The Trading Tribe
(c) Ed Seykota 2003-2011 - Write for permission to reprint.
Ed Seykota's FAQ
Readers Say Ed Says
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Information about Next TTP Workshops

Dear Mr. Seykota,

I’m interested in attending one of your TTP workshops. A little background about me, if in case it’s needed:

Since 2003 I’ve been studying about trading from a technical analysis perspective, mainly in the discretionary form, but more recently my interests moved to the systematic approach, which I intend to develop.

After 4 years of studying the markets, I decided to start trading them. I can say that I gained some experience, both from errors and things that I did right. So far I have a modest financial reward from this process (with some large drawdowns though), but my real gain was some insights that I acquired about trying to keep an ego detachment from my decisions and being able to cope with the frustration that comes when things don’t go the way we expect.

As I learned how emotions and external/internal inputs can blur or bias our risk/assessment and decision-making process, I decided to find good methods and lessons with people who study how to frame and react better to them.

I’m a [Nationality] physician/researcher, and I moved 2 months ago to [City] to work in statistical database research.

I got acquainted with some of your accomplishments after reading Mr. Schwager’s book and I checked on your site and discovered the TTP workshop. There is a gentlemen from my hometown [Name], who attended it (in 2005, I guess).

He now runs a mechanical trading fund in [Country] and I already met him personally. He encouraged me about the benefits that I could gain from the TTP workshop, and I’m really excited about developing a more rational and insightful approach to this process of decision-making and reacting to the external and internal inputs that we must constantly deal with.

If you have already an available workshop in your schedule, I would like to know more information about it. Or if you could enroll me in a waiting list, I’d appreciate it.

Best regards,
Thank you for your interest in a Workshop.

When I sense demand, I supply.
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Singapore Tribe Contact

Please note I am not getting any response from your Spore details listed.

How can I move forward ?

Thank You,
One foot in front of the other.
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Words of Wisdom.

Ed Says: 'The closest we get to fixing someone is by working on ourselves and perhaps inspiring others by our own growth.'


We 'work' on ourselves by incorporating our personal experience in a non-harmful way to allow the realization of the present, not a replay of the past. This is most important in the potentially emotionally laden prospect of self identity intermingling with the trading process; in one, we must be able to fully experience the joy and excitement of gifts when given, in the other a cold play of facts.......seemingly a paradox, but not impossible. Both the 'soft' and 'hard' need to exist harmoniously. No better way to learn than by example; one sees, one believes. The growth process never ends, it is the purpose. If it was easy, the result would not hold such high value, esteem and rarity. Most find it the most difficult thing to experience the unadulterated present; Ed, you must enjoy the challenge. I am always for the positive force and wish you well.
Thank you for sharing your comments.
Friday, April 8, 2011 8:09 AM

Trend Following on TV


Interview with David Harding this am.
Thank you for the clip.
Friday, April 8, 2011

Overcoming Pain

Hi Ed!

My last post March 25th was answered with "You might consider taking your feelings about <wanting approval> to Tribe."

We had a very good tribe yesterday but I actually forgot to bring it up to tribe. But, yes - I guess I want your approval.

Lately I have also received feedback about medicinal behavior and trying to predict the market. Considering all "these behavioral things" I carry around it feels pretty good anyway. I am enjoying the now much more nowadays and when I attended a breathing course with my pregnant wife I was very curious about it since you organize breath weekends.

I can feel it helps to breathe, especially since I now understand the relaxation it gives to breathe out. First I discovered that I could actually minimize physical hurt (for example when I stretch my muscles) but yesterday I also found out that deep breathing helps me to overcome mental unrest.

When I breathe consciously the brain can not simultaneously receive as many hurting feelings, physical as well as psychological. It seems to be because the resting center and the pain center is located at similar places and battle over priority. Now I have another good resource to help me stay in the now.

Have a nice weekend!

Thank you for sharing your process.

In TTP we view ways to "overcome" pain as medicinal in nature.

Our response to a feeling is to embrace it, make it an ally and learn from it.

Pain is mostly the resistance to a feeling, the unwillingness to experience it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Seventy Pounds Lighter After Tribe Meeting


Thank you for last night. I feel that for the past 28 years I have been carrying a 70 pound backpack. I feel light and at peace.
Thank you for sharing your process.
Friday, April 8, 2011

Workshop in Europe

Ed - I'd like to let you know that we have 3 members of the [City] Tribe, including myself, wishing to attend a TTP Workshop in Europe.

I volunteer to arrange / coordinate all logistics ... in case you consider having a workshop here.

I am not available between July 9th and July 31st but I make "attending a Workshop in Europe" a priority for all other dates in 2011.

Kind regards,
Thank you for your offer. 

I host Workshops in response to demand.

If I sense demand in Europe, I am likely to make the trip.
Friday, April 8, 2011

Software Limitations


[We] are working on a long term trend following system.
The results on the back testing so far are extremely good and we believe can still be improved on.

We have back tested a long only strategy to include the bear of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009.

The limitations we are coming up against are software based in that we can not test to include changing parameters as a trade develops e.g. moving stops, extending time periods, slowing averages.

We have tried various software including CQG.

Do you know of any software that will allow us to do this kind of testing or do we need to write our own?

Is this why you have your own?
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider if you are striving for perfection as a way to avoid having to engage the markets with real trading.


can be a form of medication.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trading System Project

Hello Mr. Seykota,

I want to participate in all aspects of the trading system project as the majority of it appears to be incomplete. What can I do to get started on the right path?

Thank you for expressing interest in TSP.

I wonder if you have a particular interest you might like to explore and contribute to the advancement of the materials on TSP.
Thursday, April 7, 2011

TT School of Thought

Hello Mr. Ed

This is just a thank you note for creating wonderful FAQ where I get to read & learn from amazing experiences of TT members and of course your ED-ucative witty remarks mostly with 'interesting' pictures.

I take this opportunity to share a thought by Pema Chodron which depicts essence of TT: "We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves."

With best regards
Thank you for sharing your insight.
Thursday, April 7, 2011


Thank you for the reply. I appreciate it.

Respectfully (definitely not sarcastically) I wonder if you might consider taking your feelings about questions to the Tribe. If questions are indeed damaging and serve no purpose in learning or building rapport at all, respectfully I wonder if you might consider changing FAQ to something more appropriate such as FAF (Frequently Appearing Feelings) so that it may attract readers to share more of their feelings instead of questions.

Meanwhile, I intend to work on my issue that brings a lot of fear in me (as I detail in the Breathwork application). I intend to keep working on more sharing feelings and building rapport, and I appreciate any insights you might share.

I hold the belief that the feelings I am avoiding the most likely holds the key to improvement, but "not asking question" is not a feeling. I intend to keep an open mind regarding questions, and to be aware of its potential danger. They have never been an issue for me in my relationship ... well, until you keep challenging me to stop as if this is something that needs fixing.

Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your process.

Sex can be an important part of a relationship.  If it becomes an obsession, you might consider going without it for a while.

The same goes for alcohol, trading, and even asking questions.

You might consider visiting the Principles Page, to see if any thing there rings a bell with you.

