What I Learned In 2016

There's an old saying: If you don't write it down, it didn't happen.

I learned a lot last year. But I feel like I don't really learn anything until I write about it.

So here is my list of Things I Learned In 2016:

  1. I like to focus. I wrote a post on this a few months ago, and my feelings have only grown stronger on this issue. All of my trading success has been through focusing on just one thing. Yet I spent about a year trading a big, diversified portfolio. Why did it take me so long to figure out what I liked? That's tough (and embarrassing). Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in what you think you're supposed to do. To break out of that line of thought, it took a walk by the lake and Jill's brilliant problem-solving. Since then, I've been a focused trader (like I was before), and I've enjoyed every minute of it--even the losing.
  2. That doesn't mean diversification doesn't work! Of course, diversification works. People have been doing it for decades and decades. It just doesn't work for me. A diversified portfolio made me edgy and agitated all the time. I constantly felt myself wishing I wasn't in so many trades. And when a trader feels like that, he bails. He bails out of individual trades, and/or he bails out of the entire methodology when the losing comes (by tweaking or abandoning). If a trader hates what he's trading, even a winning system won't end up being a winner. So did the big, diversified portfolio work out in the end? Absolutely. It was nicely profitable for 2016. But, again, if you don't trade what you like, it almost always will lead to an unhappy ending.
  3. I like three styles of trading: Daytrading with stops, trend-following, and "100%-style" trading. It's so easy to endlessly search for new, exciting trading systems. But I think I'm done searching. I like focused daytrading because I like to try to make money in daily/weekly increments. I like trend-following because it's arguably the greatest trading strategy of all time --and big wins are fun! And I love counter-trend trading without stops. That's probably my favorite. I am happy trading all of these ways and want to have accounts trading all of them in 2017.
  4. I love writing. For a chunk of 2016, I was doing all of my blog posts in video form. I'm not really sure why. Then a good friend reminded me how much fun writing is (thanks, Mr. Booker!). I've been writing ever since and now have several big writing projects on my To Do List. I always talk about doing what you like. It's amazing how much fun life can be when I personally heed that advice.
  5. MT4 is awesome. Up until last year, my entire trading career was done on Tradestation. I knew nothing else--and I thought I was happy. It turns out that trading on the MT4/VPS combination is fantastic. For several years,  I had been doing all my trading on Tradestation on a dedicated desktop computer. Guess what happens when you're in a live trade and the power goes out on a desktop computer? It's not good! MT4 is reliable and works seamlessly on my VPS. No more worrying about storms. No more worrying about the power connection if I'm traveling. No more missing trades due to lost connections. While Tradestation is still predominantly my testing platform, MT4 has been a major upgrade in my life.
  6. Life is lonely without Sherlock. The PBS-based show wasn't around in 2016, and the world was just that more drab when he's gone. Having Sherlock back in 2017 was like the sunshine piercing through the grayness. Having it gone last year taught me that the worst day watching Sherlock is better than the best days of almost everything else.
  7. Weather matters. Living in the cold Midwest my whole life, I always thought weather was just something banal to make small talk about. Not true. Moving down South and being able to be outside every day is a life-changer. I can't believe how happy it's made me. So, if you get the chance, get to where you can go outside! I highly recommend it.

While a lot of people complained about how bad 2016 was, for me, it was one of the best years I've ever had.

Looking forward to 2017. Can't wait!