I don’t and won’t write about my trading, the good, the bad, or the ugly. Suffice it to say that in order to trade successfully intraday I have to dial my left brain way down, which is difficult for me to do. But I think I’ve come as close to a solution as possible. For me it’s primarily in the warm-up to the trading day.
Let me begin with four failed strategies.
First and most disastrous for me, market analysis, defining a bias for the day (long or short, trend or mean reversion, breakout levels—lots of possibilities). It seems so logical to prepare for the trading day this way; after all, as Louis Pasteur said, chance favors the prepared mind. But it hogties me.
Second, physical exercise. Quite simply, it doesn’t make a difference one way or the other.
Third, puzzles. If I can do them relatively easily this “mental exercise” numbs my brain, my whole brain. Market action could just as well be Brady Bunch reruns; I find it difficult to become engaged.
Fourth, CNBC. On balance I find CNBC a distraction. I do, however, read headline business news (Bloomberg, FT, WSJ) and I know when economic and earnings reports are going to be released. I don’t go into the day unaware of the news flow.
And, what you’ve all been waiting for, the solution that can be yours for only $19.99 plus shipping and handling. Unfortunately, I suspect it has a very limited market.
For me (and realize that I get up at least four hours before U.S. floor trading begins, though I don’t consider 9:30 ET a sacrosanct market open) the absolutely best way I’ve found to warm up for the trading day is to stress my left brain to the point that it has to take a lengthy rest. The MIT linear algebra course is a good example. After I listen to a lecture or two and even take notes like a good college student, I’m primed for the trading day. My left brain has had all the stimulation it needs for several hours, and it can turn over command to the autopilot brain.
My solution may be totally idiosyncratic; then again it might help at least a couple of traders in the world. There, I’ve bared my soul!