Learning to Balance

female consumerism
and neurotic obsession

with dreams of the perfect marriage.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coping with Fear

Hi Ed,

Today my wife wanted me to take care of the kids because I will be gone for the long weekend. I also wanted to spend the day with them because its my daughters 4th birthday and I will miss them over the weekend.

I have been enduring a mild feeling of fear located in my stomach since yesterday. I'm guessing that the fear is related to flying and the unknowns related to Breathwork weekend.

As I am spending the day with my kids today my ability to cope with the fear and be emotionally available for my kids dwindles. By the afternoon I feel the uncontrollable urge to take a nap. As the kids are doing some crafts I lay down and fall into a mild half sleep for 10 minutes. When I wake up I feel more energized and the fear is milder and I have the ability to endure it .

I get the sense that I should just feel the fear and let it pass. I try to do this but I'm not sure how and normal habit of shutting down wins the day. I'm frustrated because I have had success feeling deep sadness at times and the feeling has passed. For some reason I'm not having the same success with fear.

Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider viewing fear as an ally - and discovering its positive intention.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Testing the System-Intimacy Model


I take a long weekend to spend time with my children and parents. I feel increasingly comfortable in the system model and I want to “test” the model under extreme circumstances.

I enjoy a conversation with my son. He talks about his relationship with his girlfriend. I ask about his feelings and he is able to share his feelings…he shares feeling somewhat confined and there are some feelings of resentment that he is not able to be as involved with other females that are just friends.

I listen and receive his feelings. I notice that there is a lot of fact and opinion sharing also and the moments of sharing real feelings occurs briefly only in our conversation. I have several conversations with my mother and I notice the same pattern. We communicate ok on a wide variety of subjects but there are only brief moments of sharing deep feelings. I notice myself…that I struggle myself in this new language.

I notice at times feeling an emotion and wanting to go into the causal model and then sharing my own feelings. I notice when I share whatever I feel in the moment that the impulsive desire to initiate the causal model fades fairly quickly.

Mom and I have a good conversation about feelings related to our own motives and judgments. I talk with my father but I notice it is very fact based and consists mostly of his sharing facts, opinions, advice or judgments. When he shares an opinion or fact I begin to ask him how he feels about that in a direct way…what are your feelings about that, dad?

He will continue to share another opinion or fact. I thank him for sharing his opinion or advice them I ask again about how he feels and I explain what a feeling is. He stares into space for a short time and explains he does not understand.

I explain again what a feeling is and is not. He looks astonished as though he really has never heard the definition of a “feeling”. He says that is just to deep for him.

We continue the conversation and I give examples of sharing a feeling. I finally ask him how he feels about feelings. That may be quite over the top. He sits down and thinks on that for a moment. I share some feelings with dad but it appears he is very limited in what he is willing to allow himself to feel.

It seems to me that being willing and having the capacity to share feelings is much like sharing and receiving the music of each other. Feelings are very much like notes that, put together, are like beautiful music.

C.S. Lewis wrote that “Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives” and the language of this affection is sharing and receiving feelings.

As my conversation with my father continued I became aware that the inability or unwillingness to express or experience feelings eventually points to simply being alone in the world.

In a few instances in our conversations over the next couple of days whenever my father would express a feeling I thanked him and pointed out that he shared a feeling. It seemed profound to him. I was able to share and receive feelings with my children for the most part and it seems that staying in the system model is a conscious effort at times depending on what agenda or drama is involved.
Thank you for sharing your process - and for reporting on implementing intimacy with your family.


indicates unwillingness to connect.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wants to Know What Language to Use

Hi Mr. Seykota,

Could you please tell me what programming language would be the best to implement a mechanical trading system. I am new to programming and back testing so I am not sure where to begin. Focusing on the price is what I am trying to do, but I might need some guidance. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
I suggest you start with clear SVO-p English (Subject, Verb, Object, present tense).

Then you might translate it to Excel.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Best Performance Ever

Dear Ed:

I had the best performance in a day of my trading career yesterday with my account up over 6%.

I have had a history of poor performance soon after great performance. However, today I performed well after a great day and did not give back any gains.

In addition, my average #trades/day is down 75% since I was on the hot heat. I am feeling a lot calmer and a lot more at peace during the trading day.

Thank you for helping me get to this place.
You are welcome.  thank you for sharing your process.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Frustration and Rejection

Mr. Seykota,

This email is concerning the apprenticeship that you wanted to postpone a little over a month ago. Talking with you during that short period of time was an amazing experience for me. I learned a lot from that short period of time. It took me awhile to see what I missed due to the frustration, confusion and disappointment I was experiencing at that time.

The "rejection" was a little hard to handle especially without fully understanding why at that point in time. I have done a lot of work and reading since then and learned many things. Some of the books that I have read over the past couple of weeks was "The Trading Tribe Book", "Reminiscence of a Stock Operator", "A Short Course in Technical Trading" by Perry Kaufman who I was trading emails with for a little while, and am currently reading "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" and "Speculation as a Fine Art".

The books that I have read, especially" Reminiscence of a Stock Operator" has taught me a lot when it comes to trading and the significance of emotions and how it can ruin a trader. I understand how emotions can make or break a trader and that it takes work to notice and deal with your emotions correctly.

I have also done many statistical analysis on trading systems. I ran correlations against some of the most common trading system techniques and from my analysis and tests have come to learn that it isn't so much the trading system that you necessarily use within reason.

When dealing with the system itself, it is about optimization, but not over-fitting, money and risk management, and building that system around your trading personality. I have also started doing analysis on trading specific kinds of contracts. I, unfortunately, have not been able to come up with a good forward analysis test to check whether or not I am optimizing my system and not over-fitting.

Your recent conversations with me and questioning my initial trading system of using a MACD and Slow Stochastic has put me on a better path. Or at least I believe I am on a better path. I am still looking for an apprenticeship with you.

I never and still don't fully understand why it ended so abruptly last time we talked. The only thing I can make sense of was that I was highly control centric and was trying to control the situation to my favor instead of talking about our goals and seeing if they aligned. As an engineer I was highly unemotional and based my life's decisions around calculations but I am starting to understand how important emotions and personality have a large impact on trading. I can do as much analysis and reading that I want but this will only bring me half way to my goals in life.

I would like to try to be a fund manager at some point. I know many people who would agree to invest with me providing I have been properly educated and can show "historical performance" (back testing) on random samples they would give me. I unfortunately have no defined process of starting a fund at this point and educating myself seems to go only so far.

So, I would like to ask you for your guidance and possibly an apprenticeship again. If I am still not there, please bring to my attention what I should be questioning myself on so I know what I may need to work on. I never had the luxury of speaking with you after [the initial contact] and I was flying blindfolded trying to teach myself in all areas and I have learned many things but still I know I have much to learn from someone that has a history of experience.

If you would like to discuss this in further detail outside of emailing, please give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

Best regards,   .
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider visiting the Principles Page, to see if any thing there rings a bell with you.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Question Man Redux

Hi Ed,

I feel I have given my best effort to stop questioning, share
feelings and go with rapport in my second attempt, and the result seems to reflect that intention.

