9 Weird Trading Hacks Used by Professional Traders
This article is going to break down the 9 weird hacks used by professional traders that most retail traders never even consider.
No, this isn’t a magic solution because a magic solution to become a profitable trader doesn’t exist.
While nothing will magically make you a profitable trader, these hacks can give you the extra edge needed to be successful.
Unfortunately, I’m probably going to hurt some feelings. If you’re a fragile snowflake, it might be best to click away.
With that in mind…
If you’re massively overweight and lack discipline in every area of your life, why would you expect to be disciplined in your trading?
If you piss away all of the week’s pay at the bar so you cannot pay your bills then why would you think you’ll apply proper money management in your trading?
In line with those points, this article is going to cover many hacks that are not strictly trading related as what you do in your personal life will affect your trading!
1.) Successful People Wake Up Early
If you want to be a successful trader, start your day at 5:00 AM.
The honest truth is that being a high achiever in any field isn’t for everyone. It requires an extraordinary effort that most are not willing to put in. There is nothing wrong with deciding to work a 9-5 if it’s not in you.
With that in mind, successful people wake up early…period.
I recommend 5:00 AM.
I’ve listed this point first for 3 main reasons.
1.) Almost without exception, the most successful people in the world wake up before 6:00 AM.
2.) Successful people start their day with some type of self-growth routine, this requires getting up early.
I highly recommend reading The Miracle Morning for more info on creating a morning routine.
3.) Getting up at 5:00 to go workout creates discipline as nothing else can.
If you lack the discipline to wake up early and put in the hard work then don’t be surprised when your trading lacks discipline.
Vince Lombardi once said, ‘the only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary.’
With that point in mind, if you want success the disciplined and consistent work must come first. There is no exception to the rule.
2.) Eat For Success
Isn’t this an article about trading? Why am I talking about food? Well, do you use your brain when trading?
Roughly 20% of your body’s daily calorie usage comes from the brain. It’s power-hungry and what you feed it matters!
Your diet also has a massive impact on your mood and your mood has a massive impact on your decision-making ability, rational thought, clear thought, speed of thought, creativity, motivation, desire, drive, the ability to be decisive, etc.
The list below breaks down a few widely accepted do’s and dont’s when it comes to eating for brain health.
Dont’s: Sugar or other drinks with High Fructose Corn Syrup, refined carbs, Aspartame, Alcohol, high Trans-Fat or highly processed food, low-fat diet. There are others but these are the big ones to cut out.
Do’s: Green Leafy Vegetables, plenty of good fats (eggs, nuts, some fish, etc), fresh fruit, not processed, and ORGANIC if at all possible. You can check out a nice article on brain health from the Mayo Clinic here.
3.) Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is when you consume your calories during a specific time of the day. As an example, you might fast from 8:00 PM to 12:00 noon the following day. This would be called a 16/8 fast, where you’re fasting 16 hours and eating 8. The goal is to consume your calories in as small a space of time as possible.
Why should a trader be concerned with intermittent fasting? Let’s start with brain health.
Intermittent fasting has been shown in studies to increase the growth of new nerve cells, reduces inflammation (it gives the middle finger to brain fog), and contributes to increasing the brain hormone BDNF. (Nice article on the benefits of IF)
When combined with hack #2, this can have a profound affect on every area of your life.
4.) Meditation / Sensory Deprivation
I told you things were going to get weird. This is also the point where you begin to see why getting up early is essential.
The first thing I will say is that I use to think that meditation was a giant waste of time, then I actually tried it for a month and the results were huge!
Like all things, it will be frustrating in the beginning as you will not be able to focus your mind. Over time and with practice you will get better.
If you’re not sure where to start, Youtube is your best friend as there are countless free starter videos on the subject.
Why is meditation so beneficial for trading?
Meditation promotes laser focus, rediculous patience, new neural pathways and patterns of thought, increase in grey matter concentration, reduction in stress, ability to maintain rational thought in high-stress situations, etc.
Speaking from personal experience, meditation took my trading to another level.
What do I recommend? Keep it simple and start with 30 minutes of meditation as soon as you wake up. This sets the pattern for the day and gives you a major edge over everyone else sleeping in.
I also purchased a sensory deprivation tank for this purpose (similar to the one pictured above).
Essentially, float tanks are filled with 200 gallons of water along with 1,000 pounds of Epson Salt, and then heated to 93.5 degrees (the temperature of your skin).
Because the water is skin temperature you will lose the ability to determine where the water ends and it feels like you’re floating on nothing.
Essentially it is like meditation on steroids and I highly recommend it for anyone with the funds. At the very least go give it a try at a local float business.
5.) Workout At Least 3X Per Week
Highly successful individuals almost always have some type of physical exercise as part of their morning routine.
It promotes discipline, the ability to deal with adversity, as well as the ability to manage stress more effectively. Physically it promotes increased cognitive ability, and the fact is you’ll just feel better which is critical to positive trading.
Studies are now showing that someone’s cognitive ability increases an average of 30% over baseline when they’re in a positive mood.
Do you think your brain running 30% better could affect your trading results positively? If so, get lifting and thank me later.
Aside from increased cognitive ability, you will also have a massive increase in discipline.
If you’re waking up at 5:00 AM and getting in a workout before 6 every day, it’s damn near impossible for that discipline to not show in your trading.
This is 1 hack that you cannot skip!
