Calling A Life Audible [DIRTY DOZEN]

I’m taking the advice from my friend and mentor who told me (mentioned in the note: The Game Has Changed…) “It’s not often that markets give us a chance to take an extended vacation. So take some advice from someone who’s spent a lot of time chained to his desk and go live.”

I write this on a plane flying over the Northern pole…

These markets are trash. The economic environment is noisier than a Waffle House at 1am on a Saturday. This is not a conducive environment to our style of trading. 

The past two weeks we’ve been expending mental energy and bleeding P&L — our ytd profits are now down to just +16% — trying to position for a short-term countertrend rally within a broader bear. This is a low conviction call for us, as most counter trend trades are. This whole trying to wring blood from a stone type business doesn’t make much sense. 

So I’ve decided to call a life audible and do something I’ve long wanted to do but never thought I’d be able to. Or rather, was never really willing to entertain because I am afraid to step away from the desk for too long. I’m heading back to the ashram in Sweden to attend a 30-day meditation retreat. 

The course starts today and ends August 14th. I will be unplugged the entire time. Phones and computers are turned in upon arrival. For three of the four weeks we will be in complete silence. No talking, writing, or reading is allowed. We will be sitting in quiet meditation for the majority of the month. Day in and day out. It’s an intense course. I’m excited for it. 

Why so much silence? 

Here’s a short explanation from the retreat’s site (link here). 

To be silent while you learn yoga and meditation increases your ability to go deep and gives a more direct experience of everything.

The silence helps to remove deeply rooted tensions in the brain. When I don’t have to defend or hold on to some opinion I express, when I don’t have to explain or evaluate everything around me, then my mind will relax and open itself.

Since the more intellectual activities in the brain, like analysis, appraisal, reading, talking and writing take place especially in the left hemisphere of the brain, then the silence, together with the breathing exercise Nadi Shodan and the deep relaxation Yoga Nidra, contributes to a better balance in the brain. That part of the brain which deals with totalities, colour, form, music and emotion is allowed to play a role.

Developing a conscious practice of silence is more important now than ever. Our minds exist in the 24/7 chop suey blender that is the modern world; where we’re constantly mainlining half-baked takes, sensationalized opinions, and instagram “live your best life!” quotes. It’s a full on frontal assault on our humanness. Not to mention there’s a growing mountain of evidence showing it physically alters our brain causing lasting distortions to the way we perceive reality and the world around us.

30-days of silence is a bit extreme and not practical for most. I’m getting married next year and we’re going to start trying for a kid right out the gate (we’re both past mid 30s and the clock is a ticking…). So I figure this is my last chance to do something like this for a good long while. 

But, cultivating a practice of silence and sitting with the heart is something we can all do. It’s something we should do. We need to do. It’s essential to our survival. To living a richly human life.

Whether that’s 60 minutes of walking alone in the woods without phone or taking 20 minutes each morning enmeshed in a practice that cultivates the right hemisphere, such as creating art or playing music. 

Anything is better than nothing. More is better than less. In this day and age, you probably don’t need to worry about overdoing it with the silence. We’re all pretty out of balance.

So into the woods of Sweden I go. You should join me. Take some time away from the screens. Refresh your mind, body, and spirit. Call a life audible. And let’s come back a little stronger, wiser, sharper. 

For those of you who stay at the poker table. Try not to break things while I’m gone :).

Here’s our road map for while I’m away. 

  1. Continue to hold lots of cash
  2. We’re in a bear market that will go on until there’s indications of a coming Fed pivot (not happening soon)
  3. Short-term we’re oversold and overly bearish so look for a multi-week rally to kick off soon (see chart below)
  4. Buy some DOTM calls on gold miners (we’re doing this Monday). They may not bottom this week or next but the next big bull leg is coming soon
  5. Add to our long bond position on a completion of the inverted H&S bottom (chart below)
  6. Focus on research, backtesting, and systems building over actively trading

“Even brief silence, it seems, can inject us with a fertile unknown: a space in which to focus and absorb experience—a reminder that the person we are with may yet surprise us; a reflection that some things we cannot put into words are yet resoundingly real; a reawakening to our dependency on something greater than ourselves” ~ In Pursuit of Silence

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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.

AK

Investing & Personal Finance

AK is the founder of Macro Ops and the host of Fallible.

He started out in corporate economics for a Fortune 50 company before moving to a long/short equity investment firm.

With Macro Ops focused primarily on institutional clients, AK moved to servicing new investors just starting their journey. He takes the professional research and education produced at Macro Ops and breaks it down for beginners. The goal is to help clients find the best solution for their investing needs through effective education.

Tyler Kling

Volatility & Options Trader

Former trade desk manager at $100+ million family office where he oversaw multiple traders and helped develop cutting edge quantitative strategies in the derivatives market.

He worked as a consultant to the family office’s in-house fund of funds in the areas of portfolio manager evaluation and capital allocation.

Certified in Quantitative Finance from the Fitch Learning Center in London, England where he studied under famous quants such as Paul Wilmott.

Alex Barrow

Macro Trader

Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

After leaving the field of intelligence he went to work at a global macro hedge fund. He’s been professionally involved in markets since 2005, has consulted with a number of the leading names in the hedge fund space, and now manages his own family office while running Macro Ops. He’s published over 300 white papers on complex financial and macroeconomic topics, writes regularly about investment/market trends, and frequently speaks at conferences on trading and investing.

Macro Ops is a market research firm geared toward professional and experienced retail traders and investors. Macro Ops’ research has been featured in Forbes, Marketwatch, Business Insider, and Real Vision as well as a number of other leading publications.

You can find out more about Alex on his LinkedIn account here and also find him on Twitter where he frequently shares his market research.