I feel a lot closer to all my various family members. Seeing that you choose not to give a respond to it, naturally I feel disappointed. I feel genuine in my commitment to moving forward through issues and show emotional engagement, but absent any response, I can only guess that you don't share the same view.

Still, I'd appreciate to hear your feedback so that I can learn from my mistakes and make improvement. I am prepared that the comment would likely hurt, but I believe I can learn and be a better person as a result of it. I wonder how you feel about the second log. Especially as it now seems my effort is still delinquent in your opinion, I am concerned I may have some grave misunderstanding at a fundamental level, or am just heading in a wrong direction altogether.

Before you suggest that I am using questions to avoid intimacy, I tend to associate asking questions with curiosity and wonder.

Now with an infant son, I notice that I learn - like young children - by asking questions, pushing for boundaries, making mistakes, and getting into trouble. Well, at least by now I've learned to take responsibility. If I appear to be disrespectful, I'd like to use this opportunity to offer my apology.

Lastly, I'd just like to share my desire to be a good and diligent tribesman, to learn from the Austin Tribe, to support other breathers, and to work very hard at my own issue, if I get the privilege to join them.

I feel glad to have given my best effort for the opportunity to be there, to really bare my soul and share how I feel, and if that is still not good enough in your judgment, I am at peace with it and ready to accept the outcome, move on, and just wish all of them the very best.

Thank you for sharing your process.

In TTP, we determine willingness, early in the process - and we keep testing for it.

I wonder if you are really willing to forego questions, even for one day; I notice you are willing to justify your unwillingness.

Absent willingness, a hot-seat session may well stall out into co-dependent games, such as "hide the real issue" and "bet you can't fix me."

In TTP we do not attempt to fix anyone or force anyone to face issues.  We can only assist and attend the miracle of someone coming forth with willingness to deal with his/her own issues.

The closest we get to fixing someone is by working on ourselves and perhaps inspiring others by our own growth.

If a Tribe member willingly brings an issue, we help him to deal with it.

If a Tribe member attempts to engage the Tribe or Tribe Members in his drama, I generally invite him to leave.

Part of my job is to ensure that all the members of my Tribe are willing to participate, fully, by the same rules.

So far, your results seem to indicate an intention for rejection.

You might consider taking your feelings about <authority> and <rejection> to your local Tribe.

Sometimes You're the Bun

and sometimes
you're the weenie.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Dealing With Sister's Cancer
and With Unemployment

Dear Ed,

I stand ready, willing to work on Thursday night. I have been willing to work in past meetings, but during check-ins others seemed more hot about their issues than I have felt about mine. Thank you for turning up the heat, and for allowing me an opportunity to work on my issues.

Here is an extension to my Tribe Meeting Recap.

Right now I am feeling a hollow sensation in my stomach, and heat. I am also feeling sadness and grief. My sister ... who is the mother of four, the youngest of which is three years old, is fighting a exoskeletal myxoid chondro sarcoma, an extremely rare form of cancer which attacks bone and connective tissue which a leading sarcoma specialist at [hospital] could not diagnose for a year after discovering multiple metastasis all over her body. They still don't know the source of the tumors.

I have three other sisters living in the [City] area and my parents living there also, and I feel sadness and some feelings of guilt that I am not there to be with her, to support her in her fight, to care for her as my sisters have been doing, along with a community of loving friends, for the last year and a half. I am flying to [City] tomorrow morning at six am, and will spend the morning with her before going to afternoon business meetings, the initial reason for my one-day trip.

I spend nearly an hour on the phone this evening with my eldest sister, who has been bearing the brunt of the work supporting my sick sister and the last two weeks have been particularly difficult for her.

I receive her feelings about this difficult period where she is caring for my sister as well as her own family. I express my feelings of wanting to be there to help, and the guilt I feel about not being able to be there to help more. We achieve intimacy and express shared love for our sick sister and each other, and she says she appreciates my support and concern, and looks forward to me being there tomorrow so she can go to the grocery for her own family, whose needs have been sacrificed so she could help my struggling sister.

We are both feeling charged with sadness and tears. She forewarns me that my sister has lost weight, and is frail and is in a tremendous amount of pain which the doctors have not been able to help with, except to get her to the point where she is "loopy". She expresses how difficult it is to see our sister enduring so much suffering. This is difficult to hear, and I silently wish that I could bear her suffering to ease her plight.

This grief is related to, and probably amplified by the grief I feel about not having a full-time job, since my employment of ten years ended mid-February. I do not know how to go about finding another way of making a living for my family, and I am starting to feel some anxiety.

I fear I may fail in my duty as a husband and a father, and feel I am failing as a brother to my suffering sister. Financially I am in a stable position, but I am not comfortable not having a structured form of employment.

My willing intention in tribe is to support the tribe, and to accept their support in the tribe process to help me become a more effective man, less encumbered by past agreements which were made in immaturity, to become equipped with better resources and an better ability to feel my feelings, and express them in ways that build intimacy and achieve better results in my life and the lives of those around me whom I hope to serve.

Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider noticing how your family and employment situations fit with the Kübler-Ross grief cycle model - as a way to further sort out your feelings.
Monday, April 4, 2011


Dear Ed,

my computer is sending emails which contain a link to a website. It is a virus. Please do not open it. I am working on the issue.

Best regards,
Thank you for the heads-up - and for protecting your colleagues - and for practicing safe text.
 Monday, April 4, 2011

Tribe Meeting Summary

Hi, Ed -

Here is my Tribe Meeting recap.

The meeting opened with drumming and I pick out a large drum and feel a rush of feeling of excitement and heat during the session.

Ed continues his discourse on the tribe process, talking about the positive intention of anger, using the example of prairie dogs in the desert.

They make their houses equidistant from one another - one wonders how does that work? Well, they occasionally intrude on another's territory, seeking to expand their land and progeny at the expense of their neighbor. The owner, if he isn't away tom-catting on another neighbor's territory, defends his own with growling and snarling - a real, immediate expression of their anger at the invasion of their space. They chirp as well.

They make the angry sound early, which sets the boundary clearly and unambiguously for the invader. This constant vigilance of one's own territory coupled with respect for the willingness of others to defend theirs, shown by their willingness to feel their feelings of anger and express them, maintains the living geometry.

Fear is another emotion which has positive intention. In this case he uses the example of a cat and a mouse. A fearless mouse is willing to go nose to nose with a cat probably won't live very long. If you have no fear, or you are unwilling to feel your fear and suppress it, you can get hurt because it will not serve the positive intention of keeping you prudently out of a situation which is beyond your ordinary means of dealing with it.

People who feel fear right away never get to the stage where they feel panic, because they respect their fear. People who get angry right away never have to escalate the situation to violence because they deal with a violation of rules or boundaries before it gets to be a major deal.

Even guilt, that most politically incorrect of feelings has a positive intention. If you do not feel guilt, you are a psychopath. When a judge looks at someone at the bar, what he looks for is remorse - an expression of guilt.

When it comes to systems and intentions and results, the intention must be to structure a system. Your intention holds the structure together "in tension". A structured system throws off results - results show up.

