Seykota's FAQ

Discussions about personal psychology for the individual trader.
sunyata
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Seykota's FAQ

Post by sunyata » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:43 am

Anyone know the status of Seykota's FAQ? It hasn't been updated since May 2011 and there is no indication of a reason for the hiatus. I've emailed Ed but haven't heard back.

Ed doesn't entertain "why" questions, so it is not surprising that there is no reason supplied.

For newbies, I find Ed's FAQ extremely helpful and very much appreciate his emphasis on self-development.

http://www.seykota.com/tt/FAQ_Index/default.html

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Re: Seykota's FAQ

Post by stopsareforwimps » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:34 am

sunyata wrote:Anyone know the status of Seykota's FAQ?
http://www.seykota.com/tt/FAQ_Index/default.html
He has been seen in public at least once since FAQ updates stopped. And he wrote the forward to a book in January this year. Beyond that I have been unable to find anything out.

I went to one of his workshops and now run a "trading tribe" based on his principles and it has changed my life enormously for the good.

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Post by sunyata » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:59 am

I am glad you have benefited from Tribe work. I participated in the NYC Tribe for about a year a few years ago. I did not seem to benefit much from it, but that does not mean it is ineffective for everyone.

I am concerned that Ed may have blown up. Guess that's a k-not to experience. Because if Ed can't do it, then, sh*t, how can I?

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Post by stamo » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:08 am

I contacted the austin & houston tribes early this year and both were inactive, IIRC.

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Post by stopsareforwimps » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:38 am

sunyata wrote:I am glad you have benefited from Tribe work. I participated in the NYC Tribe for about a year a few years ago. I did not seem to benefit much from it, but that does not mean it is ineffective for everyone.

I am concerned that Ed may have blown up. Guess that's a k-not to experience. Because if Ed can't do it, then, sh*t, how can I?
You are right - not everyone benefits.

Theories that come to mind on the demise of FAQ include

- He blew up. On the other hand he is still active appearing at conferences and writing forwards for books. There is also the sudden move to Texas a while back. There was talk at the time that some wealthy traders were selling their houses on Lake Tahoe to raise funds they had lost. Overall I tend to doubt this.

- Illness. He stated on his FAQ that he was trying to lose weight, but apparently lost that battle. He did not look super-healthy last time I saw him, but he did manage to run the workshop for long hours without any apparent loss of concentration.

- Nothing more to say. Maybe he just moved on to other things.

If Ed were on the blox forum, he would surely accuse us of being "whys guys".

Virtually any strategy will blow up given enough time....

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Post by sunyata » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:33 am

He always said that his intention for FAQ was for it to become just another passing AHA. Maybe that has transpired. The number of posts per month does progressively lessen through the years.

How long have you run the Tribe in your area?

I was not particularly thrilled with mine. The leader seemed a little domineering to me. I am really into meditation and he would accuse me of trying to manifest just another drama. It wasn't the most supportive and open-minded environment I felt. It would have been interesting to attend a workshop or IVTT meeting sometime to see how Ed conducted his meetings.

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Post by AFJ Garner » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:51 am

Ed is full of useful, relevant and prescient advice. I rather doubt he has "blown up" as such. He has often talked of the devastating psychological effect of draw downs and the need to stay within one's tolerance levels. Somewhere or other I seem to recall a recommendation to play with no more than 25% of one's net free capital. In other places he talks of taking a trading break after particularly tough periods, reducing his exposure when nervous and all sorts of other valuable advice. I hope he is OK both in terms of health and trading; I found him thoroughly likable and wise when I met him.

I think systems do "blow up" maybe not permanently but they certainly go through periods when the draw downs are larger than in the past and when, maybe, changes need making in accordance with market conditions or perceived improvements.

I averaged a modest but pleasant 17% a year from 2006 to 2010 inclusive. I got greedy and doubled my trading capital in 2010. I had a larger than "expected" draw down in 2011 and the deep shock of the MF Global rape. I have not traded in 2012 other than a handful of IPOs and bond issues. Hypothetically my system has continued to deteriorate by a few percentage points this year but I have every expectation that it will recover in due course. I expect to start trading again over the next few months.

