As you might have heard, in late January things went a little wild with a bunch of short-selling hedge funds and a Reddit group called “wallstreetbets.” In a nutshell, over the course of a few weeks several million small time investors tried to produce a “short squeeze” on the stock of the video game retailer Gamestop.
As it happened, I’ve been a reader of wallstreetbets for a few years. So when the hype around Gamespot started heating up, I threw a few hundred dollars in to be part of the fun. Plus, I actually like Gamestop (and am not a particular fan of hedge funds).
I wasn’t prepared for the insane ride I was about to get on. For the next two weeks, Gamestop shares went on a trip to outer space. On January 22nd the price spiked up to 243% what it was at the start of the month. I had doubled my money. Then three days later it spiked to 470% off the month start. My hand hovered over the sell button, but I was having way too much fun to get off the rollercoaster yet. Over the course of the week the stock rose to a mind-boggling 1700% increase since the start of the month.
At this point Gamestop fever was in full swing. I was scavenging financial websites looking for information on how to read percentages of shorted-stocks. I was reading long in-depth articles about the Volkswagen short squeeze of 2008. I had an alarm set for 4:30 am so I could check the pre-market action on my beloved stock. All of this market watching was taking up hours of the day and night, but I figured if I timed it right the money would make up for it, plus, it was all a lot of fun.
The next week was extremely volatile. Trading apps limited the public’s ability to buy, the hedge funds initiated a series of “ladder attacks” attempting to lower the price, and billionaires like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban started wading in. To make a long story short (no pun intended), within a week the stock had dropped back down 1000%, and lots of people who got in too late were left holding the bag. I, fortunately, wasn’t one of them, and got out with a small profit before it all came crashing down. I had spent three weeks as an amateur day trader, spending way too much time and energy on this single stock, and came out with a few hundred bucks.
Gains of 1700% as the public got on board the hype train.
What most surprised me about this experience was the mental wear and tear that arose from the gamble. I found myself constantly wondering whether I had gotten in too late, bought too much, bought too little, held too long or sold too early. I constantly had my calculator app open, running different buy and sell possibilities. No matter what, I never fully trusted my choices, and always second guessed whether any of this was worth the toll it was taking.
Throughout the rise and fall of Gamestop I kept thinking to myself,
The stock market is a gigantic, impenetrable mass of hidden forces, many of them irrational. As I learned firsthand, you’ll never have success trying to beat the market. Is that upward line a peak, or just halfway to the top? Is that downward line just a dip, or the beginning of a crash? You just do your best with the information you have, and (if you’re like me) spend a lot of time playing “what if” after it’s all over. It’s exhausting.
Contrast this with the process of getting in shape. Your body is made up of trillions of cells, but these cells are above all RATIONAL. They follow rules of physics and biology. They don’t surprise you. Even when a part of the body goes wrong (such as a cancer cell or auto-immune disease) the body malfunctions in predictable ways.
When you look at your day, month, or year, there are a tremendous number of hidden variables that determine how things will go. Maybe your business will boom due to a new trend in your industry. Maybe a pandemic will obliterate all your carefully laid plans. Maybe someone in your family will win a scholarship, or fall into a deep depression. Maybe a sleepy mall video game retailer’s stock will pay for your retirement, or bankrupt your hedge fund. But at the center of this whirlwind of uncertainty is you inside your body. And that body is the opposite of volatile.
- You WILL lose body fat.
- You WILL gain muscle tone, coordination, and endurance.
- Your confidence WILL increase,
- And you WILL have more focus, clarity, and contentment in your life.
Best of all, unless you’re in prison or stranded on a desert island, you have total control over the inputs that go into this system of returns. Unlike a stock, there’s no one on the other side of the bet, hoping that you fail. There’s just you, wanting to look and feel better, and you control all the levers to make it happen.
When you ask someone why they invest in the stock market, they’ll tell you it’s to make money. And when you ask them why they want to make money, they’ll tell you that money helps them live a more comfortable life, provide for their family, and pursue their interests. But so many people miss the fact that being healthy and fit is the number one thing you can do to live comfortably, take care of your family, and pursue your interests!
Hot stocks and bull markets will come and go, but you’re invested in your body for life. Put in the capital of nutrition and exercise, and watch the lines go up, up, up. In terms of time and energy spent, there’s no better deal on the planet.
Patrick Reynolds // Kenzai Founder