If you want to get out of a snarl and can't, it is because you are unwilling to get angry. Your deals must have easy ways to exit from snarls. If you are caught up in snarls it may be a sign that you have a need to feel anger.

Women are attracted to men who snarl. They like to play with them. Women love the look - Elvis had the snarl down pat.

Regarding the process of the tribe work, folks who aren't working in the role play get a lot of benefit from the process. There is participation in the process even when just watching it unfold.

But, as the ground rules say, you have to put yourself out there and be active in your participation or it won't work.

One of the benefits to tribe work is that at some point you figure out that you don't need it anymore. You can establish this for yourself, and the process dies - it's a limited 10-session thing so you better take advantage of it while you can. Make hay while the sun is shining.

We break for dinner, which is provided by a local tribe member.

Tribe Member Work

One of the tribe members who was raised on a farm takes the hot seat to deal with issues he had with his father when he was a young boy overwhelming him with assignments for the day's work on the farm. Often he would forget assignments, or get the instructions wrong because they were delivered so quickly. It causes him to feel frustration and anger because he knew, from experience, he would be blamed for mistakes which were caused by the rapid communications.

Supporting tribe members, in turn around the circle, suggested resources which might help the young boy deal with the situation better. They included things such as building rapport by sharing his feelings of frustration, expressing his desire to please his father by doing the job well, and inviting the father to share his feelings, asking questions to clarify the instructions. There were also practical suggestions like using a note pad and a pen or pencil to write down the instructions to create a check list of tasks, with notes about how certain things needed to be done.

The role playing involved a re-enactment of the scene where the young boy seeks rapport with his father by using some of these resources to build a better, more intimate communications transition.

The tribe member showed an admirable respect and honor for his father, even when he felt as though he was being unfairly treated. He shows and expresses a debt of obligation to him for all the many things his father has provided for him, and an understanding of the positive intention of his father's tough and rigorous style. He seems to have a breakthrough in understanding how to deal with his father, and similar situation in life equipped with the resources of the intimacy model.

In the second hot seat, another tribe member expresses a difficulty in sticking to his knitting when it comes to doing his trading system. He doesn't get past downloading the data update from the vendor before running from the room. In a long process of discovery, Ed focuses on the numbers and goes through all the cardinal digits, asking if the tribe member has any feelings about any of them.

It turns out there is a resonance regarding dealing with the number nine. That turns out to involve a confusion between how his father wrote the number nine and the number four - they were easy to confuse, and this realization brought up a memory of a situation where the father was trying to teach some math to the young boy and becomes angry and abusive (physically and emotionally) when the boy mistakes the numbers. It is a dramatic process, which resolves well for the tribe member.

Both of these processes bring up memories in my own life of interacting with my father. I remembered one incident, which, during the evening, played like a movie in my mind when I was about fifteen, where my parents came home from a party in the neighborhood, and my father was intoxicated with alcohol.

We'd had a problem with a rat getting into the kitchen via the cabinet under the sink, where the garbage can was, and we had a "Victor"-brand trap under there to try and catch it. The trap needed baiting and setting and my father, in his intoxication, was unable to do so.

I offered to set it for him and he said I couldn't do it. I told him I thought I could, and he offered to bet me that I couldn't. I said "what will you give me if I can set it?" He said "I will buy you a car." This was a big deal, because I was just about to get my license to drive.

So I set the trap with no difficulty But the next day, he had no memory of the bet, and he welshed - he never made good on his promise of a car, but I didn't hold him to it because he had made the bet when he was incapable of rational thought.

The first hot seat brought up issues related to the scenario where the father was giving the boy more responsibility than he thought he could handle. In my case I was dealing with a feeling that my father didn't trust me, and was afraid to give me responsibility for things, fearing I would fail. That feeling still haunts me and holds me back, manifesting itself as an unwillingness to take on risk or responsibilities.
Thank you for your documentation.

Please re-write/extend your documentary email
to show some feeling - that the reader can feel with you, and some indication of an issue that you have - that is live and coming up, personally, for you.

For example "that my father ..." is not a feeling. 

You are up for hot seat on Thursday, so you have an opportunity explore your issue
and be the focus of the group and the role-playing and make some progress and inspire others.

If you do not wish to reveal your personal process in writing and/or if you do not wish to participate on the hot seat, with an issue as real and deep as the recent ones, please let me know so I can excuse you from the series.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Wants to Know the Reward

Hi Ed

Trading for the most part seems to attract an intelligent subset; who apparently, based upon a quick read here, and elsewhere, also bring along issues regarding self knowledge and confidence.

Markets are expert at finding the weak link. Not a surprise.

I feel you do good work in the quest for self discovery in the search for realization and experience of feelings and emotion.

This is the purpose of the experience, I see nothing else.

As for trading, it is cold steel. Been trading for awhile; my question to the reward, for you, to be found in the illumination process of yourself and others, or the development of trading skills in others?

A possible answer is yes, yes. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for your illuminating inquiry.

The Man With a Radish

points the way

with a radish.
Monday, April 4, 2011

Sleeping Through & Getting Closer with Family


Was a great tribe session. [Name] goes on to take the hot seat and I immediately relate to his childhood. As he continues in the hot seat I start head bobbing, I fight to stay awake but I can't.

It was not your typical sleep that you awake and have no idea what happened. Once [Name] is off the hot seat I feel a sense of inner peace.

I really felt this past tribe, I learned a lot about myself and what makes me tick the way I do.

Each week I continue to have several "aha" moments, and feel I am getting closer and closer with my family. Maybe next week I will take the hot seat. Thank you Ed and rest of the Tribe.
Thank you for sharing your process.

Taking it Easy
You can sometimes get what you need

while you sleep.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

No-Hit Zone


Thanks for the link with Professor Feynman. I enjoy watching the video. I also do some reading about him. I notice how in school I dislike Science and always gravitate towards Business. I currently have a career in Business and find Science interesting.

As I read FAQ, I notice much childhood abuse that is coming up. I am hit as a child and at one point believe that is how to discipline a child.

I recall my mother telling me that when my older brother is born my father says that boys are different to raise and he plans to take care of the discipline. I interpret this to mean "raise them tough" which seems to be common with recent FAQ stories.

My wife and I have two boys ages 5 and 3. Prior to our first child being born, I plan to hit as a form of discipline and my wife says NO WAY!

I agree not to hit on a trial basis and see how it goes. When my oldest is 6 months old I smack his hand for touching something I say not to touch. He gives me a look of confusion. That is the first and last time I hit as a parent. I realize then and firmly believe now that hitting is a great way to control and has no part in building a healthy relationship.

Our kids provide many opportunities for me to share feelings of anger and frustration but also joy and amazement. My 5 year old begins to share his feelings. He even tells me he does not like when I yell at him. I thank him for sharing and tell him that I plan to use other options in response to my feelings like sharing instead of yelling. I do this and notice more productive outcomes.
Thank you for sharing your process - and for moving from control-centric to intimacy-centric relating with your son.

If You Would Hit a Child

hit him in the heart
with your love.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Grieving & Freedom

Dear Ed and Austin Tribe:

In a process at our most recent meeting a tribe member is recalling a situation with his dad when he is young and Ed gives encouragement , “Grieve for that little boy.”

