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What NFL Star Ellis Hobbs III Can Teach You About Trading

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 11/17/2022 5 min read

“If you get the process right, money is a forgone conclusion.”

Ellis Hobbs stunned a room full of traders into silence with these words.

In his mind, traders struggle not because of a bad strategy or poor timing.

Traders struggle because they focus on the wrong end game.

And he’s right.

Every person who signs up for my Millionaire Challenge wants to make money.

But that doesn’t mean you put the cart before the horse.

Some people complain because trading can be unpredictable.

However, you’re in control of the stuff that matters. For example, the setups you choose, the risk you take, and how you execute the strategy.

Do enough of the right things, and the results should follow.

As Ellis spoke at our Trading Conference, he delved into the unique mindset and approach he brings to trading.

One thing you should know about Ellis is he lives firmly in the present.

He treats trading like a business, but one that you must appreciate along the way.

And if you Google ‘Ellis Hobbs neck injury,’ you’ll understand why.

The unique insights Ellis imparted in that room of traders are worth repeating here.

Take notes of what I’m about to share because these lessons will make you a better trader and more fulfilled.

Make Trading Real

Image Credit: Ellis Hobbs III

Social media is terrible for a trader’s confidence.

All you see on there are keyboard jockeys bragging about their big wins.

Meanwhile, you eeked out a $25 profit and get down on yourself.

But that’s $25 you didn’t have before.

Make that $25 real for yourself.

Think about it in terms of paying for lunch or part of a phone bill.

The same thing applies to losses.

Once you start seeing trade outcomes in this light, you’ll become more focused on risk management, which is key to becoming a successful trader.

Treat Trading Like a Business

Would you rather have a professional pilot for your trip to Hawaii or someone who flies small two-seaters for fun?

I know who I’d prefer.

Trading is a business, and you should treat it that way, even if you consider it a hobby.

That means creating trade plans, identifying patterns, practicing setups, reviewing your trades…all the things you would do whether you manage $1,000 or $100 million.

You might be successful in the short-term flying by the seat of your pants.

But reality will eventually catch up to you.

That’s why 2020 was so dangerous.

New traders jumped into the market right as one of the biggest and fastest bull runs began.

You could buy almost anything and watch it go up.

It created a false confidence that led to bubbles in meme stocks, cryptos, and other areas that eventually popped.

Build Momentum

I’ve seen many traders over the years try to hit home runs and strike out instead.

Making $1 million in the market starts with making $1.

Traders need to build confidence in their process and strategy before committing more capital.

Putting together small wins over and over can help traders build momentum to move to that next level.

Now, some folks struggle to increase their size over a certain amount.

I’m one of them.

I do better with a smaller account than with one that has millions.

However, if you struggle to go from risking $500 to $1,000, do it in small increments.

Trying going from $500 to $510 for a week or two. Then $520.

There is no rule that you must earn a certain amount by a given date.

Heck, Bryce Touhey restricted himself for nearly two months to risking just $2 per day.

Now, he’s on his way to becoming my next millionaire student.

As Ellis put it, make yourself comfortable with trading.

Don’t risk so much that you can’t think straight.

Start small and work within your means.

Don’t worry about other people.

Appreciate Every Moment

Image Credit: Ellis Hobbs III

Ellis is probably most famous for having one of the longest kick returns for a touchdown in the NFL.

You can see a YouTube video of it here.

Yet, his career ended abruptly when he suffered a second neck injury in 2010.

He’s now a trader, motivational speaker, and inspiration to folks from all walks of life.

Ellis loved his time in the NFL.

And he loves what he does now.

He appreciates every second of his life and doesn’t take anything for granted.

It’s so easy to get caught up in trades that we forget to enjoy ourselves.

Sure, there are hand-wringing losses just like there are joyful wins.

But, as discussed earlier, those are outcomes.

It’s the process that matters.

The process is what we control.

And it’s where you want to take time to appreciate the journey, from the mistakes you make to the lightbulb moments where you exclaim ‘AHA!’


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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

* 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”