The Longevity Study

Dr. Lewis Terman started a study in Stamford in 1921 to follow the lives of 1548 children over the next 90 years as he wanted to find out what the secret to success and longevity is.

In 1990 Howard Friedman Ph.D. and Leslie R. Martin picked up the study and looked at what was associated with health, success and longevity. In their book ‘The Longevity Project’ the results of their study shows surprisingly that the happiest people the ‘don’t worry be happy people’ often underestimated the risks in life, made stupid decisions and died from either accidents or preventable illnesses.

Those in the group who lived longer were also generally living a successful, meaningful, and productive life suggesting that those factors played a very big role in achieving health and happiness.

And the no 1 predictable trait for longevity  was conscientiousness. So many traders complain about a lack of discipline and look for a magic trick to learn how to be disciplined. I personally think that one of the biggest downfalls for traders is a lack of conscientiousness rather than a lack of discipline.

People who get themselves into trouble, financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, they lack forethought, they are not thinking beyond the moment. They are just thinking about now.

If they would imagine how their bloodsugar levels are screaming and the fat clogs up the arteries instead of imagining how tasty the pizza or the cake is right now, they wouldn’t have that cake. If they would imagine how damaging not following their trading system and entering trades on a wimp is they wouldn’t even consider behaving in such damaging ways.

Conscientiousness is simply: When you say you show up, you show up. When you say you are going to do something you do it. You don’t look for reasons why not to, it is just not an option.

Always ask yourself: if I do this, then what? The trick is to stay in the present moment but to plan for the future.

The brain likes simple chunks. Trading success is simply about accountability, about conscientiousness! And when you sleep enough, and you eat properly the quality of your decisions goes up, your conscientiousness muscle is in top form and therefore your confidence, your trust in yourself skyrockets.

One skill that helps me with pursuing conscientiousness is to ask myself those 2 most important words in the English language: “Then what?”

If I do this, then what will happen, if I say this, then what will happen?  Conscientiousness is not something that you do, it is who you are as a trader.