This token of encouragement to the hot seat rings through my body. I notice feelings of fear and then a cold, solid, resolute numbness through my core and limbs. I feel in my body I have a strong blockage to grieving. I’m unsure of how to or what I do to grieve. This is scary.

The hot seat goes on to have wonderful process. His journey is text book in a way. He starts somewhat warm but resistant, dancing around a bit.

Ed engages him skillfully with an emotional, feeling, psychological foreplay. Then the hot seat starts to pick up some momentum, it grows through role plays, and has a sense of building towards something. Then in a final role play with the hot seat playing himself; a tribe member playing his father brings up an incident when the hot seat messes up putting too much fertilizer down on the farm and this triggers the hot seat into an orgasmic release of feeling with very strong and pure intention to tell his father how he feels and asking his father how he feels. Afterwards, there’s a calmness, peacefulness, and clarity for the hot seat.

In several of the recent processes the issue of not asking for help or not asking questions for fear of looking stupid comes up. While I notice a fear of looking stupid in myself I also notice a fear of <not doing it myself>. If I have to ask for help, if I can’t figure it on my own, then where will it end? I’ll be dependent, not independent, if I ask for help.

I wonder how I define freedom.

If I look at my results to gain insight to my intention then it seems that to me freedom = no dependency. Or freedom = independent. Independent also seems to mean unwillingness to feel vulnerable to depending.

The words of Janis are running through my mind here, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Yet such un-depended and isolated freedom does not feel free but very restrictive. I believe Glenn and Don say something similar, “And freedom, oh freedom, well, that’s just some people talkin’ Your prison is walking through this world all alone.”

I am willing to let go of the feeling <I have to do it on my own.> I am willing to be vulnerable, like a human-being.

I’m left asking myself a why question…Why is it so hard to know ourselves?

Thank you Ed and the Austin Tribe. I’m grateful to each of you. Ed, it is amazing to watch and be a part of how you serve as a leader. I notice you set a very high standard, you hold it, maintain it and handle us with a lot of love and patience.

Thank you for sharing your process and for your insights about freedom.

You might consider the positive intentions of relationships that are:

co-dependent and
inter-dependent -

and what kinds of freedom each brings -

and what you might do to maintain these forms.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fear as Motivation

Dear Ed,

After I received your email about [Names] being cut from Tribe and Breathwork weekend and read the FAQ about it I felt fear I would be cut also.

This fear acted as a motivator to make me think about what I needed to accomplish before the weekend. The fear set off a chain reaction that led me to remember that I had not emailed you my goal and what feeling stood between me and my goal that you requested. The fear continued its positive effect by making me feel a great need to go ahead and email you the information. I have had a hard time recognizing the positive intention of my fear, but this situation has helped to clarify. Your actions set off a chain reaction in my mind, it went something like this:

Ed cuts breathers > I'm a breather > fear of being cut > fear causes mind to analyze situation to avoid being cut > causes me to analyze the circumstances of others breathers being cut > read FAQ carefully to understand circumstances > read specifically this part in FAQ "Your log demonstrates continuing unwillingness to comply with the requirements for admission to the Austin Tribe and Bastrop Breathwork." > ask myself if I have complied with the requirements for admission > memory of your Breathwork goal request email pops into my mind > feel urgency to email my goal > email goal > analyze chances of being cut > probably better but still not certain > fear decreases below the action threshold.
Thank you for sharing your process.


can make you move along
and fear can make you hide.

Fear mostly helps you manage risk
and moderate your pride.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shock of Meeting Boundaries

Dear Ed:

Thank you for sharing your feelings and your decision (to exclude me from the Austin Tribe).

It was a shock and it was also something that I had
been fearing due to a similar situation in the past.

I reviewed my interactions with you and now see that I am creating unnecessary work for you through thoughtless and careless communication.

I agree the end result of my interaction can leave the receiver with a feeling of devastation similar to how I felt when I got this email.

I respect and trust your decision. After the initial devastation - it seems to feel right even though I am really disappointed.

I do not want to create more work for you by calling you and trying to convince you to let me in at this time. I also feel that (accepting your offer and) coming to the next tribe meeting to say goodbye will reduce the time available to the tribe for tribe related work.

I am open to any feelings that tribe members wish to communicate via email or phone.

For the rest of this month, I will review the tribe's website and FAQs and work on the issues you have rightfully brought up. I request that I be allowed to re-apply at the end of April to be considered to re-join the tribe in May.

Best wishes,
Thank you for sharing your process - and for your willingness to confront your feelings.

You might consider noticing the positive intentions of any feelings of <guilt>, <compassion> and <anger> that might come up.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Standing Up to an Abusive Father

Dear Ed,

At the last tribe meeting a member volunteers to work on an issue which is holding back his professional success. Specifically, whenever he experiences the feeling of being stupid he shuts down and is unable to progress through the task at hand.

When the member takes the hot seat we learn that money is tight when he is a child, and his father asks him to perform numerous tasks on the family farm. Starting at age five, his father overwhelms him with long and vague lists of chores. The member does not want to disappoint his father, and acts as though he understands what to do. But internally the tribe member does not know what to do, and feels stupid.

Rather than sharing that feeling with his father, he shuts down and acts as though he understands the instructions. Of course, the young child then makes mistakes. On one occasion, the tribe member, who is seven years old, makes a mistake while fertilizing a large tract of land. The error costs the family a relatively large amount of money, and his father excoriates him. When criticizing his child, the father repeatedly questions his son's intelligence.

As the tribe member works through this issue, he observes other tribe members role play the experience. Rather than shutting down when the father is overwhelming them with a long list of tasks, the other tribe members share their feelings with the father. They talk about how they feel stupid, and how they want to do a good job for him.

When they do this, the father opens up and is able to share his feelings with the child. The father also makes an effort to ensure that his son comprehends the instructions. When the tribe member then attempts the role play, he is able to achieve intimacy with his father by using the same resources. He tells his father he feels stupid, and that he does not want to disappoint his father. When he does this, the father slows down, explains the list in greater detail, and shares with the child his intention for the child to grow into a tough, responsible adult. Overall, it is a better result.

While this first session is taking place, I experience a feeling of confusion. The father is asking a young child to perform dangerous, adult tasks without any real supervision or guidance. He then criticizes the young boy when he makes a mistake. And yet, despite the unreasonable and brutish behavior of the father, the tribe member lauds his father, refuses to judge him, and expresses his deep affection and loyalty to him.

All the while, I wonder why the tribe member is not angry at his father. I wonder why the tribe member is so eager to connect with his father, who is violating his boundaries and damaging him emotionally.

Later, in a separate session, another tribe member is struggling with a similar issue. Whenever he begins to work on his trading system he immediately shuts down and is unable to continue. When the tribe member takes the hot seat we learn that he has a deep aversion to numbers. We also learn that his father beats him severely as a child, and that some of the beatings occur when the father is attempting to teach him mathematics.

On one occasion, the father beats his son so severely that the tribe member involuntarily defecates. One another occasion, the father strikes his son with a coffee table after he makes a mistake on a math problem. During these events, the son is overcome with fear and sadness, and shuts down in the face of the abuse.

