Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sacrificing Social Life

I remember last year, receiving a link to a new trading blog. It was written by a guy who did exactly the same as me - decided to go full-time, whilst he had redundancy pay to live off for a while. The very first post, I remember reading in complete shock. The author said that (on his very first day of full-time trading) he was going to a party that evening and was going to attempt to trade on his mobile whilst there! As soon as I read that, I knew that here was someone who was never going to succeed with that attitude.  If you are serious, professional and enthusiastic about trading, the last thing you do is put your social life ahead of your livelihood. And if you do choose to socialise, you certainly don't jeopardise your money by trading on a phone whilst presumably full of alcohol surrounded by nubile young ladies and other distractions (I'm guessing it was that kind of party!).

I don't think having a social life and learning to trade are mutually exclusive. But let's face it, if you work full-time, you have to trade in your spare time and that means evenings and weekends for most - so your social life is going to take a hammering. If you aren't prepared to do that, then things are going to move at a very slow pace. Just look how long it's taken me to get where I am - 2 and a half years of trading tennis FULL-TIME. And that's with plenty of over-time thrown in! I certainly don't consider myself out of the ordinary in that. I would be surprised if I wasn't a typical example of an average person who goes into trading.

I'm certainly not mathematically gifted, nor was I involved in the betting industry to any extent beforehand. I went in completely cold, other than knowledge of the game of tennis (though little about the players or the tour). On the other hand, I'm not stupid (despite the atrocious bank decimating bets I've placed at times!) and have been successful at everything I've turned my hand to down the years (though there is a theory that this can actually be detrimental to becoming a successful trader). Add in a couple of years of football betting and you have a long period of 'training' which some people wouldn't require to reach the same stage but I'm sure just as many would. And I'm still learning - and keen to learn more. If that's at the expense of social life, then so be it. I don't expect to reap the rewards till further down the line.

I still occasionally read comments on blogs and forums that make me shake my head in disbelief. Such as people coming home drunk and trading. Or getting frustrated because they have been trading for a couple of months but aren't making any money. Or coming back from a long break and thinking they can just carry on doing what they did unsuccessfully before, only this time, it'll be successful. Only those who work the hardest will succeed in this game. By that, I don't mean those who spend the most hours trading, I mean those who work the hardest away from the ladders too - reading, analysing notes, researching stats, watching matches etc. A lot of people trade everything going but expect to improve just through that. For most, it'll take a lot more because you need to analyse and change your flaws and I don't think many traders are prepared to do that. They'd rather be getting drunk at a party. That's fine but don't expect to become loaded with anything less than a strong work ethic.

I bring this up now as a follow up to the questions asked of me by 'Speedwave'. Some of his questions were based around the fact that trading shouldn't be at the detriment of what really matters in life. My point is that if you are looking to become a professional trader or have any aspirations of making a lot of money, then it HAS to be at the detriment of some things. It's how much of a detriment it becomes that is the key here; does it take over your life to the extent that you are trading from dusk till dawn, 7 days a week or does it mean sacrificing a few weekends, evenings or social occasions? I'll admit, it was the former for me for a long time. I feel I've got the balance right now. I trade when I feel up to it and no longer. But at the same time, I treat it as a business and schedule social life around my trading - unless it's something I REALLY fancy attending. I still like to get drunk every now and then, just like most others. I just make sure I'm not anywhere near a betting exchange from the moment I leave the house till the moment I stop feeling like I'm about the spew forth the contents of my intestines the next day!

Julia Goerges:


  1. I must admit that I had this imagination of, if I invest 10 hours a day for 3 months I will be in profit soon. My hard work will pay off. It was a complete shock, that it did not and actually cost me a lot of money.

    My interest for beting exchanges started in 2008. I dont know how much energy and time I put into lerning the markets in the last two years. As being a web-developer I even wrote a complex programm recording me almost every tennismatches on betfair. So I can analyse the graphs later, in detail and spotting opportunities.

    Sometimes I think, my whole approch is far too complicated, there must be easier ways. And may be im right. But as you said, if your attitude and your trading does not become a professional matter, then you simply can not gain regular greens from the market.

    In fact trading learned me a lot of discipline: my desk is clean, I try to sleep enough, eating healthier food and so on. In oposition to what is said about people who are betting on sportevents, sitting with there white shirts in front of their computers, drinking a lot of beer, trading helped me a lot in my life, although im not in profit every week. But as you im still learning and there is a lot of space to the top.

    Thank you for making the blog so valuable! I check your blog almost every day. :-)

    1. Hi Picard, thanks, I'm glad you enjoy it! I think trading can help with your overall discipline in all areas of life.

      I think if you spoke to most successful traders,you would be surprised at how uncomplicated their trading is. I'm not saying your way is wrong but I know that since I simplified everything, I've improved vastly.

      Good luck!

  2. I agree totaly. I think the same is with music. There are a lot of famous melodies, which seem sooo unbelievable simple, that somone could say "why didn't I have this idea before?". Think of the theme John Williams gave the white shark in Jaws or the adventurelike famous theme to Indiana Jones, not that complex but simple and extremly effective! But John Williams was 43 until he got to this level, where all the incredible music came out of his mind. And this is not only inspiration, he said it is hard work.

    The complicated thing in this is the unbelivable amount of time he invested for studying, training, playing, working for films and so on, until he was finaly able to do all this stuff. So from this perspective, i like the way for making it complex to have the ability to finaly make it easy. Same with trading..

  3. Hi Sultan,

    This post sums up my experiences over the past few months quite well. The heavy drinking aside. For a long time now I've been a modest winner, although I've never managed to consistently bring home £1000+ days like you were during the Olympics (well done!). However, external pressures and a lack of focus threw me right off my game. After stepping away for a couple of months, I've returned to gambling/trading but whilst I'm not losing money I'm going nowhere fast. Still patience is a virtue as they say.

    I think your attitude and approach is highly commendable, despite things not always going your way, you seem to have go0t your head down and got on with it and worked your way out of trouble. I think too many people expect things without being prepared to work for them and I dare say that your hard working attitude is what has led you to be successful in life. It must be nice to be able to look back over your blog and see the progress you've made.

    I too have just started a tennis related blog, the address is http://whenindoubtcallitout.blogspot.co.uk, if you have time please check it out (although I've already summarised the first post in this comment!) and if you like it I would be grateful if you would like to add a link on your blog. It probably won't be quite so gambling related as this one, primarily because I'm interested in talking about some of my favourite players on the tour(s).

    1. Hi Simon, thanks for your kind words. I should mention that I've never come even close to making £1000 in a day! Think you mean in a month :)

      If you aren't losing money, that is a positive. If you can break even steadily (with no huge spikes and dips) that shows you have some discipline and skill at protecting a bank. The next stage is to make consistent profit but most people don't reach the break even phase. By the sound of your first blog post, it seems like you already know how to make money anyway.

      Will add your blog, new ones always welcome as quite a lot have disappeared this year!

    2. I should probably think about removing "can read good" from my CV. Having taken another [proper] look over your 'Gold! And Another Record' post I see it was indeed a month, not a day :). Whoops.


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