There are useful lessons to be learnt by listening to others, Ed included. If I had to give one single piece of advice it would be "know thyself". I suspect Ed would probably not find himself in serious disagreement with that.

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Post by sunyata » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:34 pm

I hope he is okay as well. He has been a really big influence on me. I am working through FAQ now, cataloging snippets of his guidance, and I have the Trading Tribe Essentials card on my monitor's base, so I can always see it.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. "Know thyself" is pivotal and reverberates far beyond trading. And I don't think Ed would disagree either.

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Post by stopsareforwimps » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:30 pm

sunyata wrote:How long have you run the Tribe in your area?

I was not particularly thrilled with mine. The leader seemed a little domineering to me.
We have been running for a few years. The local tribe had been in recess for a while when I got involved. Sadly I am leaving town shortly and I will really miss tribe a lot.

The basic ideas of tribe are, like trend following, very simple, but surprisingly hard to actually achieve in practice. As an example "the hot seat you really don't want to do is the one you probably really need to do."

The hot seat is a vehicle to help us fully experience our feelings and go where they lead us, and to make all our feelings our friends. To recognize and honor the positive intention of every feeling. To understand that there is no such thing as a 'negative' or 'bad' feeling. Really.

Rocks process: reprogram our brains, so that we replace dysfunctional patterns from the past with more resourceful patterns and enable ourselves with a wider and richer array of options. Replace memories that make us miserable with new experiences.

One thing I have noticed, and it is backed up by the book "The Nurture Assumption" by Judith Harris, is that very often our bad maps come not from our parents but from our peer group. This reinforces that it is important to follow wherever your feelings lead you.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Nurture-Assum ... assumption

Ed is very tough-minded and doesn't take any bull. In that sense he is domineering. If you say you are going to do something and you don't do it, he will call you out for it. If you show a lack of willingness, he will terminate the hot seat.

It is a constant struggle to avoid getting sucked into various games. "Bet you can't fix me." "Let's avoid doing a hot seat." "Let's intellectualize this one." "It's your fault my hot seat failed. You should have done xxx."

You just need to keep going back to basics again and again. Start your own tribe - 3 is a viable number in my experience. Over time you get better at it.

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Post by AFJ Garner » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:44 am

reprogram our brains, so that we replace dysfunctional patterns from the past with more resourceful patterns
Nurture versus nature is an endless debate with no clear conclusion in sight. I have gone through periods where I have believed in the plasticity of the brain and the ability to choose one's thoughts and my current feeling is that this is partially true but that there is very probably a certain bedrock in our make up which is unchangeable. In personality terms I don't think one can change a mouse into a tiger or vice versa and probably one should not expect to. I am interested to hear the details of the Tribe process as you explain them, and to go where your feelings lead you rings a loud bell with me. Know yourself and act upon that knowledge.

In terms of the bedrock of one's personality I came across someone last night who exemplifies what I mean. He is a librarian and after university he joined the British Library. 32 years later he is still there. He feels he chose exactly the right path for him and has never doubted his decision or wished to do anything else. He does not look back with hindsight and regret the path he has taken. He is not "searching".

I, by contrast have traveled the world in search of both a material and psychological Eldorado and have yet to embrace Candide's solution. The librarian is shy, self effacing, modest, quiet and clearly mostly very satisfied with his life. I, by contrast, insist on pursuing the futile search for meaning rather than accepting what is.

As you say, it is easy enough to accept the very useful thinking behind the precepts of the Tribe (which are reflected in many other psychologies) but quite another thing to put them into practice at the emotional and feelings level. Could I embrace the acceptance and simplicity of the librarian's approach - I rather doubt it, much as I would like to!