As an adult, he now does the same thing when he faces any type of work involving numbers - he simply shuts down.

Through the role playing process, the tribe member sees how other tribe members react in the situation. Rather than shutting down, the other tribe members share their feelings with their father, and elicit the father's feelings. Though it is laborious process, the other tribe members manage to achieve a measure of intimacy with the father, who finally confesses that he is trying to toughen up his son. After observing this new way of responding, the tribe member retakes the hot seat and goes through the role play. This time, as his father abuses him, he stands up, shares his feelings, talks to his father about his father's feelings, and is able to achieve intimacy. Ultimately, the father stops beating him once intimacy is present.

As I watch this process, my heart breaks as I imagine a small child being hit so hard by his father that he involuntarily defecates in his pants. The earlier confusion I experience quickly turns into anger. I hate the father for beating his son so savagely. I want the son to fight back. I want to see the son explode with anger. But I know that the son cannot fight back, cannot express his anger, because the father is physically overpowering.

The son also depends on the father for food and shelter. So despite the father violating the son in such a terrible way, the son must swallow his anger. When I then observe the tribe member labor to achieve intimacy with this savage I am overcome with a feeling of revulsion. The father does not deserve to have intimacy with his son. He does not deserve to have a relationship with this child. But nevertheless, I see the son work and struggle to achieve intimacy with this monster. I cannot stomach it.

As I continue to observe the process, I notice my anger peak and then begin to turn into a form of gallows humor. I catch myself laughing at the sheer absurdity of it all.

For the next week I continue to feel very angry. I also experience a great deal of grief. I spend a lot of time in a state of depression and find it hard to get things done. While I'm in this state I think a lot about my own childhood. Growing up, my father is abusive as well, both verbally and physically. I recall several instances where I am hit.

On a few occasions I am struck with a vacuum cleaner extension. During some of these events I experience the same gallows humor I experience at the tribe meeting. My father is striking me and I am laughing to myself.

As the years pass I eventually decide to stand up to my father. On one occasion, my father corners me in a small alcove. He begins striking me in the face. I decide that this time I am not going to cry or fall down. After each blow I recover and stare him down. I do not strike him back, though I recall considering it for the very first time. He leaves, and does not physically abuse me after that. As the years pass I grow stronger and more aggressive. I start playing football and begin expressing a lot of anger on the football field. I also begin a period in my life where I refuse to back down from anyone who physically threatens me. I have a few fist fights in high school and in college.

As I enter adulthood and begin my professional career my physical aggression disappears. However, over the years I find myself in recurring situations where I am working with powerful people, and feel my boundaries being overrun.

However, like my days as a young child, I do not feel as though I can express my anger and defend my boundaries. I am dependent on these people for my livelihood. They can break or make my career.

So I swallow my anger. I do not stand up for myself. As I reflect on these experiences, I hate myself for not having the temerity to make my needs and wants know. I hate the feeling of being dependent on someone who does not have my best interests at heart. I am sad that I am so inconsequential to some of these people.

Thank you, tribe members, for supporting my process. Your courage is allowing me to learn a great deal about the core emotional issues which are governing my life.
Thank you for sharing your process and insights - and for your willingness to confront and work through these issues.

Child Abuse

teaches children
to abuse their children.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sets Protective Boundaries -
With Control-Centric People

Dear Ed and Austin Tribe,

This meeting I take the hotseat. It feels real. It is real for me. The person playing the role of my father portrays my father perfectly. He is my father. I feel terrified, and my body is shaking. Ed helps me and I’m able to speak. I ask my father if he is willing to receive my feelings. I get my answer.

I feel the support of the tribe. At checkout I’m still in a state of sorts. I recognize and feel the range of feelings from the Tribe—rage, anger, sadness, confusion, and compassion.

Members of the tribe express their desire to help me. One offers to teach me some math, casting out nines, for which I am extremely grateful—very grateful. Another offers to teach me self defense, again I am thankful for the support. I have an AHA that the only person that can ultimately give me my sovereignty is me. No one can give me my freedom. It is something that I have to have from within. It is something I have to give myself.

The tribe meeting ends. I take a big step forward, and I ask my father if he is willing to receive my feelings. He answers me. The answer is crystal clear.

He has no desire to receive my feelings. He either can’t or won’t.

Either way, having my feelings received is not an option. My father and mother are a package deal, both supporting each other in various roles of abuser and enabler. I sever ties with them and feel all the feelings of sadness and rage and guilt and fear. The process of severing ties is not pretty, it’s not eloquent, it’s not amiable, but it is done.

In short, I cut my losses. I feel the feelings of the loss, and move on. I welcome the feeling of loss and see its positive intention in helping me protect my assets: my sovereignty, my health, and my relationships with my wife and son.

And by doing so, I gain my sovereignty, and feel more love from my son and wife.

I feel sadness, I feel freedom.

With the help of the Tribe, I build a firewall to end the generational abuse.

I also notice that the number “9” is pretty cool.
Thank you for sharing your process - and your insights about setting boundaries.

Setting Boundaries

can be as simple
changing your body posture.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wants to Take Another Shot

Ed Says: Your log demonstrates continuing unwillingness to comply with the requirements for admission to the Austin Tribe and Bastrop Breathwork. I withdraw my invitation for you to attend these events.

Hi Ed,

I feel my heart stops pounding when I read your message. I feel very, very, very sad and disappointed. I read the chapter on Trading Tribe immediately.

I get a better understanding now. It's1pm and I feel like I really want to take another shot at not asking a question for the rest of the day, go with rapport, and share feelings.

I sincerely wish you may reconsider the invitation. I am willing to work hard at this. I feel a lot of tension in my head/face right now as I am typing and a tremendous sense of loss and sadness.

Throughout the years I have learned a lot from you and I feel love and gratitude to you, and I've been looking forward to visiting to tackle a big fear in my life with the support of the Tribe.

I feel that you are very serious about sharing feelings, and I would appreciate if you may please reconsider. I commit to earning the right to it by demonstrating right now, for the rest of the day, I go with feelings, go with rapport, and share feelings. No more excuses. No more justification. Thank you.

P.S. It's when facing the real possibility (or the actuality) of losses that I realize how my I treasure, value, and appreciate what I have (had). I can't even describe how regretful and disappointed I am. I am hunching my back, burying my head, and let go a very deep sigh of sadness.

I would appreciate to hear how you feel too.
Thank you for sharing your process and for inquiring about my feelings.

I feel a familiar sense of relief and freedom that I associate with extricating myself from the co-dependent role of enabling delinquency. 

At the moment, James Brown pretty much sums it up for me in this clip.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wants to Work on the Wife

Hi Ed -

I would like to work - or have someone else work on - on handling relationships with a family member that is experienced trauma in the past that colors their life.

In my specific case, my wife was abandoned by her parents, grew up in a war zone in her early life, amongst many other things.
In TTP, we don't work on others, unless they request to take the Hot Seat.

You might like to consider your feelings about <controlling your wife>.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lonely in a New City

Dear Ed,

I get to the tribe meeting with a feeling that people ignore me. I feel like if I am there but people do not see me or do not care I am there.

