Why FASTING can make you a better trader.
Don’t Eat & Become a Better Trader
You read that correctly, today we are drawing a link between not eating, aka fasting, and becoming a better trader. Granted I am writing this in hour 63 of a 64-hour water fast so maybe I am just delirious from not eating and I want you all to suffer with me. No, no, that’s probably not it, hear me out. One of the most important things we need as traders is self-discipline. I would actually make the bold claim that self-discipline along with a trading plan with an edge are all you need to be a successful trader.
Self-discipline is about controlling one’s self, about sticking to a plan, and doing what we know is right even when it is hard, inconvenient or scary. Having a rock solid “why” for what you are doing helps with self-discipline. Sheer brute force willpower can turn us into self-discipline machines for a time, but it won’t last without careful cultivation and practice. You can think of willpower like a muscle that has to be built up over time. If we try to deadlift 405 pounds in the gym for our first workout in 5 years, we are probably going to end up just standing there pulling on a bar, looking like we are trying to lift Thor’s hammer. But, if we workout for 5 years, consistently deadlifting heavier and heavier weights, we can walk into the gym and toss that weight around like we are Captain America! Maybe the Marvel references are not apt since Thor is a god and Cap was made in a lab, and here you and I are just regular ol' humans doing our best to improve each day. But the point still stands, you need to treat your willpower as a muscle and constantly and carefully work it, being careful not to burn it out. If you are able to do this, you can be a hero in your own right.
We are here to talk fasting so let’s get into it. Fasting is an apprenticeship in self-mastery. It is a 101 course in willpower, self-discipline, and human freedom. When we fast, we lay out a plan and then follow that plan. Simple right? The plan is: don’t eat for blank number of hours. It could be 1 it could be 48, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that at some point during a fast you will get hungry, Suzie will bring in donuts to the office, you will accidently drive by your local BBQ restaurant with your window down, or maybe you will have to cook your pregnant wife dinner and then proceed to watch her eat it while you sip a cold glass of water. At this moment we start to question why bother fasting, why bother self-discipline, why bother with anything else in life right now, I just want that dang BBQ sandwich.
This is the big moment. This moment is when your willpower muscle starts working; the moment where we start to see what we are made of. This moment is the reason for this article, the reason for fasting at all, the reason for wanting to be more self-disciplined in the first place. When we say to our self that following the plan is more important than that donut or BBQ sandwich, we have just won. We have started the journey to becoming an expert plan follower, to becoming a master of self-discipline. We have at that moment decided that we will no longer let our stomachs control our lives, no longer will we let our fear define our lives, we will no longer let our impulses govern our lives.
If you were not sold by the previous four paragraphs, let me give you a final thought to chew on. Practicing regular fasting not only helps us improve our self-discipline by building our willpower muscle, it is also great for our health, both physical and spiritual. Yes, that is correct, I can’t get into it without making this post 3 times as long, but this makes fasting an all-encompassing human enrichment tool that has positive consequence for our mind, body and spirit. Can’t beat that, can we?
Here is a fasting challenge for anyone wanting to enrich their entire being.
Plan how many hours you will fast and when to start
Fast for that set number of hours
Count how many meals you skipped and donate that many meals to charity
When you successfully finish the fast, celebrate with a small reward for yourself
Add a small amount of time to your original fast
Complete steps 2-4 again (how often you want to do this is up to you)
Do the above steps until you reach whatever you feel your maximum time fasting is and then consistently do your max fast throughout the year following your plan each time.
Why did I add in the part about donating meals to charity? Giving to charity helps someone in need and as an added benefit will help you continue doing the fasting challenge because you are a great person and want to help others. Fasting will make you more grateful for the food you have and being grateful is the antidote to so many negative qualities. Having external and emotional rewards to any challenge of self-discipline and willpower will greatly help our ability to stick to it. Whenever we can add those rewards or something to give us a bigger “why,” we significantly increase our chance of success.
If our emotions, our hunger and our fears do not control us, what is going to stop us from reaching all of our dreams and goals now? So go out there, make a plan, take action and strive for greatness.