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Minyan Mailbag


Perspective is everything.


Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next discussion with that very intent.

Dear Toddo,

I sit here, sifting through the midday sludge, wondering what this is all for: the transfer of billions of dollars compounded with the euphoric climaxes and the despondent drop-offs - that void of uncertainty that Jorge Luis Borges describes as "the lightless fire". I am a one month infant in the minxy world of day trading and I wonder what exactly am I creating, what are we getting? Is it just money? What I am trying to ask (and will ask) is what great joys have you found in your thirteen years of experience within the market. Is the creation of capital the celebratory wedding or the use of that capital thereafter? Is it being right when everyone else is wrong or is it the triumph of being right when you have been wrong consistently? Is it the constant test that makes you feel alive? I love the freedom this brings and the pressures too, but I sit here, and I wonder, is the process of making (or losing) money going act as my fulfillment during the work day? At some point I figure it won't be that fulfilling, because money does not breed happiness -- family and friends do. So I sit, confused and in need of a little bit of wisdom from an experienced existentialist such as yourself.

Minyan Ramesh Reddy

Minyan Ramesh,

I think you've touched a nerve that most Minyans--either publicly or privately--have asked themselves at a point. The Minxy road is a fantastic journey that offers the potential for both outsized wealth and financial ruin. Most traders worth their salt have tasted both sides that trade which, inevitably, serves only to wet their appetite. As with any other "open ended proposition," however, the onus is on us to define the parameters of our individual risk profile and police ourselves accordingly.

As for the thrill of the chase, it is unique to each of us, although the initial motivation is uniform: money. That's what this business is about and, by definition, how our performance is judged. With that said, my perspective is vastly different now than it was 14 years ago. After three lifetimes worth of price swings, countless nights of sleepless sweat and finally reaching the pinnacle of where I thought I wanted to be, I came to realize that there is more to life than the next best trade. That money, for all its grandeur, is ultimately meant to serve a greater good.

I wrote a piece a while back called The Money Tree where I spoke of the disconnect between net worth and self worth. I've found--and I'm not projecting this view-- that it usually takes something bad to make us realize what really matters in life. For me, that started when I lost Joel, cemented when I said goodbye to Ruby and resonated after 9/11. I work harder than ever but I can assure you that my definition of a successful day is a lot different than it used to be.

Hope this helps, my friend...



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No positions in stocks mentioned.

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at

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