For example, before the meeting, I am in a place with other people. A person comes in and greets everybody but me. Interestingly, during the meeting, you tell me that you do not have my FAQ from the previous session. I tell you that you already publish it in FAQ.

At this point, I start to think that this is too much coincidence. The morning after the meeting, I start to acknowledge these feelings. I realize that somehow I am creating the situations. This way I can feel these feelings. I also start to think about their positive intentions. These feeling are telling me that sometimes I have to say, “I am here, this is what I can do for you”. In other words, I have to advertise myself. Otherwise people do not know what I can offer and that I actually exist. For example, now I want to change jobs. I decide to update my resume and publish it in various career sites.

The last meeting, we have two hot seats. I notice a lot of courage from both hot seats to work through their issues. They work not only for themselves, but for the whole tribe.
The first tribe member takes to the hot seat his issue of making errors and mistakes. He does not like to feel stupid. He likes to be in control so he does not feel stupid. Hot seat explains how his father overwhelms him with instructions since an early age.

Tribe members provide hot seat with resources to use when feeling overwhelm. Some of the resources are, “ask for help” and “take notes”. However, hot seat does not like to ask for help. I relate to this. I have difficulty to ask for help. I feel that I do not want to bother other people with my issues. I also do not want to look stupid. At this point of the process, I start to fall sleep. During the final role play, I feel relief when hot seat establishes rapport with his father and expresses his feelings. I also notice that hot seat keeps taking notes during the rest of the session.

For the second hot seat, a tribe member works on his issue with math. He does not like numbers, especially number 9. He recalls an event when his father is teaching him math. The father writes a 9 like a 4. Hot seat does not understand the numbers and answers the math questions incorrectly.

Hot seat also tells about how his father verbally and physically abuses him. At this point, I feel anger and sad. We start role playing. Hot seat observes another tribe member plays his role. First, the tribe member uses the original response (shutting down).

Then, he uses the intimacy approach. He expresses his feelings and confronts the father. When hot seat takes his original role, he first has difficulty expressing his feelings and confronting the father. However, on the second role play, he fully expresses his feelings. He also emphatically asks the father if he wants to listen to his feelings.

I feel happy that hot seat is able to work through his issue.
I also want to share that for the past few days I am feeling lonely and sad. I move to a new city. I am not longer close to relatives and people I know. These feelings are familiar for me. My usual response is to medicate the feelings. I read or watch movies. I also feel like I want to sleep more than usual. Intellectually, I know that my lonely feeling is telling me that I need to meet people in my new city. However, I have difficulty to take action.

Best Regards,
Thank you for sharing your process.

You might consider taking these feelings to Tribe.
 Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sadness Beyond Words

Dear Ed,

I have trouble getting my thoughts on our last tribe meeting to paper.

At the meeting, both tribe members who work deal with issues relating to their fathers and their childhoods. I find their willingness to confide in the Tribe about these sensitive issues to be exceptionally brave. And their bravery seems to pay off, as both work through their issues and are pleased with the process. I can relate to their issues, and I feel happy for them in that they seem to have come to terms with their feelings.

Everyone seems to have traumatic childhoods, in one way or another - some a lot worse than others, certainly. However, from my Tribe work, it seems that most people have pretty screwed up childhoods, which would make it normal. This is somewhat comforting in an ironic sort of way. We all have “Stuff”. The rational me wants to just forget it all and live for the day; My emotional side seems unable to let go. These are very formidable issues for me. As I write this I feel overwhelming sadness.

I think one way I have grown personally through the Trading Tribe is that I am now more compassionate and less judgmental of others.
Thank you for sharing your process.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

No Question for a Day Challenge - Log

Ed says, "You might consider the possibility of going for a whole day without asking questions - and with going for rapport and sharing your feelings - and then reporting back about your experience."


6:12 AMI gladly take the challenge, feeling optimistically curious as to what is going to come out of it. I thought I have a chance to go without question at all, and at worst five or ten questions for the entire day, and boy am I wrong. It is A LOT more difficult than I expect. Here's a complete log:

9:15am Already I have a problem. I read that the NJ governor is third in the poll among Republicans. I was about to ask my colleague who lives in NJ, "You think Christie (the governor) is doing a good job? I can't believe he's third in the poll." I bite my tongue and keep quiet.

9:20am Similar situation. I was about to ask my Indian colleague, "How's the cricket game?" (India was in the World-Cup semi-final playing Pakistan). Again, I stop myself from asking and keep my mouth shut.

9:25am This is getting ridiculous. I notice I can't even ask another colleague, "How are you doing?" Once again, I stay silent.

9:35am OK, I need to reconsider what's the purpose here. Ed challenges me to #1) go a whole day without asking questions, #2) go for rapport, and #3) share my feelings. I like the challenge and I am curious to see what might come out of it. At the same time, I want to "complete" the challenge, so I want to NOT ask a question for as long as I can.

But after half an hour I feel that the focus is really on #2 (go for rapport) and #3 (share feelings), and less about #1 (not to ask questions). Hey, if I see an old lady slips and falls, I am going to run to her and ask, "Are you OK? Can I help you?"

Sure that's a question, but I don't give a damn. If that means I "lose" this challenge and give Ed the excuse to call me a question-addict who can't go a day without question, so be it. I care about the person who falls and I am gonna ask how she feels. F*** it Ed. I am not going to sacrifice caring for other people to complete your challenge. It that happens, I am gonna ask how she feels.

So let me rephrase the challenge here: #1) refrain from asking questions *that do not relate to establishing rapport*, #2) go for rapport, and #3) share feelings.

9:45am I look up "rapport" online. It describes "two or more people feel in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel alike." Some common techniques are "mirroring, reciprocity, and commonality." I guess I would add "share feelings" to that list. I feel good having a better understanding what I am supposed to do here.

10:25am Geez, I have been asking a lot of questions, and they are all work-related and necessary to function. I ask for locates to short-sell a stock; I ask for the contact person in tech-support so that I can ask him to help me fix an issue so that I can perform my job; I ask my colleague how to use his program to get the Reuters quote so that I can submit an order; I ask...

I guess if I have to stretch it, I am establishing rapport via
commonality (we are all working in the same company performing our roles). But honestly, I feel that it is just impossible to go a day without asking any question at work if I want to get things done.

I feel lost as I don't know how to share my feelings with the guy whom I just ask for the locates. I don't really have any particular feeling in the first place - we are just doing our respective job.

10:45am I just have a conversation with my colleague about his baby daughter and he mentions that she has skin problem. I definitely ask several questions such as "Like rashes?" "Does that just happen recently or has it been an ongoing issue?" But I think that's OK as I ask these questions because I care about her and I am establishing rapport. However, I think I could have done a better job sharing my feelings, although to be frank, I don't have strong feelings as I am only mildly concerned about her case.

10:55am I chat with my wife via IM. She mentions about going out with her dad last night, and I ask her how that goes. So another question, but I am fine with it. I am proud though to put an effort in sharing my feelings and tell her "I am happy to hear that."

11:00am More work-related questions. I ask the broker why my order isn't reflected in the market.

