 

There needs to come a stage, in a while, where you have exactly identified, that you’re developing this, this and this further. Nothing else. 

Once you know what the exact game is, all your focus is required to take it to the nth level. What that n is going to be is up to you, again. 

Bottomline is, after a point, know your game. 

This is the game. 

This is what you are scaling up. 

That, that, that and that you are discarding, or have discarded. 

You need to reach this point within a reasonable time-frame. 

Then comes the next step. 

Pray, what might that be?

Automation. 

Before embarking upon scaling up, that what remains in your saturated repertoire – automate it. 

Staff. 

Technology. 

What have you.

Use any means for automation. 

Anything that’s legit, and which works. 

Use it. 

Standing instruction. 

Alarm. 

Alert.

Whatever. 

Automation is a huge blessing if used properly and after having tied up all the loose ends. 

If implemented in a hurry with sieve-like loopholes, it can even take you to the cleaner’s.

Implement automation in a justified and sure-shot fashion. 

Do you know what’s going to happen now?

You have created a situation, where scaling up means just punching in an additional 0 in the right corner, before the decimal point. 

Wow.

After a while, the complete field will be on auto. 

Why?

If you’re wise, you won’t scale up beyond your sweet-spot. 

Why?

Because obnoxious scales come with obnoxious problems.

What’s obnoxious?

Anything beyond your sweet-spot…

…is obnoxious. 

What is your sweet-spot?

That only you can discover. 

So what now is the exact status of the field?

Your repertoire in the field has reached complete saturation regarding strategy and scale. It is on full auto. It is adding to your well-being without you batting an eye-lid. 

Congratulations. 

However, where does that leave you?

Is that even a question?

There’s so much to do in the world. 

Discover a new field. 

Develop your new repertoire in this field. 

Take it to strategy saturation. Automate it. Scale it up. Take it to the sweet-spot. Wean off the scaling up. Move on. 

What a life it’s going to be for you!

The Next Step Rumination

This happens to me. 

Often.

Most of the time, I don’t know the answer. 

So, what is it that happens?

This question pops up : “What is the next step?”

When does it pop up?

When a preceding step has come to its logical conclusion. 

Step, by step, remember? That’s how you build your castle.

Ok, how do I react?

It’s a very normal question by now. 

It’s popped up thousands of times. 

I’ve gotten used to it. 

I think hard. 

Is something coming?

No?

I let it go and delve into some recreational activity. 

Am learning French nowadays, btw. Am blown over by the availability of learning materials. 

Is something coming?

Yes?

What is coming?

Does it sound logical?

Meaning, is it the next logical step?

I think hard. 

And again. 

Till I either discard the idea, or…

… till I take this new next and logical step. 

That is how the cookie crumbles. 

This happens to you too. 

If not, you are missing a trick. 

If so, have you recognised and acknowledged the phenomenon?

Do you have a response?

Yes?

Great.

No?

Perhaps my own response to the phenomenon can give you a hint or two.

Small Shoots to Big Trees

What do I see around myself?

Lots of small shoots. 

Wherever I look, there are small shoots. 

Does this make me happy?

You bet. 

Why?

Why not?

I mean, you don’t see any trees. 

So?

You’ve been at it for a while.

So?

All you’re seeing is shoots. Does that satisfy you? None of your efforts is a big tree in all this while.

That’s a very narrow-minded, greedy and fast-buck remark. 

Explain. 

For each of the shoots I see around me, twenty efforts have died their death. However, one shoot managed to entrench itself. This one shoot is firm, and goes very deep into the ground. It’s roots have become very strong. It is now ready for the world and has decided to show itself over the ground.  Over the next many, many years, with my meticulous nurturing, this very shoot shall grow up into a mammoth tree with unprecedented positive consequences.

I see. And, you’re saying that you see many such shoots around yourself?

Yes, many many.

Wow.

Yeah, i’ve been busy. I’ve tried and discarded many things. What remained didn’t want to leave me. It got planted and grew roots. Now that the shoots are growing, they are mostly on auto-pilot. Some need tending to once a day, some once a week.

Does that give you empty spaces in between?

Yes.

