The Trading Tribe
(c) Ed Seykota 2003-2010 - Write for permission to reprint.
Ed Seykota's FAQ

Reader Says

Ed Says

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Evolving TTP

Dear Ed,

on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - Evolving TTP – you write

“Sometimes taking a form to term clears the associating judgment and spills the knot. In cases where the form is part of a "medicinal" behavior pattern, we take the extra step of supplementing the "Rock" with "pro-active" resources.”

I have observed the same. I also observe that listening and accepting the other person the way she is and encouraging her to do what she wants to do can spill the knot.

I recall a patient reporting panic attacks and phobic fear. As I offer him to go into his feeling, he refuses, telling me that it is too painful.

I then tell him that I am not going any further, for the idea is not to torture people by forcing them to do what they do not want to do. I mention that it is absolutely OK to be fearful. I support him and encourage him to do what he wants and needs at the time: to avoid experiencing the feeling of fear.

For some seconds he stares at me with wild open eyes, perplex. He has a huge “aha” about the meaning of “fear”. He recalls events in his childhood as he learns to judge “fear”. I just stay by him as the pieces fall together. As he leaves my office, he is still perplex.

A couple of days later I call him: he reports that his symptoms are gone.

Best regards,
Thank you for sharing your process - and your skill as a practitioner.

In the control-centric model, we try to "fix" others, by request, demand, force, manipulation, etc. 

In the intimacy-centric model we accept others just the way they are - and the way they are not.

Curiously, intimacy typically turns out to provide the best fix.


experiencing ourselves in others,
others in ourselves
and being kind.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guam Could Tip Over and Capsize


You might like this video of a congressman - who recently wins re-election on 2 November 2010, obtaining 75.7% of the votes.
Thank you for the video.

As long as we have such leaders, trend following is likely to work pretty well.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Evolving TTP


Ed writes in response to a 22 Oct 2010 FAQ post :

As the work evolves, we now rarely take a form to term or to the zero point. Spilling the form can act like "calming" drugs - that makes "bad" feelings go away - and does not impact the underlying situation.

Such "medicinal" resources can entrain repetitive rituals of relief and can lead to the development of "signature forms."

These days, we generally develop a form until it starts to peak, at which point we "freeze" it in order to locate a critical incident that we can role play and retro-fit with pro-active resources such as sharing feelings.

I agree with your comment about developing signature forms. I find it easy to develop intense Hot seat forms, release a lot of emotion, & feel better without necessarily any long-term change.

Nevertheless, I notice I feel concern about what I perceive as the original "purity" of TTP being lost to / replaced by more complex processes relying on more skillful process management. I look forward to learning more about this at the Austin workshop.

Until then,
Sometimes taking a form to term clears the associating judgment and spills the knot.

In cases where the form is part of a "medicinal" behavior pattern, we take the extra step of supplementing the "Rock" with "pro-active" resources.

In both cases, we draw on the skill and commitment of the Tribe members to assist Hot Seat to develop his forms.

You might consider taking your feelings about <purity> to Tribe.


give gold its various colors.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wants the System

Hello Ed,

I have come to believe that you want to help people. I've heard it said that "its the system that wins." I want to believe trend following is quantitative and systematic, with no discretionary overrides of a given system's generated trade signals. I've read you work from a home in Incline Village, Nevada. That your trading is largely confined to a few minutes a day , the time it takes to run your "internally written computer program which generates TRADING SIGNALS for the next day.

Everything else aside, as a starting point, is it p o s s i b l e for me, to get your 'trading strategy???????? Specifically, the answers to the five questions for a trading system:

1) signal to buy/sell a market

2) signal o get out of a losing position.

3) signal to get out of a winning position

4) system that determines what market to buy or sell at any time and

5) system that determines how much of a market to buy or sell at any time.

Heck, let me be even bolder,…would it be possible to get you computer program?

You say one should master the basic literature and spend some time with successful traders…well, with your blessings, I would love to dive right in. Would it be possible run with and test y o u r trading plan, the nuts and bolts part of it, while I simultaneously work on the "the ever present moment of now"?

I drive to Nevada quite regularly and would love to meet up with you, if that were ever possible. Or is your actual trading plan, the way you really trade it, day in and day out, the 2nd biggest military secret this side of Iraq? I hope not. I hope someone else can have a crack at it to see if it fits their style of trading.

I honestly await your answer with bated breath. If your not the real deal, I don't know what is. I know its rather blunt to just come out and ask for such a thing but I don't believe in putting the cart before the horse and its a good place to start.

