Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The First Sign of Madness

They say that talking to oneself is the first sign of madness. If that's the case, I'm ready for the men in white coats and have been for quite a while. 5 years of solitary trading has turned me into a jabbering idiot - at least, that is how I'd appear if anyone spied through my keyhole. Most of the conversation (and we are talking full blown conversations, often with me taking the role of two people with opposing views) would be deathly dull stuff about whether I should lay some 16 year old Croatian prodigy who should still be in school (that really doesn't sound right, does it) rather than hitting the cover off a yellow ball in 100 degree heat in some Asian backwater. But increasingly, it is becoming more conversations about life in general.

Just the fact I'm having these conversations out loud with myself is enough to concern me (especially when I start to vary up the accents) but perhaps it's a sign I am in need of more human contact? I've always been the kind of person who is fine working alone and I enjoy my own company (I really am delightful companionship) but for the first time in a long time, I have started to crave some real-life interaction. I guess I was so deep within the trading bubble for so long, whilst I was learning and desperate to succeed, that I didn't even have time to miss other people. I was too intensely busy and highly motivated to have conversations about last night's episode of Breaking Bad, anyway. But now I have lost much of that intensity, due to the simple fact I'm doing quite well now. I'm almost on cruise-control in a sense. Auto-pilot has been activated and that has taken much of the hard focus out of my days.

Twitter would be the answer to this but I had to ban myself from using it so much because I just became too addicted. Whilst I'd love nothing more than  to shoot the breeze about tennis with extremely knowledgeable tennis folk such as @hotdog6969 @theoverrule @tennisratings @darkdyson @sportdw @seancalvert1 @duckdablackswan @forcederrors (and many others I've forgotten) I just find myself getting so engrossed that my concentration wanes and I make silly mistakes on the ladders. As I have no one to chat to around the water cooler at work, this has freed up areas of my mind to go wandering absently through the great wonders of life. This can be a dangerous thing, not only because it's very easy to lose focus whilst daydreaming and it only takes a split second for that to ruin a trade but also because it means you ponder over things and start to build up worries.

Ajla Tomljanovic


What seems like another life-time ago, I was a teacher. This is about as sociable a job as you can get. No two days are the same and I was guaranteed varied conversations with many people from all kinds of backgrounds. It's the complete opposite of trading, where I literally never chat to anyone face to face and the the days all meld into one. I know other tennis traders can and do chat on Twitter or in chatrooms whilst they trade, so maybe it's only me who struggles with this aspect. I've never found a way around this and so now, I just talk to myself. Although ironically, this is an excellent technique for keeping focus and being thorough with your analysis as you trade in-play. So it's not all bad!

But I think I am now reaching the stage where perhaps solo trading is actually starting to turn me a tad insane. I have started to wonder what it would be like to have a trading partner; someone to discuss trades with in private and perhaps work together as a team. Potentially it could make a whole world of difference, providing a bit of companionship, sharing the work-load and having a second opinion on tap. Could that even work? Would that person need to physically be in the same room for it to be of any use? Would that mean I couldn't trade in my pants whilst scratching my balls, blasting house music and eating whole tubs of Ben and Jerry's anymore? Probably. Ah well.

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