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Post by stopsareforwimps » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:10 am

AFJ Garner wrote:
reprogram our brains, so that we replace dysfunctional patterns from the past with more resourceful patterns
Nurture versus nature is an endless debate with no clear conclusion in sight.
Some things can change; others cannot. Some people (mostly academics in the social sciences and some feminists) claim to believe that the human brain is almost completely plastic. This they call the SSSM (standard social sciences model). The best overall summary I have seen of the state of play is Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate". Much is ideologically at stake here.

IMHO not much can be done about IQ and such; you can make the most of your abilities but there is a limit I think. Similarly for the 5 personality dimensions Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Openness. I think it is mostly a matter of playing the hand you are dealt.

Still, hard work can get you a long way (assuming you are conscientious!).

The tribe process then becomes a process of "becoming who you truly are". We are not trying to turn an introvert into an extrovert, for example.

Often people think they should be something other than what they are, or that they should not feel something they are feeling. Let's say someone is introverted but thinks he should be an extravert. This is the sort of thing we can fix. In addition to making someone comfortable with who they are, we can implant strategies to help people to be successful.

Often what people believe is their problem is the opposite of the actual problem. The introvert above may have spent a fortune on sales courses, overcoming shyness courses etc etc. I would suggest his real problem may be to make a good life given that he is an introvert.

As another example, I know someone (not on blox) who is constantly going on courses and retreats aimed at overcoming the tyranny of the ego, dissolving into the universe, exposing the fallacious of the concept of personal identity, and so on. It is blindingly obvious to everyone around him that his problems are more related to his weak 'ego', his unwillingness to assert himself, to take responsibility for his actions and his life, and so on.

Ed describes the tribe process very well in his book, which I believe you can still buy from his site. In essence it amounts to encouraging the person to feel the feeling that is bothering them, and to follow it where ever it leads. This is achieved by manifesting the feeling physically - as a 'form' - and having the tribe members encourage the person to grow the feeling. At the point of maximum intensity, the person will often experience an 'aha' moment, which provides clarity about the underlying issue. There are various rituals and exercises aimed at getting people into a state that makes this easy. This is not an intellectual process, it is a feeling process. Usually the insights are quite simple, but they are useful because they are what the person has been unable to see for themselves. For example the introvert above may realize that it is OK to be introvert and that he should stop trying to be someone he isn't. (His presenting feeling to the hot seat may have been something like "I am ashamed to be so shy and socially inept").

The rocks process is on the site in bits and pieces. It is used when the basic hot seat fails or the person regresses repeatedly from apparently successful hot seats, or when people think it would be useful.

Once you achieve a peak of feeling, you freeze the feeling and try to find an archetypical instance of the feeling occurring early in life. It doesn't much matter if the incident actually happened as described. The key thing is that it feels as though it did. This situation may involve various people. You then re-enact the situation using the tribe members. Generally the person arrived at some bogus strategy for dealing with situations like this. Often this was with the help of a 'donor' of the bogus strategy such as Mum or Dad or a school friend. An example suboptimal strategy could be "When dealing with conflict, pretend to cave in to the other person, but seethe with anger under the surface, and get your revenge later on".

We re-enact the situation complete with the donation of the bogus strategy. Then we brainstorm alternate strategies that the person can use. We then re-enact the situation, with the person using some of the new strategies for a more effective solution. Often the original strategy is kept as a backup or 10% solution in case the other ones are not relevant.

We then go through similar situations in the person's life where they employed the bogus strategy and the person considers how the new strategies could be employed.

This process powerfully reprograms even deeply ingrained and habitual patterns of thought and behavior, in a matter of 30-60 minutes. It is a wonder to behold or to experience.

This was a rather condensed and simplified version of the technique. More on Ed's site. As previously discussed, there are many opportunities to do it wrong.

Some common misconceptions:

It is not a way to get rid of bad feelings, because there is no such thing as a bad feeling.

It is not a way to avoid feelings. On the contrary it is a way to fully experience them and make them allies.

It is not a way to escape from the pain of life, but rather a way to be fully alive to what life brings.


