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Success Stories

Ellis Hobbs III (aka ArtOfWar) on Success in Life and Trading

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/18/2022 18 min read

Ellis Hobbs III has a way with words. As a teenager, his high school football coach recognized it. He took Ellis to his church and without any preparation said, “You’re gonna talk today.”

According to Ellis, “The reaction I got was tremendous because I just told my truth. And when you tell your truth, it lowers the resistance of everyone in the room. They’re way more receptive to who you are because they see you as a real person.”

I LOVE that.

And I love that Ellis — aka ArtOfWar on Profit.ly — is still telling his truth. Now he’s doing it as a moderator and mentor in the Trading Challenge chat room.

I’ve been meaning to catch up with Ellis for a while. He’s made incredible progress as a trader over the past couple of years. It shows on his profit chart.

But there’s another reason…

Ellis is a former professional athlete and I love how athletes think. Read “How the Athlete Mindset Can Help You Trade Smarter.” Roland Wolf’s passing the $1 million milestone was one reason for that post.*

(*Please note that these kinds of trading results are not typical. Most traders lose money. It takes years of dedication, hard work, and discipline to learn how to trade. Individual results will vary. Trading is inherently risky. Before making any trades, remember to do your due diligence and never risk more than you can afford to lose.)

But another reason was that Ellis had told me about his background and journey. At the time, he wasn’t ready to share his story. Keep reading to find out why he wanted to wait.

First, get inspired…

A Focus on Growth

Ellis spent six seasons playing in the NFL for the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. He played in Super Bowl 42. And he has a 108-yard kickoff return immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Watch the video here, it’s awesome.

But don’t let any of that fool you. Ellis is more than an athlete. The mindset he developed at a young age fueled a drive for excellence in every area of his life. He’s focused on constant growth — as a person, as a family man, and as a trader.

He’s also one of the hardest working members of the Trading Challenge. He posts video lessons on Profit.ly explaining his thought process. He talks about risk management and disciplined trading. And he’s SO helpful in the Trading Challenge chat room, we made him a moderator. He deserves the love he got when we changed his name to red on March 31…

I’m super proud of Ellis and all the hard work he continues to put in. And I’m also blown away by his growth mindset. I contacted him recently to ask him a few questions for this post. It turned into an hour-long conversation about life.

Yes, Ellis has a way with words. But he’s not just a talker — he walks his talk. In this industry full of fakes and frauds, Ellis is real. That’s why I’m looking forward to seeing his progress in the next few years.

Make Your Weakness Your Strength

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Ellis grew up in Texas. He told me it’s difficult not to play sports because of how intense it is. But he was small — 5’5” and 140 lbs. So he made it his goal to gain weight.

“I was a good athlete, a great running back. But everybody tried to use my being small against me. So I attacked that. Knowing it was the weakness they would try to attack, I made it my strength.”

When he got to college at Iowa State, Ellis put in the hours in the weight room. Between his freshman and junior years, he got up to 185 lbs. And he still works out…

“I’ve been doing it for so long that I understand my body very well. So now, at most, my workouts last an hour — but very intense. I used to spend four or five hours in the gym because that was my job. 

“Now it’s more about survival. It clicked for me one day … I was running down the street early in the morning and I just stopped. And I said ‘Why am I running so hard? I need to live. I don’t need to train — I need to live.’”

Encompass Your Whole Psyche in What You’re Doing

Ellis and I talked a little about exercise and its effect on mental clarity. I asked him if he thought it helped his trading. His answer revealed a lot about his mindset.

“100%. Don’t isolate trading to just trading, right? You need to encompass your whole lifestyle. Encompass your whole psyche into what you’re doing because it affects your trades. 

“If I have an off day or something isn’t right, it’s probably because my day-to-day process is off. Maybe I didn’t get up and work out on time. Maybe I started the day wrong, didn’t eat right, or got into an argument with my wife before she went out. 

“It encompasses your whole psychology, right? Working out — it’s counterintuitive. When I work out, I actually get energy because I’m active, because I’m moving. Some people think if they’re working out they’re gonna be exhausted. 

“But if you do an hour — even 30 minutes a day — it revitalizes your ability to respond to stimuli. It increases your sensory perception. 

“It also gets me rolling into the day with some sort of accomplishment. Rolling into 9:30 a.m. Eastern, it’s like ‘We’re rockin’ and rollin’ now. Let’s keep this thing going!’ I think too many people don’t take advantage of that or don’t actually understand what working out does for you.” 

Do You Understand What It Takes?

Ellis grew up in a very disciplined household where he got judged on results. His father achieved the rank of Sergeant Major in the Army, did two tours of Vietnam, and was in special ops. His mother was in ROTC — where she met Ellis’s father.

“It was that old-school mentality. My mother was very loving, but very competitive as well.”

