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Five is Right Out! Three Recent Reflections

Tuesday September 15, 2020

Hey everybody! Hope you’re all doing well…

I meant to write this last week, but I had been away for a while and couldn’t get in the right state of mind to blog, but finally today came, my internet connection has been flaky and I missed an important appointment, so now the whole day feels like it’s in limbo and I feel like a complete failure of a J-personality. So, with this new change-energy in the air…

LET’S GO.

Reflection #1: Emotions

These are more fun lately. I’ve had TONS of fun with my emotional side.

For example, just zoning out while listening to favorite music, wondering about things that sound more like lines out of some random middle schooler’s diary:

  • Am I destined to be a loser?
  • Where is it all going?
  • I hate this.
  • I feel like just being a rebel.

The nice thing is, I process this stuff, think and feel and journal through it, and things seem to go better than if I hadn’t.

(Why didn’t I do this as a middle-schooler? I don’t believe I could have handled it.)

(Also, I don’t believe my parents could have handled it. lol)

This feels like TONS of fun because at some point, you actually give into the “I hate this” where it makes sense, and you change things, and you do things you like better, and that is the tons of fun part.

Reflection #2: Stonks

In other emotional news: I’ve been investing, and trading, during the recent market up-down-up-downs. Really, I’ve been “actively investing” for the last five years, and trading more recently.

Swing trading is probably the best-fit term for what I’m up to. I find it’s a good pace for me. I’ve done a tiny bit of day trading, but after about 45 minutes of that, I feel like I need to take a whole day off. (Really, it’s very hard to disengage the emotion and deeply intuitive character of the mental processes that are related here)

The way this started was, I got talking with my own coach, he sent me some resources, I joined AAII, bought O’Neil, hit the gym, and got a tutorial on ThinkorSwim from a nice person at TD Ameritrade.

Since that time, I’ve started my own system, added things, subtracted things, and toiled over yet-undecided things. We’ll see how it goes.

It’s been fun, challenging, and most surprisingly—incredibly feely. The market isn’t a finance-wise computer nerd. The market is basically a bunch of finance-wise computer nerds trying to babysit a giant frickin’ dragon. You can look at it as this really dramatic INTJ-ESFP dichotomy. Hey, reminds me of growin’ up with INTJ dad and ESFP mom!

I’ve been trying to take advantage of whatever opportunity is to be found out there, keep my chin up, and build out my own trading framework.

It’s kind of like building a suit of armor, a sword, a shield, but all you have at first is balsa wood. Well good—that makes you light. So next you learn to find whatever side of the cave the dragon is protecting, and you run in and pick up the money that’s laying around there. And the dragon keeps shifting around, so this entire time you’re hoping that the dragon doesn’t turn around, or turn on you while you’re running in and out trying to move your money around.

Meanwhile you start to think—“maybe I’d be able to run faster without any armor? After all, it’s just balsa wood…heck, maybe I should just go in naked,” And crazy thoughts like that.

So my framework is still changing/mutating, because, just as ever, I’m absolutely capable of advising myself to do one thing, and then waking up the next day and doing the exact opposite. Anyway, once it matures a bit I’ll probably share it here.

Five quick micro lessons:

  • INTJs can be really creative bears. Prophets of doom. This tends to be the mean toward which I regress, sometimes. I don’t like being there. I don’t mind the perspective, but I’m just too used to it now. It’s become more of an extreme, less of a gift. (It reminds me of the reason Jung didn’t like the concept of personality type—you’re basically taking all the risks of dichotomizing when integration is generally the wiser choice.)
    • Some of my INTJ friends in finance can trot out a lot of the bear wisdom, that little knob you can turn to produce whatever sentiment absolutely destroys investor confidence. The one about trying to beat the market, or beating the S&P, or basically whatever would distract one from the proven results from long-holding in an index fund, or a diversity of indices, or whatever mega-contingency seems to meet with their approval.
    • These guys are worth listening to if you’re like a super-risk-taker. You know? Other people may start to wonder when they’ll see some serious gains.
  • INTJs can be so good at avoiding risk that we miss out on opportunities. I’ve mentioned this before…
    • Like other INTJs, I find that I can inflate my opportunistic gains, more of a simulacrum of a high-risk player. Oooh, you made a million in this dramatic day of trading? No? Oh…a measly fifty bucks…yes, but the lessons are still valid…it all still “scales”…mm hmm…
    • But it does scale, is the point—and at some time in the future it may just do that.
    • The emotions definitely scale, and it’s hard not to exaggerate when you’re just rocked by the drama of some process like this, especially if it’s new to you.
  • Being a contrarian can cause one to miss the “duh” moves that the bell-curve market already knows are going to be awesome. It’s like going to the grocery store and buying “Don’s Mega-healthy Energy Bars” instead of Pop Tarts. You see everyone else buying Pop Tarts and you think they’re dumb sheep, but in fact they’re rational (in Jung’s definition—they follow the bell curve), and you end up holding a disgusting bag of some random foodstuff, because you’re irrational (you are more like an outlier-perceiver).
    • Every once in a while you make an awesome discovery because you’re so special, but that doesn’t mean Pop Tarts aren’t amazing, or that nobody will buy Pop Tarts.
    • This seems to apply well to INTJs who are trading—you may have to stop hating on things that do indeed make a certain type of bell-curve sense.
  • Can’t remember this lesson
  • Oh, and Cryptocurrency SUCKS.

