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The other day I stumbled across an amazing YouTube video. Two guys -- both skinny non-athletic nerds challenged themselves to do 100 pushups each day for 30 days straight. The rules did not require them to do 100 pushups consecutively -- just cumulatively -- as long as the total ended up to be 100 at the end of the day.
This was a fascinating experiment. Push-ups require no equipment and can be done anywhere (they did push-ups in parking lots, conference rooms, etc.) Push-ups take very little time and need almost no athletic skill. It is perhaps the simplest human exercise there is.
Their journey was eye-opening. Neither man was in good shape. Neither man was ever an athlete. During their first week of attempts, they could barely do 5 push ups consecutively. One of them failed to achieve the 100 goal until the 7th day of the experiment. Yet,l they persisted.
Here is the absolutely remarkable thing. After 30 days, both men were visibly stronger and more muscular. Each one had changed his diet to a much more healthy regime and their overall posture and presence was decidedly more confident. All of this was achieved through the lowliest, most humble of exercises simply because they set a modest goal and stuck to the plan.
The hundred push-up experiment made me realize that we can achieve the same type of radical improvement in trading if we adopt their methods. Let’s do a simple experiment. Let’s commit to making 100 profitable trades of 10 pips each over a period of 30 trading days. The only rule is that you must honor your stops (whatever they are). You cannot let losing trades float. The purpose of this experiment to not necessarily make you money (though that would be nice) but to get you to engage with the market in a proper way.
Why do most traders fail? Because they have no defined plan for how they will trade. In fact, most traders quit simply because they hit 3 losing trades in a row. Here is my prediction if you do this experiment. I predict that you will begin to realize what trades work and what trades don’t. I bet you will become a lot more selective in your entries. I predict that you will become a lot less greedy in your exits. I bet you will develop a healthy respect for risk. I bet you will begin to feel joy and then confidence at winning 5 and maybe even 10 trades in a row and will begin to understand how winning is possible.
If two nerdy guys can transform themselves into strong confident young men just by doing 100 pushups each day for a month, then we as traders can certainly improve our skills by focusing on making 100 profitable trades in 30 days. Give it a try and even if you are making 20 losers in a row, keep going. The lesson of the pushup experiment is that success lies in simply trying for a meaningfully long time.