11:15am More work-related question. I ask the operation and tech-support how come my trade flows into the system as if it is a separate security.

11:25am I ask my wife how her father's sore throat is doing. I express my wish for him to get well.

1:05pm We are eating lunch at our desk. My colleague is watching a viral YouTube video about two baby twins babbling at each other. I feel negatively about it and thought it is stupid. I keep the feelings to myself. I ponder about my act of withholding feeling here. I am worried that others may perceive me as someone who is not sociable and frets about small things if I share my true feeling.

1:10pm Since finding commonality is one way to establish rapport, I try again with my colleague from India about cricket. However, instead of just asking "How does India do?", I intentionally ask how he FEELS about his team. Interestingly, his answer is more like an analysis ("They have a good team...") instead of how HE FEELS about his team. I accept and respect that this is his style of communication, and I ask him several more questions about how the game is played and etc. I share with him that I am in awe when I think of the technology that allows us to watch a live cricket match halfway across the world on live TV.

2:00pm My colleague returns from a pediatrician visit. I ask him how that goes. I also make sure I ask how he FEELS about the visit, and how he FEELS when his daughter took the vaccine shot. Both times he just gives me a shrug before replying, as in "I don't feel anything in particular." I find it interesting that how little we tend to talk about feelings. Well, maybe that's why we are Quants.

3:30pm-4pm More work-related questions. When I see something suspicious, I inquire to see if something may be wrong. This kind of skepticism helps detect a lot of issues that may be costly if we do not address immediately.

4:45pm I ask the bus driver if it is the right bus to my destination. I make sure I say "Thank you" to the bus driver when I get off the bus. I just realize that is my way to express my feelings of gratitude.

5pm I speak with my accountant and ask him lots of questions on my taxes.

5:30pm I meet with my wife and we head home together. She seems to be in a good mood and talks excitedly about the product she is in charge at work. I listen and tell her, "It sounds like you feel very proud of your product. I am happy for you." She also talks about going shopping with her father last night and that they bought a rice-cooker. I ask for more details to build rapport for the conversation, and she excitedly talks about the various features.

6:30pm I get home and see my 2-year-old son. I ask him what he's done today. When he plays with a little ball and hide it in his hand, he says, "The ball is gone!" I play along and ask hysterically, "Where is the ball? How come it disappears?" He laughs and shows the ball. We play for a while and I also ask him more questions in an exaggerated tone.

7:00pm I am trying to find something to watch together during dinner. I ask my mother-in-law, "Have you watched this show?"

8:00pm I ask other Breathwork participants about ride-sharing. I express my excitement to see them next week.

8:30pm I ask the rep from the fund I invest in for the tax form. I ask my wife to get her parents' social security number as the accountant requests. I ask my wife when's her flight next week.
Thank you for sharing your justifications.

I deal with this topic on page 95 of my book, The Trading Tribe, in the chapter, Why Questions Don't Work

Your log demonstrates continuing unwillingness to comply with the requirements for admission to the Austin Tribe and Bastrop Breathwork.

I withdraw my invitation for you to attend these events.

In The Dirty Dozen

Lee Marvin assembles a team
of 13 death-row inmates.

He gives them a shot at freedom
in exchange for going
on a dangerous mission.

When one of the 13 demonstrates
an unwilling, defiant, attitude,
Lee Marvin tells him he is off the team.

Instantly, the remaining 12
snap to attention.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Poker and Intimacy-Centric Relating

Hi Ed,

The college basketball coach from my alma mater flirts with going to another school before agreeing to a new contract that bumps his salary from $1.3M to $2.3M per year.

Throughout the whole ordeal, I get to observe the emotions of the crowd and my own emotion. I see how rumors start and spread. Someone says, "He is gone. It's a done deal. I have sources working at the athletic department who just told me this. Get ready for the press conference tomorrow." And as long as he can communicate a sense of supreme confidence (or even arrogance), then many people believe him and start cursing, which feeds to more people cursing.

For me, I am able to remain mostly objective for most of the fiasco. I maintain that unless I hear the official words, I give the man the benefit of doubt. However, I also notice that I finally lose my confidence, when an experienced reporter from the local newspaper of the other school writes that, "Looks like it is a happy day for us. A source from the Athletic Department says Coach has called and accepted to come. He plans to meet with his own players tonight to announce his departure." Then multiple reports also claim the coach is gone (all citing this particular reporter as the source though).

That's capitulation. Every fan on our side breaks loose, and everyone speaks as if the game is over. Within 15 minutes or so though, new report from our own local newspaper has the headline "Coach staying." The mood changes from Armageddon to confusion. As more and more news reporting that the Coach is staying, the mood climbs to cautiously optimistic and finally euphoric when the university issues a press release confirming so.

As a fan, I go through those emotions. Now that the dust settles and as I look back at it, I also feel a little sad and fear. The result is that the coach gets a big fat raise staying at the same school. If we go by intention = result, then I feel sad and fearful. While no one can tell what's on the mind of the coach, and I am not accusing him of deliberately doing so, but it is a real possibility that he may have chosen to give a scare to the people deciding his pay such that he can get what he wants, be it money for himself or resources for the program.

Even if his true feeling is to stay at the school (his own alma mater), it seems that his best strategy is to maintain a poker face, and makes others believe otherwise. Make it as real as it looks on something that is not. As a say poker face, I notice the game of Poker is precisely that: conceal our own feelings and even show false feelings (e.g. when bluffing) while trying to find out other's feelings and exploit that. I am sad when I think about this. I feel fearful because I know I am not good in this kind of game nor do I want to be good in hiding or faking my feelings, but yet it seems when the stake is high (e.g. any contract negotiation), you just never say, "I REALLY LOVE to be here. The school is not lucky to have me; I am lucky to be here" ... at least not until you get your new contract the way you want.
Thank you for sharing your process.

In poker, you establish rapport to read the other guy's feelings and maintain control to prevent him from reading your tells.


is a game in which you
distract your opponent
while reading his tells accurately.

Friday, April 1, 2011 7:03 PM

Using SVO-p

Hi Ed,

Back in the early days of FAQ, you insist on readers to use SVO-p. It was unnatural to me, but I learn it through practice, and now I can clearly see how it is a lot more clear and straight-forward. I come to really appreciate SVO-p and I thank you for that transformation. It has now become a fun exercise for me to dig out who is the subject when people use passive voice in a sentence. I can't say enough how it really helps to see you consistently using SVO-p and that really sets an example for us.

Recently a contributor comments that "This is the first times I notice you sharing your own feelings in FAQ." (FAQ 3/30/11, TTP Intimacy Model Vision) While I don't think it is first, but suffice to say it is the very few times that I see you sharing your own feelings in FAQ. For me personally, it definitely helps if I can see more examples of you sharing feelings in FAQ. Just like it is with SVO-p, this is how I can learn about the feeling-centric style of communication.

I am curious, for example, if you may share how you feel on the receiving end when you get emails from people like me who just keep asking questions.

Thank you for sharing your process.

I generally share feelings within a framework of knowing something about the receiver.

If you would like to observe my style, you might consider attending the next Workshop.