Again, ... I'd love to try and duplicate the joys and trials of trading that you managed to sail through thus far.

Yours Truly,
Thank you for sharing the framework of what you hear and read, what you want to believe and for distilling trading down to five questions.

I don't know any traders who use that particular framework.

If you want a mechanical system, see the TSP link, above.

The "rest of the story" is that you might like to develop personal resources to manage yourself while you manage a mechanical trading system. For that, you might like to join a Tribe and/or attend the upcoming Workshop.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Impact of FAQ

Hello Ed,

I recently sent [Name] a thank you for his work and its impact on my trading, life and overall thought process.

[Name] asked me to spread that "thank you" to you, for he feels his education that benefited me so much is a direct reflection of his work with you.

So, Ed, Thank you.

Finding your FAQ section and reading through it all was/is the turning point in my life/trading/thought process. I had my ahhhh moment and employ this learning every day.

You will be happy to know, after reading some of your and [Name's] teachings, I immediately went to my charts and deleted every indicator I was employing. Gone. Now I secretly smirk every time I look at my new price charts with a simple MA lined out.

I have included the email I sent to [Name] in this email.

I definitely wanted you to also receive my thank you, for it is always rewarding to know that you, Ed, have assisted another being; and in the best most everlasting way.....via thought.

Thank you,
Thank you for your encouragement.
Monday, November 8, 2010

Transactional AHA

Hi Ed,

I just had a realization today. After you told me you didn't receive the envelope I sent via snail mail, I was irritated and unknowingly retaliated by confounding the process of emailing the info. I sent a Google doc in order to make you 'work' for the info something like you were making me work by requesting the info from me. The interesting part is I didn't realize it until I read your emails today. I believe my Fred (or [Name] as I like to call him) was operating independently to achieve this revenge. I feel ashamed of my behavior. I'm sorry I wasted more time then was necessary on this process. Looking forward to seeing you in December.

All the best,
Thank you for sharing your process.

The Workshop generally starts when you commit to attend.

You might consider taking your feelings about <shame> to Tribe.
Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sixty-Seven Foot Cube of Gold

Dear Ed,

One reads that people have gold stored in various clever places, but to me that seems riskier than the custodial risk those same people object to in the gold ETFs. Theft, fire, forgetfulness, all the risks of daily life. One solution is to invest in lead to protect the gold. I suppose.

PS Here is a recent quote on gold (I don't know if it's real):

“You could take all the gold that’s ever been mined, and it would fill a cube 67 feet in each direction. For what that’s worth at current gold prices, you could buy all — not some — all of the farmland in the United States. Plus, you could buy 10 Exxon Mobils, plus have $1 trillion of walking-around money. Or you could have a big cube of metal. Which would you take? Which is going to produce more value?”

~ Warren Buffet
Thank you for the quote.

Warren Buffet is the quintessential Fundamentalist - in the Ben Graham tradition.

To him, gold is non-productive and makes no sense.  Same for tech-stocks in their day.

Trend followers simply go with the flow of prices and leave understanding to the pros.

Note: the following charts do not imply any kind of recommendation from me to buy, sell, hold or stay out of any particular instruments.

Gold - December 2010 Futures

doubles in the last three years

BRK-A (Berkshire Hathaway)

is down a bit.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why Questions


Richard Feynman discusses "why."
Thank you for the link.
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Progress Report 12 Months Later -
Net Worth Rising

Hi Ed,

I attend your workshop in October 2009.

As I report already the hot seat at the workshop resolves my issue of not completing things. This resolution is still 100% in place 12 months later. I am finishing things without a second thought these days, which was previously inconceivable.

My commitment out of the workshop was to cut back my day job to 4 days a week and to complete various trading research and implementation actions. The cut back was a compromise to my original question of "why don't I quit my day job?".

I cut back my days. Eventually in about May this year the pressure of work increases so I go back to 5 days with the intention to quit by July or August. I also notice that I am making myself unpopular at work. I get fired in June and decide not to look for another job because I am ready to not have a day job.

At this time I email my support team and tell them I have achieved my objective (quitting work), thanks in part to their support and helpful and insightful comments, and this was a good time to sign off. In retrospect I think this was a bit of a mistake though no dire consequences have ensued. A support team from a workshop is very valuable.

I buckle down and start working on my strategies and trading. This work is going very well. I am on the way to catching up on the schedule I had set out. The return to 5 days a week was partly responsible for slipping on the schedule, as was the fact that the research proved more complex than I thought. For example, I realized that execution quality was quite important for my strategy and spent several weeks researching that. I also realized that some of my wider financial commitments no longer made sense and I have taken steps to unwind these. All this takes time.

