2019

Hello Agape’s Capital readers!

 If you haven’t already noticed, it’s with a heavy heart that I announce that I decided to discontinue the membership service. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but also an incredibly important one. Here, I’ll try to do my best explaining why.

 

Despite the apocalypse the market brought us in the tail end of 2018, (and the subsequent recovery), I… actually had a great year. I set a new record for largest annual returns, took my 1st personally financed vacation since taking up trading 5 years ago, and began the process of starting a private investment fund with investors other than my parents. (That’s my mom on our vacation in that badass fishing pic up there!)

The only thing that wasn’t doing so hot was my mentorship business. I knew that there were lots of shortcomings in my operation. In fact, I believe I can accurately pinpoint the exact cause.

I invested a lot more time into my trading than I did into my teaching. So while my trading results flourished, my mentorship business floundered.

Which lead me to think – “Well is that really a bad thing?”

Then BAM!

I found myself suddenly confronted by the largest paradox that exists in the stock market education industry today.

 

I’m sure you heard the saying:

“If a stock trading mentor makes more money teaching students how to trade stocks than actually trading stocks, then you don’t want him as a mentor.”

But here’s the flip side:

“If a stock trading mentor makes more money trading stocks than teaching students, would he want to teach students?”

 

I am proud to say that I am a trader who makes more money trading than I do teaching. I consider myself the real deal. But this critical factor that qualified me as a mentor is also the same factor that caused me to question it. Pretty soon I saw the scale tipping too far too fast in favor of trading.

So I had to ask myself, “am I evolving in the right way?” Is mentorship the correct step along my path?

No. The next step in my trading journey is not to be a teacher. That’s not why I got into trading. I realized that I needed to shift back to my original goal: to implement a fund successful enough to supplement large scale change by partnering with the right organizations. Social injustice, environmental instability, human suffering - these are the issues that causes my blood to boil. And while I’m still too much of a fledgling to enact any real change, I feel like I’m getting there.

 

 

Don’t worry, I do plan on continuing with my blog posts! This site has been a great outlet to voice my inner thoughts on the market. If you have any questions or request that I explore any topic, contact me at Dennis@agapescapital.com.

Thanks and good luck trading in 2019!

 

The Day I Missed The Open

A few months ago a construction crew came to my house to renovate our basement. Unfortunately, one of the rooms that needed a whole lot of drilling just happened to be my office, aka. my holy sanctuary.

 

Now if you’re like me, you need to be in full Zen mode to trade. I’m not trying to reach enlightenment here. But you should remove distractions that might rob your focus during pivotal moments in the market.

But sometimes... life happens.

 

7:30 AM

Time to wake up. Today, a construction crew is coming so I must find a different place to trade.

Wash up, get ready, grab an everything bagel with cream cheese.

Head over to my favorite place in the world, the public library. (Free wifi, free outlet for your laptop, a comfortable seat, and public pressure to do your work? What’s not to love?)

Walk up to the entrance. BAM! Automatic doors won’t open.

“What the?”

Frantically search for ‘Hours of Operation’ sign. Read in big letters, “Closed. Doors open at 11AM on Wednesdays only.”

What the @$&! Today is Wednesday.

 

9:00 AM

“Crap, crap, crap.”

Run back to my car and rush to the nearest library one town over. My driving is now erratic.

Get stink eye from an old lady crossing the road. Check.

Eventually make it with minutes to spare.

 

9:20 AM

Run up to the door. BAM!  See another sign that reads, “Open at 10AM.”

 “Open 9AM every day, except Wednesdays.”

Wednesdays? Wednesdays? What is up with Wednesdays?!

Cue heart drop.

After years of diligence and punctuality, I missed the open for the first time.

 

9:30 AM

Sit in car in library parking lot. Head appropriately on steering wheel.

I eat my delicious bagel.

 

But then, I let it go and enjoyed my 1st day off.


When things go wrong, my first instinct is to get upset. But years of trying to tame my emotional stability thankfully steered my mentality the right way thanks to these 3 principles.

 

Take Responsibility

                Yes, the construction crew. Ugh. Yes, the library. Ugh. Yes, the old stink eye lady and all the other slow drivers that morning. Ugh.

                But really, all of this could’ve been avoided if I had just checked library hours before I left. But the truth is I didn’t. I broke down that morning step by step and this was the one factor that I had complete control over. If I had just controlled it, everything else wouldn’t really have mattered. Once I admitted that, the anger faded away.

 

Have a Calming Agent

                I now had a day off and there’s no way I was going back to my construction zone house. Instead, I drove over to the nearest park. Without even knowing it, I gravitated towards my happy place. There’s something about nature on a bright sunny day that just washes the anger away.

                If you find yourself getting upset, have a calming agent. For many traders it’s the gym, but it doesn’t have to be a place. It can be music, video games, or a loved one.  Sometimes when I trade I still grow nervous and the temptation to break your rules starts creeping up. So I turn on Netflix. Who’s to say you shouldn’t? As long as you’re calm enough to not break your rules, you’ll make money.

 

Meditation

                You don’t need to be a monk to practice meditation. But it wouldn’t hurt to look into one of the most ancient traditions of all mankind that continue today. In fact Ray Dalio, founder of the $160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, says that meditation plays a key role in his success.

                Simply put, meditation is the practice of turning off your mind (easier said than done). That entire morning my mind was racing. But it wasn’t until I bit into my morning bagel that my mind suddenly quieted. I realized how delicious my breakfast was. Then I saw how serene and beautiful my surroundings were. Then things got quiet and the last bit of my frustration just faded away.

Milestones

Often times, trading can feel like you’re going in circles. One step forward and two steps back. I mean, how often have you heard phrases like, “a loss is not a bad thing.” Uhh, they are when you blow up your account RIGHT?

So how do you know when you’re going in the right direction?

The trick is to not measure yourself solely by monetary checkpoints.  

 

Here’s a list of milestones that I personally used to track my progress.

  • Came up with your own trading plan. (You can’t even begin without this!)

  • 1 trade entered in which all criteria were perfectly met. (Ie: stock selection, technical pattern, etc.)

  • 1 trade exited at predetermined price. (Exit strategy was perfectly executed; result of trade is irrelevant)

  • 1 Profitable, planned trade is executed. (Entry and exits perfectly executed; trade yielded a profit)

 

  • 2 trades perfectly executed in a row. (Results of trades are irrelevant)

  • 3 trades perfectly executed in a row. (Results of trades are irrelevant)

  • 1 Full Day completed in which all rules were perfectly executed. (Results are irrelevant)

  • 2 Full Days completed in which all rules were perfectly executed. (Results are irrelevant)

  • 1 Full, Profitable Day is completed in which all rules were perfectly executed.

 

  • 1 Week in which all rules were perfectly executed. (Results are irrelevant)

  • 1 Profitable week is completed in which all rules were perfectly executed.

  • 1 Month in which all rules were perfectly executed. (Results are irrelevant)

  • 1 Profitable month is completed in which all rules were perfectly executed.

  • 1 Quarter (3 months) in which all rules were perfectly executed. (Results are irrelevant)

  • 1 Profitable quarter is completed in which all rules were perfectly executed.

  • 1 Profitable year.

 

  • 1st deposit into your bank account. (Market money)

  • 1st purchase with market money.

  • 1st gift to parents, husband, wife, children, or loved one with market money.