My Dream of Becoming a Turtle

In the early 1980s, traders Richard Dennis and his friend William Eckhardt ran an ad to recruit and train men and women to trade using a trend-following system. This group of men and women were named Turtles. Their experiment to prove that trading could be taught was successful. In five years, the Turtles earned a combined profit of $175 million. I was fascinated by the story and began imagining myself finding a Turtle-like opportunity and all the millions I’d make. I began devouring books on trend following and reading about hedge funds. After months of disappointment looking for a true opportunity, I switched gears and began to explore the various trading markets because I mistakenly thought I could do it on my own. I settled on currencies, Forex. It required a very small amount of cash to begin trading. I took the fascination to the next logical level and began trading on paper with certain systems against the live market. I did this for a year and finally settled on a system that was consistent in making profits. And then, after depositing money with a Forex broker, I quickly devoured all my paper profits with the system that originally seemed to work. I withdrew my money and stopped getting up at 3:00 in the morning to paper trade markets on the other side of the world. It was sobering, disappointing, and I felt I had failed to fulfill what I thought was a certainty, that I could become a millionaire trader just like the Turtles trained by Dennis & Eckhardt.

As I understand it, a hedge fund is a group that uses borrowed money to invest in the hope of realizing large profits. There are many successful hedge funds out there. There are also many that believed they had discovered the perfect system and then imploded, losing millions of dollars. There are many positive aspects to a hedge fund. Besides a pool of borrowed funds, there is the underlying wisdom to explore the most appropriate strategy for the various markets. The focus is on abundance and building wealth over the long haul. I imagined becoming my own hedge fund. That may not be realistic but perhaps it is a possibility to rethink some of those principles and apply them to the individual with the goal of an abundant, well-lived life; an investment in yourself. The “markets” you invest in are your home life and your chosen profession. The trading “strategies” or methods you use are the beliefs and thoughts you use to navigate through those markets in the hope of getting the most positive outcome, a happy home life and successful career. It is not an algorithm applied to a trending market that needs to be tweaked for the individual but examining and then adjusting the beliefs and thoughts which determine how you respond to your environment. An algorithm is applied automatically via a computer trading system and your beliefs and thoughts are applied automatically by default as has become your habit over time. In essence, your own internal algorithm. Although I don’t believe it is accurate to compare the mind to the workings of a computer, I do believe that in the ways in which we function on autopilot it’s worth exploring if those personal, repeating programs are truly to your benefit or not. The question being, do they work for you or against you? 

As a coach, I’m in the role of software programmer or re-programmer. It’s my job to look at the stories you tell and follow the plot lines all the way back to the beliefs and thoughts that drove your decisions and actions in those narratives. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I cannot just embed new thoughts and extract the old. It’s your part to exchange what does not work in your best interest for what will give you the outcome you seek. You may not even be clear on what it is you are seeking. It’s been proven that trading can be taught and that an individual can gain control over their financial future. It’s also possible to learn to apply the best thinking to your life and become your own personal hedge fund; a growing, evolving, transforming individual not limited by your own beliefs or the trends that exist in the world you inhabit. Investing in yourself is still the best investment you could ever make.