I have followed my system fairly reliably (e.g. one exception was a couple of days delay in some monthly trades due to having to move money around) and I have refined it over time. My net worth is up about 30% since the workshop and my strategies have higher expectations and better risk/reward than the ones I had at the time. On a Sharpe ratio basis it's about 40% better than what I had, according to back tests. I have lots of ideas and new fields to explore. I'm also pursuing several interests I've had for many years but never had the time before.

There is a lot more to be done but I am very happy with the results so far.

Thank you for sharing your process.
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Guiltless Fun / Should-ing

Hi Ed,

Two people drop out of our tribe after one session but we still have enough. One of the drop-outs is interesting, because he has a very strong Aha during his last session. I think the Aha is very valid, even obvious to everyone else - about his monopolizing conversation.

In spite of - or maybe because of - this useful result he dropped out. Sometimes just before tribe I find myself "realizing" that maybe I am too busy to go this week, maybe for similar reasons.

Hot Seat 1

In my case I bring my issue along which is that I keep putting off fun activities and keep on working too long. I feel guilty when I have fun, socialize, etc. In particular, say I have a plan to go to the movies. I "forget" or realize just a bit too late that it's time to go. Every so often I get exhausted and stop working suddenly and have a few days of random indulgence, then I start working again.

I start the form, which is kind of a hiding position. With lots of encouragement from the rest of the tribe I crank it up and up. This goes on for quite a while. Suddenly I feel like an electrical shock through my body and then after a while I stand up and slowly and calmly start taking steps in a definite direction. I pause and think for a minute and then sit down.

Suddenly I realize that my father did exactly the same thing as I do. He would work really hard and never spend time with us doing normal fun family things. Then he would suddenly disappear with his friends on fishing holidays, often for months. Sometimes he left us without any money to live on. I am repeating the same pattern:

- I am unable to enjoy myself without feeling guilty.
- I suddenly stop working and have fun but in an irresponsible way. I feel the only way to have fun is to be irresponsible.

During the hot seat and to some extent during the debrief that followed this all becomes crystal clear. The steps I take during the hot seat symbolize my getting up and starting to get ready when it is time to leave for the movie. I do it in a purposeful, matter of fact way.

There was no rocks process because I had the Aha without it.

The next day I go to the movies. I also plan a second visit to the movies next Monday with my wife and we are also planning to go to the zoo. I've also been into music shops to look at guitars and negotiated a good price; if all goes well I should have a deposit on my guitar of choice by Tuesday. All with no guilt or bad feelings. Other fun things are happening well, and my work is also going really well. There is a lot less mindless wasting of time. When I work, I work, and when I play I happily play.

Hot Seat 2

[Name], who has been to a couple of your workshops takes the hot seat. He has taken a year off work to concentrate on trading. He has not made the progress he wanted to - not taking trades on that were in his system and that proved to be very profitable, etc. Now he is getting low on cash and will have to return to work soon. He is very unhappy with this.

The hot seat goes in two phases. In the first phase, we reach a level of intensity, then [Name] says "OK, what's next, so what" and the "spell" is broken. I feel the rest of us let this happen in some way because we just accepted the breakout. We discuss this for a while and decide to try again and push harder this time i.e. lots more encouragement. It feels dumb to keep encouraging the person but it is really helpful.

We do the hot seat again and we seem to be getting further and deeper, Feelings are strong. I make several comments along the lines of "you look upset and you should be - you have wasted a year". This seems to push <person> further along.

Eventually [Name] sits up and has a go at me - "How do you know how I feel?". This is in response to my comment that "you are angry about having to go back to work", which he visibly was.

In our debrief I suggested that if you want to find a way out of a hot seat you will, and <person> did find a way out.

Does this look like a willingness issue or is our technique wrong? How can we test willingness?

Thank you for sharing your process.

In TTP, the process manager generally encourages Hot Seat to experience his forms by supporting Hot Seat to go wherever Hot Seat seems to be going.

We generally avoid the telling Hot Seat what he "should" be doing or explaining "why" he is feeling something.  These methods tend to draw Hot Seat out process and into the Control Model.

Your methods seem consistent with people dropping out of your Tribe.

In your own process, I gather you are learning to allow yourself freedom to follow your own feelings. You might now consider affording this freedom to your other Tribe members.

You might consider taking your feelings about <what other people should do> to Tribe.