But it also instilled in him the ability to ask very direct questions of himself.

“My father used to operate early, early in the morning. I willingly asked him to get me up at the same time. If I see him being successful, that is what I’m supposed to do, right? So my father was a very strong influence. 

“A lot of what I do derives from the question: What’s it worth to you? 

“You want to be a multi-millionaire? Do you understand what that means? Do you understand what it takes? So that is my motivation. I’m self-motivated. My normal, to anyone else, would be very uncomfortable.”

Operating on the Dark Side of the World

Image Credit: Ellis Hobbs III

Ellis has a full life. He’s married with children, trades during the day, and still stays in shape. So I asked him about his daily routine. He told me he’s not willing to sacrifice his family’s personal space for his own. What does that mean?

“If I have to do anything personally, I have to operate on the dark side of the world. That means early mornings and late nights. I typically get up around 3:30 or 4 a.m.”

Ellis studies the Bible or meditates every morning. He also does something he calls 32 appreciations.

“When I was 32, I was at a low point feeling like a lot of things weren’t going my way, trading included. And I said, ‘You know what? I need to start being more appreciative. What do I have? What has God kept me from?’ 

“It started with 32 things I wanted to appreciate. It evolved into this thing I do daily. Or, at least, every couple of days.”

Ellis says that meditation helps him be non-reactive.

See the Battle for What It Is

“By getting outside of myself, I’m able to see the setup, the world, or the war, for what it is without reacting to it,” he says. “I still react, I’m human. But I’ve gotten way more mindful of my space.”

After his meditation, Ellis hits the pavement running. He runs four to five miles, although not every day. “I don’t try to do that daily, just because of wear and tear on my knees.”

Then he hits the gym for an hour. During the pandemic peak, he did what he calls a jailhouse workout at home. That includes pushups, situps, crunches, running in place, and whatever else he adds to the mix.

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After his workout, he sends emails, reads, and does whatever else he needs to do to prepare for the day. By the time the market opens, he’s cleared half a day of most people.

“Hearing that is one thing, but actually doing it? That’s a confidence thing. ‘Look how much I got done.’” 

The Art of War

I wondered why Ellis chose ArtOfWar as his screen name in Profit.ly. If you’re not familiar, the warrior-philosopher Sun Tzu compiled “The Art of War” 2,000 years ago. It’s considered a classic text on management and leadership.

It turns out Ellis discovered “The Art of War” as part of a self-disciplined maturation process.

Ellis wasn’t interested in academics growing up. But he was into success. His attitude was that if he was going to do something, he would give it his all. He graduated number 23 out of 426 students at his high school. And at Iowa State, he received the Academic Athlete of the Year award.

“Ownership of My World”

Because he wasn’t much into academics, Ellis didn’t read much. But at some point he questioned himself. He didn’t feel like he was doing enough self-improvement work. Physically and psychologically he was fine. But he wanted to take ownership of his entire world. That included his finances and education beyond college.

“All my life people were telling me the secret of success is within the details of these little pages. The only book that I ever cared about was the Bible. But even that wasn’t diligent. So I started to source success. What does it look like? 

“That got me reading books like ‘The Greatness Guide’ by Robin Sharma. And ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene. And I started to see life as a cyclical thing. You know, seasons, history repeating itself, things happening over and over again.”

Eventually, that led Ellis to read “The Art of War,” which he related to his pro football career. Specifically, a passage that teaches discipline no matter a soldier’s rank.

“That was very relevant to me, coming from the world of sports, with the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick runs a ship where no man is above the actual machine. I don’t care if you’re Tom Brady, me, or whoever. You were treated as a cog in the system. 

“But it wasn’t a negative thing. It was ‘This is how we’re going to be successful.’ And that was like an epiphany, right? Once I got it, I said, ‘We’re truly in a war.’ I’ve heard you say that many times, but I already believed it from my experience. 

“So that’s what the name really derived from. We put war in a category of disappointment, a black eye, a sore on society. But it’s really an art form. The greatest generals of the world are able to detach emotion from it and understand what the end game is. You end up finding success within that.”

Talking Trading With ArtOfWar

Image Credit: Ellis Hobbs III

One thing that hits me when I look at Ellis’s profit chart is that he put in the grind to get profitable. At one point he was down $34,500. It took nearly three years to get to breakeven. But like so many of my top students, the grind prepared him for the crazy 2020 market.

Since the start of 2020, Ellis has made $317,711 in trading profits.*

(*These results are not typical. Individual results will vary. Most traders lose money. Traders like Ellis and I have the benefit of many years of hard work and dedication. Trading is inherently risky. Always do your due diligence and never risk more than you can afford to lose. I’ve also hired Ellis to help in my education business.)

