Inspiration by Malcolm Morley

Inspiration by Malcolm Morley

I was just recently having a private conversation with another trader, and I thought that his description of how he started; the obstacles he faced and how he stayed the course truly inspirational; and too good not to be shared.

I was just recently having a private conversation with another trader, and I thought that his description of how he started; the obstacles he faced and how he stayed the course truly inspirational; and too good not to be shared. With his permission therefore, but with the promise of not revealing the source, here’s an excerpt:


While financial independence has always been my objective, the way I actually got into trading was that at some point I read something about Soros in a newspaper, started doing some research and got “Market Wizards” into my hands, went on to read “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” and eventually “Pit Bull”, all fantastic books, thought, hmm, that sounds like incredible fun, and, with great hubris, what do those guys have that I don’t…;-)

I suppose one of the biggest initial challenges was trying to convince wife, family and friends…

“You’re going to be doing WHAT ??? Son, (I was 30 when I started this around 5 years ago, and my parents obviously got worried), why not just get a real job, why did we waste so much money on your tuition if it’s all going to be for nothing ??? Isn’t “playing” in the markets just like gambling ??? Who has ever heard of anybody making more money than they lose through the financial markets ??? What is going to happen if it doesn’t work ???”

In other words, I was facing a two front war at the beginning, but not only the beginning: I had to be like the captain on the bridge of a ship in a storm and exude great self confidence towards my crew (or, in my case, wife, family, friends) lest they panic, and that displayed self confidence also had to be directed inwards, I also had to convince MYself to believe in MYself achieving my objectives against what are after all quite formidable odds…

While maintaining my self confidence I also needed to find a strategy that not only works per se, but that also works for me and my needs, and also actually stick to that ;-).

In my case that was a need for a shorter term trading system that offered more trading opportunities (although shorter term in my case is more a type of swing trading, ie I’ll hold anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days at most).

While I would have appreciated having a mechanical system I never found anything that robustly works off of hourly charts or that would generate enough trades for me, but to be honest, not being a programmer, I never looked too hard either, as I thought that there were others much better equipped to compete in that very competitive field. I also didn’t want to give up on the short term time frame, and I thought, being much more of a visual than a numbers person, that the human brain should be perfectly capable of getting sufficient information from the charts and pure price information itself to make a living.

I started out paper trading index and debt futures, but then discovered Oanda and the trading game which was much more realistic for practicing, so went on to spend a really long period of time playing the game here, losing most of my game equity, but never giving up, always knowing that if I just stuck it out eventually I would become net profitable, and after ages things did start turning around with enough consistency over sufficient trades to know that this was no fluke, so I started trading with real money. Until about a year ago I sustained myself largely on the belief that I would make it and reach my goals, since then I’ve had confirmation from my trading itself, which was quite a novel experience…

Nevertheless I am still at the beginning of my trading journey in terms of reaching my objective of financial independence, the way I see it is I now have the tools I need and the mind set, but I now have to use those to actually get the account up to a point where we are talking about a real income or real net worth.

I know everybody always said that the difference playing the game (or papertrading elsewhere) vs trading with real money would be huge, but, for me, that was not the case at all, maybe because I took the game extremely seriously, maybe because I have this tremendous confidence that, while the journey may be incredibly tough, eventually, if you believe in yourself sufficiently, you will reach your goals. Fall off the horse, and just be willing to get straight back on again.

As for my trading itself it is pure simplicity, based on nothing but pure price action and trading off of support and resistance, maybe the occasional price pattern, and while I will go with the trend occasionally the larger portion of my trades will be counter trend, I have fairly aggressive money management, but being able to participate another day is key.

I think the main thing about trading is really how you cope with yourself: if I allow myself to feel like a loser because of a string of losses I very probably will remain one: if however I maintain the ability to believe in myself and my long term objectives through all adversity, can view the adversity as no more than a cost of doing business, while being able to let go of the individual trade as pretty unimportant in the bigger scheme of things, then it’s more likely than not that your long term objective will be achieved. For me at least trading really is a mind game more than anything

What can I say? Brilliant! I’m sure the above will touch a cord with many.

I have lived and breathed trading ever since trading fx professionally in London, Toronto and Philadelphia in the early 70's (yes I know that shows my age!). While my professional career subsequently took me from the trading desk to designing treasury systems for some of the world's leading financial institutions, my desire was to always trade for myself. As a consequence, following 5 years with a major international stock-broker (the last 3 as... More