Overly Controlling People

sometimes wind up alone.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tribe Up and Running

Hi Ed,

Just a short note to let you know we have our tribe here up and running. Not everyone who contacted us stayed but we have enough. We have several meetings under our belt and each fortnight we make further progress. We have a room booked for the next four sessions and we are all attending reliably.

We have completed the exercises from the book and at the last meeting took some forms to the point of high intensity. A few Aha moments already. This week our plan is to do the rocks process in full.

Thank you for sharing your process.
Friday, November 5, 2010

His and Her Thoughts


Her Diary:

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, 'Nothing.' I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.' When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. To my surprise, he responded to my caress, and we made love. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

His Diary:

Boat wouldn't start, can't figure it out, at least I got laid.
Thank you for your concise summary of the functional difference between testosterone and estrogen.
Friday, November 5, 2010

Wants More Music

Ed Sensei,

Can I request you to upload more songs of yours on to the Trading Tribe web site? . Currently, I see only "the whipsaw song" and the "Say how it is". I had shown these songs to some of my friends and we all found them inspirational.
Perhaps you can publish your songs with music and lyrics, like the way you published the TT book.
with Love,
I plan to publish more music with my book.
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Starting a Fund

Dear Ed,

I tell tribe my intention of starting my own fund. They challenge me to gather information on how to do this. Since I already trade for myself, the majority of my effort directs toward the administrative end of things, meeting with potential investors and putting together marketing materials. This takes some time, but I get it done. My fund is launching in January 2011.

My family, friends, tribe and people who lead by example continue to be an inspiration to me. I intend to lead by example by following my passion of managing money profitably, building and maintaining supportive relationships, and maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Thank you for helping me realize my dream. Your contributions to others greatly inspire me. Also, I am wondering when you are continuing with the EcoNowMics study.
Thank you for sharing your process.

I plan to publish more EcoNowMics with my book.
Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Mystery of Time


This fellow obviously has been to a few Tribe meetings.
Thank you for the link.
Thursday, November 4, 2010

To All the Girls I've Loved Before


Here is a video about how people change as they get older.

Thank you for the video.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tribe Meeting Report - Recap of Series


I attend our tenth and final tribe meeting on 10/21. I feel nervous, anxious, and sad. What an incredible experience this is for me.

I feel like I am a different person now, with more resources to overcome the obstacles in my life. Thank you Ed, so much, for sharing your time and your knowledge with us. I feel included, I feel part of a team of people working together to improve each other's lives, and the lives of our families. I learn so many things over the course of ten meetings. I learn that I can send and receive feelings! I learn that my job is not to control my children, but to empower them and to set them free. I learn that showing strength and a "positive attitude" is NOT equal to sharing my feelings. I learn from the tribe that joy and sadness feel exactly the same. In both cases there are tears, tightness at the top of my stomach, a feeling of letting go. I learn that the feelings you are unwilling to feel are your true trading system. I learn from Ed that combining business with sharing feelings is incredibly powerful. And I absorb lessons from every single tribe member. Every Single One! Every person's struggle on the Hot Seat gives me some new insight, some gem that I take away and carry with me as a resource.

I make positive changes in my life. I make an effort, every day, to share my feelings with my family. I have dramatically decreased my judgments about people in my life, especially my wife. I am now much more able to accept her, without a desire for her to change. When I see her, without judgment, without attempting to control who she is or what she does, she is beautiful. She is fun, and funny, and I enjoy her, like I never have before.

Thank you again Ed! I feel awed, and just so privileged to be part of this group!
Thank you for sharing your process.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hi Ed

I emailed the local tribe but did not get a response so it seems unlikely I can assemble 20-30 people in Singapore!

I am keen to attend a workshop but given the time of year and distance December is difficult. If I cannot attend the workshop in December, do you have any idea when you might host another workshop in 2011?

I do not have plans or a date for another Workshop at this point - aside from the one coming up in Austin next month.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Business is Thriving

Hello Ed,

My first presentation is here. I am looking forward to it. I thank you for all the support and encouragement over the years.

I have been managing a proprietary account for [Firm] as a CTA since September 26, 2008. I am thrilled to inform you that after two years in a managed futures business our trading has not only survived, but is thriving. Even during these challenging economic times our trading program achieved +63.22% compound returns net of fees in only 25 short months.

I will be presenting the [Name] trading program we have been successfully trading for the past two years, as well as a new investment program we are preparing to launch in 2011. We have been doing well in our own trading and are ready to offer our services to others.
I truly appreciate your support over the years and I am looking forward to see you at your workshop!
Thank you for sharing your success.