How do you fill these empty spaces?

I do, and I don’t.

Meaning?

Unless something new refuses to leave me, I don’t wish to plant another tree.

Why?

I’m happy enough tending to what I have.

So you’ve reached the…what’s that called?

Sweet spot?

Yes, you’ve reached the sweet spot. But nobody knows about you. You’re not famous or anything.

That’s why the spot is sweet.

Meaning?

Nobody disturbs my privacy. I can go where I choose. Do what I want. I don’t need to share my time with anyone if I don’t want to. There are no compulsions imposed upon me. 

Do you think you will be famous one day?

When these shoots grow into big trees, that might happen.

Do you want it to happen?

I want my trees to grow. Not sure today about fame. It kills personal life. I like my life and its pace.

Any regrets?

Sometimes, I get lonely. It’s the nature of the path. Despite family and a decent social life, loneliness is still there. Applied finance requires a lot of alone-time. 

How do you deal with that?

I start tending to a different shoot. Financial. Non-financial. Recreational. Creative. Gap gets bridged, and then the loneliness is gone. 

Fancy schmanzy or just plain Vanilla?

There’s expenditure and there’s expenditure.

Meaning?

Let’s say you start some work. It can be market-related, for all I care. What do you do first?

Prep.

How do you prep?

Studying up. As long as I can manage.

And then?

Courses, workshops, the deal.

Local?

Naehhh. I try to keep it national though.

International?

Haven’t required it till now for market work.

Ok. What happens next?

I hit the market concerned. Low-key at first. 

Why?

That’s when you make the most mistakes. That’s why. 

I see. Motive?

I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

Rather than from an instructor?

Of course. This is the market, remember. This is about you. Not about the instructor. This is about knowing your own shortcomings related to a particular market, and about adjusting and fine-tuning yourself to the market to trade it optimally. This is about fitting the market concerned in a tailor-made fashion into your own life without disrupting your own life. 

Wow! Well, then, congratulations. You’re a prime candidate for doing it the plain vanilla way. 

Is there any other way to do it?

Oh, there’s the fancy schmanzy one. 

Kindly describe it. 

Well, it mostly entails unnecessary expenditure along with necessary expenditure. There’s more unnecessary expenditure though. 

I see. 

One is normally too lazy to study up. Or, one doesn’t have the get-go in oneself to approach the subject on one’s own. 

Sure, can happen. 

One flips from instructor to instructor in search of the holy grail. Expensive software, international trips, five-star hotels, the whole shebang. In the end one has spent a bomb. To end up trading the instructor’s perspective. Finally realising that the markets are about oneself, and unless one is trading one’s own perspective, one is sure to lose. Or not realising this (!) and continuing to flip instructors and instructions. Finally burning out and giving up on the markets. 

Sad though. All necessary software is available free of cost on the internet. One can do inexpensive internet courses to widen one’s horizon. These can involve one-on-one instruction too. Video-conferencing. File sharing. Threads. Assessments. The works. Live-market training. You name it. All travelling and extra expenses cut out. Few hundred dollars for the whole course. 

I already acknowledged your plain vanilla acumen. I’m just trying to tell you that most others prefer the fancy schmanzy way. 

I prefer to stay in the market and not burn out. I’m in the market to make a steady income. 

Well, that you will, my dear friend. The plain vanilla way doesn’t promise any hype, but it does promise income. 

The Benefit of Quantum upon Quantum

Underlying equity. 

How do you protect against fraud and / or investor-unfriendliness?

You’ve done your research. 

All good. 

Stock is a buy. 

Meets your parameters. 

What’s the next step?

Protection. 

You buy quantum upon quantum. 

You don’t plunge into the stock with all you’ve got to give. 

No. 

You put in a quantum.

Then you wait. 

Better opportunity arises.

Fundamentals haven’t changed. All still good. 

You put in another quantum.

Quantum…

…upon quantum. 

That’s how you keep entering the stock till it keeps giving you a reason to enter. 

Year upon year. 

Between quanta, you’re studying behaviour. 

You’re looking for investor-friendliness. 

Your next quantum is only going in if investor-friendliness continues.