Life Balance and the Learning Curve

It’s important to point out that Ellis faced the same obstacles as anyone else while learning to trade. He didn’t have money to just throw away. And he didn’t have a lot of spare time on his hands.

“I had a crazy burn rate of day to day living so I actually had to take on a 9 to 5 — a sales role. These sales jobs were held to create income to leverage for credit history, because I had none. But also allowed me freedom to be in and out the market when I needed to be.  

“When I was in the hole, I was taking 500 share positions. It was one trade at a time, while working in sales and trying to balance it all. I know the difficulty of the learning curve while trying to operate in everyday life.”

I asked Ellis about his mindset during that process. His answer is important for every trader.

“Anyone who tells you they’re OK with losing is a liar. I don’t care what it is, it’s difficult to handle losses. But what prepared me for it was understanding the overall goal. I was thinking about two things… 

“One, I’ve been here before and it’s no different. If I apply myself the right way, something will click. 

“Two, someone else is doing this. Someone else is successful. That person — no disrespect to them — is no better than me. It’s merely me understanding that I put myself through this. This is where my journey is. But if I stick with this, it will turn around.

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“That faith, I think that’s the intangible catalyst that everybody must have. You can’t have blind faith without putting the actual work in. So I always try to level that out with the reality of the situation. That’s what leveled everything out for me.”

“The Reality Is You’re Losing and You’re Losing Big”

That’s what Ellis told himself. He was taking losses, but he could figure it out because someone else out there had figured it out. Ellis reached out to Trading Challenge mentor Mark Croock.

“Mark was a godsend and a blessing to me. Once I started chatting with him, I could see that he was genuinely intrigued with how I would not stop. I just kept going. It wasn’t me asking questions, it was having a conversation with him. 

“He saw I was trying to evolve my mindset and that I was actually studying. He saw I was getting the root of the material. He’d take time out for a Zoom call and say ‘Hey, what do you see?’ I took him very seriously. 

“And true to form with a mentor figure, I didn’t want to ruin the relationship by not applying the actual teachings. By doing that, what was a mentorship turned into a friendship for life. We ask about each others’ kids. We check in with each other. 

“It came through the process of me respecting his craft. Now we’re able to formulate conversation on the same level.”

THAT is what the Trading Challenge is all about — mentorship.

A House Made From Bricks Set Right Every Single Day

Image Credit: Ellis Hobbs III

Ellis has a great perspective on the dedication required for success. Like my other top students, he takes it one day and one trade at a time. I asked him if he had any tips for new traders or anyone struggling.

“There’s no magic to it. It’s like anything else. The best violinist in the world started somewhere. They had to start with learning the first string. Whether it’s forced into them by their parents or their own passion, added to day by day. One day becomes two days. Two days becomes three. 

“Now you have a house made from bricks set right every single day.” 

Ellis keeps his perspective. Chat rooms can be alluring when you see others making money.

“I’ve heard you use the analogy of a medical doctor. I use it as well. You cannot step into a medical room and say ‘Alright, boys, I got it from here. Let me do this heart surgery.’ 

“There’s time and effort put into this. You’re a professional when you make the hardest things look very smooth and natural. That’s when you are at the highest level of optimization as far as being a professional.”

Ellis’s Success Is No Fluke

Again, congratulations to Ellis on becoming a Trading Challenge chat moderator. I look forward to seeing what he can do in the future. No pressure, but I’m guessing he’ll join the seven-figure club in due time. For now, he’s a six-figure trader that gives back SO MUCH to the community and I’m grateful for that.*

When I asked Ellis why he didn’t want us to name him sooner, he was very humble.

“I didn’t want people to assume that I had money to burn because I was a professional athlete. I didn’t. I was living. And when I passed six figures, I didn’t want it to be a fluke. I wanted to prove this is not a fluke, this is real. 

“And also, I tried to humble myself when I started trading. A lot of athletes have egos that get in the way. Athletes can do this. As a matter of fact, athletes are probably better at this than anybody else if we’re able to get out of our own way.”

Trading Challenge

Want to join Ellis in the Trading Challenge chat room every day? The Challenge gives you access to everything I’ve learned over 20+ years. And thanks to mentors like Mark Croock, Michael Goode, and Tim Lento, you can learn different strategies.

If you apply, come with the mindset of ArtOfWar…

“It happened a couple of times in the chat room where somebody would mention me being a former NFL player. Or they’d send a link and say ‘Hey, is this you?’ Suddenly everybody freaked out for about five or 10 minutes. All they could focus on was asking me questions. 

“And I’m saying ‘Guys, listen, we’re working right now. So get back focused.’”

YES! That’s the dedication I’m looking for. Do you have what it takes? Apply for the Trading Challenge today.

Inspired by Ellis’s story? Give him some love in the comments below!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”