6.) Take Cold Showers
I’d like to be the first say I’ve always been a fan of the heat! Having said that, I take cold showers year-round, even in the Michigan winter.
Does it suck, yes, but you learn to love it. You not only get used to it, you actually learn to look forward to the cold as it has an amazing effect on the body, mentally and physically.
Fact, you only grow through stress.
By making the choice to subject yourself to the pain of cold you’re creating emotional resilience and conditioning your nervous system to remain calm when your brain is telling you otherwise.
Every time your brain is screaming at you to get out and you ride through it you teach your brain to remain calm in the worst stress.
Making this a daily practice not only builds mental strength but also has been scientifically proven to increase circulation, drain the lymphatic system, reduce your stress, reduce depression, increases your immunity, and much more!
Tip: Start with a warm shower and then turn it to cold for the last few minutes. Additionally, you don’t have to crank it all the way to cold to get the benefits of a cold shower.
This is something you build into and will get more comfortable with in time.
Disclaimer: I do not promote nor do I recommend using illegal drugs in any way.
Before going further I would encourage you to do YOUR OWN research on this subject, as there is a great deal of it. I would also encourage you to look at the science surrounding the subject.
What is microdosing? Microdosing is when you take a sub-perceptible dose of a psychedelic such as Psycilicybin (mushrooms) or LSD. Sub-perceptible means you’re not tripping, rather, most would describe it as a very low level increased sense of well being, attitude, as well as energy.
Both Psycholcybin, as well as LSD, have been shown to massively increase creativity, mood, focus, problem-solving, ie everything good for being the best trader you can be.
I’m not going to say much on this topic, as it is still illegal in most areas and I’m damn sure not recommending this to anyone.
What I am saying is that some of the largest breakthroughs in science, medicine, computer technology, AI, etc is a direct result of their usage.
There is a reason Steve Jobbs called it ‘one of the most important experiences in his life.’
As such, every adult has to do the research and make the decision as to what they are willing to do.
7.) Breathing Techniques
One of the fastest ways to hack into your central nervous system is through your breath.
Why is that important?
I’ve been running DTFL for nearly a decade and I can promise you that the biggest hurdle everyone must overcome before becoming a profitable trader is him or herself.
Things like over-trading, revenge trading, over-leveraging, system jumping, taking boredom trades, and any other bad habit you can think of is the killer.
These habits usually follow a losing trade and come as an emotional response. After a loss your heartbeat increases along with your blood pressure, you might notice sweat in your palms, and your frontal lobe begins to shut down.
You cannot think rationally when you’re angry which is why your biggest losses always come when emotions are high.
The fastest way to get yourself back to thinking with the frontal lobe is to sit down and breathe for 2 minutes BEFORE you make the next decision.
Sit down and close your eyes. You then inhale through your nose to the count of 5, followed by an exhale to the count of 5 as well. During this time it is important to keep you mind on the count, nothing else. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rinse and repeat.
As you consistently respond to stress by taking deep breathes, this will gradually become your default response. This massively reduces stress and greatly improves your ability to remain a disciplined and patient trader.
8.) Stop Trying to Multi-Task
High-end traders tend to hyper-focus on 1 specific trading strategy, few major markets, and reduce all other distractions outside of trading.
The brain cannot perform multiple high-level tasks at the same time. Science has proven that multitasking isn’t possible, but rather the brain switches between the two tasks rapidly.
Overall this results in a major loss of production in whatever the given task.
When it comes to trading, most high-end traders I know reduce distractions as much as possible. This would include things like your phone, Youtube (you’re probably watching a video on cats as we speak), games, etc.
This is the same while you’re in the process of learning to trade. If you’re currently reading or watching a trading course or backtesting then focus on that 100%.
Instead of multitasking try this. Work for 45-50 minutes of every hour and then go to the bathroom, get water, watch Youtube videos, catch up on news or do anything else you need to during the 10-15 minute break.
The 45-50 minutes of uninterrupted attention will be far more effective than multiple hours trying to multitask.
9.) Read Something
When I started learning to trade I also started studying personal development as well as the life of successful people. It’s no surprise that the individuals at the top of their field read.
Reading has been proven to increase the overall function of the brain including memory, the ability/speed of learning, better sleep (which helps as well), as well as reducing stress.
If you’re looking for a good trading book to start, I’d recommend Trading in the Zone by Market Douglas. It’s a classic trading book, and it’s right in line with the information covered in this article.
Putting The Hacks Into Practice!
To implement any type of significant change you’re going to need to write out a schedule to keep yourself accountable. A morning schedule might look something like this.
Sample Morning Schedule:
5:00 AM – Wakeup Call/Gut Check
5:00 – 5:30 AM – Meditation
5:30 – 6:00 AM – Workout (Weight lifting and/or H.I.T training)
6:00 – 6:10 AM – Cold Shower
6:10 – 6:30 AM – Reading
If you combine this morning routine along with the other trading hacks, I’m confident you will see a massive improvement in your ability as a trader!
Finally, success isn’t an event it’s a journey where every change you make today will have a massive impact on your results 2, 5, 10 years from now.
I love the example of hitting a golf ball. A change of the clubface at impact by just a fraction of an inch could change where the ball lands by 20 yards or more!
The same is true with these hacks. You will not notice the entire change in a day or a week, rather, these small changes have a massive impact when applied consistenly over weeks, months, and years.
If you’re going to commit to a morning schedule or you have any questions about doing so then be sure to let me know about it in the comments below or drop us an email here!