The Puzzle Drive

I had, and still have, persistence. Once I get on a puzzle, I can’t get off. If a friend had said, “Never mind, it’s too much work,” I’d have blown my top, because I want to beat this damn thing, as long as I’ve gone this far. I can’t just leave it after I’ve found out so much about it. I have to keep going to find out ultimately what is the matter with it in the end. That’s a puzzle drive.


~ Richard P. Feynman, in “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

My wife loves puzzles. She gets consumed by them. She’ll start one on her desk in our living room, or on a coffee table, or on the dinner table, and she’ll get lost in them. And it becomes an obsession. She can’t quit until it’s done. If it’s left undone, for a moment, for an evening, or for a weekend, it festers in her. It continually calls her. Maybe even taunts her. She gets so engrossed in the process to the point that she gets neck and back pain from being continually hunched over them!

I can completely relate. My puzzle is the options market.

Every day, I come into the market and try to reassemble pieces and moving parts of positions in order to better express my opinions or to better capture edges. When it comes to putting on directional bets on individual stocks, I’m trying to find the puzzle piece (the right spread, the right option strike, the right expiration series) that fits my perception of how to best take advantage of an opportunity. When it comes to my dynamic premium selling strategy in $SPY options, I’m continually agonizing over the best adjustments to make to fortify my position and add resiliency to it.

The difference between my wife’s puzzles and my options market puzzles is — the market puzzles never end! 

And echoing Mr. Feynman’s thought’s in the quote above, I can’t just leave it after I’ve found out so much about it.