(Phew, sorry about that last point, I’m still emotional after losing like $10 in wild speculation on ETH-USD or something. Which doesn’t sound bad, but I won’t tell you about the dramatic intra-day trading and chart-summoning it took to recover that last chunk so I wouldn’t have lost $100)

Overall, these activities, during the recent crazy market events, remind me of finding myself at a water park during a thunderstorm. Very quickly, the park emptied. But then there were the rest of us.

We looked at each other. We laughed. There were areas where we knew we couldn’t go. But the rest of the park was totally workable. And empty! Nice!!! Also, we were pretty sure that the lightning won’t strike us. Wouldn’t that be random! Haha.

That’s the upside-feeling.

The downside feeling is more like…hmm. Maybe it’s like when you have been waiting for your parent to pick you up after school. First, you’re just one of many kids standing out in front of the school, waiting. Then all the other kids’ parents come and get them, and it’s just you.

And then the school office closes, and the office employees ask if you’re OK, and you’re fine, and so they go home. Then a maintenance guy shows up and locks all the gates. Then a storm starts brewing, and then it’s raining.

You get to the point where you think, “what if I just sat here forever—what if my whole family died?”

Finally, mom shows up, almost four hours late. She drives you home at uncomfortably-high speeds, while you try to process the late inner-vision of family-death.

And that’s fine—you can deal with that occasionally, even though it’s scary and different. At home you’ve got video games and good books.

Then you realize it’s only Monday, and you’ll be “picked up” like this for the rest of the week, each day a bit more awkward than the last, with knowing chuckles from office staff, increasing congeniality from the direction of the maintenance guy, or whatever other awkward things may come.

Also, meanwhile, you are going to miss out on almost 20 hours of fun stuff you could be doing instead of standing there.

I think that’s how some of the worst days feel. Like, “ah, see? It’s my destiny, to meet with ruin.”

I saw a post on Facebook the other day, in one of the trading groups there. A guy posted something like,

“Hey everybody. Do you know of anyone who specializes in counseling traders, like with the emotional effect it all has? Just want to work on ways to deal with all the ups and downs.”

Whoa. Major props to that dude. But I feel like I get at least part of what he’s going through. He’s not a failure, it’s just that this is how it works. You WILL have to deal with this aspect, depending on the psychological distance between you and this wild dragon of a market. If you can find a way to work with it (tip: my own framework does go into emotionality), all the better for you.

After all, that Facebook poster is not asking, “how do I stop this thing and get off,” but rather, “how do I stay on this thing and get help with this difficult aspect over here.” Probably a good move and I hope he figures it out.

Reflection #3: Some media I’ve enjoyed lately

Witchboard (Horror Film, 1986)

I thought this was a surprisingly well-crafted horror film. It was interesting to watch, with reasonably engaging character development, some nice twists, solid locations, a good sense of humor, and a sympathetic main character. This one get’s my chef’s kiss award for old horror movies. Hell, I think I’m going to watch it again!

Torchlight II (RPG Dungeon Crawl Video Game, 2012)

I found myself suddenly sucked into this one, realizing my kids’ characters were level 14 and dad’s was level 3. Embarrassing! But things were also getting difficult for them, and I wanted to gain enough experience that I could teach them some keyboard shortcuts and simple strategies so they could keep playing without losing hope.

Well, I ended up getting really sucked in for a bit. I emerged at level 21, which is probably not amazing by a long shot, but the important part was that I knew a lot of new keyboard shortcuts and strategies to share with the kids.

The grind has been really enjoyable though. I love my little dog Funnybone, my shiny gold suit of armor, and my huge, barely-luggable cannon. It’s a great game.

Strange Tales of the Century (Book, 2013)

Written by Jess Nevins and published by Evil Hat Productions, this book is a terrific source of inspiration if you’re interested in archetypes, fictional characters and world-building, and especially the pulp era or the golden age of science fiction.

The book includes a bunch of different curiosity-piquing archetypes, from “Brain in a Jar” to “Occult Detective.” It also offers historical perspectives, for example the differences between the character’s world during the peak of the 1930s and the end of the pulp era, beginning in the 1950s.

Sega Genesis Games

I’ve also been playing some Sega Genesis / Master System games, among which I’ve enjoyed:

  • Mega Turrican (Action platformer)
  • Vapor Trail (Vertical shooter)
  • (A tiny but intriguing bit of) Aerobiz…hmmm…business, airplanes, I’m liking this one.

I always wanted to own a Sega Genesis and Afterburner II when I was a wee lad, so imagine my horror at discovering this past weekend that Afterburner II was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. Ah well. The archetype still functions, so at least my metaphorical F-14 remains operational…

That’s all for now guys! Have a great day & take care —Marc

Filed in: /44/ | /110/ | /70/ | /45/

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