No more investor-friendliness?

No more quanta.

You wait.

Will investor-friendly behaviour resume?

And you wait.

Is it coming?

Yes. 

Good. 

Upon buy criteria being met, next quantum goes in. 

Not coming?

At all?

Ok. You’re looking to exit. 

Market will give you a high to exit. That’s what markets do. They give lows, and highs. 

Wait for the high. 

High?

Exit. 

Control

Longevity.

We look for it in the markets too. 

It’s natural.

Our first instinct is to survive. 

Our second instinct is to survive well. 

In the markets, both these instincts are addressed by our definition and understanding of control. 

Are we control-freaks? 

There’s no harm in admitting it, it’ll save us from losses. 

Well, if we are, we’re better off seeking another career where control-freaking is an asset.

In the markets, it’s not.

Yeah, surprise surprise, Mrs. Market is gonna keep hitting our stops again and again and again, till we get tired of second-guessing her and just sheer quit.

Or, if we’re adamant too, she’ll just drive us bankrupt. 

Are we giving her complete leeway?

Well, then she’ll drive us bankrupt anyways, with no stops in place.

Mrs. Market works against us when we exhibit extreme behaviour wrt control.

Let’s fine-tune control.

We’ll find the median for stop-size.

Something that’s workable.

We then move with her.

If she moves in our direction of the trade, we keep raising our stop with her, from a distance, quietly.

Control, mild, unadvertised.

She’ll stop us out eventually, perhaps after some profit.

Good. 

As in, workable. 

When she goes berserk in our direction of the trade, we’ll ignore her and just let her do her thing.

Minimum control.

No definition of targets.

Stop is far away. It’s deep in profits, and being raised quietly. She’ll need to stop us out with a big swing against us. Yeah, deep in profit, we’ve kept a large leeway between stop and CMP.

We’re not micromanaging her.

Motive?

We wish to allow her to go even more berserk in our direction of the trade.

We’re daring her too, as in “come and get our stop, if you have the guts to fall this far”.

Control.

Very subtle.

We’re controlling our environment, while simultaneously ignoring her.

Very workable. 

We’ll live long in the markets. 

Frozen

Frozen? 

It’s ok. 

Breathe. 

You need to acknowledge that you’re frozen. 

Without that, the next step won’t come. 

It’s normal to freeze sometimes. Just acknowledge it. Then learn. 

For example, I acknowledge that I’m currently frozen wrt to the USDINR short trade. Missed entry. Next opportunity to enter never developed for me, and the underlying is currently in free fall. Don’t have the guts to short it at this level. Yeah, I’m frozen all right.

However, the fact that I’m acknowledging it opens up the learning window. 

Why did I miss entry?

I know why I froze. Fear. What I need to understand is why I allowed a situation to develop that would lead to fear. 

Ok. 

Was running super busy. 

Neglected the underlying. 

Kept postponing entry… 

… till free-fall started. 

It’s good to be busy. 

Hmmm, so this can happen again. 

How do I stop this from happening again? 

If I ID a setup, I need to take it. 

No second-guessing. 

What about strategy? 

Meaning, am I going with a short strategy for USDINR? Or am I keeping the window open for a long strategy?

See, that’s it.

Keeping short and long windows open makes me second-guess all the time. 

So can I go in one-direction wrt USDINR all the time? 

What speaks for it? 

Underlying is falling from a height. Good. 

Short only means no second-guessing. You just go short, period. 

Stoploss will save ruin. 

Not nipping profits in the bud will amass fortunes. 

Can the underlying keep falling over the next few years? 

Why not? Modi’s looking set for 2019. 

Hmmm, so a short only strategy has a lot going for itself. 

There’s more. Future month contracts are quoted at a premium. The premium evaporates over the current month. This move is in your favour if you’re short. 

Ok, enough. 

Yeah, there’s enough on the table to warrant a short only strategy for USDINR. 

SEE? 

Learning process. 

Why did it happen?

Because I acknowledged that I had frozen. 

Now, my strategy is more fine-tuned and I’m probably less prone to second-guessing. 

You need to pull off such stuff when you freeze. 

Use the freeze to evolve.