It seems to be very different from Buddhist ideas. Buddhists would say they are not escaping, but whatever they are doing it is not the tribe process.

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Post by stamo » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:11 am

stopsareforwimps wrote:Some things can change...
Terrific post -- thank you!

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Re: Seykota's FAQ

Post by rajivm » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:54 am

sunyata wrote:Anyone know the status of Seykota's FAQ? It hasn't been updated since May 2011 and there is no indication of a reason for the hiatus. I've emailed Ed but haven't heard back.

Ed doesn't entertain "why" questions, so it is not surprising that there is no reason supplied.

For newbies, I find Ed's FAQ extremely helpful and very much appreciate his emphasis on self-development.

http://www.seykota.com/tt/FAQ_Index/default.html
I looked at his Faq -
The Questions were very long...and his answers short...Everything sooo meaningless..How the hell does that help in trading?????

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Post by sunyata » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:27 am

Seykota is constantly suggesting to look at oneself, because you are an essential part of your trading system. Specifically, he says to feel your feelings fully without manipulating them as a means to dissolve drama that interferes with following a system perfectly. IMO, self-cultivation is key to being a superb, long-lasting, happy trader.

He also adds some helpful tips on system design along the way.

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Post by rajivm » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:52 am

sunyata wrote:Seykota is constantly suggesting to look at oneself, because you are an essential part of your trading system. Specifically, he says to feel your feelings fully without manipulating them as a means to dissolve drama that interferes with following a system perfectly. IMO, self-cultivation is key to being a superb, long-lasting, happy trader.

He also adds some helpful tips on system design along the way.
I guess I was looking at the prism of concrete system design tips only....
In giving those he is very cryptic.
I feel IF a System is Good - trader will have no problem in following it..Only when system is not good enough this problem arises

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Re: Seykota's FAQ

Post by daveineagan22581 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:50 pm

rajiv: "..How the hell does that help in trading?????



Completely agree rajivm. Ed would have so much to offer but the obscurity of his answers and the high-and-mightyness of those obfuscated responses don't do anything to advance a trader.

Would have been nice if his FAQ was really about trading and system development. He did have a lot of good stuff on there as well but not in the actual Q&A of the faq. Think he just used it to throw the sheeple off the trail.

my 2c.

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Post by stopsareforwimps » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:48 pm

rajivm wrote:I feel IF a System is Good - trader will have no problem in following it..Only when system is not good enough this problem arises
Are you saying this based on experience, or expectation? Many good traders report that they have trouble following their system. Many trading books talk about the same problem.

My personal experience (30 years) is that it is quite hard to follow a good system.

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Post by Toosday » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:26 pm

I believe Ed is also known to have "know when to break the rules" as one of his rules. My interpretation of this is that trading, like life, is gray. Trend following without analysis or thought is very black and white. I think operating in the gray is very important to success.

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Post by Chuck B » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:03 pm

stopsareforwimps wrote:
rajivm wrote:I feel IF a System is Good - trader will have no problem in following it..Only when system is not good enough this problem arises
Are you saying this based on experience, or expectation? Many good traders report that they have trouble following their system. Many trading books talk about the same problem.

My personal experience (30 years) is that it is quite hard to follow a good system.
The better the system the harder it likely is to follow (for most people, trading their own funds that mean something to them). Trading OPM in size is very easy from some...

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Post by rajivm » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:11 am

Chuck B wrote:
stopsareforwimps wrote:
rajivm wrote:I feel IF a System is Good - trader will have no problem in following it..Only when system is not good enough this problem arises
Are you saying this based on experience, or expectation? Many good traders report that they have trouble following their system. Many trading books talk about the same problem.

My personal experience (30 years) is that it is quite hard to follow a good system.
The better the system the harder it likely is to follow (for most people, trading their own funds that mean something to them). Trading OPM in size is very easy from some...
That looks like a perverted argument.....How come that?
better the system - easier to follow..that looks feels logical to me :D

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